Three more talking points from the Noyarao dieta
This post follows directly on from the last one where I discussed two talking points from my dieta. Two ceremonies later, I have a further three talking points to add.
I mentioned in the last post that part of what doing a dieta achieves is a deep cleansing and purging of toxic energy – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. La Madre Ayahausca is not also known as la Purga for nothing. People can have powerful vomiting episodes during ceremonies – hence the saying that one’s vomit bowl is one’s best friend and, as with all our friends, we should keep them close to us.
The other principal way of purging is through shitting, or purging south as my New York friend says. There are, too, an almost endless variety of further ways of purging – yawning, sweating, trembling, burping etc – but the two most common tried and tested ways involve both ends of the alimentary canal.
I generally have difficulty vomiting. Its usually a wretched and retching affair, as I try to force my stomach to evacuate its contents to deal with the nausea that the medicine often brings on. I envy those people who vomit effortlessly, elegantly with no great fuss and almost silently.
In recent ceremonies, as I feel my guts gurgle and contract, I have usually had to dash to the bathroom somewhere in between the three opening icaros that the ceremony leader sings to protect the space before the more individualized healing work begins.
It is often at this time in the bathroom whilst sitting on the toilet shitting and sometimes simultaneously vomiting as the first and usually chaotic onset of the mareacion (literally translated as seasickness) comes on, that I ask myself: “Why am I doing this?”
In the last ceremony but one, I had made my dash to the bathroom – since shitting myself and then falling from a platform, I now don’t have the 100% confidence I used to have that I will always get there clean and unscathed – and felt the release of my bowels opening. At the same time, I spontaneously retched in a kind of bellow that did not succeed in evacuating the contents of my stomach but enlarged my throat and mouth. As my sphincter and mouth opened together, I could vividly sense the whole tube of my alimentary canal running through my body. At that moment it seemed that this is all that I was – pure shitting and retching animality. As I felt this primal, physical side of my nature, a voice said to me: “That is OK – this is your experience of the base chakra in this moment and as the ceremony goes on you will work your up through the other chakras.”
As the ceremony continued, I lost sight of this guiding orientation until much later when after singing, I realized my energy had ascended as far as my throat chakra. Despite my attempts to move my energy into the two higher chakras of my third eye and the crown of my head, I stayed resolutely at this level.
Still later in the ceremony, I was going back over what I had felt in the bathroom. I saw that the image that best corresponded to this experience was a triptych painting called “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion” I had seen by Francis Bacon in the Tate Britain museum in London in September. This is Bacon’s genius as an artist – to capture that sense of gross and at times grotesque carnality that is part of the human experience – that, at a base level, we are meat.
This blog takes its name from the fact that I, along with many other people, have had experiences in ayahuasca ceremonies where we undoubtedly have conversations with other beings or entities. Once I had a conversation with my vomit bowl. The fossils that were the residue of the original life force in the bowl – and that had been dug up and turned first into petroleum and then plastic – told me that they hated their incarnation as a brightly colored vomit bowl.
Conversations with La Madre Ayahuasca are relatively common. This is part of appreciating her as an exquisitely intelligent being with a finely tuned sense of humor.
During this dieta, I started going to the gym – usually on days when I did not have ceremony, but one time I went the morning of the ceremony. The ceremony leader had previously said to me that in some ways going to the gym was going in the the opposite direction that the dieta was going. During the ceremony I found myself asking La Madre what she thought about going to the gym. What follows is a record of our conversation as I remember it.
“Its OK to go to the gym. Make your body a Temple for me” she said. “What time should I start the exercises?” I asked. “Don’t ask stupid, banal questions” she replied. “If you continue like that, I’m going to allow you just a few questions so you better start using them wisely.” “Madre. Why don’t you appear to me as a woman anymore?” I asked. “Because you are no longer a child,” she said. “No more suckling.” As she walked away, I thought I heard her muttering: “Just wait until Don Ayahuma gets hold of you.”
During a dieta it is not unusual to have conversations with the spirit of the plant or tree that is being dieted. There are many other entities that it is possible to speak with. Robyn, a friend of mine doing the same dieta, told me she had spent most of one of her ceremonies in conversation with a venerable Eastern sage – Lao Tzu.
Before drinking ayahuasca, I has assumed that these conversations were a kind of interior mental fantasy but the ayahuasca experience shows, as Jung clearly pointed out, that these beings have their autonomous existence.
Clearly they are also co-created by us but they cannot simply be reduced to projections of our minds.
After meeting Lao Tzu, Robyn spent most of the following day writing down and filling her small notebook with what he had said. She thought it was important to do this. Here are his words about the mind which I thought very beautiful and to the point.
Straighter than an arrow Sharper than a knife More hollow than a drum Steadier than a mountain More vast than the sky Clearer than a crystal spring Make your mind all of these things And you will see heaven on earth. He then further instructed her on each part of this. So for example: What is a vast mind? It is a picture without the frame. It is an opened window. First polish the glass, Then take down the whole wall. Then the view is never obstructed. You can see the horizon in its entirety Even at night.
In my last blog, I mentioned that doing a dieta with Noiyarao and fully receiving the spirit of this heavenly tree is, within the tradition I am working in, the principal path to becoming a healer.
As I am not sure that this is the path I am following – at least in the conventional sense of being a ceremony leader and healing individuals with the medicine and icaros – the question arises as to why am I doing this long two month dieta?
The answer is now crystal clear to me. It is to receive clarity. And I’m not referring solely to a razor-sharp mental clarity here, though that is part of it.
It is much more holistic – a way of being that integrates the intellect, intuition and the emotions with the appropriate action that needs to be taken in situations. For example, the organization I am working in is currently going through a difficult and challenging transition phase – the dieta with Noiyarao offers a golden thread to follow in sticky, highly uncertain and complex situations.
As the Maestro leading this dieta points out – “with knowledge comes responsibility” – and the gift of the knowledge offered by Noiyarao requires us to act in the best possible way we can find for the good of all beings (human and non-human) in every situation.