Two Talking Points from my latest Noyarao Dieta
I’ve noticed, especially reading articles about sport on the internet, that people like to use the idea of talking points to structure their contribution. So here goes with two talking points from the dieta I am currently doing.
First some context. This is the second long dieta I have done with the Amazonian teaching tree Noyarao. I wrote about the first long dieta and about the tree here. Within certain traditions of Shipibo shamanism, dieting with the the tree Noyarao is seen to be the principal way to learn to become a healer. Of course, every dieta of any plant or tree has its uses – as my friend leading this dieta says, it’s good to have many quivers in your bow. But Noyarao is something special. It is known as palo volador (the flying tree) in Spanish, and also as the camino de la luz and camino de la verdad – the path to truth and light. It is celestial.
I have been doing this dieta in two stages as I had to close and then reopen it when I traveled to Mexico. The first stage was from October 5th, drinking ayahuasca every other night for ten days, and then once every three days until October 18th when my dieta was closed. Closing a dieta basically involves being sung an arkana – a special icaro (a healing song), that both seals the dieta within the person’s energetic field and also serves as protection. After doing a dieta people are particularly open and therefore vulnerable to all kinds of energies. Therefore it’s good to have protection.
I reopened my dieta on November 2nd and since then have had four ceremonies every third night. I’m part of a rolling group of about 16 dieteros with people joining and leaving the dieta at different times. Most people are here for at least a month and about half for the full two months. All have worked with the ceremony leader before.
That kind of commitment and working with people that I know gives a very good feel to the dieta. On the last long-term dieta I found this quote by Teilherd de Chardin, which I love:
“There is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a larger vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendships between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality almost impossible to describe.”
So the two talking points.
1. Madre Ayahuasca is the most extraordinary, intelligent healer.
I know that for many readers familiar with ayahuasca this really does not have to be stated. But let me illustrate this with three successive ceremonies, just after the beginning of my dieta, which together form what I now visualize as a healing arc or overall healing trajectory.
In the first of these three ceremonies, very soon after drinking the brew, I felt a kind of super-lucidity as if my normal, rational, conscious processing mind was illuminated or highlighted in some way. This confused me as I had none of the typical effects I am familiar with as the mareación came on – strange thought patterns, and thinking these bizarre, often completely inconsequential thoughts were reality. Stupidly, I did not think I was having any effects from drinking the medicine – as my experience did not conform to my ideas about what being mareado meant. Most of the ceremony, I struggled with the clash between the expectation of what what I should be experiencing and the reality of what I was actually experiencing.
At one point, as I was trying to purge, I had the sudden sense that I wanted to scream. That had never happened to me before. As I knew that one of the few ceremonial rules was no screaming, I repressed the sound. Later, I went to the furthest bathroom to see if I could scream there but the moment had passed. When I told my friend leading the ceremony on the following day that I had wanted to scream but knew I should not, he mischievously said he would allow me one scream per dieta.
I had no idea what this scream was.
The following ceremony, I was flooded by images of a particularly difficult period in my life when my second marriage ended and I became severely depressed with suicidal thoughts. This had come up before in ceremonies but this time I was spared no detail of the pain, humiliation and rage I had felt. I realized that this was the scream. This whole ceremony was like a particularly long and vivid therapy session where I gained further insight about what had happened and saw the consequences of this break-up in my relationships with other women as my life had unfolded afterwards.
In the third ceremony, I again felt all the feelings associated with my marriage break-up but this time I was able to purge. I don’t think I have ever purged something so deeply. I felt that my innards were twisted and my stomach was wrung out like a wet towel as the sound of purging issued forth from me. That purge had been fifteen years in the making.
My talking point here is to show the range and versatility of Madre Ayahuasca as a therapist and healer. She can do body work and primal scream therapy. Later she did classic, humanistic, client-centered therapy with me, and finally, and this is where she reaches the parts other therapies don’t touch, she was able to help me purge the negative energy and emotional toxins that had accumulated in my system as a result of these experiences and that were continuing to limit me.
So many people experience La Madre’s intelligence – part of its nature is that it is highly tailored to each person’s needs and capacities. A few days later I was looking at a small ayahuasca vine I have planted in the grounds where I live, which is now elegantly circling around its supporting tree. How can such a frail, spindly looking, almost non-descriptive plant (sorry Madre) have such an extraordinary intelligence? I thought. Her question is probably: how can these large apes with all their so-called intelligence and other capabilities be so stupid?
2. Normal consciousness is so limited.
Jung compared the ego – our normal, rational conscious mind and what I notice commentators like Graham Hancock call our normal alert, problem-solving mentality (which Western culture values so highly) – to a “cork bobbing in a vast ocean of unconsciousness.”
For the first two ceremonies after restarting my dieta, I had been feeling happy with my progress (My God, we Western individualists are so obsessed with the need to make progress and develop our precious selves). I felt I was being given a long course in paying attention and how to meditate.
I was trying very hard not to let my thoughts overly distract me and just see the world – or the parts of it that could be seen in the moonlight and occasional lighting of mapachos – for what it is, rather then being mediated by my thoughts about it and even better, if possible, see the energetic designs, patterns and symbols that occasionally appeared if I did not try to force their appearance.
I went into the third ceremony thinking I would continue along this path. I liken what happened to me as follows:
I was building these pretty little sandcastles on the shore of a vast ocean and not seeing the huge wave that swept in, then effortlessly obliterated all my sandcastles and carried me away with it. For some time, and I have no idea how long, I was away somewhere, until the wave spat me out again. All I had was a glimpse through the crack of a door as it closed to me, of some other realm. I knew I had had profound experiences in this realm but I had no idea what they were. I could, though, sense the puniness of what I considered was the great achievement of my willed conscious mind.
Later in the ceremony, I saw the Maestro crawling over to sit opposite to me to sing to me. As he sat up from the crawling position, I felt this vast, radiant presence manifest itself between us. It was almost too much to bear.
The second talking point here is beautifully expressed by Shakespeare when Hamlet says:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”