We’re tripping out. This deeply personal account from Meagan Henry about her ayahuasca experience is both wild and profoundly inspiring.
The former NYC editor ditched city life and moved to Hawaii (get her Big Island wellness guide here!) where she launched a high-vibe brand of beautiful geometric jewelry, found a new flavor of living well in her island life and — apparently — some plant-powered spiritual enlightenment along the way.
Ayahuasca — which means “vine of the soul” — is a tropical jungle vine known for its ability to induce an altered state of consciousness. It’s been consumed for centuries as a shamanic medicine, believed to help heal mind, body and soul on seriously deep levels. Typically used in a ceremonial session under the guidance of an experienced drinker, an ayahuasca experience can be a means to communicating with nature, exploring spirituality, releasing trauma and discovering purpose.
Curious, confused or just plain mind-boggled by the concept of ayahuasca? Read on for an honest, vulnerable and fascinating interpretation of and experience that isn’t easy to explain. Then, pick up a few meaningful life-insights to benefit from (even without several hours of hallucination)…
Words fall short.
I feel an importance of remaining rather private about plant medicine journeys — especially with the gorgeous ayahuasca. It’s hard to even convey! You can’t Google Translate what goes down. What I’ve experienced must be respected (and hopefully integrated) by allowing myself a lingering essence within, not projecting it elsewhere. Speak with anyone who has sat with ayahuasca. They will tell you that the real work comes in the days, years and lifetime following. Going on this inner journey is just the most beautiful thing to reflect upon! What a delicious memory to have with yourself.
Still, there are a few inclusive downloads I feel are the essence of this medicine — umbrella sentiments that many who sit in ceremony receive. Below are the few I would love to bask in and talk about together. I’d so love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
If it’s not love, then it’s not you.
If it doesn’t feel like love, then it’s obviously not you. Holding that truth in ceremony, and throughout all your following days, is not only comforting, but seriously true! Everything that you experience in this life is just energy vibrating in infinite forms of love. Love takes on all the shapes (even spiky), colors (even dark), forms (even ferocious animals) and people (even your difficult boss). It’s just who and what you are! “Love Is.” I am so grateful for that mantra.
Humility and reverence.
A sincere reverence for existence is at the core of sitting with ayahuasca. She shows you all the things, and when filtered into utter simplicity, she asks that if you only have one prayer, that it be of gratitude — willingly humbling yourself before existence and celebrating the miracle of being human. Our brain doesn’t know everything. We don’t have all the answers — and that is such a blessing while confronted with the overwhelming clarity of all that is. If we didn’t have the brain and body filters that we do, we’d quite literally not be here — we’d be pure light! Loving our human-ness is the ultimate prayer of respect.
This life is sacred, purposeful, balanced.
Our lives are so sacred! So purposeful! As terrifyingly chaotic as the Universe can seem, there is truth in there being a very lovely, very purposeful order to it all. Everything has its reason and rhyme — our personality just may not always be able to comprehend it. The Universe is simply, constantly balancing itself out! Just as a night of heavy drinking followed by a morning of green juice seems like movement towards balance, the Universe seeks equilibrium. Your learning and exploring are needed. Thank you for showing up!
We are vessels. We are the witness.
The medicine will radically, and beyond beautifully, show us that we are mere witnesses of all that is. She takes us so out of our physicality, and into the depths of energy, that it’s only so natural to question, “who am I really?!” Working with the medicine, we lose our attachment to the temporal dimensions and start to connect with our Self (conscious awareness) in a heightened sense. The Self and awareness of the Self becomes more real than the so-called “real world.” After experiencing this shift, it’s now easier for me to see the physical body as the blessed vessel that it is. We are all the Universe gifting itself an exquisite human form.
Partaking in any plant medicine could be a terrifying, chilling experience if we chose to remain closed off. Ayahuasca attempts to annihilate the ego (and often succeeds), rendering the brain and body illusory, temporal. When we fight, there is often pain and disorienting nausea. When we surrender, freedom and bliss can flower. For me, this manifests not just mentally and emotionally, but even in the way my body sits and moves. Open and symmetrical movements — hands coming into prayer, bowing in respect — are all manifestations of the surrender that guides me through the journey.
This medicine can be the most freeing and healing experience — one that the Universe intended for humanity. No matter what age your physical body may be, I see ayahuasca as a coming of age ceremony for the soul — one where we remember the preciousness of life. Aho!
Nice article. What is Ayahuasca? It would be more relevant if I knew, or you explained at the outset. Also, typo “wellnes” top of article.
Thank you for your feedback, Marie! We’ve updated the post to include an explanation of what ayahuasca is.
I think an acknowledgement of how increased western demand for ayahuasca is damaging to the sustainability and cultural survival of the traditional practice would be great. The commercialization of spiritual cultural practices is problematic and should be at least acknowledged if you are promoting them.
Thanks Meagan for sharing some of your experience with ayahuasca. I participated in two ayahuasca ceremonies this past weekend in Ecuador with two shamans, husband and wife. I found your experiences of love and the ego consistent with my own. I also found that pain and sadness is only one shift away in thinking to become freedom and joy, and in this “other” reality pain and sadness never existed.
Before our ceremony began, the Shamans explained that beginning in about 1987 Shamans in South America received word from the Spirit that ayahuasca was to be shared with North Americans as part of an awakening, creating a bridge between the Eagle and the Condor. After 500 years of darkness beginning with the Spanish conquest of South America, we now enter a period of 500 years of light…and ayahuasca will help us in discovering this light within us.
The wisdom and energy of the grandmother is present in ayahuasca, and as you pointed out, she removes our physicality enabling us a different path to discover our essence. I intend to participate again in this very sacred experience of heart and soul.
Thanks again for creating discussion and bringing awareness around ayahuasca