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  • Writer's pictureMay MahaMetta

An Ayahuasca ceremony with an indigenous shaman in Peru

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

The truth is that I did not want to leave Peru without having an experience with an original ceremony led by an indigenous.

The day I went to see the dancing of the indigenous community of the Yahua, after buying bracelets to almost all the women because they pseudo-attacked me to buy them, I went out to see the Momon river, which is where tourists arrive to attend the dances in the maloca. While I was there, I got approached by the young man who seems to be the one who directs everything when the boss is not there and after a while the older man who shoots with the blowgun approached also.

After talking for a while about their customs and giving me the shock that this older man is the one who goes out with the blowgun, even nowadays, to hunt monkeys and sloths to eat them within the community, I don't know how the theme of Ayahuasca came about and I asked them if they did those ceremonies. They said yes and gave me the name and telephone number of Anselmo, the Kuraka, the shaman.

When I was leaving the community there were two men in the last house and I asked them if by chance one of them was the kuraka. One of them said yes and I asked him how much he would charge for an ayahuasca ceremony. He told me that 300 soles and the other man said "at least." It didn't convince me much because I noticed them greedy, something good shamans shouldn't be. Also, he told me that the phone number they had given me was wrong, and he gave me another number.

That night I called him to confirm that I will do the ceremony and asked him if he was Anselmo and he told me that he was Ricardo, and when I told him who I was, he remembered me. That is, he was not the shaman Anselmo, but an impostor. I called him later to cancel it and gave him the reason that it was too expensive, then lowering it to 200 soles. Still I didn't want to do it because I knew he wanted to fool me and he is not the shaman he claims to be.

So the next day in the morning I took the ayahuasca with the Dutch woman (the owner of the hostal where I stayed), which took me until 7 in the afternoon with the trance, when I decided that I wanted to write everything I saw before I forgot (here is the post about that experience).

The next day I decided to go to the Yahuas and look for the Kuraka to tell him what had happened so that they could see they were betraying each other. I found him in the maloca, since that day he had to act for a group of tourists who were visiting. I told him what happened and he told me that this was his son. Later I learned that he is not his son, but his daughter's husband, a boras. Even so we did not get to understand why he did and said what he said, since he does not live in the house of the shaman and yet he told me that he lived there, in the house of Anselmo, meaning that sooner or later I would realize he is not the shaman.

Anselmo told me that I could do the ceremony with him and that he charges 150 soles. I saw my opportunity to have a real experience with someone indigenous, so I accepted it and we agreed to go to his house around 7:30 at night.

I told the Dutch woman that I was going to take a walk and then I would see what I will do, but not wait for me but she said to come back before 11 at night because then she will lock the door, and that made me feel like a teenager who has to get home at a certain time.

When I met Anselmo and his wife, they told me that I had to sleep there that night, so I called the Dutch woman and told her that I was going to sleep with some acquaintances, which she took well and could go to bed without worries. She probably suspected that I had gone to do a ceremony with someone else because the next day she didn't ask me where I was or what I did, nor did we mention anything.

When I arrived at Anselmo's house I stayed for a while in the entrance room talking with his wife and a neighbour who came with a baby. I wanted to know where the bathroom was so that when the time came that I would need it, it would not cost me so much to place myself, since under the effects of ayahuasca there is much disorientation, apart from imbalance.

The first thing to handle was a plank put in equilibrium with small wooden blocks nailed horizontally as steps to leave the shack to go what they call "the bathroom". After walking about 100 meters there were some wooden boards attached to some trunks on the sides that you had to walk till the end and when you got there, turn around and bend over to “do your business”, grabbing yourself as you can to a tree branch next, not to fall into the hole full of "the business of others." There was no toilet paper and I am not sure that they use it because I did not see any paper in the hut nor did they offer it to me nor was there any toilet paper previously used in the hole. That already gave me the idea that it would be extremely difficult when the time came.

We returned to the cabin and continued talking for a while about what she remembers from the beginning of that place, when her parents left Colombia because the rubber business and then stayed there, as happened to the Boras and the Kukama, only the latter told me that they came from Paraguay.

At 8:30 I went to the area where the ceremonies are held because Anselmo was lying on a hammock and I asked when we would start. He told me that at that moment if I wanted, so we started then.

After blessing the ayahuasca and making prayers, he gave me a glass of the most horrible and most disgusting ayahuasca I have tasted this week. I almost threw up only with the taste even though I did not breathe so as not to smell it and therefore, not to taste it so much.

I sat in the awkward half-sloped wooden chair they gave me and continued with the nausea. It was already clear that sooner or later I would vomit and I would not need to ask Mother Ayahuasca to help me vomit to see if then "something happens", as happened in the previous times.

Anselmo sat in front of me and his wife lay in the hammock. Her husband asked her to stay there, it goes without saying that by chivalry and my peace of mind, that he would not do anything to me, since his wife was there next to us.

Anselmo spent the four hours singing icaros, with small breaks of a few minutes between one and the other, or that was my impression, and I loved it when he hit me on the head with the Shacapa (bundle of tied leaves that the shaman shakes rhythmically to move the energy and mark the rhythms of the ceremony). About 15 minutes after taking it, I STARTED with the vomiting. And I said I started because I was vomiting all night with small breaks in which I asked Ayahuasca to show me something important for my life, but when it was in the process of showing it to me, another wave of arcades and vomiting came and the vision was leaving .

I noticed that since I had no more liquid to throw up, there was the possibility that with the abdominal contractions, the liquid would come out on the other side. I asked to go to the bathroom and his wife, fortunately, accompanied me. It was extremely difficult to walk, not only because I couldn't keep my balance on those boards and terrain, but because I saw everything surrounded by a huge circle of light that moved and distorted all what was in front of me. I also had a sound in my head that grew louder when I moved it, as if that circle made a "galactic" noise. The woman accompanied me but did not make me climb the wooden platform whose end was the hole where I would have to stop, turn and grab the tree branch that I would probably not even see according to my condition. She made me stop a couple of meters before the stage and "empty myself" next to the bushes.

We returned to the shack and in the way I grabbed the woman as if she were the love of my life because I staggered at every step and the floor full of branches and stones did not help my stability. From then on, when I arched, they were dry, nothing came out. According to the shamans, what comes out is the negative energy.

All ayahuasca ceremonies have a duration of 4 hours and from there you can continue with your own "trip" but already alone because the shaman leaves. So, Anselmo told me that I could go to my "bed", a blanket on the floor that we had placed before at the entrance hall. His wife helped me to go but when I stood up I felt another wave coming and as my stomach contracted repeatedly throughout the night, that was the moment I did not want to come, to also empty myself on the other side and I could not help it however much I tried to contract the sphincters and related muscles. Needless to say, I stained the floor of the hut to my great shame. Of course, given this condition, I had to stay in the ceremonial room lying on the floor next to the bucket. The woman went to her bed but I noticed that Anselmo stayed in another hammock to control that everything would "go well" with me.

Cama para mi en la cabaña del chamán
Cuando me fui a acostar, solamente estaba la manta en el suelo con el mosquitero

At about 4 in the morning I decided to go to the blanket of the other room so I could take off my pants and the underwear since I was all wet and disgusting.

At 7am the wife came to wake me up and I asked her to lend me a towel because I was without the bottom part. She had no towels and I don't know what they do to dry when they bathe.

Anselmo then appeared with a new towel that I used to cover my lower area and I went to the river to wash my pants and panties with a soap that the woman gave me. I still had no balance but I managed to get to the area of ​​the river that they use to wash clothes and I was surprised to be able to go through the wooden planks over the river without losing my balance.

When I returned to the hut there was a town meeting in the next shack to agree what are they going to do for the 49th anniversary of the founding of that community, which will be the next November 2019. I asked a woman in the cabin to call Anselmo to pay him and say goodbye to him. The night before, before we started, I asked him how much he would sell me his ayahuasca in a bottle of refreshing drink (which is what they all use to refill) of about 250 ml and he said it would cost me 30 pesos. However, after this experience, I thought I can live perfectly without it.

You can see the video about this experience here.

I put on my shorts that were still wet but I didn't care because I was going straight to my cabin-hostel, half an hour walking, with the “autopilot” on because I still didn't see correctly.

In conclusion to this original experience, after all, it was what I wanted to go through, a pure experience. The ceremony itself was magnificent and nothing to do with what the Dutch does, as she does nothing, or what the gringos do, a childish style thing. The icaros he sang were beautiful and I realized that my waves of vomiting came every time he sang, not when he was silent. With the icaros they ask Ayahuasca to help us in our visions and trips, but in my case, it seems that since I did not have a true purge in my other 4 experiences, now is when I had to purify myself from every hole possible, first of all.

If I had stayed there I would have repeated it another day with him, because I had the feeling that my spirit needed to go through that physical purge before introducing me to something else. It was not pleasant at all, and very embarrassing how I stained the floor, but probably they are used to that happening.

When I got to where I was staying, the Dutch woman was glad to see me but she didn't ask me anything other than at what time I was leaving, even though she asked me every day, but she seemed not to remember. I changed my clothes, took a shower and planned to pack my luggage when I really felt the need to sleep for a while because I was still with the effects. Half an hour after I went to bed I heard the Dutch woman approaching the room and saw how I was sleeping. Then she came out and called me from the other door, which overlooked the garden, to ask me again what time I was leaving. And it's not like I was running out of time, because it was 9 and I told her that I was leaving at 12, but I think she didn't want me to sleep because she suspected that I had been taking ayahuasca with a competitor.

I left at 11 because I was bothered by the presence of the Dutch, although she is a good person and helps everyone she can, but I am aware that she charged me 3 times the price of the ayahuasca of what she charged to the Chinese woman who was still there staying at her house for free for a week because she had no money, according to her.

I bought her ayahuasca and told her that I only wanted one dose because I would try it again during my trip in Peru, but in the end she gave me 3 doses, about 150ml, and charged me 50 soles. She also asked me to do her the favour of bringing a bottle of ayahuasca for a friend of hers who was currently in Lima and had asked her to send it to him, and luckily for both of them, I went to Lima and stayed one day there at a friend´s house.

When the man, that friend of hers, came to the house the next day with his eldest daughter to pick it up, I learned that he is the shaman who had taught the Dutch woman all about ayahuasca, how to cook it, how to sing icaros ... I told him that she did not sing anything or hit the shacapa and he said that the icaros are important, but even more so are the blows with the shacapa because depending on the speed with which it is struck, the effects of ayahuasca are more potent or lighter, and that I can confirm it because Anselmo hit me several times with it and I noticed that something was happening in me and I loved being hit on the head with the shacapa because on the one hand I calmed down and on the other hand I noticed that I was going up to another level. The problem was that later I vomited.

This shaman told me that he had told the Dutchwoman several times that she had to make icaros and cleansings, but she refuses. He was the one who did the ceremonies at the beginning when she arrived at Padre Cocha, until she learned how to do ayahuasca and then they stopped working together because her clients asked him to go to his place to do the ceremonies with him, instead of making them with the Dutch, and she considered it that he was stealing her clients. Well, if I had been a client at the time, without a doubt I would have also gone with this man to do the ceremonies and if I had met him when I was there now, I would also have gone to him instead of the Dutchwoman. In addition, he also taught her different types of healing with plants, but I don't know if she does something about it.

El chamán de Padre Cocha que hace visitas en Lima
El chamán de Padre Cocha que hace visitas en Lima

He was in Lima for a month and a half to give treatments and would return to Padre Cocha. If he does well in Lima, he will return in the future to continue doing it but always living in Padre Cocha since for him, being in contact with nature is very important and he would not change it for anything in the world.

I do not know where I will live in the future, but I am also clear that the place where I am located has to be in nature ... and if possible, lot of nature.

My experience with the five ayahuasca ceremonies has been different, and except for the one I did with the Dutch woman, in which I did have clear visions, and the last experience with Anselmo, which although it was a nightmare so much "dropping liquids", in itself the combination of the shaman, the jungle, the hut, the icaros and the shacapa was something worth repeating, hoping that the next time the purge would not be so strong and really have visions.

I have to say also, that after my experience with San Pedro later in Pisac, I prefer this one, at least because it comes without purge, the effects last much longer and it really leaves you with a great feeling of love afterwards.

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