In August 2019, not long before I was diagnosed with delusional disorder, I had the opportunity to participate in a traditional ayahuasca ceremony with a shaman. Ignorant of my psychotic disorder, I took the opportunity for therapeutic purposes, and I had an interesting trip.
My “spiritual counselor” aka psychic medium referred me to the group that was holding the ceremony. She said Jesus would be my “sitter”. So, why not? [I no longer go to psychic mediums.]
The shaman’s assistant interviewed me prior to the ceremony to ensure I was a good fit for the therapy, and, as I wasn’t taking any prescription medication for any psychiatric or other conditions at that time, I was permitted to proceed.
I chose to go light and only took ⅓ of the “full starter dose”. That was a good life choice. As the drug started to take effect, I chose to sit outside on the porch of the yurt where the ceremony was taking place, during a brilliant thunderstorm – and witnessed the outstanding lightning show in the hills in the distance for over an hour. It was indeed a spiritual experience. Somehow, the lightning storm had to do with me. I was being rocked side to side, ever so gently.
During the journey, eyes started appearing out of nowhere. I saw a serpent form out of the rain clouds, and a big snake eye staring right back down at me. It would have been scary, had the shaman not referred to her as “Mother Ayahuasca”. She was appearing more and more, the longer I looked into the clouds. Then she was everywhere. She already was there – everywhere, she was just now making her presence known. She, to me at the time, was a manifestation of our creator, like a messiah with a similar but distinct mission from Jesus’ – to heal through spiritual journeys.
Then, as I sat in the dark on the porch of the yurt, listening to the rain and thunder, I started to sense a predator – perhaps a velociraptor – in the bushes. I quickly brushed that thought aside – that was my paranoia coming through. I didn’t let it get the best of me. I continued sitting on the covered porch, listening to the rain, watching the lightning, while hearing the shaman singing to others in the yurt. It was truly peaceful. Right when I was just starting to feel like I may vomit, the shaman’s assistant called me in to be sung to. The queasy feeling went away and I came inside from the storm.
I sat down in front of the shaman, legs crossed. He asked me how I was doing. “I’m way more psychic now,” I replied. He smiled and asked if he could sing to me. I accepted. In a low guttural tone, he chanted directly to me. I then went somewhere else, so to speak. His chanting was the engine by which I traveled. I immediately saw sacred geometry. It shifted and moved like the movement of a kaleidoscope. It was in effect, a sacred geometrical music video.
I was able to make out what appeared to be my childhood home, the home that is and forever will be “home” in my heart. I still dream I’m there nearly every night. It is a source of emotional pain for me that I can no longer return there, as my parents sold it when they divorced when I was 18 years old. From where the garage is, characters appeared and interacted. It was like “It’s a Small World” but my life – kaleidoscope’d sacred geometry style.
Then, legs appeared and spread. The rest of the story was birthed by the sacred geometrical vagina that I was witnessing, appearing out of the chants of the shaman. An incident of sexual assault that I’d experienced at a frat house at the beginning of my sophomore year in college was played back to me. I’d completely forgotten about it because I’d been roofied, but Mother Ayahuasca reminded me. “Vine of the Soul” (Jonathan Hamill, et al) is spot-on.
I didn’t realize what I’d witnessed during the shaman’s chants for some time afterwards (and unfortunately, I processed the information along with a flurry of hallucinations/delusions). I was having a great time, actually. It seemed like a positive experience overall. I lucked out and never got sick.
The eyes stuck around for several hours after the ceremony was over. Another participant in the ceremony appeared to me to have a face full of eyeballs, like the images portrayed by Alex Grey, or one of the characters in the music video “Monophobia” by deadmau5.
I was planning to participate for the recommended two or three consecutive nights, but I ended up only doing it for one night due to my dog being sick. In hindsight, that was possibly a miracle, as I believe the ayahuasca opened up my third eye (and my psychotic thinking and perceiving) more than it already was, triggering my brain to create more and more delusions and hallucinations.
I’m sure that I already met the diagnostic criteria for delusional disorder before taking ayahuasca, thus I’m certain that the ayahuasca wasn’t the cause of my delusional disorder; however, I think it may have exacerbated my symptoms, as I began experiencing persecutory delusions and severe paranoia soon afterwards.
I filed a police report regarding the sexual assault I’d remembered, but it was effectively disregarded, probably because it was accompanied by a hefty load of delusional memories. Of the several police reports I filed while I was psychotic, this was the first one and the only one which I now believe is based in reality. My “real memories” corroborate the experience that I was reminded of in my vision. However, I chose to let it go.
It’s hard to say whether I would have gone as far down the rabbit hole as I did had it not been for the ayahuasca, but I suspect I would have, anyway. According to Rafael G Dos Santos, et al, “Both the controlled use of DMT in experimental settings and the use of ayahuasca in experimental and ritual settings are not usually associated with psychotic episodes, but little is known regarding ayahuasca or DMT use outside these controlled contexts.”
More studies are necessary, of course. But I won’t be participating in them.
Dos Santos RG, Bouso JC, Hallak JEC. Ayahuasca, dimethyltryptamine, and psychosis: a systematic review of human studies. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2017 Apr;7(4):141-157. doi: 10.1177/2045125316689030. Epub 2017 Feb 23. PMID: 28540034; PMCID: PMC5433617.
Hamill, J., Hallak, J., Dursun, S. M., & Baker, G. (2019). Ayahuasca: Psychological and Physiologic Effects, Pharmacology and Potential Uses in Addiction and Mental Illness. Current neuropharmacology, 17(2), 108–128. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X16666180125095902
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