Ayahuasca “Trip” Report, Part 5 (The Bad Trip)

ayahuasca retreat

While the Ayahuasca experience is ultimately non-transferable, here is my humble attempt to share a rough timeline and highlights from “ceremony #2”, which turned out to be “the bad trip”…

  • 5:00 pm Quiet reflection time in my room, but no other preparation ceremony (in retrospect a HUGE mistake)
  • Scheduled 6:30 pm start, but started late due to some kind of dispute between the curanderos and “the help”. (red flag!)
  • Big negative energy in room. (I remember having reservations about doing the ceremony. THAT alone should have been enough to address it somehow… and should have been emphasized by the curanderos… (a big mistake)
  • Took a double dose right up front… (another mistake).
  • Gong-induced sound effects, beginnings of visuals, but all killed by feelings of terrible nausea.
  • Semi-serious thoughts that “the help” would hack us all to death with a machete for revenge.
  • Not much of a trip… I was putting the brakes on the whole way… Had regrets immediately.
  • Mister X vomiting his head off… a huge distraction that got in the way of MY trip… at once feeling compassion for him and irritated at him for not excusing himself from the common area.
  • Strong urge to defecate, but by time I got to the bathroom, I lost the urge.
  • Stumbled back to the common area to see if I could reconnect with the music, but the energy did not feel right. I simply lost interest. Decided to return to my room and try to stop the trip by drinking as much water as I could stomach.
  • I realized that I was having a bad trip… a really bad trip… overwhelming feelings of general anxiety, feeling heartburn and nausea, just wanting everything to stop.
  • At no point during the experience did I lose awareness that I was “tripping”. (Note: I cannot speak for others, but I would be curious to know if anyone lost such awareness.)
  • Told myself that I would never do Ayahuasca again, knowing I had yet to purge and dreading what I knew was going to be several hours of hell.
  • Profound paranoia… thoughts that my liver was destroyed, that the curanderos were frauds and ripoff artists.
  • 8:00pm started vomiting… just the beginning of an epic vomitpalooza, including dry heaves… vomited upwards of forty or fifty times over the course of two hours. Ten times worse than the good trip.
  • Lights on. Feelings of paranoia continued.
  • Realized that darkness, provocative sounds, and physical stillness are essential triggers for maximizing the psychedelic experience. In other words, silence, bright lights, and physical motion kill the visual and auditory hallucinations.
  • I wish I could have flipped a switch and have it all stop, but to no avail.
  • I knew I was tripping, but the paranoia still felt quite real.
  • Dry heaves invited me to drink as much water as I could.
  • Every time I vomited, I forced myself to gulp three handfuls of water from sink.
  • 10:30 Vomiting stopped.
  • Realization that, in the absence of darkness and provocative sounds, there is not much of a trip. Darkness and exotic sounds are powerful triggers.
  • 11:00 Curandera checked in to make sure I was okay. That was cool.
  • Thoughts that the whole Ayahuasca thing is just a scam, that self-anointed shamans were the very first charlatans exploiting scared and vulnerable people.
  • While tripping, I seriously questioned the integrity of the curanderos and became super skeptical of the whole enterprise…  The whole thing may be one big charade designed to separate desperate, vulnerable, or new agey people from their hard-earned money.
  • Survived by talking to myself out loud: “Frank, you are just tripping. It will all be over in a few hours.” Also, every time I vomited, I told myself that was one less horrible rib-crunching heave I had to deal with.
  • Midnight. Feeling quite lucid… queazy in waves, but no more vomiting.
  • Bad trip continued. Wave after wave of chills and sweats.
  • Strong feeling of wanting to sleep… out of sheer exhaustion… and out of wanting to escape the physical misery, but unable to do so… totally wired until about 3:00 am.
  • During that interval, I was able to carry on text conversations with my safety contacts… easily without any visual or cognitive distortion.
  • 5:00 am. Awoke. NO hangover (99.9% thanks to all that water I forced myself to drink)

Continue… Ayahuasca: “Trip” Report, Part 6

Author: Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!

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