Ayahuasca in Bolivia - Rurrenabaque
Bolivia

Ayahuasca in the Bolivian jungle

By on July 29, 2017

Did you ever hear about the drink that gives you flashes or even visions of your life? The drink that is life changing, cures you from diseases such as cancer and depressions? I did, and it got me curious. What is this drink and what is it like taking it? I actually got so curious that I decided fly to a little town in the Bolivian Amazon and try it myself.


What is Ayahuasca?

First things first, what is Ayahuasca? Ayahuasca is a hallucinating medicine from the jungle used to clean your body, mind and soul. People attend Ayahuasca ceremonies to cure from depressions, addictions or even cancer. Others (like me) do it to dig into their spiritual side and explore what else is out there.

So, what happens and what do you see? I hate this answer, but honestly, this totally depends on the person. It is a different experience for everyone. Most people see flashes of their past, moments that were difficult or made them very happy. They see their family, the people they care about. Others see visions, their future and find the meaning of life. My shaman said that it simply depends on what Mother Ayahuasca wants to show you. As you understand, I wanted to know what I would see and decided to do Ayahuasca in the Bolivian jungle.


My experience of Ayahuasca in the Bolivian jungle

After travelling around South America for a couple of months, I felt it was time for me to attend an Ayahuasca ceremony. I was recommened to do Ayahuasca in the Bolivian jungle. Hence, I flew to the Rurrenabaque, a little town in the Bolivian Amazon. There I heard about Phillip, known as the best shaman in town. He was the shaman at Wizard’s Mountain. I contacted him when I got there and we met a couple of days before the ceremony would take place. The shaman wanted this meeting in order to check whether I was suited for Ayahuasca. One of ‘qualifications’ to attend the ceremony is to stick to a diet, which involves no meat, alcohol, drugs or sexual contact for a week (preferably longer). Also, he wanted to make sure I knew what Ayahuasca involves and was aware that it could get pretty intense. Me, fully aware but a little bit scared as well, signed up for his next ceremony.

A couple of days later, we went to the Ayahuasca complex in the jungle where we would have the ceremony in the temple. I was lucky to meet another backpacker earlier on my trip who was interested in Ayahuasca as well. So, (no mum) I was not alone. At the complex there were six others that were on a full Ayahuasca retreat. They had three ceremonies that week, of which this was their second one. It touched me to hear that they had come to Bolivia solely for the Ayahuasca retreat as most of them suffered from cancer or bad depressions. I started to ask myself what I was doing there. I was healthy, had no depression or traumas and kind of felt like a tourist, looking into something very serious that was none of my business. But then I realized, this was my journey; this was my way of finding out what else is out there. Thus, I went on a little hike, did some meditation and went back to the cabaña to get some sleep before the ceremony.


"Wasn't this what our parents always told us NOT to do?"

My real experience of Ayahuasca in the Bolivian jungle began when the evening fell and the shaman came to my cabaña. I stayed there with an English girl about my age. The voice of the shaman woke us, asking us to bring our pillow and blanket to the temple. Half asleep we did what he asked. Then, when we walked through the jungle with a blanket and pillow in our arms, we must have both started to ask ourselves the fuck we were doing. It was right then when the English girl said: “Wasn’t this what our parents always told us NOT to do?,, We laughed our nerves away and went into the temple.

I am not sure how to explain what it was like in this temple. The only thing I can compare it with is a voodoo ceremony as you see in bad American horror films. All the people I met earlier that day sat in a circle. There was an incredible amount of candles. The shaman and two others were wearing some kind of costume and sat down with a lot of gadgets around them of which I assumed they would use them later. Maybe gadgets isn’t the right word but I honestly think you should use your imagination to understand what it looked like.

It was kind of scary as well as magical. I’d never seen or experienced anything like it. The shaman told me to sit down next to him, at the end of the circle (meaning I would be the last to take the drink). I wondered why he put me there. Maybe he knew I was scared? I sat down next to an American woman, she smiled at me and looked very sweet. I decided to all just let it happen and not to think about what I was about to do.

Ayahuasca in the Bolivian jungle - the temple
The temple at which the Ayahuasca ceremony took place
The ceremony

The shaman opened the ceremony. He sang to Mother Ayahuasca and talked to the drink and spices in front of him. It sounds weird, and to be honest, it was. It was very dark and you could hear the sounds of the jungle. The funny thing was that everyone sat next to a yellow bucket. He said it was for us to vomit in. At some point I kind of had to stop myself from laughing, but then realized this was something very serious. I heard stories of people going to very dark places. I even heard of people seeing their whole life, like what they say happens when you die. Another backpacker told me that ayahuasca releases something that’s only released twice in your life: when you’re born and when you die. I honestly, didn’t know what to believe and what to expect. I also suddenly realized I didn’t know that much about Ayahuasca, was I prepared well enough?

A massive smoking pipe started to go around the circle. Everyone smoked it and said some words to Mother Ayahuasca, asking her to show specific flashes, visions or allow them to understand something about their life. The shaman said we could say this in our native language, so I spoke in Dutch.

Then it was time. Time to drink Ayahuasca. One by one the shaman asked us to sit in the middle of the circle. He sang us a song, prayed for us and blew air in the ayahuasca. At first I was happy to be at the end of the circle to see what was going on. But then when everyone was already crying and throwing up before I even took the drink I got a little bit frightened. When it finally was my turn I went to the middle and looked at the shaman. I had so much respect for him. I tried not to think about anything and to focus on the ceremony and what I wanted to see. He handed me the drink. I downed it and went back to the place I sat before. The flavour was disgusting but not much worse than some of the shots my friends sometimes buy me. The shaman started singing and two of his assistants played sounds on instruments while they walked around the circle.


What Ayahuasca did to me

It was weird; it felt like the drink was going to my head. My head started moving on the rhythm of the songs the shaman was singing, I never heard these songs before but it felt I knew them by heart. I honestly felt like Ayahuasca was inside me and the shaman was singing to it. It was a weird feeling. I really have no other word to describe it than yes, weird.

I did not see my future or found my meaning in life. I did see a lot of colours. I saw the jungle and waterfalls in purple, blue and yellow. It was beautiful but felt more like I had a high temperature than something spiritual. I tried to think about my future, the past, but nothing happened. Then I realized that maybe for once I should just be there, right where I was. In a world where everyone is so focused on the past and the future that we simply forget where we are right now. Everyone has questions like “what should I do with my life” and “am I taking the right decisions”. I felt like good things were gonna come and they did. One week later I travelled to Peru and met the love of my life.



Liked it? Pin it!

Ayahuasca in the Bolivian jungle - boat into the jungle
TAGS
29 Comments
  1. Reply

    Flyweek

    August 25, 2017

    Great story. You should read about Polish traveler Tony Halik.

  2. Reply

    Thispassport

    July 31, 2017

    Maybe someday I will gather the courage to do it ..heard So much about Ayahuasca and DMT but never took the plunge..thanks for sharing your experience ..its encouraging .#lifegoals

  3. Reply

    theitalianchica

    July 30, 2017

    wow this is an amazing experience. I’ve read a lot of things about Ayahuasca and it really fascinated me, but I’m a bit scared! I meditate a lot, so I was wondering if this experience could bring me in a “higher level” of meditation ?

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      I think it would, it gives you a new insight into meditation. We actually even meditated with the shaman before the ceremony. I think it would be very interesting for you to give it a try! Let me know if you need more information! 🙂

  4. Reply

    Desirée

    July 30, 2017

    I love when people share their ayahuasca stories, I find it so intriguing to hear how each person experiences it differently. Do you feel like your ayahuasca experience played a part in meeting the love of your life?

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      I know!! That’s why I was so curious to find out what I would experience! To be honest, I was single for four years and not looking for a relationship at all. You know how they say that if you meet the one, you know. I met this guy and I knew it straight away. So yes, maybe it did open my eyes to new people/relationships but it for sure made me realize that I live in the present and should enjoy what comes on my path!

  5. Reply

    Sara Essop -In Africa and Beyond

    July 30, 2017

    This sounds like something out of a movie. I’ve never heard of it before. I’d be scared too. But at least there was a happy ending ?

  6. Reply

    Liliana Ventura

    July 30, 2017

    Amazing story! Definitely need to put on my bucket list!

  7. Reply

    Marvi

    July 30, 2017

    I have never heard of Ayahuasca and its ceremony before, but it sounds like a pretty unique experience ?

  8. Reply

    Planes, Trains and Champagne

    July 30, 2017

    Wow, this is awesome! I have never even heard of Ayahuasca! What an experience! You are brave! This is definitely one of the most unique things I have read about it! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Reply

    Cristina G

    July 29, 2017

    “One week later I travelled to Peru and met the love of my life.” This.
    I really enjoyed reading your post. It’s very well written and good content.
    I’m really curious about ayahuasca too and I think if I’ll ever find myself in a place where I can do it, safely, I totally would.

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      Thank you Cristina!! If you ever want to do it really make sure it’s a safe place (consider the one I did it). I heard a lot of bad stories. If you ever want to know more about it just let me know! 🙂

  10. Reply

    Cory

    July 29, 2017

    This has to be one of the coolest stories I read recently. I love the way you wrote it all, I love the way you ended it. Very emotive, a rare skill nowadays. As for Ayahuasca, I don’t know if I would ever dare to try it…but maybe, ultimately, it’s all about new experiences…

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      Thanks so much Cory, that means a lot to me! If I look back at it now I wouldn’t recommend Ayahuasca just for the experience but really do it if you feel stuck in a depression, have a trauma or fight a disease. Maybe that’s also why I just saw colours and wasn’t confronted with any thing about my life. Simply because I’m very lucky to have never experienced anything really bad.

  11. Reply

    Campfires&Concierges (@leighlwilson)

    July 29, 2017

    What an interesting experience! I never heard of ayahuasca until Chelsea Handler did it on her Netflix show. It sounds a lot like LSD or mushrooms, which I enjoyed in my youth, but I’m not sure how I would handle this now! (Too many control issues, lol!) Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      I’ve never tried LSD or mushrooms so I have no idea if it’s similar apart from getting hallucinations. For me it was the whole experience itself that impressed me, the ceremony, shaman, the group. Also everyone truly believed this is a medicine that cures and opens your soul. I am very down to earth but kind of understand them! Very interesting indeed!!

  12. Reply

    Lindsey

    July 29, 2017

    Wonderful story. It sounds terrifying and enlightening at the same time. I’m not sure if I could do it. I would be a little afriad to have a bad trip. Did you get sick later?

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      I was afraid of that too and there were some other that had a tough time. However, I think if you have a bad experience it is because there are things in your life you didn’t deal with and they will come out at some point any way. I got sick, had to run to the toilet, the whole package haha!

  13. Reply

    jin

    July 29, 2017

    Hey, interesting post! I heard that one must do this when in Bolivia. Sounds trippy and awesome! Totally going to give it a try when I’m in the area!

  14. Reply

    nomadbiba

    July 29, 2017

    I really enjoyed reading your story. My boyfriend, who is also Dutch, spent a few months volunteering at that same place during his trip around South America. For him, it was a life changing experience. During my own trip around South America I heard about ayahuasca a few times, but the opportunity never presented itself and I didn’t seek it. However, if I had the chance, I think I would go for it.

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      Wauw really?! That must have been pretty intense for him to speak to so many people on their retreat and work with the shaman. I had a lot of respect for the volunteers and especially for the shaman, it’s hard work! If you’re interested in it, definitely give it a try!

  15. Reply

    Karin

    July 29, 2017

    I had a very different experience when I took in in Colombia. I didn´t do much research or anything but said yes when I got invited to come along by a friend. I did it with a group of friends and as you say, everyone´s experience was unique. Our ceremony was very civil though, no costumes, fire or sitting in a circle, we simply took it during the day and everyone sat in a spot they liked, we were by a river in a forest. It was definitely a very interesting trip and the shaman and his wife were very helpful, but not intrusive, so that was great. I actually felt the effects for several weeks afterwards. It´s good that you write about this part of your travel too, I have been hesitating for long if to write about it or not, but I find it very interesting to see how it is for others.

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 31, 2017

      Write about it for sure! So many people will appreciate to hear the different stories. You had a completely different experience than me so it would be interesting to read! I also felt kind of weak for the next weeks, therefore I’m not sure if I would do it again. Would you??

  16. Reply

    Off The Clock Nurse

    July 29, 2017

    Wow what an incredible experience! I thought things like this only happened in movies! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Leah

  17. Reply

    Hayley Russell

    July 29, 2017

    That sounds pretty wild. Maybe one day I can experience it myself.

  18. Reply

    Inge

    July 29, 2017

    Cool story! I heard about Ayahuasca before and I guess I’m just to scared to try it. It seems like you had a good experience, but I would be too scared to have a really bad experience. It’s so cool that you did it and you did it in such an authentic location. Stories like these make me so curious about it… Maybe I end end up trying it anyway 🙂 Great share!

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 29, 2017

      I was a little bit scared as well but I was too curious!! No one in my group had a bad experience, although it for some it was very confronting. In the end everyone found it very helpful 🙂 If you ever decide to do it just message me and I will get you in touch with the shaman! Heard a lot of bad stories about other places so be careful where you do it!

  19. Reply

    Lyne

    July 29, 2017

    I had never heard about Ayahuasca before, it sounds like a pretty unique experience. Happy to hear that you were right and good things came after this ! 🙂

    • Reply

      Daisy

      July 29, 2017

      Thank you Lyne! It was a unique experience for sure, even though I didn’t get to see visions or anything it was really special to be part of a ceremony like this!

Leave a Reply

Daisy
Amsterdam

Born and raised in Amsterdam but always felt the urge to explore the world. Love to go out, meet new people and to discover whatever there is in life :) I just want everyone to be happy and therefore share my tips and tricks to explore the world!

FOLLOW ME

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email!

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to my mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.