My second time taking ayahuasca, I wasn't apprehensive. After all, the first ceremony had gone well - none of that throwing up that you hear about and highly interesting, to boot, as the shamans worked on all of us. But the plant is different each time and demands respect. Just before the ceremony, Don Theo announced that he was feeling weak. He had some kind of virus. He might as well have said, "And so, my friends, you are at the mercy of the plant." Madre Ayahuasca was about to dish up some tough love.
The ceremony is carried out in total darkness. I sit propped against a wall, eyes closed, a bit euphoric. The visions before my closed eyes resemble the colorful weavings in the markets. Beautiful. I open my eyes. There are extra "people" in the room - 2 beings, about 7 ft. tall, wearing white hats and ponchos. I can't see their faces but I feel they are concerned for us. One of the beings approaches me. He looks like a huge praying mantis. I feel like I'm about to leave my body. I will him away and as I do so, the nausea comes. I stumble into the bano, do a reality check. I do not hallucinate in the lighted bano. I return to the dark room to the sounds of retching, vomiting and hyperventilating by my fellow participants.
I grope my way to my seat on the floor. Almost immediately, the Praying Mantis approaches. I continue to fight the nausea, fight the out-of-body feeling, fight the fear that I'm about to have diarrhea. Back to the bano. All is calm.
Back in the room, the Praying Mantis is relentless with his attentions. And I give in. "I'll let you work on me as long as I can stay in my body," I tell him. I lean back against the wall and feel my throat chakra being expanded. It feels great. The nausea begins to subside. Outside, rain is falling, frogs are croaking and I have another vision. I see my parents together, young, healthy, smiling at me.