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  • May 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