Well its a while since I have written a blog! And now I am back! Back from the Amazon jungle after spending a whole month in the beautiful hot tropical zumbacountry Brazil.
It has been some journey ! Some things we encounter and experience on our journey of healing on such a deep and profound level it is difficult to put into words and sometimes best left to the privacy of the individual. So here I would love to share with you a snippet of my experience of my healing and plant medicine and my privileged encounter with the Huni Kuin indigenous people.
A little bit about my past health
I have been on a journey of healing since falling ill a while back having suffered fromchronic fatigue syndrome - CFS – what ever that means and is also a bit of wish washy umbrella label. CFS does not really say specifically what the cause may have been or make a fair diagnosis especially in the orthodox world. Its mitochondria not hypochondria is quite a good analogy! However I suffered from many a physical ailment from loosing weight , dropping down to just under 7 stone , having jaundice, loosing my period for 2 years . I was basically never the same person as I was before falling into this space. I lost my joie de vivre. Some may call it loosing their soul and some may refer to it as a kind of Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall and broke into pieces only to put his or her pieces back together again. In Chinese Medicine they refer to it as a break in the electric or chi energetics.
I will divulge a little of my past ‘story‘ so it can make sense to anyone reading this and understand the amazing healing that took place in the jungle.
All I knew was after parting ( my choice) with a long term partner I encountered another very brief ‘relationship’ with a young handsome man. I had made the decision to part for very good reasons due his very dysfunctional relationships with everyone around him. So it was not long after breaking up I was running on a treadmill in the gym. It was during these moments I felt extremely overwhelmed with grief and sadness that all I wanted to do was to runaway from the intensity of the pain but little did I realise it was nothing to do with the brief encounter I had just experienced, but more to do with unresolved past child hood emotional traumas –the wounded child. In that moment on the treadmill I remember so clearly that everything seemed to have felt channelled into this ‘break-down‘. I felt I was running away from the world. I heard and felt a physical tangible snap within my body. And then all of a sudden woosh…. I experienced an instant fever. It was like someone had injected me with an extreme intense heat and I began to sweat profusely and abnormally. I had to stop running there and then. I went home and I felt nauseated. From that day on I was never quite the same person.
I would cry without any reason and just burst into fits of tears. I began to crave food that I never liked before. And I could not think straight. I felt anxious and couldn’t relax at any time or sleep. I became exhausted and depleted over time. I also reached depths of despair and experienced feelings of suicide and thought I wasdying. I had pains down the sides and back of my legs. And I couldn’t feel emotions of love that I could experience before. I had become numb. There were many other numerous symptoms but I won’t go into them here.
I believe my soul had left my body for the second time in my life.
These symptoms went on for many years only then did I discover organic raw food and then Lifefood and various methods of detoxing. Plus I experienced and attended many therapies based on emotional and spiritual healing from Buddhism, meditation, to body electronics and so on. These all helped my well being tremendously! I was after all off work for a total of 4 years. Sold my house gave up my work and much more.
My discovery of the Shamanic path
Later on the path of healing I discovered what I had always been looking for, theshamanic path. I discovered my long lost connection to nature. I was born in the African jungle and lived there for 12 years and I used to have my own little mantra at 8 years old “be at one with nature”.
I joined a Shamanic Drumming group and discovered journeying with the animal and spirit guides. My very first journey was an amazing experience for myself where I found myself questioning everything I had ever believed in. I had journeyed into other dimensions. As soon as I closed my eyes I flew the eagle and flew over the red rocks in Indian territory. I then continued to experience Egypt and the felt the presence and saw of powerful Egyptian Queen. I noticed the in detail her headdress and costume jewellery covered in gold and turquoise. And after this I seemed to travel into the prehistoric age where I encountered a giant turkey and much more. I never really knew about any of this so I found myself on google searching for related information. And then that was that! I was convinced I really had journeyed into other dimensions. I was excited!
I continued to experience other energetic shamanic experiences such as astral travelling and shapeshifting type encounters. Once I saw my body turning into a falcon during the day whilst walking outside with a dog in the countryside. Many a time my body has turned into various snakes including the Australian Aborigine Rainbow snake. I could elaborate here as I have encountered quite a few of these wonderful experiences. I have noticed when I have felt upset and emotional I have encountered animal shapeshifting. I feel I am blessed and protected by the spirit world.
So it was not long after experiencing the healing sound of the Shamanic drum that I discovered PLANTS! I joined quite a few shamanic plant ceremonies from Iboga to San Pedro, Peyote and Ayahuasca, where I felt a connection to the plants in such a deep profound and beautiful way. Once I remember hearing the plants sing on one occasion after a peyote ceremony and I asked for guidance from them. It was from there on I started to communicate with the plants.This is my reality and how I ground myself.
I was sitting in a circle amongst friends after sharing indigenous plant snuff – medicine from the Amazon rape – pronounced happe andI was listening to the Ayahuasca Icaro sung by female Peruvian shaman with a so soft sweet beautiful voice. I heard the words “I am your mother, come back to me”. It was at this moment I knew I had a deeper connection to this spirit plant and I knew I was going to spending more time with her . The next thing I knew not long after attending an Ayahuasca ceremony in Europe I was off to the Amazon to spend my time with the Huni Kuin Indigenous Tribe and their spiritual shaman leader.
The journey into the Amazon jungle abyss
The journey to reach there into the heart of the jungle was a long one. It involved 4 plane journeys and a 7 hour bumpy road taxi journey shared with 5 other Brazilians only to eventually reach the little sprawled town of Tarauaca located on the edge of the Amazon jungle in the Acre region of Brazil. I stayed in a beautiful little cheap and cheerful yellow painted sun blessed hotel only to meet up with the other jungle travellers and our wonderful apprentice shaman who was to guide us during the whole of the trip.
We bought and collected our necessities for the trip from our mosquito nets, hammocks and mini groovy bright blue or white wellington boots and oh… loads of insect repellent lotion and potions!
So we set off down the winding river with its muddy coloured waters so mystical and full of jungle majick. The river was full of majick and we were lucky enough to encounter the elusive Amazonian pink dolphin on our slow boat journey into the Amazon.
We had many a moment emptying the slow leaking canoe whilst indulging in Brazilian Amazonian wild fruit and eating the local food cooked on the small boat stove. We did our best to pick up a few words and phrases of the Brazilian lingo. The children on the boat were so keen on teaching us and turned it into such fun and games especially with a the gorgeous young boy with big wide eyes who I affectionately named ‘big wide-eyed boy’.
One of the most exciting experiences on the boat journey was our encounter the sacred Ayahuasca Joboya snake! Our guide had one as a short term pet as needless to say he escaped. We had the privilege to hold it in our hands for a short scary but exciting time and we were advised to stay peaceful and quiet as the snake is sensitive to noise or sudden movement, just like most animals are.
Eventually after 4 days on a slow boat, after encountering a true Amazonian heavy long rain fall we reached the 5th village of the Huni kuin Tribe deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle. Our welcome was something I will never forget as we were greeted from the village river banks by numerous painted- faced -smiling -Huni Kuin children who were only too pleased to help us with our huge plastic bags full of newly bought jungle necessities.
We were glad to set our feet on terra firma where we knew we would be staying for a while longer.
The Amazon jungle has a voice and an energy that permeates through every part of your being. It is unlike anywhere else I have ever been and I have traveled many a place. The virgin jungle abyss is full of beautiful sounds from singing crickets , various symphonic frog deep croaks and many a macaw squaksand screeches. There are so many different bird sounds too. I could almost hear them as words sounds in the native language. One bird in particular made a sound that reminded me unbelievably of a car alarm!
First night at the village of the Huni Kuin
So resting our first night in one of the unusual wooden houses built on stilts, with our ‘room’ open to the surrounding nights sounds emanating from every tree, plant and animal we shared a few hours gazing into the blanket of jungle darkness with the sky illuminated with billions of twinkling stars only to feel gratitude at having come this far.
This first night I saw a spirit of the forest. It appeared as a moving shadow almost resembling someone with a black cloak. I felt a little anxious so my jungle companion and I called to the shaman…”I have seen something just over there” . His presence and reassurance of ”all was okay” and ”not to worry” immediately calmed me down. After the shaman went off to his bed I could still see the spirit of the forest move in all shapes and sizes but never seemed to move from the same spot. So eventually the early hours of the dark morning decided to go and sink into our colourful cotton hammocks.
Learning how to find a comfortable position in a hammock was a new experience after sleeping on the floor at home. As you can imagine every day was full of new experiences. One of them included my attempt to communicate with members of this tribe. My knowledge of their language was sparse compared to the other travellers.
I noticed how humble, grounded and focused the Huni Kuin people were. The children were shy and seemed unsure of us. I was aware of their of their gaze, watching every thing about our dress and hair, especially my braided hair. As time went on I also noticed how they liked to share their their food amongst everyone. The children brought us new local fresh fruit goodies each day. I also noticed that they also never had seconds at meal times and often shared a plate.
I could not digest most of the cooked food. So I did my best to compromise and eat the simplest of the food. The first time I ate cooked table-salted white rice, the next day I noticed my ankles had swollen which is not good a sign. I even indulged in some of the wild caught alligator, deer and fish. But again this was not for my body. I had been eating mostly uncooked organic raw vegan food for 7 years. Previous to this I was a so called vegetarian. I was also aware of how concerned the Huni Kuin people were about my limited diet.
The jungle sand flies were making a feast of me! I noticed one of the girls who came out with us did not have any problems at all. And I am sure it was due to my temperament and how the food affected me that they chose to eat me!! It is a well known fact that food can change the blood with in a short time of ingesting it, making a tasty concoction of blood elixirs for them.
I lived in Africa for 12 years and never experienced this before.
The First Ayahuasca Ceremony
Not long after arriving in the village of these beautiful souls of the Huni Kuin during the first Ayahuacsa ceremony I experienced the most beautiful sounds sung by the children and women. Whilst they sang during the ceremony I could feel their sweet and pure souls via the Ayahuasca vibrations. Touching somewhere deep inside of me. The plants were singing with them. The Shaman spiritual leader could whistle a tune with such ease and the notes he seemed to create again were so de-light-full.
I found myself going through a deep cleansing healing with the Ayahuasca, rape and various other Amazonian jungle medicines. I could feel my body going through many changes within. During the first ceremony I was so aware of the support from the Huni Kuin people. My body seemed to shake continuously and uncontrollably almost like having rigours. My jaws were chattering and my head was shaking. I was shifting some very deep energy. I could feel the energy gradually move up my body like it had been stuck somewhere for a very long time until eventually I would sob and purge several times Plants, (medicine) has an amazing capacity and wisdom to scan the body and go to the very parts that need attention and healing. People often say it is like having 10 years of psychotherapy in one night. But oh so much much more! It is spiritual in every sense. Something very profound and subtle can happen within most people that have had the chance to experience plant medicine – nature in all its glory. We in the west often forget about the spirit and only tend to focus on the body physical ailment with a stuck limited label and the same with the mind.
Yes, plants have an infinite wisdom and consciousness way beyond what we as a human being will ever understand. It is meant to be this way. Nature has many secrets so that we may bow down to something greater than us. It is the shaman who can communicate with the plants and cosmos.
When you are out deep in the jungle abyss you can feel the jungle energy!
The departing of one of the travellers
Around day 5 one of our travellers had to make her way back home as she was in a lot of pain with her infected root canal. I was sorry to see her go. But it was a necessity. I remember feeling the urge to join her as I was finding my experience difficult with my numerous sand fly bites and food issues. I felt like I wanted to run from all that I was suffering. But something inside of me knew I had to complete this trip here. I had been called to come here. The strong knowing to stay out weighed the urge to flee. It wasn’t anything to do with the place, it was just my continual feeling of fatigue, foggy head and constant crazy itching. At times I felt I was going insane.
Drinking fresh Mother Ayahuasca vine elixir water
So after one of the travellers had left and I had decided to stay on for more medicine and spiritual healing we decided to go on another boat journey further into the jungle to collect some locally grown Ayahuasca vine and make our very own brew. We were only 36 km away from one of the truest isolated indigenous Huni Kuin tribes. No Western man had managed to find their way into this tribe as they did not wish for any contact with the outer world. An arrow would be shot in your direction if you were to approach this tribe.
I found this knowledge exciting! Not the arrow shooting!!! I had seen and heard of this tribe via National Geographic photos taken from above flying helicopters.
Anyway back to the boat trip…. I suddenly came over with extreme nausea and felt quite sick. I was also hallucinating. Had the shivers too. I began to feel quite anxious as I felt I was loosing my mind. I began to communicate with the jungle plants on the river bank edges. I remember smelling a strong sweet flowery aroma from the jungle at this point . I had smelt this before as we were travelling up the river on our way into the jungle village . So I asked the plants to help me feel better and to take away any spirit that did not belong in my body. I also asked the shaman for some rape which I thought would help move some of this stuck energy. The nausea just became worse and I began to purge. I instinctively knew I had to chant the Huni Kuin Icaro for the rape medicine and as did this I could feel the energy of the words in my body. I was aware of energy being stuck in my upper chest and eventually it gradually shifted upwards. The rape has a wonderful affect on moving stuck energy. So I had 3 lots of this medicine during this boat trip. I had received some healing from the plants. Eventually we reached our vine destination and once again landed on terra firma. We walked through the dense tree jungle. We chopped and collected the ancient Ayahuasca vines but I was not really present I felt I was standing outside my body and I was sweating profusely whilst watching everything during the cutting of the vine. We then had an amazing experience. We drank the water straight from a piece of fresh cut ayahuasca vine. Which when squeezed the elixir water of happiness dribbled into our open mouths and as soon as the water drops touched my lips I could feel the energy from this plant and I began to laugh !!
Eventually we returned to the village and I took to my hammock for the rest of the day not wishing to eat any thing at all or do anything.
It was many an experience like this for me in the abyss jungle. My body being as sensitive as it is.
The jungle was hot and humid. With sweat sticking to you when taking our adventures through the jungle learning about the medicine of the Amazonian plants. We were wearing long sleeved T -shirts to protect our arms from being bitten from mosquitos and sand flies. We wore short shiny plastic wellington boots as it could rain any time and the jungle was full of muddy puddles and unknown other jungle foreign surprises. As time went on we felt like going barefoot like the children did. Such freedom! We wore trousers every day too. So it was, to be covered like this in this humidity. The jungle walks lead by their medicine man were indeed exciting. With the famous doctrine of signatures showing up in many plants. We were toldevery plant is a medicine which I believed. Using wisdom and knowledge would depend on how you administered the plant as well as knowing your patient is always the way of the medicine man or woman.
Making our own home grown Ayahuasca
We were shown how to make the Ayahuasca. All the woman came together to meditate on the picking of the chacruna leaves.
We picked the leaves in silence. I asked for peace and love whilst picking the leaves. This leaf is known to contain the hallucinogenic or enthneogenic – indole alkaloid dimethyltryptamine (DMT) part of the Ayahuasca brew. The more wildversion of this plant has even stronger amounts of DMT. This can be added out of choice when making the brew. We were advised to continue in our meditative state throughout the day of making the brew as all INTENTION is focused on the making of the brew. It takes several hours to concoct. The vine has to be bruised and beaten with large hammer like wooden tool which allows the water and juices and fibres of the vine soak into the boiling pot of water and chacruna. *** It also contains enzymes that allow the ayahuasca vine to be taken orally
Painting faces and more in part two to be continued….
By Susan Laing Plant Woman
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