After the first magical ceremony we were on spiritual overdrive. The Ayahuasca goddess had let us into her beautiful, natural world and nothing could stop us.
We started the next day with a cleanse, jumping into a freshwater stream at the bottom of the hill, one by one dipping our heads three times underwater to clear the cobwebs from the night before. It was cold.
Two of the group went for a walk and foraged a selection of delicious fruits and berries. The line between foraging and scrumping is a little blurry when you’re still full of DMT and pass a pomegranate tree in someone’s front garden.
Feeling my newfound bond with the animals I let a house fly land repeatedly on my arms and legs; rather than swatting it away I let it go about its business: “I’m a friend of the flies, you can land wherever you want pal.” A red shield bug got agitated as I coaxed him onto my hand: “Fear not little bug, I come in peace.” I was clearly still under the influence as I fell over on my way to the toilet.
As recommended we took a full day off the black stuff after our first ceremony to recover. I wouldn’t say any of us were quite compos mentis but a proper sleep and a rest did us all good.
Next on the agenda was a short ritual around Hannah’s cauldron – each of us wrote on a piece of paper something we wanted to get rid of, lit the paper on fire and cast it into the pot to burn away.
My patience was soon tested as we looked for a bicycle pump. I delved among dust and cobwebs in the exposed basement, dislodging a couple of dead snails as I searched. After 20 minutes and three laps of the musty drawers I was about to abort mission when I checked a new drawer inside the house and a brand new pump appeared – thanks Auntie Ayahuasca.
In preparation for our second ceremony we took a plant bath. This involved Ru and Hannah picking a selection of healing and medicinal plants from around the garden – lavender, rosemary, hibiscus and other flowers – before leaving them to soak in water for a few hours.
This felt like the perfect opportunity for Tarzan to get his speedos on. I was instructed to rub the brown, plant-infused concoction into every crack and orifice. It was cold.
After all this bonding with nature we expected an even better second trip. In contrast to the nervous excitement of the first ceremony there was a reverential atmosphere as we went through the rituals, banishing dark spirits as the medicine flowed.
I asked Ayahuasca for a better understanding of the universe and my own place within it. Not much then. I sat in a new spot, buckled up and got ready for the ride.
Similarly to round one the first two drinks had no effect and I purged after my third cup. I sat waiting for the magic and was again greeted with a whole lot of nothing. I thought back to the cauldron and tried to relax…then the ceremony drew to a close, the lights came on and it was over.
Was I being impatient? Had I been greedy in my request? Maybe I was being punished for eating a couple of biscuits earlier that day, or maybe I simply hadn’t drunk enough.
It was clearly working on others: Hasina was occupied by spirits as she incanted a tribal chant and Justin was in pleasuretown, giggling and whooping as if he was being tickled aggressively with a feather duster.
As Andy had also felt very little we reassessed the situation and let doubt creep in. Maybe the talk of spirits and nature was just a way to make sense of all the discomfort and vomiting. Maybe we were putting lipstick on a DMT pig.
As one of the group mistakenly trusted a fart and followed through for the second time that night we laughed at how ridiculous it all felt: when you subtract the hallucinations all you are left with is nausea and a few buckets of human waste.
Ru told us there would be ups and downs and that each person would find their own meaning from the experience, even long after the retreat was over; perhaps we needed to be brought down to earth and this was all part of the journey.
I decided to keep the faith but after glimpsing something otherworldly in the first ceremony this felt like a major speedbump; either the magic was wearing off or this was another necessary stage in Ayahuasca’s masterplan…
Next stop: Ayahuasca Part III
What is The Gump Method
Follow the journey on Instagram @odjuns