Ayahuasca: A Spiritual Journey Through The Subconscious
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Ayahuasca: A Spiritual Journey Through The Subconscious

A conversation on the spirit molecule.

Ayahuasca: A Spiritual Journey Through The Subconscious

I've known Matt for less than a year, but the stories he's shared with me will truly last a lifetime. He's an adjunct professor who teaches various martial arts as well as yoga at Wright State. We met working alongside each other at Wright State's Nutter Center.

His mind is a filing cabinet packed with endless knowledge on seemingly everything. He can and will go on for hours on a subject if you'll allow him to. Matt has had numerous experiences with ayahuasca, a drug used as a religious sacrament within the presence of a shaman. I talked to him for about half an hour on the subject.

Here is that conversation:

Brandon: I know I’ve talked about it before, but I want to get this into writing.

Matt: Okay.

B: What exactly is ayahuasca?

M: Well, it’s in the Amazon rainforest. It’s a vine. They call it the “Vine of the Soul” down there. It’s pretty thick. I think it takes about twelve years for it to mature for them to use it. You take a mallet and break it up and it becomes this stringy material. They throw it in this big pot and it has an inhibitor in it, and what it needs to inhibit is an MAOI which is found in the chacruna leaf. That has the DMT in it. You and I…DMT is ubiquitous. It’s all through nature. If you and I ate it, there’s an inhibitor in our stomachs that would negate it going into the bloodstream. But with the chacruna vine and the ayahuasca combined together, it inhibits the inhibitor. So, it allows it get into the bloodstream, through the blood-brain barrier, then you have these experiences. If you take DMT orally…no, wait. If you smoke it, it goes directly to your brain, but the experience lasts for maybe ten minutes. So, when you take it into your stomach, the experience lasts much longer. Much more information.

B: Ever since I first heard about it, the amount of research and peoples’ experiences out there, it’s just amazing. It intrigues me, for sure. But you’re the first person that I’ve met who has experienced it for yourself. What got you interested in it?

M: Well, years ago, I tried mushrooms for the first time in my life. It’s kind of funny, you know, I grew up in that culture, back in the sixties, but I didn’t do anything like that. I didn’t do mushrooms, I didn’t do acid, I didn’t do any of it. A friend of mine suggested that we try some mushrooms and I asked, well, what’s it like? They said, well, your perspective changes and the world looks a little different. Well, I was out for like eight hours off of two mushrooms. I just thought, well, that’s the worst experience I’ve ever had. A week later, this voice just said, try it again. So, I did about four or five times after that and I found it very intriguing. The world did shift, there’s lots of information out there. Multi-dimensions. The stoppage of time. How beautiful the world is and how alive it all is. That was one of the main things, how alive everything is. So, I started doing some research and I came across Terrance McKenna. And, of course, that was a real short trip from mushrooms to ayahuasca. He actually went to South America looking for ayahuasca and ran into mushrooms. He was a big mushroom guy. He went to South America in the seventies looking for yagé, which is another word for ayahuasca. In his book, he went on a tangent about mushrooms, but I wanted to know more about ayahuasca. I did some research on that and became very intrigued. There’s a guy named Graham Hancock out of England, and he gave a talk that’s on YouTube called “The War on Consciousness.” If anyone has any interest in this at all, they need to watch that one. He talked about what ayahuasca had done for him. He was a twenty-five-year cannabis user and he became very, uh…he had some problems. Yelling and going off on people. Basically, just becoming a dick. When he went to South America, Mother Ayahuasca just said, you need to look at yourself. It took him a while. A number of sessions with Mother Ayahuasca, but she was relentless. And he finally realized after he could see his own behavior from an objective point of view, which is what ayahuasca can do for you. So, I just kept doing more and more research. People who weren’t doing this recreationally and it helped them with all kinds of things. Psychologically. Physically. Spiritually. You know, across the board. It took me about six months before I chose the place I was going to go to.

B: Who or what is Mother Ayahuasca?

M: This is a tough one. They say the world is animated by spirits. Everything has a spirit. And some people, and I have not had this experience yet, but they’ll say, there’s actually millions of them. They’ll have an experience where they encounter all these different spirits and Mother Ayahuasca is the number one. There’s different representations of her. But of course, it’s a female energy. They call these people ‘animists.’ Everything is animated, has a life to it. When you’re in ceremony, things can get out of hand. It’s a powerful drug. Sometimes people need to settle down. They came over to me one time and said, Matt, would you like some water poured on you? They brought it over and it was Aquafina. A regular bottle of water. I’m expecting wet water on my head, so, when they poured it on me, I felt and heard the aliveness of the water. Bubbles, tens out thousands of them, singing a song. I immediately, spontaneously coming out of my mouth, shouted, IT’S ALIVE! It was an absolutely amazing experience. So, there’s the aliveness of things. But western culture, you know, we’re cut off from that. We think everything is dead. Even plants. One of the main things, when the shamans are asked why so many westerners are coming down, they say that westerners are cut off from spirit. And at one time, humans, animals, and plants all conversed with each other. The shamans still do. When they’re studying to be a shaman, they eat the plants and sit there, sometimes for days, ingesting these things. And the plants start teaching them things. This is not a metaphor for them. This is what’s actually going on. It’s a whole different relationship. Of course, if there’s that semiotic relationship, you cannot kill that or it’ll kill you. That’s the environmental part of it. That’s why it’s so important. And I’ve heard estimates, anywhere from twenty to forty percent of our oxygen is coming from the Amazon rainforest and we’re cutting it down. You know why? To raise cattle so we’ll have hamburgers from McDonald’s, and also soy beans to feed the cattle. Thousands of acres are being cleared daily. It’s a big money thing down there. There was a woman from Dayton, Ohio named Dorothy Stang. She was helping the tribes down there to work against it, and they killed her. She was assassinated.

B: Wow.

M: And that got a lot of press up here because she was American, but these people have no bounds. It’s like they’ve got a gun to our head and they’re pulling the trigger. It’s crazy. So, people ask me, why are you doing this? Of course, they grew up in the sixties and they think, Oh, Matt’s just got this recreational drug and he’s just tripping. But they remember it because they were kids then, and it was a wild time. There was no set, no setting. They weren’t doing it with anyone who knew anything about how to use this properly. When I went, it was a proper use. The set and setting were very structured.

B: How long are these ceremonies?

M: They can last about four hours.

B: And you go to Peru, right?

M: It’s in Peru, mhmm.

B: Are you there all week?

M: Mhmm.

B: And you do that every day?

M: No. The place I went to, we were there for a week and did it five times. Now, there are probably fifty places down there, if not more running the whole gamut of really good places and some really rip-off places. People think they’re going to make some money, they dress up as a shaman and they don’t know anything. They know how to act like a shaman, but some places are just rip-offs. There’s some sexual exploitation. So, what you’re looking for is people with integrity, lineage, people who really know what they’re doing. Any place that can make a buck, you know there will be rip-offs. I did my research and narrowed it down to about five. Then I saw an interview with a woman named Amber Lyon and shaman Hamilton Souther of Blue Morpho that I found informing and thought, that’s where I’m going. The next place I’m going is Spirit Quest, which is in the same area, but also on my list from before. This time, I’m going to go for about twenty days.

B: Jesus. Is it dangerous?

M: Could be. You know, for people who have mental illnesses or certain drug interactions with ayahuasca, you do a very rigorous process of vetting, and they might say no. You’re not accepted.

B: Does it just open too many doors?

M: It can open a lot of doors.

B: You told me one time were scared that you may never come back after opening a door.

M: Not quite. So, it was Friday night, the last night, I was in some place that I couldn’t make heads or tails out of. No right angles, no colors, no furniture, nothing. And I was very frightened. I would even use the word terrified. People don’t realize how comforting it is to be in a room with right angles and colors. If you were sitting there with no furniture or computer in front of you, you’d think, oh my god, and that’s exactly how I felt. But there were people who came over to me, you know, they said, it’s just Mother Ayahuasca trying to heal you, but if you keep coming back you’ll become more familiar with it.

B: So, it’s in a little…

M: A little cup. At Blue Morpho, you actually help make it. All day process. So, every night, you go up to a shaman and you ask…you know, for me, it only takes a little. I bet you it’s not even an eighth of a pill bottle. Some people take more, but not me. Within ten minutes I start to feel the effects. It’s different for everyone. First time I was down there, guy was there one night, got everything he wanted, and he was on the boat the next day and headed out.

B: So, you go there expecting to accomplish something.

M: Well, here’s a motivation: upon my readings, I came across the word ‘ontological,’ which means the nature or essence of being. That’s a pretty open definition. What does it mean to be a human being? Nobody knows. The depth and breadth of that is infinite. And a lot of us, we have three-dimensional time-space reality we call ‘here’ and we try to function within those cultural norms. Some people get that fairly well, they can take care of themselves and have a modicum of pleasure and that’s good enough for them. It’s not good enough for me. I know there’s more. Like a what’s behind the curtain kind of thing. Is that all there is feeling. This opens up those avenues for the true human experience of what it means to be human. On a healing level, we all have our traumas. I have mine. I’m not going to say ‘had’ because I still have them. This opens up the doors and allows you to look at things. It doesn’t heal you by itself, but it lets you see things as they are. For most of us, the traumas are on a subconscious level. You don’t even know what the damage is, or remember it. This brings it to your conscious awareness. It’s unbelievable. I’ve had two experiences of being conscious of things I wasn’t even aware I was doing. That’s what a therapist does. You know, he/she will act like a sounding board and say, this is you. Mother Ayahuasca is better than any therapist I’ve ever had. And it works on such a subtle level. She has an interesting way of working, not in any way that I thought she would. She’s way ahead of me. Of most people. I don’t know how it works, but there it was. There was the information. Completely unconscious. This last time, I became acutely aware of how hyper-alert I am. Life was always scary, spawning from my early childhood. The world was not safe. Through my years, there was always a sense of discomfort, but I could never see why it was that way. Now I know. There’s a lot going on under the surface. Have you ever been hyper-alert? Scared, looking around? That was my unconscious. I graduated from college, people think I’m sane and I think that’s true. But there was always an undercurrent and it just wasn’t serving me. I felt unsafe in the world. I’d always be evaluating, constantly.

B: I’m that way, too. I have pretty bad anxiety, so I always feel like someone’s judging me for something.

M: I can tell by the way you walk a little bit.

B: Really?

M: And those are things I notice, so I had to train myself to walk a certain way. Fake it till you make it kind of thing. Look people in the eye. Speak with a strong voice, but not overpowering. So, I have all these skills, but still, inside, it was there. The root causes had never been confronted. And that’s what ayahuasca does.

B: Would you say you were a changed person?

M: I lost a lot of weight, for one thing. My shoulders straightened, I was always on a tilt. That’s on the physical level. Psychologically, it takes work. It’s not an instant effect. Not for me, maybe for some people. There are addiction centers down there where you go for six months, they claim a fifty percent cure, with no negative side effects. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin addiction, all cured by ayahuasca and some counseling. It’s insane. PTSD, depression. Kira Salak from National Geographic broke the dam when she took her crew down to the Amazon. She had suffered from a lifetime of depression, tried ayahuasca and it was gone. Poof. Just like that. So, she wrote her article in National Geographic and the amount of people traveling to the Amazon just exploded. These are natural ingredients people are putting inside of them and they are getting well, yet they are schedule 1 drugs. Despite the obvious medical advantages, there simply needs to be more research done here in the United States. Set and setting, how much of this should be used for each person, that needs to be investigated. It’s all an emotional response from the sixties counterculture. Take cannabis. You have to be careful, but there are a lot of benefits from it. Same thing is true of ayahuasca. Of mushrooms. They really do help people. They come from traditions that are thousands of years old. In the Amazon, they call it la medicina, the medicine. Ayahuasca. One of the shamans said in an interview, healing is one percent of what ayahuasca can do. It can do lots of things.

B: So, basically, lack of research is why Western society doesn’t embrace it.

M: What these things do, they break down borders. They break down barriers and people begin to realize how interconnected everything is. The status quo does not like that, which is another reason why it gets stomped on. People start to question things. Especially authority. Authority says, we can’t have this. The disruption in the sixties was incredible. There was nothing like it before, nothing like it since. The difference between the fifties and sixties was literally night and day. Authority didn’t like it. They said, we have to make this stuff illegal. It was counter to what they wanted to do. Yet, the most insidious drugs were okay, and somehow still are: tobacco and alcohol. They kill incredible numbers of people, but they fit with the paradigm of the culture. You can still drink and smoke and go to work. They don’t make people question. Mushrooms do. Ayahuasca does. It’s a whole different perspective. And those who wanted the same perspective said, we can’t have this anymore. It’s gotta be illegal.

B: Where do you think we’ll be in ten years with ayahuasca?

M: There’s something called the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, MAPS, which is very strong. The people running it are extreme academics. They constantly push the envelope for more research, less control, advocate to get it off schedule 1. Ten years from now, we’ll firmly embrace cannabis. Ayahuasca, mushrooms…that’s a different story. There are studies out there, but the rigorous tasks they had to go through to get them approved are just crazy. Of course, the more stories, the more improvements in people, it will carry weight. But in ten years, hopefully, we’ve made progress, but I’m thinking twenty-five before the dam breaks. Then they’ll say, okay, let’s do it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

No Boyfriend, No Problem

Why it is okay to not be in a relationship when you are 19

No Boyfriend, No Problem
Blakeley Addis

I think that as a 19 year old girl that is in college, we often get caught up in the idea of being in a relationship.

Keep Reading...Show less

Summer Slump

Summer isn't alway just fun in the sun.

Summer Slump

Summer is a time for fun in the sun, hanging out with friends, and living it up, but for some people, that's not the case. Summer is a nightmare for idle minds. Let me explain what I mean by that. For people with mental illness having the extra time to think and relax can be devastating for their mental health. Now, this isn't a problem for everyone but for some people who suffer from mental illness, this is a reality.

Keep Reading...Show less

Which "Star Wars" Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign

"The Rise of Skywalker" really got me thinking...

Which "Star Wars" Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Here we go...

Keep Reading...Show less

NYC Classrooms struggle with marijuana and high students

The Cannabis landscape has changed, and so have what schools experience

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that about 35.7% of 12th graders in the U.S. had used marijuana in the past year, and 11.8% reported daily use. As for coming to school under the influence, specific statistics can be hard to come by, but there is concern that the increasing social acceptance of marijuana may lead to higher rates of use among teenagers.
Keep Reading...Show less

The Best Capital Cities in the World To Visit

It's easy to overlook some of these, even just one - don't.

The Best Capital Cities in the World To Visit

Why think locally? Think big and consider traveling to the best capitals in the world.

What makes a capital "the best" – culture, sights, history & things to do, to say the least.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments