20 minutes has passed. I’m starting to fall asleep. The sound of a flute fills the room. Someone is getting out. I hear she’s puking, not once or twice, but enough times to make me believe she is trying to rip her throat apart. She doesn’t stop. I fall asleep.
Wake up to the sounds of drums. The guy next to me is having some bad time. He is in trance. Me? My stomach feels heavy. I lay down again.
They tell me to get up. We will receive ortiga and smoke cleaning. We sit in the middle of the room and they start dancing and singing around us. We take our shirts out. The apply ortiga to my skin. My body feel awake. It itches like hell, so much I start to shiver.
Once finished, we drink the second cup of yage. Music fills the room with guitars, drums and flutes. This guy starts to sing a song. It sounds great.
They’re playing rock, in the country of salsa, while everyone is under ayahuasca. God this is amazing !
I arrived to Medellín, Colombia a few months ago. When you go out at night the first thing you notice is that it’s allowed to drink on the streets. And if you look gringo enough, or if you’re hanging out with them, you will be offered gum and cocaine all night.
I’ve never tried coke, but if it were a place where to try it, it would be Colombia. What other things can I try here ?
Sometimes we have some really sunny days, where you can see those dense, green and beautiful mountains surrounding the city. Outside the city there are a handful of villages where people retreat to live a more peaceful life. Santa Elena is one of them, 30 minutes away, it’s the center of a lot of indigenous and spiritual organizations that use plants as the center of their ritual. Timascal, Ayahuasca, Peyote, you name it.
Fundación Camino al Sol is a community where they use “yage” (Ayahuasca) as their primary medicine for their rituals. Every 2 weeks or so, they invite foreigners to participate in the ceremony.
It’s not a drug party! It’s not so you come to get high! It’s what they tell you. And it’s true. It’s a cleansing ritual. A purification ceremony where you take out all the bad stuff outside your system.
The ceremony consist mainly of 4 stages: cleaning, circle of word, yage drinking, music until the sunrise. As a whole, is a wonderful ceremony. Beautiful and intimate. It’s intimate because when you are inside the Bohío (Temple) you see a group of people who treat each others with care, with trust and, with love.
Before the ceremony starts, they ask about our clinical history. Do we have some addiction ? Deseases ? Any surgeries?. Then, they ask about what are you looking to achieve with the yage. What are your problems and how are you dealing with them.
Some of the people that attended had some really difficult times. Dysfunctional families, bad relationships, medications problems, depression. No wonder they want to clean themselves. Others, like me, just want to try something and see what happens. I believe that everyone has unresolved issues, but some people have it worse than others.
Cleaning is all about removing the bad stuff. I saw that the most troubled people are the ones the yage affect the most. I spoke with one of them and they agree. He told me that it’s necessary, he feels he’s improving so he must endure whatever the yage brings to his body.
Everything starts with you naked inside a cabin pouring hot water infused with plants over your head. Then you go to a second room, with only the upper half naked, to receive a fire cleansing where a man starts applying some sort of burning alcohol to your body.
After you are clean enough, you are allowed to enter the Bohío. It feels warm and great. There is a fire in the middle and the head of the community is in the opposite side of the entrance. Once everyone is there, around 12 people, they start sharing their thoughts around a concept. This time there were two concepts: pain and the reality of a dream. It’s crazy how intimate this felt. God, the catholic one, was brought up many times and we even prayed. It kept me thinking why we spent so much time going to these big, always cold and full of strangers buildings to only hear one person thoughts instead of gathering around a fire to talk and pray.
Once the circle of word is finished. We drink the first cup of Yage. Its texture is like these very heavy belgian beers. It doesn’t taste bad, but it’s so heavy you can feel your stomache struggle. We layed down, alone with our thoughts.
After the second cup of yage, mild fractals appear to me. I liked them so I close my eyes and I lay down. As the time pass I feel the yage is getting into me. I start allucinating more vividly. I see faces. I feel cold yet I’m close to the fire. The shivering starts. Why?. I close my eyes but I don’t want to see more faces. I’m getting scared. Keep my eyes closed and It’s not faces I see but complete scenes of my past.
Shit, not even with strong doses of LSD I could reach that kind of detail in allucinations.
Faces keep appearing. I want them to stop. I’m scared. My eyes are open yet it feels like an allucination. Faces are appearing while I see those guys playing music. My body feels wrong, every joint wants to disllocate. Feel pain like a snail surrounded by salt. Now is me who is in full trance and I can’t take it. My mind is a prison from which my body cannot escape. I need help, I’m scared but the words don’t come out. Please make it stop!
I threw up. Everything is gone.
Organisation: Fundacion camino al sol
Price: COP$ 120.000
Location: Santa Elena, 20 minutes outside of Medellín
Total time in the trip: 24 hours between departing and arriving my home