I have a really good friend who belongs to the Church of the Santo Daime. This organized religion practices drinking Ayahuasca during their gatherings, and sometimes is about dancing and singing for 8 hours, around a center table were a small statue of Jesus and some flower arrangements are set. 

As we arrived at a magnificent property on the hills near San Francisco, I was directed to join the introductory meeting for all the new participants who had never experienced Ayahuasca before. The woman that lead this church (I will call her Maria) was the one giving the talk, she had long grey hair and was dressed in white like everybody else, her eyes stop on each one of us, the rookies. She had a sharp look, did not smile and showed she had little patience for silly questions and those who just wanted to experience ‘a trip’ to other dimensions.

As she explained the origins and history of the church she enhanced the religious intention behind the ceremony, somehow though, I felt she was not very good at it, but perhaps I was not expecting a religion talk.  I wonder for a moment if this is actually what I want to do, too late now, I keep on listening. She said we will be instructed on ‘how to dance’ and how important is to pay close attention to how to do it, making it very clear that this is not a concert where you will be moving around freely, instead we will be in a perfect formation following the group dance. She was so specific and strict about it, it spark my curiosity.  The man who taught us how to dance, was not as severe in his delivery, but it was clear the way to do this was as a group, this was going to be a group ceremony sustained through dance and singing for a period of 8 hours, with 3 servings of the precious jungle mix.

My friend who has been part of the church for couple decades, did not tell me any details of what to expect, she patiently waited over a period of several years while I just talked about it. She used to get very introverted every time I asked more about it,  last summer finally she did tell me about one part of a trip and it sounded pretty scary.  Until, all of a sudden, I get diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the second time.  Needless to say that when we are confronted with death itself -AGAIN!- some pretty deep conversations start happening within ourselves.  Since I am a medicine woman, the messages Mother Nature can deliver are of Sacred Nature, therefore   I was going to the Source to find out why I had cancer.

I did not expect to have three servings, but before I could say something I remembered my friend’s only advice: “Once you are in for it, you cannot back out. You just have to go with it.”   Thankfully I was told that if I felt I could not dance with the group I could sit down at one corner of the room. There was a bathroom right there for the women to use if needed, somehow this made me feel protected, I did not know what was going to happen but to know I could lay down if needed was very nice. I had seen a bunch of ceremonies in you tube videos where people sit on a mat and have a bucket next to them and someone assisting in the journey, this is not what was going on here at all! 

Maria knew I have cancer, when my friend asked her fo me to come, she explained to her who I was and why I wanted to participate.  When the time came to take the first cup of Ayahuasca, she handed me a full cup and said: ‘I am giving you a full cup, take it all’, and with her hand she showed me how, her head slightly back, after I did she inspected my cup to see if it was empty, and then nodded for me to go on. She kept an eye on me during the entire day, always pointing out to my friend to assist me when I needed it.

We got in a line to receive the ‘juice’,  rookies first, then the invitees and finally the church members. As we got back to our positions, I heard someone say they only got half a cup.  I looked back at Maria and realize she would asses the person in the front of the line and then pour in the cup what she thought was right. Very interesting, I thought, she was in complete control of the ceremony, and every person.

The room was divided in two, one side for the men and the other for the women, according to Maria the two different energies do not mingle during the entire day. When the ceremony is over everybody we will eat together and then you can hang out with the opposite sex and talk. 

The formation we had consisted of 2 rows of people standing next to each other with a space between them of 1,5 meters approximately, if you where to look at it from above it was two rectangles one inside the other,  formed by 2 lines of people facing the center.  At the table were two men sitting with guitars, some of the old members had rattles in their hands, one man and one woman both had a standing drum in front of them and couple had a stand that would hold a book with the lyrics of the songs, this way they were able to read, dance and play at the same time. All the songs are in Portuguese, I was very impressed to hear all this Americans singing in a language that is actually not very easy to learn. My native tongue is Spanish with latin roots just like Portuguese, nevertheless I never learned it. 

I was getting excited, live music is always awesome, and it gets you into trance fast. That night would be a full moon, I felt all things were lining up perfectly, omens where shown to me,  and little by little I felt myself getting into a rhythm that was not of my own. This was meant to be and in my heart I felt it was a good thing. It was not long after I had taken the Ayahuasca that I felt a wave hit me right in between my eyes.  3 steps to the right, 3 steps to the left, 3 steps to the right, 3 steps to the left, boom! I felt I was going to fall, my balance started shaking, I kept my eyes on the woman in front of me, I locked my vision on her shoes, trying to hold onto it so I would not fall down, it was not too long until I had to go sit down at the corner.

My entire world started spinning and I had to close my eyes to hang on to something, interestingly enough the feeling was familiar, I had felt like this before.  I was lying on my back when my friend comes to me to see if I am okay, she whispered in my ear to sit up, she said to turn around because I was giving my feet to the group, not knowing where was left or right, I sat up and leaned my back against the wall, something solid I knew was not moving. There was a pot with a plant in the corner, a familiar thing to me, I thought that was a good thing at the moment. I could not tell time any more, so I do not know how long it took for me to jump up and head to the bathroom. It was coming out, I vomited a bunch of times, violently at times.  At one opportunity I collapsed in front of the toilet completely exhausted and so dizzy I did not make any sense. My friend came running into the bathroom behind me, cleaning after me like a caring soul, cheering me to let it out. “Praying to the Porcelain God” I said remembering old times, she laughed with me. I did not know how to get up from the floor, kindly she helped me and out for more of it we went. 

My second serving was a half cup, Maria smiled at me and said to take it all, every drop! She pointed out. Until then nothing had really happened that would be considered weird, it was a very intense feeling, but I had yet to experience any super natural experience. Until the second cup.  The music filled the room and everybody was on its own experience, except the members of the church who where always looking at each other and singing joyfully, none of them looked sick to me. I was tired though, and could not dance, I covered my shoulders with a blanket and sat with my back to the wall shivering, I felt extremely cold, but I could tell this was not happening because I was cold but because my system had been tapped into.  I was sitting with my eyes closed listening to the music when all of a sudden I realized I was listening to someone talk to me.

The first thing I heard was a soft laugh, it was not laughing at me, it was coming from inside, a feeling of Love surrounded me, I knew I had entered a different space.

“What are you doing here? You don’t need to do this, you are too funny! What you are looking for, you already know.”

The voice was familiar, it was someone who knew me well, I could not see him, but his voice was loud and crystal clear.    

“You know what you need to do! It is all about loving your body, dear.”  He paused and let that statement sink in me, I knew what he was meaning, I had to work on the third aspect of the Trinity which I had ignored. Mind and Spirit are more than covered, my body though, my vessel,  was not Sacred yet.  “Open your hand” the voice commanded, I opened my eyes and I saw my right hand close in a fist. “Open it!” He repeated. I could not do it, I would get 2 fingers to move and right away they would curled back into a fist. What the hell! What is going on? I asked, “Open up” was the command. It started to make sense the direction he wanted me to go, “You know it is not going to open all at once, you have to do it one petal at a time…like a flower, at the speed of the Universe’s expansion, slowly and with intention.”

I spent couple hours trying to open my hand, opening my eyes every now and then to check for balance and sense, and then closing them and diving deeper into something like a wave. My entire body was submerged into a sound and feeling that was completely defying in the sense that it demanded from me to let go and sit still.  Eventually I managed to open my hand and when I did, in what felt like a receiving position, I heard a different voice to my right. “Now you can pull out from your chest with that open hand” I slowly started pulling the cancer cells out of my chest.  “You can give them to me” she said, the plant was talking to me! Of course, I thought, how appropriate, and in slow motion I started pulling from my chest and depositing in the plant’s soil. “You can give me some water too while you are at it” she said finally, which I did.

Once I had pulled as much as I thought necessary from my chest, I was exhausted again. I have been sitting there, but somehow I was shaken so badly by the trembling my energy level was at 1 tops. The effort it took to open my hand had left me weak plus the purging I had gone through in the bathroom, I felt drained. My friend kept on smiling at me and supporting the journey. A third time was approaching and I wondered how in the hell I was going to last!  I closed my eyes and asked for guidance, a “Here you go”  sounded in my head, I opened my eyes and from the other end of the room I saw a golden snake make its way along the wall towards me. It was a beautiful  vision, the animal never scared me, it moved slowly I could see her scales in detail, beautiful shining gold color, her eyes green and yellow, about 2 meters long. When it reached me it coiled itself next to my right leg, and there she stayed, for the rest of the second block of this all day ceremony. I closed my eyes and rested peacefully.

For the third serving, Maria looked at me with a slight smile in her lips, I looked at the cup and she had given me a tiny little bit. “All of it” she repeated.  I was thankful to receive only a little bit, at the same time I noticed that some members of the church where coming back to Maria to see if they could get more. She poured what was left until the last drop and then I saw her debating if to give it to them or take it herself, which she ended up doing. Maria took the last little bit remaining and everybody went back to their positions, smiling. It was clear they had develop an immunity from taking it all the time. 

Between the time I drink my third small cup and the dancing started again I had two encounters with two of the participants. One of them was a lady from Guatemala, she had long curly black hair and was dressed in a beautiful green dress. She did not belong to the church, as she explained later to me. It was curious though, that I walked up to her and said “You are an Egyptian Goddess”. It surprised me because I was not planing on doing that, it felt like channeling. She looked at me in awe and told me her name was Iris, “one letter short from Isis, She and I are very close”.  Happy to confirm her true nature we shared a loving feeling for each other, which seemed okay under the circumstances. 

 My second encounter was with an Indian young man who came walking up to me, with a smile he locked his eyes into my Soul. “Hello,

 I am Amrit” he said. As I could not escape his gaze I tried to talk to seem normal, “where are you from?” I asked. From India he replied, with another big smile in his face, we were told not to talk, to wait until it was over. I had a feeling I knew this young man from another time, another life, it was amazing how I felt a strange familiarity with Amrit from India.

The third block started and to my surprise I felt a rush of energy and was up for the dancing. Must have been also the smaller dose, but to my rejoice I was all in to the 3 step dance moves and I even started singing along, not knowing the words but humming the sounds.  The more I danced left and right the more I started to feel a wave of energy moving with us.  The coolest part yet started to unravel in front of me, as I was being part of this movement, I started to see a geometry forming around and above us. I remembered now Maria’s strict words about the dance, how to move and keep in the same flow together. Men on one side women on the other, this two energies where forming a geometric shape all around and above us. The movement was rocking this geometry like a lullaby would a baby in its cradle. It was outstanding! At one point the back row women that was to my left all disappear, they were not feeling well so they had sit down.  I noticed how their absence was leaving the geometry out of balance, and not sure if Maria would be upset at me, I moved to the empty row and started dancing there. Three steps to the left, three steps to the right. I was holding the geometry together! Can anybody else see this? Can Maria see it? 

The ceremony continue until they sang every song in the book. I danced till the end, amazed at my new surge of energy, it was dark now, and a lot of the members looked tired too. Maria did not seem tired at all, she reprimanded Amrit for moving his arms too much while he danced, I had brought some of my Balm to Maria and as I approach I heard her telling Amrit he should not move his arms that way because it disrupted the energy.  Each one of us was a node and between us ran a line, the distance had to be maintained while we moved. As the energy grew, it started forming more lines above the group creating a dome that moved with the dance and the music and the singing, like a Lotus flower would open its petals one at a time.

At the very end we all shared food brought for the event, I sat at the center table, and soon after Amrit came and sat next to me. Both with a plate of soup, we barely touched it, he again locked eyes with me. “I know you” I said. ‘You do?!’ He responded excited, “yes, from another life though” I quickly added. He opened his mouth in awe, I can not explain how things happen, but what happened with Amrit is one of those things that you just have to wonder.  4 more people came and sat at the table with us,  we all shared some of our experiences. 

Amrit told us how he was surrounded by demons and to his joy Jesus emerged from inside his body and blasted all the demons filling him with love.  

After eating, Amrit and I stood outside under the moon, and I asked him to remove any cancer cells out of my chest. Why did I do this, I have no idea. The young boy didn’t even blinked, I suggested throwing into the dirt over the railing, for Gaia to recycle to which he responded no, I am going to give it to the moon. He reached my chest and started to do the same type of pull I did, and with every handful he would throw it at the full moon. When he was done, we both faced her and gave her thanks. He made me repeat an Indian mantra with him, I do not speak Indian of course, but there I was repeating the sounds he made, and for a long time we both were repeating this sounds.

Neither Amrit or I expected to find ourselves talking so much, we wanted to share everything we had been doing, it was a rare encounter and we both were flowing with it. So much so, that he begun telling me a story that evidently was very important to him, he grabbed my hand and put it in the middle of his torso between his ribs, where the third chakra is. He seemed to be trying to explain something, but his story or his words did not make sense, to which I asked, “what did you do?!”  He pressed my hand against his chest, I immediately knew, and got worried of what he was about to tell me, “what did you do?” I said this time like a mother would question a child, “I thought they were dead” he explained, “my parents,, my sister! I thought they were dead!” He lifted his shirt up and showed me the scar he had from where he had tried to kill himself. He made a motion with both his hands showing me how he stabbed his body. 

The snake represents wisdom, a golden one, well, you get the idea. This to me meant an expression of the jungle, the forest, where this plant comes from in the Amazon, at the same time it was there to make sure I would not ignored the importance of what was being conveyed.  I had to experience Sacredness for it to sink in, and the snake is Sacred.  The effects of the Ayahuasca lasted 3 days after the ceremony, I continued to have channeling episodes and several visions of animals and plants.  It was for sure a life time experience.  When it comes to hallucinations though, 11 years ago when I had cancer the first time, during the chemo treatments I experienced a lot of them, as real and intense as Ayahuasca.  Which makes me think that when you get intoxicated with a somewhat poisonous substance, you go into a different realm, where our perceptions get enhanced and expanded, where we go into an altered state of consciousness, opening doors that other wise would never open.