Last night was not what I was expecting from a peyote ceremony. I expected to trip and hallucinate but it wasn’t like that at all. It was more of a bodily cleanse.
I so badly want my laptop instead of typing on my iPhone. I can’t do a video blog because there’s too many people that can over-hear and I’m too lazy to find an isolated place to record myself.
I have so much to say about last night, for starters, it was VERY traditional. I felt like an intruder touristing a sacred ceremony. They laid down rules of conduct that must be abided by or else, well, there is no “or else.” They will not kick you out and they will not let you leave. They WILL find you in your tent and pull you out if you leave before sunrise (as they did with one girl).
The ceremony lasted from dusk till dawn. They tell you their customs ahead of time so you know how to show your respects and honor the ceremony.
I find these traditions to have a logical purpose. Such as, sit up straight if seated in the front row of the circle. Don’t fall to sleep. Don’t leave or enter the circle when someone is singing. Be a man and show purpose in your actions.
It shows respect and from what I understand, you can’t learn from a teacher you don’t respect.
Completely contradictory to all this is that the shaman didn’t want us to take the ceremony too seriously – this was important because he mentioned it several times.
It’s both very similar and very different from the ayahuasca ceremony. Ayahuasca is still by far the most potent medicine into the gateway of enlightenment. Both medicines require a purge to cleanse and detoxify the body, both require complete surrender and trust. But peyote didn’t push me into that other realm like ayahuasca.
The shaman said that if you’re sick, eat the peyote and you’ll feel better. This was very true in my experience. I was suffering from extreme jet lag and had a persistent headache all day. I was miserable and just wanted to get the whole thing over with. I felt too tired to purge or have insights or see visions – I was too freaking tired for any of it and plus all the rules to abide by and telling me I was basically stuck there for at least the next 10 hours – it felt like Dante’s inferno to be quite honest. And the dreadful tasting peyote! UGH!
We smoked some tobacco and ate our first peyote button. It was awful. When I say awful, think about eating the stems of dandelions (I tried one as a kid). It’s horribly bitter and nearly impossible to swallow. I felt compelled to shove my uneaten portion in my pocket, which I did, but the shaman then had a new rule:
“Please don’t disrespect us by hiding the button in your pocket or under a blanket. If you do, you’re in for a bad night. I don’t understand why people do this. If you don’t finish it, give back to us what’s left.”
He said this with grace, candor, humor and authority. I felt so small and naive. I needed the medicine more than I thought. Not to mention it felt like he was speaking directly to me.
I felt for the button in my pocket and dusted it off and gobbled it down. Then we ate the powdered peyote again, then we ate peyote filled fudge which was obviously everyone’s favorite.
I sat there feeling more miserable than ever before. I left to go pee in the woods but couldn’t bring myself to go back into the circle when I was done. I felt sick to my stomach and I was fighting it tooth and nail.
Another rule (that is the only bendable rule) is that when you go to purge, you throw up in the center of the circle in front of everyone and you do it next to the fire. The fire eats up and cleanses everything that comes out and the man guarding the gate of the circle takes up his shovel and both humbly and compassionately cleans up our messes.
He thanked us after the ceremony for allowing him to serve us.
My body wouldn’t let me do this in front of everyone. So I waited out my troubles outside, leaning against a tree.
The guardian of our circle – “Are you okay?”
Me – “Yes it’s just that the fire is very intense.”
The guardian of the circle – “That’s okay just don’t stray too far and make sure you stare into the fire okay?”
Me – “Okay.”
I also had my new friend, Ava, looking out for me by asking people if they seen me.
She’s sleeping in her tent as we speak. I find it incredible that she’s here because she reads my blog. And a crazy coincidence that she knows one of the organizers here.
She’s probably one of the most giving, maternal people I have ever met. Buying dinner for us and those styrofoam noodles for the hot spring.
This whole experience is truly a gift.
But honestly, Colombia was better. It was better because people weren’t so spread apart from each other and there’s too many people here making it impossible to connect with all of them like I did in Colombia.
I love that my original roommates are here, and a rad awesome girl who is also a Melanie. Ralph, Simon, Penisa, Catalina are all here from my Colombian retreat. All great people.
I finally succumbed to purging in a bush and 2 minutes later my headache vanished as did my exhaustion.
“Shit works.” I thought.
And so I tried eating another button when they came around for seconds, and I had a big chunky spoonful of peyote fudge. I took a few bites of the button before handing it back over to the shaman.
“Sorry, I tried.”
I still got the desired effect of being nauseous. I wanted more healing done. I was in it to win it at that point. But still, I couldn’t puke in the fire like I was supposed to.
I can’t type on this thing any longer. I’m so hungry, lazy, tired.
I taken a nap after the ceremony and when I woke up, my hands were covered in dirt, vomit, and food. My hair was a ratty tangled mess. My tent became a sauna and I was sweating profusely through my dusty clothes. I had to poop really bad, I had to shower, I had to brush my teeth.
I did my business in a port-o-potty. It was only 9:30am, so the sun hadn’t had time to bake the potty’s into individual ovens. It was only mildly hot and mildly buggy.
That’s when I saw that I got my period.
Next on the list was brush teeth, put in trampon, and then shower. I felt like I was in survival mode. Doing the basic human needs that are found to be much more intense while camping out in the Arizona desert.
The shower is, out-door, cold water and Co-Ed.
I never bathed in public like that, but scrubbed what I could under my bathing suit.
Okay, I’m hungry because I missed breakfast and for some reason they’re not serving us lunch. Ava has apple’s…oh my sweet sweet Ava.
Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll try my best to record these next few months. I’m already seeing the difficulty in this.
I AM having fun, please don’t get me wrong. I’m peaceful. Although hungry, I am clean and healthy. And plus if I get crazy hungry, I always have my beer, beef jerky and cigarettes. Oh yeah and Ava’s apples!