Return to the Amazon
After my initial entrance into the world of Ayahuasca Medicine (see Ayahuasca Ceremony #1: The Holy Shit Hour), I had immediately booked another ticket to get back as soon as possible, running on the intuition that I may forget what I learned about myself, or how it feels to be with the shamans in the Amazon.
It never struck me this could have anything to do with an emotional purge building up.
My intuition was right. While I got to see myself for a moment, I was overcome with all my own crap sitting on top of it, and the fact that I had already booked the ticket was my saving grace.
By the time I landed at Iquitos airport, I was irritated and spent. I had flown a frequent flier route from Dulles to Toronto, then to Lima (a 10 hour flight, smushed in between two big, sweaty guys. By the time we got there I was like an impatient child, with my legs and back hurting, wanting to throw a tantrum off this plane!)
In Lima, they informed me that my luggage never made it and was still in Toronto. They would have it shipped to Iquitos in about five days. I would be leaving for the program in two. I didn’t do like mom always says, and pack a change of clothes and emergency stuff in my carry-on. Even my contact solution was checked.
By the time this ordeal was finished, it was 2am and my Lima hostel didn’t pick me up. I took a cab to a nearby place and blew $50 just to sleep a couple hours, praying for complimentary soap.
Feeling Embarrassed and Gross
I got to Iquitos feeling dirty and ugly as I was wearing the same clothes for the last two days, my glasses (which I don’t normally wear) had gained 20 pounds since I got there, and was bloated and PMSing. I didn’t even have deodorant or a toothbrush with me!
I didn’t know how I felt about the Luco thing. Last time I was feeling a connection, but I didn’t want to have to deal with it right now (nor did I want to see him like this.) I hoped he wouldn’t show up, since I had never responded to his email.
I saw my name on the familiar dry-erase board, and met up with the new group. A new apprentice picked us up. I kept the corner of my eyes peeled for Luco. Plus, it would be totally weird for the new group, and this apprentice, to see Luco be all excited to see me. How embarrassing and awkward.
I didn’t know if the staff there knew about our little connection we had started feeling before. I was already feeling judged and uncomfortable, like the first time around (even if it was coming from my own paranoia).
We walked outside as a group to the van. No sign of him. I’m suspending my relief as I am not out of the woods yet. We get to the van, and begin to load up (everyone else’s) luggage. Then I felt it – the tap on my shoulder.
“Hola!” Eluco smiles broadly, standing bright and shiny with his nephew.
“Hola,” I try to sound nice, since he is so happy.
“Oh, you guys know each other?” The new apprentice asks. I cringe.
“Yeah, I was here in August,” I try to make it sound like nothing. I give Luco a half hug and was quickly swept into the van with the rest of the group.
“Okay, see you later,” I say to him as I exit. I breathe a sigh of relief as the van pulls out, alongside a twinge of guilt.
I have an entire day and night to go shopping for the essentials in Iquitos. There are some seriously cheap, cute clothes there! I couldn’t fit into any of the pants (I know I’m not the only plus size pants around here), but the tank tops were adorable. I even found some relatively natural shampoo, and a razor. I felt much more like myself after I was cleaned up.
That night as I laid in bed at the hotel, I decided I would go check in early for the program, and say hi to Luco for real. After all, he had met me at the airport and I practically ignored him. That was a tad bitchy. He was a nice guy.
After paperwork and greetings from the gang at the center, I popped down to Luco’s apartment. I hadn’t seen him out front this time, which was good because I wanted to say hey by myself. The place it locked from an outside door (which leads to the hallway of studios.) I milled around out there, unsure of how to get in. A Peruvian guy spoke to me.
“Oh, Eloy?” Huh? I had a vague memory of someone else once calling him Eloy.
“Oh, si, gracias.” He opened the door and I headed down the hall. I’m glad I remembered which one it was. Knock, knock. It opens.
“Hola, como estas mi amor?” He grabs me and gives me a real hug. I smile and ask him if he wants to accompany me to the airport while I worked out some details about my lost luggage. I thought it would be a good way to break the ice, after an awkward beginning. He quickly accepted.
We sat in the mototaxi trying to talk (though they are loud and it’s hard for me to understand Spanish.) After awhile we sat in uncomfortable silence (for me anyway.) He acted like everything was normal, but I was not responding.
He helped me tremendously at the airport, as there was much to do for my luggage process (and all in Spanish!) I was really grateful for him being there. Something broke during the interlude, and I felt a bit more comfortable. Tomorrow we head out.
Feeling Something Again
On the group bus ride to the campsite, he pointed me to sit on the front bench, where he quickly joined me.
There, we talked even more. He talked about coming out with him after the first program to the village again (we had about a two week break.)
I had thought about going to Ecuador during that time to sight-see, and told him I wasn’t sure. He looked disappointed.
By the end of the hour ride, I accepted. I had forgotten how cool he was. I asked him about his girlfriend. He said she was back in the States, and they had broken up. I tried to ignore the tiny piece of me lighting up.
During our initial meeting, I noticed some additions since the last time. First of all, anyone with martial arts training was to notify the staff (see Ceremony #2-5), and that there was to be absolutely no romantic fraternizing with the staff or apprentices whatsoever.
“People fall in love with the Medicine,” the Western shaman says, “not the actual person. It is a different culture out here, and it is the responsibility of the Westerner if something happens. You will be asked to leave the program.” I cringed.
Was he talking about me? Did he know? Fuck, what was I supposed to do? This shit started the last time I was here. We hadn’t even kissed yet. Surely flirting doesn’t count. I mean I don’t know for sure what’s going on, but just in case.
I called him aside to tell him the truth up front. I didn’t want any secrets, and knew there was a definite connection happening. I was embarrassed as I spoke.
“It’s cool, Meghan, we all knew about that anyway. Just don’t do anything sexual while you’re here, save it for Iquitos,” was all he said. I felt relieved.
“Oh, yeah of course. Thank you.” I felt better, not having a dirty little secret.
Getting Excited About Possibility
By the end of the first ceremony, I felt like my heart was cleansed of all the toxins I had picked back up in the States. I was happy, elated, and grateful for all of it. I really did want to be at least friends with Luco, and was floating on cloud nine. Afterwards, we hung out and talked in the ceremony house all night, laughing and re-bonding. It was great.
As usual, our group was amazing. I missed the lawyer I had gotten to be friends with the first time around, and we hoped to be down at the same time someday.
By the middle of the week, I was spending most of my free time with Luco. I was always excited when he made the rounds to turn on the evening kerosine lamps in our bungalows. He would always shoot me a playfully sly look, or tease me on the way through. And I had I loved our after-ceremony hangout time.
First Emotional Purge (and it was a Doozy)
But after the third ceremony, I found myself chatting with the girl sitting next to me longer than usual. When the elder shaman got up to head to bed, Luco went with him, without saying a word to me. I was a little hurt, but was thoroughly enjoying my conversation. It wasn’t until the chatting wound down and I couldn’t fall asleep that my head trip started.
I could not stop analyzing and re-analyzing why he wouldn’t want to stay and hang out with me. Had something happened? Was he pissed that I was talking to this girl instead of him? Hours of a spiraling mind brought me to ranging anger. I had worked myself up into a huge stick of dynamite ready to explode. I was awake until sunrise.
After only a couple hours of sleep, I woke up and the sadness set in. I was an emotional wreck, and I couldn’t even really figure out why. I slipped out into my bunkhouse to write in my journal. Through angry sobs, I scribbled frantically.
He was just like every other guy, and nobody fucking loves me, EVER! Just when things seem like they may be stable for a second, they lose interest. What the fuck is wrong with me? Why can’t I just have a normal fucking thing, where the guy likes me and I like him, and it’s simple?
I hate all this bullshit. I knew I should be ready for anything with this one, and look, I already fell too far. I always do this to myself! I need to always keep them at a distance, even if it means being emotionally shut down. I just can’t get fucking hurt anymore.
Hours of my head and heart spinning was enough to wear me down. I had to eat, and I’d avoided going outside in fear I may see Luco. But the breakfast hours were coming to a close, and I knew food would help. I tried to clean myself up. Maybe no one would notice I’d been crying unceasingly for two hours.
I washed my face (which was still red and splotchy) and tried to get my shit together. I took a deep breath, and hoped I wouldn’t run into Luco in the dining hall.
As I walk out the door, I round the corner only to meet eyes with the one I’m avoiding.
“Buenos dias!” he smiles. I quickly look down, and mutter a quick buenos dias back. “Que pasa?” What’s wrong, he asks.
I shake my head and scurry past, trying not to cry. Nice job avoiding him. It’s like I have no control of my emotions at all right now. This is horrible, and embarrassing. Maybe I’ll perk up in the dining hall.
I enter, and it’s like the whole place stops and looks at me. I try to slide into a chair unnoticed, but it must be very apparent about my emotional storm. One of the female apprentices turns to me gently.
“Meghan, are you okay?” she asks.
“Fine, I’m just processing,” I muster. Luco walks in and sits down next to her.
“Que pasa?” he asks, concerned. What’s up?
I feel all the emotion begin to well up, and I know I can’t even speak. I shake my head, get up, and escape. There is nowhere to run. I find a place near the driveway that is empty for now, and re-burst into tears. I don’t even know why I’m so upset! I hear footsteps.
“Meghan…Meeeghan…” Luco’s voice tries to penetrate my walls.
“What?” I ask, like a child in a huff.
“What happened?” he asks. I quickly realize that everything I’d been tripping out about was entirely in my head. He didn’t feel any animosity towards me. It was almost too silly to speak.
“Why did you leave me last night?” The rage returned.
“Come with me, you are purging. You need a ventiada.”
First Ventiada (I needed it!)
Hmm. Emotionally purging? Yeah that felt about right, considering I felt completely out of control. I followed him to the ceremony house, where he led me to a hammock and prepared for my ventiada (which is basically a channeled Medicine healing through Icaros – Medicine communication songs – directly to one person.)
Over the next ten minutes, the energy channeled out and left my body. It was like weights lifting off of my heart. It was so fast it was strange. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt by the time it was over. Luco handed me a crystal.
“Go to sleep, I’ll be back later.” I feel asleep in the hammock with a tear-stained face.
What felt like a couple hours later, I awoke feeling fantastic. Relieved. Like I had been renewed. Luco was asleep in the hammock next to mine. I looked at him in gratitude, and realized I did feel something profound between us. I rolled over, touched the rope of his hammock, and fell back asleep.
I no longer gave a shit about my own mental drama. He is amazing, and if I’m too fucked in the head to realize that, it’s a tremendous loss for me.
I’d officially made it through my first huge emotional purge.
Survive the Emotional Purge and Thrive
The rest of the group was fantastic. So much junk was cleaned up around my heart, mind, belief systems…I felt so right in this sacred jungle, with this ancient medicine. And with Luco.
I felt so safe with him. It defied all logic, but I couldn’t ignore what I was feeling in my intuition. We bonded more and more as the week came to a close. We started making plans as to what we would do over the 10 day break.
I was really curious to see how it would be with no rules. Just us hanging out in Iquitos, like two normal people. I’m a little nervous!
As we said our goodbyes, I knew everything was perfect. I was in the right place, with the right people who I completely and totally trusted, with a medicine beyond words, knocking out things like depression and low self-esteem with a one-two punch.
And the wisdom…oh the wisdom. This is nothing I could have ever made up on my own. This is what I’d been looking for. This is what God/Universe had been preparing me for with Inner Visions. This was the clear, direct line into unification of myself and my highest light and abilities. I was finally, after all these years, I’m truly, really ready.
~ Meghan Shannon Elder (@beyond_meghan)
Ayahuasca Preparation and Integration Specialist at Beyond the Ceremony
Accelerated Spiritual Development Coach at Beyond the Whirlwind
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