I recently visited Costa Rica for the sole purpose of partaking in an ayahuasca ceremony for the first time and I had the most beautiful experience.
After much searching throughout Costa Rica for a one night ceremony option instead of a week retreat, I came upon a small family run ceremony in Perez Zeledon. At their wonderful home, they call Sibu Wellness Center. Here, you can oversee the beautiful jungle of the Perez Zeledon region and listen to nature all around you.
I felt at home right away. The Shaman was one of which I felt comfortable with right away. Eric is a local Costa Rican who speaks perfect english and has the spirit of someone who truly sees and understands you in the most gentle way.
My ceremony was with just one other woman from New York, so it was very special and intimate. Because it was my first time, Eric described the many ways the experience could go. Explaining that there is no bad experience, just harder lessons to learn, to surrender to the medicine and to trust it. One thing that stayed with me is how he described surrendering.
“Imagine that you are a leaf on a tree that has just fallen into the river below. You cannot go back up into the tree, it is impossible. You must surrender to the river and allow it to take you downstream and trust it’s direction.”
He described Ayahuasca as being a spirit, an intelligence that is so beautiful and invited us to welcome her into our hearts beforehand, as he believes she starts working within us before the ceremony.
We were first introduced to our home and rooms for the night and getting ourselves comfortable with the space. He gave plenty of time to meditate and prepare our mind and body for the night ahead and recommended we speak to Mother Aya beforehand on our own.
I practiced some light breathwork and meditation in front of the giant windows that overlook the jungle and she spoke to me very clearly. She said that this experience will be exactly what I needed and what I wished for. It will be gentle, it will be nourishing and beautiful and to surrender to it. She told me many things, one thing was very profound for me that came right away. “I’ve been waiting for you. What took you so long?”
I found this refreshing and comforting. I felt very welcomed by her spirit and entered the ceremony with the best intentions.
We began by a fire outside, under a big pergola overlooking the jungle where we discussed how beautiful our journey ahead would be and had our cups of ayahuasca handed to us.
Of course, I was a little shakey, little butterflies in my stomach. But the view was beautiful as was the conversations before we headed to our mats for Mother Aya to enter our bodies. We had beds made up for us under the pergola with water and a puke bucket beside us.
I sat, facing the jungle overlook and welcomed her in as our shaman and his two family members played the most perfect music for the experience.
After a while, the effects started to come and I laid down on my mat. It started subtley, but one of the first things that came to me was trying to fight vivid visions and having a hard time letting go. I rememeber this voice speaking to me, to surrender, let go, let go, let go. And as my mind tried to make sense of some of the visions is when my journey really began.
I was led by the voice of Mother Aya saying, “you cannot analyze this experience, your analyzation is poisoned,” she said as I was guided down multiple visions of life that were totally uncoorelated, but beautiful to me in that moment. “It has been passed down generation after generation, passed down lifetime upon lifetime, everything is rumor. Everything is the opinions and perceptions of other people… not truth. You cannot judge this experience off the perceptions of others, this is all that is true for you right now.”
Without describing every single bit of the experience, I will say that the key takeaways were of that nature. Every time I pushed away the medicine and began to fear it, the experience became more fearful and I began to feel more sick. And one of these times, she told me and guided me on a vision journey, saying, “you want all the answers and all the healing, but you just want it to arrive. You don’t want to truly heal and see it.” For me this was profound.
But every time that I surrendered deeper, I had the most nourishing energy overwhelm me with all the answers that I could ever search for within myself and within the world.
But the voice felt familiar, like I had been here before. And Aya told me that I indeed had. It was as if I knew all these insights already… but she drew them out from deep within me. I felt this deep connection in those moments… that I am Mother Aya and Mother Aya is me. She’s the best parts of me, when the ego, the opinions, the world, the perceptions, the distractions are all stripped away. She’s the depths of me, the wisest of me… at this time I saw visions of me as this Goddess dancing on the beach in Costa Rica, feeling my divine energy with so much confidence, without any doubt… the most beautiful embodiment of a Goddess.
I felt so special, as the woman I was with was throwing up a lot, I felt so special for Mother Aya making home in my body and my body welcoming her so gracefully. But then her voice hit me, saying everyone is this special, everyone has her within them. Every single one of us are connected to this energy but not all of us have surrendered to it. Through this time I had visions of my family, even the littlest sibling of 3 being connected to this beautiful energy and I began to feel a little bit more connected to my family of which I feel seperate at times from.
Our shaman would check on us every hour or so to make sure we were okay and feeling the effects. But for the most part he left us alone throughout the journey, as he said it was important to not influence the experience and that was an internal experience of our own. We were guided to the bathroom if we needed to go and to my surprise, when I opened my eyes… the visions and everything would diminish. It truly is an internal experience. Almost as if opening your eyes is escaping the insights.
I took two cups and towards the end as the effects began to fade, I opened my eyes to the Costa Rican jungle, feeling so at peace and so cradled by this spirit of Ayahuasca. It was pouring down rain and thunder and lightning was going on all around us… it was truly beautiful.
I did throw up right around this time and closed my eyes and let the remains of her take over my body as she faded away… but realizing she is always there… as I am.
I went to bed feeling so whole, so connected and at peace. I felt cradled by her wisdom and love. It was the most nourishing experience of my entire life.
The next morning was spent with some delicious local fruits, transmuting some of the experience with the Shaman and writing about my insights while overlooking the jungle before leaving to Uvita the next day.
I can say that I was able to experience the spirit of Mother Aya and she is so much more amazing than I ever anticipated. You hear stories of scary visions that sound terrifying, but the experience is different for everyone. She truly is a intelligence, or as I would best describe her, a consciousness that takes over you and is also a part of you at the same time. She knows what you need and what your ready for.
After speaking with Eric the next day, he also described how profound surrendering to the medicine is as I was told early in my journey… and that those scary experiences are often because people have a fear within surrendering, within not having control. So the medicine goes deeper to alow them to do so.
I was grateful for having done my own magic mushroom ceremony months beforehand because I was taught this lesson within this plant medicine as well and I was reminded quickly.
Ayahuasca is a sacred medicine meant only for these purposes of a spiritual, internal journey. One of which will call to you when you are ready, it cannot be forced in the wrong mindset. The environment and state of mind is very important. The environment and energy within Sibu Wellness Center was absolutely perfect and I am so grateful that I found this particular ceremony.
To those of you ready for your own journey with Mother Aya, I highly recommend working with Eric in Costa Rica. I will be back in the future without a doubt. 🙂