Prof. Tricia Swoope
My experience at an Ayahuasca ceremony
I received the unique opportunity, recently to attend an ayahausca ritual performed by a shaman from South America. He and his friends were performing the ritual and I was invited to go. I have heard many things about these rituals and I am always interested in new experiences as well as being interested in psychoactive plants.
I got there around 9pm and as we went in to the back of the property we saw a large fire with several men sitting around talking. I were greeted warmly and asked to take a seat around the fire. The man who introduced himself as Rufino and welcomed us and said that if we wanted to participate we could. I myself declined, for I was not mentally ready for the experience. Once the initial directions were explained and also what was about to happen were explained to everyone the shaman and his friends went into the house and when they came back all four of had carefully decorated their bodies. They had red and black dye on their faces and their legs were painted in different geometric shapes. All four were wearing some type of loincloth. Each one had a headdress that had red and blue feathers with tufts of yellow down and a long red feather sticking out of the top. The shaman had a large earthen clay bowl with him and it had very intricate tribal designs around the rim. Inside was this dark, frothy, red liquid. The other three had rattles, panpipes, and other musical instruments made from what looked like different animal bones, wood, and leather.
The shaman stood and began to chant in his native language which I really didn’t understand, but it had a soothing rhythm to it, as if he was telling the history of the “sacred vine” and his people.. When he was done he dipped a wooden cup into the bowl of ayahuasca and drank. He did the same again and passed it to each...