Ayahuasca In My Blood

by Captain Bill

Guest post by French Canadian Gaetane Gariepy

I just came back from a 2 week workshop at the Temple of the Way of Light. A safe environment to experience Ayahuasca, called the “vine of the souls”. When mixed with hallucinogetic plants like chacruna, the brew has psychedelic effects,visions,affects human consciousness,inhance psychological introspections called insights .With no psychoactive ingredients, ayahuasca is a powerful purgative.

The first time I was introduced to ayahuasca was during my spiritual search:entheogen:plants that bring you closer to the Divine, will take you to Spirit. Well, that got my attention:a “sacred plant.”The more I read about it, the more convinced I was to experience it. Recently,a diagnosis of breast cancer threw me in a fransy to prepare for the final curtain.I am afraid of dying in my present state of mind which is full of bitterness, resentment, aversion for my fellow human beings, unhappy about my life in general, afraid to bring this dark stuff with me in the eternity. My inner cup is full, time to empty it and let some lightness of being IN.Time to free my soul of the negatives I accumulated during 60 years of living. Rehearse dying, meet Spirit world, prepare mind and soul for when this body will drop me,that is the plan.So, Iquitos I fly. Since I just turned 60, there is a fine birthday gift. let’s meet ayahuasca and its visions.

I booked into the Hummingbird center after a visit to the place and before I give my money to the owner.Had a conversation with the Tracie. She seems a fine woman,speaks english,got a backgroud in counselling with drug & alcohol abusers.explained to her,(and later to the “team”,) the purpose of being there: vision quest, prepare for dying, empty the cup. YES, they will help me to reach my goal.The curandero says he knows how to work with me and has never failed his commitment. A Unicorn from the pagean mythology.OK. 14 days, 6 ceremonies of ayahasca, $1,600.

First ceremony: I will have a small dose of the brew, see how I react to it. totally fine with me, since I am a bit apprehensive.I watch, all eyes open, how the process unfolds. There are 2 bottles on the curandero’s desk: a 2.5L and a 500ml.Curandero serves the brew from the big bottle to the 15-17 guests in the ceremony. He serves himself last: takes he brew from the small bottle… hum…Lights go out. darkness,silence. Later, the medecine man starts signing icaros, calling for protection and healing.Beautiful voice.I am all present, inviting ayahuasca in my body. Yes, she is slowly coming in, I feel more and more heavy in the body and my brain slows down to a point of stupor. No tought is showing up. Heavy more and more, all there is for me to do is to breathe, because if I stop breathing… God knows what will happen. Then, a guy, gringo, starts playing the guitar and signing a song!!!! plain english song!!! never read about that!!!new type of icaros? then, the pucking, for what seems to me, fom all of us. Wow, no fun there!!!part of healing is purging our toxins and sorrows of life.First experience summary: pucking and no vision: I am greatful.Ayahuasca has been kind to me; she had a human experience and I had a ayahuasca experience.Nice meeting you.I felt totallly exhausted by the end of the ceremony.

Next day: group meeting:we share the events of the previous night. I am all ears:Nobody mentioned having visions. hum…my turn to share. Medecine man tells me I have a lot of dark energy in me and around me. he took my soul to a fall near by to cleanse it. What a generous curandero.Thank you for your hard work on me.

Second ceremony:bigger dose of ayahuasca: brew from big bottle for the guests,small bottle for a staff member…(what? Paul is not drinking our brew?) and for the curandero… hum…lights out.silence.Icaros. I notice how the curandero gives energy to the group,moving,dancing,chanting for 4 hours. What a dedicated man he is.guitar and songs kick in,I enjoy all sounds as if coming from heaven. My heart is about to burst from the beauty of it all. I am in bliss in spite of ayahuasca taking me to this heaviness of the entire body.Am I turning into a stone? Pucking in, pucking out. My stomac is in fire: “why is it so painful in the body”? – “A lot of shit” says ayahasca, “not only in the body but also in the mind.” “You are doomed if you do not transform this dark energy” – “How can I transform it? I have accumulated this crapp for so many years and in so many forms: not feeling lovable, unworthy of my parent’s love,disappointments, betrayls(spellings?) from lovers,stuffing in childhood abuses,stuffing anger at my parents and brothers for being nasty to this little girl who could not say a word to defend herself and speak up AND angry at me for not having stood up for myself” – With LOVE answers a voice in my head.”Wait a minute here. I have NO LOVE in my heart. You know very well what happened to my heart when I was 5 year old, you know how I came to close it in order to survive and keep living in this family.How it kept closed down with men who came into my life.So love, how I am going to get it?” -“Breathe LIGHT into you heart. Flush the darkness out. Breathe in light and breathe out the dark,” says ayahuasca. So there I am for the rest of the ceremony: breathe IN, breathe OUT. Curandero works hard on me, a lot of time icaro-ing in front of me, good lord, this guy is so generous and caring. 4 hours later, I am exhausted barely able to make it to my room. No vision and some profound conversations with ayahuasca.

Following day,group meeting: again nobody mentions of their vision… hum… I might be pluged up with darkness, therefore no light,therefore no vision; but them,the whole group? After the meeting I start asking around,don’t you have hallucinations?

Third session: I requested full dose of ahyahuasca. more or less of the same, pucking, deep heaviness in the body, stupor in the mind, conversations with ayahasca, insights.No vision.

The following day, I am getting a bit concerned about the “no vision thing” since I came to Peru on the vision quest, breaking throught the veil of this reality to glimpse into the Spirit world.I share my hum… observations…with the owner, the manager and the curandero: you know… the 2 different bottles? could it be a weak brew and a stronger brew ?I am half way through my 6 ceremonies and I am getting a bit concerned. I dared asking if I could take the brew from the small bottle. That did open a can of worms….

How come the curandero does not prepare the brew himself for our group? I am told the brew we drink if prepared by RON,a gringo-turned-into-shaman and his brew is very good. I resist the medecine.that is all there is to it.

Make this story short, I finished my stay there, skipped the last dose (the 6th one) since I know by now I will keep pucking anf shitting, great purging,with no vision in sight. I decided to spare my stomach from more excruciating pain.
However I will not return home without doing my best to pursue my vision quest and meet the invisible entities.

On a respit day at the Dawn of the Amazon cafe, I strike a conversation with a woman who is an exchange programm worker at the Temple of the Way of the Light. She spoke highly of this center and yes, she gets vision, plenty of them. OK.Life is good, there is a cancellation and I get in. 12 days in the jungle, 7 ceremonies, $1,800. Having learned a great lesson from the Hummingbird center, I pay half of it up front and the rest… in few days… after my 1st ceremony there…Half an hour by boat, one hour walk in the mud and here is the center. We are received by 5 curanderas who give us a flower bath.(By the way, we had flower baths every day) then a introduction meeting. There will be 5 curanderas ans 3 curanderos working with the group during all 7 ceremonies…Being the elder and having a previous experience in a similar center, I do not mind at all asking questions in front of the whole group. so.”All together at the same time? yes mam. a bit of cacophony? yes mam. Which one prepares the brew? The brew comes from blablabla, We have a very quality brew here. I shared my previous experience with a so-so brew and asked if I could get my money back if, after the 1st session, I am not pleased with the brew. Yes mam.. I am reassured by honesty and straight forwardness.

1st session:brew distribution. since I have 5 drinks of ayahuasca under my belly, so to speak,I have full dose of the brew. Light out, silence, the icaros start. Cannot say it brought joy into my ears and bliss into the heart. cacophony to the max.How am I going to stand 4 hours of that???? Heaviness sets in, big time,pucking in,excruciating pain in the belly and stomach,man… not again!!!
curandera #1 sits in front of me.Little mama. so soft. love, pure love. These medecine people, what a bunch of dedicated beings.I suddently find myself in front of a loving mother who signs a bedtime song for a little girl.me. tears into my eyes. I am loved. My heart breaks open. I am loved by the Divine Mother and by a little peruvian humain being-curandera. I want to take this song with me to eternity.I am ready to die, right now, with mama signing a love song to me. This is a first in my 60 years of life.Ayahuasca has few tricks under her sleeve!!!What a gift! NO VISION

2nd session: Not going to let this body being dragged into the heaviness of body and mind. I will focus. And I did focus. Male curandero, gets in front of me with his poweful voice and I just want to put my fingers into my ears so invasive it feels to me… go away! Focus on the mind, tune him out! Here goes a memory of my father…how we enjoyed each other when I was a little thing he would carry on his shoulders or rock on his chair at the end of the day. How I miss that fahter! How come it turned so sour between us? While curandero signs,papa talks to me in my head:”I am so sorry for all the hurts I caused you; I have not been a good father to you and to all my kids. I did not know the damages I caused you,I am so sorry.Again, my heart cracked open. I love my father; he did not know better, him too has been abused ans not loved. “I am sorry too papa, it could have been so pleasant to enjoy each other company.” And here I am to my biggest surprise,forgiving this mean man and wanting to reconcile with him. Then I see a little girl and an old one holding hands, standing in the front of a big sailing boat,signing to their father. I ask the boat where is “she” taking these my 2 “me”?-“safe to the other shore”.-“why would you do that?”-because I care for them. This is my mission in life: to take all of you safe to the other shore” . Then, the teenage girl, the young adult, the Gaetanes of different ages with their sorrows and disapointments appeared one by one behind the little and the old one, secure, looking straight ahead, knowing they will reach safely the other shore. Wow, ayahuasca, thank you for this great journey of healing the heart. Thank you curandero for icaro-ing for me. Profound forgivenes has happened this evening.No vision.

Next day, time for group sharing. Hallucinations up to the wazoo from the big majority of the group. some funny, some scary. Well at least, the brew is potent! I went to talk to the facilitator and talked more openly about my frustration with the brew at the Hummingbird center. I learned that Ron’s brew has its own reputation there: they don’t even consider using his brew as a back up plan(if ever they do not have enough of their own supply for some reason.) There is not enough DMT in it. There you have it. Simple.

If a brew does not contain enough hallucinogetic plants like DMT, you find a group of clients that does not have hallucinations. Why is that? My good guess is simple too… one curandero and 2 staffs (owner and manager)could not manage 15-18 people experiencing hallucinations, some scary with acting out of fear, screaming. Easier to keep the group “under” and make a weak brew. And why not put honey, butter and bread on the table,tasty food with a bit of salt in it.So that too will keep the group “under” It is documented that these little items should not be part of the diet because by their own nature, it keeps the mind gounded.
So, my dear readers, as would say Jane Austen,why do I take the time and energy to share my experience with you? In all fairness for the ones just like me, who takes a plane to Iquitos, take a lot of money from their saving account, use their precious vacation time in order to experience ayahuasca mixed with DMT,I would like to inform them of my findings and what I have learned in the process out of compassion for my fellow brothers and sisters,

I would say that, when you search on the internet for a center that offers ayahuasca workshops, to look for the section “testimony” and if there is none…it speak for itself. If all possible, do not pay the full amount up front, see how the workshop unfold. Ask about the quality of the brew: what is the mix with ayahuasca.

It is as if you order a rhum and coke from a particular bar. Well, you taste it: a lot of coke a pinch of rhum. You go back to the waiter and notice your drink is quite weak. waiter would tell you it is rhum and coke. True enough, it is not a lie. but not exactly, not even close to the stander recipy. Would you ask for you money back? return the drink and ask for a decent one? Perhaps you would tell your friends NOT to go there as the drink is not whorted the money, especially if you paid top dollars for it? and you would likely not return to this particular bar.. or would you?

Dear readers,I feel at peace with sharing my inner journey with you; yes Ayahuasca is a healer plant, will give you visions and insights, will clean you inside out.I am at peace with sharing this little piece of information about the two centers I stayed at, hoping you will make a informed decision to where to find the serious ayahuasca centers. I am pleased I supported financially the Temple of the Way of Light, since part of it goes to their mission in helping the community in education, sanitary projects, defending and protecting the indigenous’ rights againts oil companies that bully and transgress their human rights. They have a great mission; I wish them prosperity and long life.

Now,do I give up on my vision quest since I never experienced hallicunation during 12 dinkings of the sacred plant? Of course no. I went for an exit interview with the master shaman and asked him about the reasons for the no vision. Yes, I have darkness still in the heart and stomach areas. I would need more time with ayahuasca, more icaros and curanderos healings.I cleared a lot of negativity but not all. Now, do I ask myself,what is the purpose of 2 weeks workshop if it not enough time to free your “self” from the accumulation of sorrows and frustrations of a life time? Is 2 week program an introduction to inner healing and we need to come back for more the next vacation time?

Granted I was the elder of both groups I attended to; most of the crowd was in the mid twenty to mid thirty. Less wounds to heal? Less stuff accumulated? Is it the “new cool experience to get” for the westerners, a new tourist trap?I do not have answer to that. I know that my inner healing journey is far from being over, that ayahuasca is a tool to work on cleansing your psychi at a deep level. There are other sacred teacher plants that are less brutal on the body: peyote,San Pedro which is mescaline,LSD, magic mushrooms.I will pay them a visit. My vision quest is unfolding till this body drops me. So much to do and so little time.Next step? a long term stay at a yoga and meditation center. The final plan is for my soul to feel free, pure, empty cup, when she flies into eternity with no fear.

Ayahuasca In My Blood

Guest post by French Canadian Gaetane Gariepy

Disclaimer; The opinions expressed in this unedited article, Ayahuasca In My Blood, on this site may or may not reflect the opinions of Bill Grimes, the Captain’s Blog, or Dawn on the Amazon. As with all controversies, we look forward to your comments or articles expressing differing opinions. Thank you.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alan Rendon August 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

Hello Gaetane,

What an interesting read but what a sad story. I have always heard good things about Hummingbird Center and Ron Wheelock.
I hope you find peace my friend.

2 Adrian Walker August 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

Sad indeed, but a little confusing as she seems to have had visions yet denies having done so. The story evokes little enough sympathy as it reads like someone searching not for healing as much as escapism. Ripped off she surely was and perhaps that’s reason enough for Bill to kindly print her jumbled words.

3 Terry Raven August 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

Francisco Grippa told me many years ago he saw a beautiful paper he wanted to paint on. He was told the paper was actually a type of tree bark and it was hand crafted by the Shipibos people of the Amazon. Señor Grippa had developed a passion for the paper and mounted a very fine and expensive expedition to the jungles of Peru in search of the paper. After weeks of preparation and travel his party, now exhausted from their efforts, reached the tributary where the paper makers were to be found. As the boat rounded the final bend in the river, señor Grippa was taken aback to see the village standing empty. The entire tribe had moved to a different location. His disappointment was great and the whole party now seemed a waste of time and money.
They returned empty handed.

Many months later Señor Grippa found himself in Iquitos, Peru. On a fine day he was walking down the street and he noticed an old man walking towards him. A second look confirmed the man had a stack of the rare and beautiful art paper under his arm. With great joy Señor Grippa greeted the man and told him of his quest for the elusive and fine media. The old man (a Shipibos Elder) told Francisco to come to the house where he stayed when he was in town and so he did. There in the house was a great stack of the requisite tree bark and all the native tools to make Francisco all the fine paper he ever dreamed of.

4 Rikuni Meier August 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

simple, server a weaker brew and cash in 20 times 1800$ or serve stronger and only cash in 8 times 1800$. Now if your looking for $ is obvious what you would do.

5 Andy M August 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

It seems to me like you got everything you really needed from Ayahuasca, yet you sound profoundly ungrateful.

If you did much research before you arrived you should have understood that visions themselves are usually not that important and often they are just eyecandy. They can be very nice to have sometimes, but if that’s all you focus on you will miss the real lessons of the experience. At our retreat center we generally tell people at the start of the retreat not to be too concerned about getting visions.

Not everyone gets visions from Ayahuasca, even people who have worked with her for many many years. She can work with you, heal you, and teach you, in a variety of different ways. Surely making peace with your father is a far more profound and important an experience than any vision she could have given you?

My advice to anyone planning on doing an Ayahuasca retreat is to properly research what you’re getting in to. If you’re only interested in having visions then you may well leave disappointed. But if you’re committed to doing deep healing work with no expectation of how it will happen then you will most likely get what you came for.

And for the record, regardless of what anyone thinks of the man himself, Ron Wheelock’s medicine has a great reputation in Iquitos (and I’m saying that as someone who has lived in Iquitos for over two years).

6 Matthew August 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Dear Gaetane,

This is Matthew from the Temple. Thank you for your feedback. I would like to offer a response with an interest in helping you to understand further the healing experience you have recently been through as well as some further depth on plant spirit healing in general. Although Sascha has already spent much time with you and explained during your workshop much of the information I will offer below, I feel that a reminder would hopefully still be helpful to you. We very much care about your on-going healing journey with the plant doctors after leaving the Temple and I would like essentially to explain that it has really only just begun…

When working with ayahuasca / plant spirit healing it is important to understand that you are working with medicine (in fact – many different plant spirit doctors and not just ayahuasca) – this cannot be compared with drinking rum and coke in a bar. Everybody’s healing journeys are different with the multitude of difficulties that we have faced individually throughout our lives and how they have shaped our lives, the way we think, the way we feel, the way we view the world around us, etc. Plant spirit healing is extremely complex although ultimately provided you are working with a “fully” trained ayahuasquero / healer / Onanya (with good intentions) and good quality medicine, then there will generally always be healing.
How that healing then permeates down through the spiritual / energetic levels into the conscious mind and physical body is then subject to the level of heavy energies / severity and number of energetic blockages contained in the system as well as the way that the mind functions / whether it is able to “let go” / your metabolism / lessons you need to learn / a plethora of factors – everybody is different. To clarify, it is not “only” down to your age and we work with guests from 18 to 85.

95% of the guests who come to the Temple will “breakthrough” in terms of experiencing the healing that they are receiving (not just on physical, emotional and mental levels but having a “visionary breakthrough”). On rare occasions, some guests will feel that they haven’t “broken through” despite the fact that they are physically purging significantly throughout the experience, the fact that their emotions are in turmoil as the energies are released, their thought processes change significantly, their relationship with themselves and others changes, etc, etc.

Our focus is deep healing – on all levels being physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual – and not ‘tripping’. To give you an example, we work on “cleaning out the system” – ie we go into your house (system); we strip out the rugs, carpets, tables, chairs, etc and put everything on the front lawn to then give a considerable clean out to the rooms. When everything (emotions, thought patterns, negative energies, etc) is put on the front lawn the experience can be very turbulent. However, eventually after a sufficient amount of cleaning (of dense energies) has been affected, we then place the furniture, etc back in the house. What our focus is not is simply going into the living room and putting on a movie to watch… Vision is great to receive and 95% of our guests will have powerful vision (fundamentally of their past, internal processes, emotions, “mistakes”, lessons, what they need to change, how to change, etc) although our focus is much more on ensuring that we are really getting to the root of the energetic issues in the systems of our guests. If the visions are not coming through to the experience in ceremony, then healing (and teachings on a soul / subconscious level) is still happening and this eventually will shine through further down the line.

Another issue is excessive expectations – if one has an excessive focus on “vision hunting” then the mind can often block the experience. Doctor ayahuasca is extremely intelligent (and loving) and will only give what the guest needs, which is not always what one “thinks” one wants. In addition, vision is not always “visual” – it can be kinaesthetic, auditory, etc. Generally, for those who do not experience “vision” – it is not because it is not there, it is because the mind (or stomach) is blocking the experience. This blocking is due to the dense energies in the system basically being able to seed the mind with thoughts, fear, etc. This seems like a “catch 22” in that how can one come for healing of the energies / the way one’s mind functions, etc and “learn” from the visions if they are not being experienced. The answer is to let go of expectations, surrender to the experience with the knowledge that you are getting what you need, appreciate the healing from the plant doctors, and have perseverance. I empathise that you haven’t yet had the obvious breakthrough although this is essentially part of your journey that is necessary for now…

The 5% of people who come to the Temple and do not receive vision very often then contact us 3 / 6 / 12 months later to share the fact that their life has changed dramatically. This “post workshop” feedback, whether it comes from the majority who have had visions, or the tiny minority who haven’t, is actually even more important / relevant to us than the immediate feedback at the end of a workshop. This is why 50% of the guests at the Temple come now from recommendation or repeat trips to further their healing / journey of self-discovery, etc. In addition, many of the 5% of guests who didn’t “consciously breakthrough” often also end up coming back to us a year later and then have profound “visionary” experiences.

Plant spirit healing is a system from Nature that offers profound benefit to people in need – who often cannot find answers in conventional medicine – although it is important to understand that 10 / 20 / 30 years of trauma, pain, depression, dis-ease, etc cannot be healed in 12 days. A workshop at the Temple does provide significant healing, and we have helped now over 1,000 people most of whose lives have changed considerably for the better but real deep healing takes time to come into play. Our focus is not temporary healing – a respite for 12 days in the Amazon – but something that is lasting. It is not how you feel at the end of the workshop that is the most important factor (although is often the case that guests feel significant shifts already in their lives) – it is how you are able to walk your path in life moving forwards after the workshop – over time. It is how your “normal” life is positively affected and how your relationship with yourself, others and the world around you develops and improves over time. It is about learning to identity lessons and guidance that comes in life to help you to grow and not make “mistakes”. The ikaros (energy medicine in the form of sound) that are given from the plants, through the healers, can take time to work with you. The plant doctors continue to work with you over long periods of time although your role in your healing is essential too – healing is a two way street.

When one considers how a tree grows – we don’t expect to plant a seed and then see it turning into a tree within a very short period of time. It needs patience, nourishment, care, etc and eventually it will grow provided the right factors have been taken into account. The same can apply with most cases treated through plant spirit healing and working with ayahuasca (which cannot cure “everything” by the way). It is important to also understand healing on a spiritual level – not everybody is ready for healing and dis-ease is sometimes actually placed on our path in order to develop our soul’s journey…

I have empathy for your current situation and it is clear that you very much have the will to heal. Please however understand that your journey IS unfolding and that, with your efforts (lifestyle choices, keeping fit, no chemicals in your system, further cleanses, meditation / yoga, quality organic food intake – let food be thy medicine, etc, etc) on this journey are essential. Perseverance, courage, commitment, faith and patience are all key qualities that you will need on this journey. With all this taken into account, then you can very much help the medicine that is now working with you and is deep in your system working to bring change through to your conscious mind / feelings / emotions / physical body, etc.
With much respect to your journey, it has just begun with the plant spirits in your recent work in the Amazon. You now need time to integrate and process your experience and most importantly, to enable the teachings and healing work of the plants to slowly permeate into your waking life. Subject to how you walk forwards, the changes will then eventually begin to be experienced…

Many blessings for your healing journey,


PS: I would also like to clarify some of your other points / questions:

“Is it the “new cool experience to get” for the westerners, a new tourist trap?”

– If carried out correctly, with trained healers, in the right facility, with due care and diligence, then I feel strongly that Amazonian healing practices offer tremendous benefit to many people. Here is an extract from an initiative that I support / salute which summarises my feelings in words much better than I could convey:

“Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and Venezuela, among others), from numerous ethnic groups (Ashaninca, Shipibo, Siona, Coreguaje, Navajo, Mazatec, Huichol, etc.) have carried out investigations and therapeutic processes, which defy western scientific methodologies. Their pragmatic results represent an undeniable patrimony for humanity and nevertheless, many plants have been taken advantage of by western industry, frequently without due respect and acknowledgement.

The AITMs [American Indigenous Traditional Medicines] offer a treatment addressed to the totality of the human being. They imply an ancient knowledge, expanding unstoppably today. However, they are not easily understood by Western mentality, and for this reason action is needed, involving both worlds in order to avoid fraud and disastrous misunderstandings. Furthermore, they are today the objects of study in Western psychology and medicine because they address the whole body, the mind, and consciousness.”

Above text on AITM from this site: http://www.manifiesto-mti.takiwasi.com/indexen.php

It is unfortunate that healing work associated with ayahuasca is massively misunderstood and this powerful medicine is viewed by many in the West simply as a ‘hallucinogenic drug’ and therefore demonized by draconian laws and close minded perspectives (often driven through financial motives). Plant based “shamanism” in the Amazon has to date not been seen as a “professional” healing system and I am keen to welcome in a change to this very limited and unaware perspective. I actually see that conventional and traditional medicine can complement each other and should not be mutually exclusive.

Therefore, when carried out correctly and for the right reasons, then I absolutely do not feel that healing with ayahuasca is a tourist trap; instead if facilitated correctly and for the right reasons, then a serious system of healthcare needed by many people.

“I learned that Ron’s brew has its own reputation there: they don’t even consider using his brew as a back up plan(if ever they do not have enough of their own supply for some reason.) There is not enough DMT in it. There you have it. Simple.”

– To clarify, this is simply not true and we did not say that. We do occasionally (although rarely) use Ron’s brew when we have difficulty brewing our own in time. We work with a Shipibo cook who uses only cielo ayahuasca (the best for healing purposes) and chakruna – both from specific areas on the river Ucayali. Ron’s medicine also contains chariponga which is not used traditionally by the Shipibo – this is why we don’t use his medicine + the fact that the Shipibo prefer to make it themselves. It has nothing to do with it not having enough DMT or being strong enough. I would also like to clarify that Ron is a friend of the Temple and someone who we have much respect for – he is one of the good / straight guys!

7 Joe Vaish August 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm

She hit the nail on the head when she mentioned that she was older and had more shit accumulated. Not everyone will have visions right away, if ever. I had intense visions my first ceremony, but I had also done years and years of energetic work on myself (not that it ever ends.) One of the biggest tricks of the ego is having set expectation when it comes to what spirit has to offer.

8 Captain Bill August 5, 2012 at 11:09 am

Thanks for your brilliantly reasoned reply Matthew. Your carefully chosen words can assist us all to better understanding.

9 Captain Bill August 5, 2012 at 11:19 am

Hi Andy, thanks for sharing your valuable opinion, based on your personal experience…always appreciated.

10 Captain Bill August 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Rikuni Meier.

11 Captain Bill August 5, 2012 at 11:23 am

Hello Terry, nice story, well told. Thanks for sharing.

12 Captain Bill August 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

Hi Adrian, thank you for reading, taking an interest in Gaetane’s story, and making your comment

13 Captain Bill August 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

Hello Alan, I’m sure we can all agree with your wish to Gaetane, “I hope you find peace my friend.” Well said…

14 Kelvin Gwynn August 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm

My take on it.

These last chancers go all that way looking for some sort of cure and paying a fortune for it.

Fools and their money are easily parted, need say no more.

15 Chris Kilham August 7, 2012 at 5:46 am

When people drink ayahuasca, they often experience healings, and not always visions. A friend of mine who has drunk many times has never had visions, yet has benefited from significant healing. I have drunk from the same brew on the same nights, and have had visions galore. It does in fact depend on who you are. Truly, having visions is not the point of La Medicina. It is called such due to its healing capacity. From the descriptions provided by the author, the purgings and realizations of deep hurt, and of relief, are classic ayahuasca healings. If the deep hurts of the past have been relieved in any significant way, then the Ayahuasca is working. If those hurts have not been helped, then the aya has not worked. People do expect to have visions, because there are so many good, rich tales of seeing remarkable things. But ayahuasca is La Medicina, The Medicine. It heals in a variety of ways. Reducing pain and suffering is a marvelous outcome. Maybe the visions will happen someday, but they might not. If the woman has been freed from deep pain and trauma from the past, then the mysterious jungle medicine has been of enormous help. This is the purpose, and this is the benefit.

16 Peter Gorman August 8, 2012 at 10:18 am

Gaetane: Hello, this is Peter Gorman. Want to note that I’m not really happy with the title of this blog piece since my book has the same title.
That out of the way, I am having a hard time understanding what you mean by visions. You saw your dad; you spoke with him. You saw yourself at different ages being brought across a sea to a place where you will be safe. Your heart broke open and allowed love to enter for the first time in years. What else could you want from this wonderful healing medicine?
Did you want the funhouse of desires and fears? Did you want the visions of other planets or of the past or future? Those are mostly show. It’s when those are done that the real work begins: The healing on deep levels. And that healing begins with cleaning out the pain you’ve been needlessly carrying with you all those years: The pain others gave you, the pain you inflicted, pain you cannot remember receiving because you were too young to put words to it, but still pain you carry. That’s what you threw up and that’s what you shit out. You need to be clean before ayahuasca can paint you with it’s colors, as my late teacher Julio said. So you went to the Hummingbird and got cleaned out. Then on to the Temple and had those wonderful healing visions. Just because there were no fireworks displays does not mean they were not visions. Seeing your father; seeing yourself, watching yourself get protected… It sounds to me like you had the most wonderful time and were taken care of by very generous and good people and healers.
Celebrate your heart opening. Celebrate the gifts you received. The heck with the money it cost: There is no amount of money in the world that could ever pay for having your heart re-opened and allowed to love again. So celebrate your growth and keep growing, keep being open, keep the flame of love burning within you.

17 Alan Shoemaker August 10, 2012 at 2:06 am

I agree with Peter.
It’s not ethical to use “Ayahuasca In My Blood” as a blog spot. That’s the title of Peter’s book and at least you should have asked for his permission.

18 Alan Shoemaker August 10, 2012 at 2:11 am

I agree with Peter. It’s not ethical to use “Ayahuasca In My Blood” as a blog spot. That’s the title of Peter’s book and at least you should have asked for his permission.

19 Captain Bill August 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Dear Alan, I hope you are directing your comment to the author. Obviously I did not choose the title of her blog post. I accepted her article as it was and did not edit it at all.

Best regards,

20 Captain Bill August 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Dear Peter, Thanks for taking the time to visit my humble little blog. What an honor to have your astute comment. Speaking of your wonderful book Ayahuasca In My Blood: 25 Years Of Medicine Dreaming; (at least Gaetane Gariepy did not use your entire title), we sold yet another copy for you. Your money is in an envelope in a drawer in our office. Perhaps you might bring some more copies of your wonderful book with you the next time you return to Iquitos. They are selling like hotcakes.

Best regards,

21 Captain Bill August 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Dear Chris, What an honor sir. Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to consider reading and commenting on Gaetane’s article that seems have become controversial, much to my surprise.

Best regards,

22 Captain Bill August 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Hi Kelvin, Thanks for your comment, I appreciate you checking in with us. I hope we will see you here again in the future.

Best regards,

23 Kevin Davis August 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm

True healers know that you cannot heal anyone who has victim consciousness. It is a block that rarely cannot be unblocked. Usually it takes a very low …low. From the start to finish this lady is full of blame. Blaming Tracie…her dad and anyone else who has done her wrong is her world. There are no victims….. just lessons.
From the very start this lady came to the Amazon …not to seek a cure…..which by the way was available to her. She came to Iquitos in search of a pleasant way of dying. But not before spreading her negativity by smearing Tracie’s reputation. What a fool.
I have two stories that come to mind when reading this ladies story. The first is my own.
When I was born my father left when I was a week old. He skipped the state as to avoid child payments and got away with it. My mother never got over this and all of my life I was reminded of what an asshole he was. When he died I felt nothing since I had never met the man. When he died my oldest son was one. My second son came along four years later. One day I took my boys to school. Out of nowhere this fellow parent approached me and told me I was the best dad that she had ever seen. It took a couple of weeks to come up with this theory but here goes. I am a good father….. not just to my boys but to every child I come across to. I remember the kind men in my life who used to do things like pull nickels out of my ears….or just give a kind smile. Those who truly know me know that I have taken that to a higher level. Especially in Iquitos where there are not that many fathers. My father taught me all of this by lack. And I thank him for this as I truly believe that it was his mission to do so. This is why I believe that this ladies vision of her father asking for forgiveness is just her ego reinforcing her blame.
The second story Alan can confirm as he was there. I have this friend who is a drummer in a very successful rock band. When I came to Iquitos several years ago for the first time …….I had to go back right away. The band my friend was in ….was playing in LA and my youngest son is a drummer. So I took my family and we hung out backstage and did all the groupie stuff. The next night I went out to diner with him and his wife. At the end of dinner I said this: By the end of the year you both will be going to Peru with me and doing Ayahuasca. His wife was excited and said OK. He didn’t. In fact he said “No way…….I have a 5 year old son and anytime I have off I plan to spend it with him.” I told him I understood yet he would be joining me….in jest. My 4th trip to Iquitos I brought her along with 3 other women. In the middle of her ceremony she started grabbing her stomach and crying. I motioned for the shaman to see her and he leaned over her and sucked a tumor out of her stomach. She immediately was in bliss. The next day she left back for the states. I stayed a few more days and came home late on a Thursday night. On Friday night I received a phone call at 11:30pm. I could hear screaming in the background as it was my rockstar friend calling from Costa Rica. He had just got off stage there. I asked him why he was calling me so late. He said this. Before each leg of his 2 year tour…the doctors check them out for insurance reasons. They discovered that his heart valves were 80% clogged with calcium. They told him that if he continued on this leg of the tour ….he would die. He asked me if my offer was still good as far as doing an Ayahuacsa ceremony. I said of course. He then said the only time he could do this was Monday night as he was not allowed to leave Lima because of contracts. I contacted Alan and the next morning I was on a flight back to Peru. Alan flew in a shaman and I rented a villa outside Lima. But what I also did was invite a girl who I met in Pucallpa to join us. She had sold her car in the states to go clean streams and wanted to do a ceremony so I paid for her flight and hotel as Gods way of saying thanks. When we did the ceremony neither I or the rock star saw visions. we just sweat. The girl however locked herself in the bathroom as saw visions the entire night. The next day we just hung out in Lima and chilled. The next night after the concert my friend said he felt like he watched himself play…the entire concert. Kind of like astro-projecting. Three weeks later I got a call from him after the S American leg of his tour had ended. He said his doctors wanted to know who the hell I and the shaman were. That his 80% clogged heart arteries had gone down to 20%…which was impossible. ANd that 20% was normal for his age.
I am outraged by this article. I think of the many people that Tracie has helped over the years. And one victim consciousness demon attempts to discredit her because she didn’t get high? I am also a little outraged that some people here have made comments in favor of this lady against Tracie. And that no one has really come to her defense….. except maybe for Peter. Shame on you!

24 Rebekah Copas August 18, 2012 at 8:12 am

(and you never know, perhaps us indigenes of this land, get too drug fucked too easy to have established a tourist industry based in hippy ramblings about nice psychotropic experiences, . . .although I rather suspect the matter is more to …the point about how who got drug fucked on what and when, . . . .so we all get to see Chanel Seven up the asses of shamanis botanicus mob, while South Americans could wind up with the first proper in on our pituri, if only they could prove themselves able to avoid all those poison arrow darts of the mind! . . . which, I don’t mind having to tell, are the exact reason why no men let me take pituri, . . . after some fucking fucker tried to fuck me up with a homeopathic dose of curare.) whole point being, that if a man belongs in the medicine circle, he knows it well enough to not need pronounce himself in his belonging, . . and to the best of my knowledge, any snake handler in any land is already in the medicine circle, . . . so therefore, Adrian Walker is simply being too elusive to trust, and the South American Shaman seem to be appreciating how much of a “plain talker” us Aussies can turn a man into.

25 jim Davis September 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

This is Jim, the owner of the Hummingbird Center. I clearly remember Gaetana’s time here and the frustration she felt around not receiving what she expected. Similar to Matthew’s experience at the temple, this happens to a small percentage of our clients. We are very clear with our guests before they drink that not everyone experiences visions in the watching a movie or immersed in another reality variety.

I don’t think a can add anything of value to Matthew and Andy’s eloquent and informative responses about how the medicine works. The information they shared is precisely what we try to convey to our clients, and one would probably encounter that same information at any good ayahuasca healing center. The reason is simple – its an accurate description of what how the process works.

Other clients at the Hummingbird during the same time as Gaetana had remarkable transformations, and not all of those got the super cool visual experience we read so much about. Nevertheless, they had no doubt about how radically they had changed for the better.

I’d like to comment about the guy in ceremony playing guitar and singing in English. This man was at the Hummingbird for a month and is a professional musician. Ignatio saw in him a talent to heal with his music, and part of his treatment was to awaken and grow that ability. Part of this was having him play and sing in ceremony. The energy of his music was beautiful and peaceful, and many people commented that some of their most profound experiences were while he was singing. During his time at the Hummingbird he composed three wonderful songs about the transformation and growth of our spirits. They were magical to hear in ayahuasca.

This was a very unusual circumstance, but the right thing for this particular individual and a blessing for most of the other guests.

The medicine works with us all in unique ways, and the healing process Ignatio uses is tailored to each individual.

If you come to work with this medicine, first know it is medicine – its about healing, not an interesting experience. Second, trust it. Ayahuasca and the healing spirits are incredibly wise and benevolent and are only interested in our highest good. Surrender to the medicine and accept what it brings. If you are with a skilled ayahuasquero, one who can truly heal, I will guarantee that no matter what your subjective experience is it will be for your benefit.

There are a number of very good ayahuasca healing centers around. I was a client at the Temple several years ago and know they do good work. I have never drank with Andy but he clearly knows what this is about. Ron Wheelock is very skilled, a good friend of mine, and a man I trust implicitly. Javier Arevalo is an exceptional curandero. I KNOW we do good work at the Hummingbird. Ignatio has been healing for 38 years and is one of the best and most dedicated healers I have worked with.

There are many options. Follow your heart and trust your intuition and you will be guided to the right place for YOU.

Blessings to you all,


26 AIDESEP worker October 25, 2012 at 11:59 am


For just as Iquitos was once enriched off rubber during the genocide of Native tribes, so today the foreign owned “aya” lodges enrich themselves off Native sacred ceremonies. First of all are you aware of the fact that these foreign owned ayahuasca lodges are in VIOLATION of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Not only are they unethical as an affront to tribal dignity by commercializing for private gain tribal traditions, ceremonies, icaros, prayers, and other sacred rites; but they are against international law, by abusing indigenous intellectual property rights. Here, decide for yourself how one is to interpret indigenous peoples’ rights in reference to this. Article 31#1 “They have the right to maintain, control, protect, and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.” Article 8 #22 “Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identity.” There is more. What may be done is that AIDESEP, Peru’s national indigenous organization, may seek legal action against these bio-pirate foreign ayahuasca lodges.

How ironic that these places which claim to bring healing and higher consciousness are actually low life cultural criminals with no integrity for indigenous rights. So don’t be fooled by the fact that they may have a Native shaman. For rarely are these shamans informed or know anything about indigenous legal matters. For often they work like prostitutes doing their “tricks” out of poverty all at the enrichment of foreign owners. Let me put it this way. Grave robbing is rightfully condemned, but these foreign ayahuasca lodges are actually robbing living indigenous traditions. And while foreign mining on indigenous land is considered an unethical crime, foreign owned ayahuasca lodge strip- mine indigenous cultures and commercialize their tribal traditions. WAKE UP WHITE PEOPLE and don’t be fooled ! Here we go again, the anthroposophagous white race consuming more indigenous cultures. For this is a”gringo” problem, not Hispanic or Nativo. And these foreign owned aya lodges don’t have an ethical leg to stand on and the apus woukd liketo see them all be shut down. What gives them the right ? Their white skin? Their will ? The——- Monroe Doctrine? Or is that what the dimethyltryptamine jaguar throne taught them? It is surely not the indigenous tribes they abuse. Only in permissive Peru are these unethical lodges allowed to exist. So by paying these people one is actually participating in the unethical and illegal exploitation of indigenous peoples sacred traditions. Just like the beautiful tiled buildings in Iquitos were all once built off the blood of the indigenous, so do these foreign owned ayahuasca lodges enrich themselves off the exploitation of indigenous intellectual property rights. Just like with the buildings some people see the beauty and others see the blood. And just like during the genocidal rubber years, the money generated buys off the community all at the expense of the indigenous people’s human rights. Roger Casement once wondered if anyone here cared about the indigenous genocide. He didn’t think so. And now too this topic of abuse against Indigenous rights is not popular. For when the local English language paper, the Iquitos Times, gets paid for by the advertizements of some of the biggest indigenous rights abusers (like Scott Petersen’s REFUGIO ALTIPLANO), what can one expect? ” Finance takes little account of the methods whereby its golden counters are produced,” Casement wrote. So I am sorry that the Iquitos Times continues to be a vehicle for indigenous abuse instead of a voice for indigenous rights. After all they are promoting a crime according to The UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights. It is hard to have it both ways. And things get really muddled when I read their articles about Roger Casement and then see adds by these abusive foreign owned aya lodges. You should try printing some three dollar bills. So if people want to partake of ayahuasca NEVER GO TO FOREIGN OWNED LODGES ! And if people are so self-centered to spend so so so much $$$$$$$$ on “feeding” their head, while so so so many people worry about feeding their stomachs, then they have really learned nothing. Go to a Native or mestizo, but NOT to some a foreign lodge. DON’T PARTICIPATE IN THIS CRIME AGAINST TRIBAL RIGHTS.

27 Adrian Walker October 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Put with strength and passion and absolutely true. A pity you lacked the courage to sign but there are plenty of us who know exactly who you are and commend as well as support you to the fullest.

28 Adrian Walker October 25, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Afterthoughts are useful and so I’ll add one. I do feel that the criticism of the Iquitos Times is unjustified as to expect a newspaper to check the ethical behaviour of all its advertisers is unrealistic. Let’s face fact and agree that Captain Bill, who operates Dawn on the Amazon, has an ayahuasca menu, yet evades the scattergun.
My feeling is that we need to regulate ayahuasca and indeed, give it back to the traditional users, if that’s at all possible. The kind of regulation that would see the European owners of lodges simply removed from Peru would be a damn good start but don’t muddy the argument by accusing others who make minute profits for their businesses by providing for the market that currently exists. Let’s instead work for the closure of the muddying of the market through regulation. At least we’d see a few people who are wanted in the countries of their birth fact some justice and that’s never a bad thing.

29 Ådne January 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

I enjoyed reading this.Straightforward and heartful.

The part of the story where dad comes and you reconcile with him,and this boat arriving……these ARE true visions-communication with the divine.
Visions are not a specific thing,something you can expect and control,they come by themselves when one reaches and opening in the forest of detail,they can be very subtle ,fleeting glimpses,that are easily missed,if one is unsteady and idle.
Visualization is a great tool to activate the visionary state with shaman plants.

30 persefoni May 11, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Persefoni here!I was at the hummingbird during this time of gringo guitar playing during ceremony. It was undoubtedly the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I am a musician. Not that any of that matters or the fact music is the most important thing in my life.. easily I could have been a hater or skeptic ..but this music was divinely inspired.My life was profoundly changed by these beautiful songs and I consider the timing of my arrival to be part of these songs just as important as taking ayahuasca. Truly if his voice and guitar playing along w Ignacio’s icaros didn’t move you ,it will take something beyond comprehension to understand. Even now when I recall the experience I can say I was extremely blessed too have been able to take part during this time. We also had one of these songs as part of our anthem. Thank you hummingbird, thank you Jim & Gina and to my Irish guitar playing amigo thank you.. my life was changed and I will be returning back next month.. HALLELUJAH to those who were there ..ps.. I did not get visions.but I got what mother ayahuasca wanted me to have..words do not describe the shape I was in upon arrival, badly addicted to drugs I thought my issues were far out of reach for a jungle shaman. I can not wait to return.

31 Andrew March 23, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Glad you had a great experience at The Temple Of The Way Of Light, I plan on visiting there next year after I save up enough money, it’s 2100$ now, but I have great experiences meditating with visions so I won’t have as much issue.

What I suggest is using a chelating agent like Boron in 2 3mg doses daily (Ad infinity.. i.e. for life), for a total of 6mg of boron daily. Also STOP using fluoride! it kills your pineal gland, and your pineal gland IS your third eye and it is responsible for all hallucinations and visions..

Pineal gland uses and produces naturally occurring DMT which is responsible for visions.. You may just need a really high dose due to your pineal gland having more years of use. Meditating daily will also help heal your pineal gland, I suggest pitch dark using a blindfold while meditating it will give you the best DMT release and melatonin production which is a precursor and also a very important thing for Pineal health. It may be unsafe to take additional melatonin if your brain is already producing proper levels.. Always get your levels checked before supplementing long-term. You can take Supplement grade EDTA capsules, take 2 of those daily for a month, and then stop using them until you get your vitamin/mineral levels checked either through a hair sample or a blood test. EDTA removes unnatural levels of heavy metals like lead, mercury, etc.. but it may also effect beneficial metals like copper, or iron.. You need to make sure to take a good multivitamin daily if you are planning on using EDTA for a quick cleanse of heavy metal levels. If you take EDTA for longer than 1 month please discuss this with a doctor.. you have to be seriously careful when dealing with macro nuturients because they are already hard to get in a diet.. So only use EDTA just long enough to reduce heavy metal levels to Zero then stop… Once lead, mercury, alluminum, etc are out of the brain and away from the pineal gland, unnatural collections of calcium like those around a calcified pineal gland will slowly release into the blood stream, and due to taking 6mg of Boron daily it will force the excess calcium being released either into your bones or peed out which is what happens when you have no heavy metal in your blood/tissues. No heavy metals, and there is no way for your organs to become calcified either. This includes your veins, arteries, etc.. Boron prevents heart disease.. which is why green foods contain the most boron.. but most farm crops have leached most of the boron out of the soil long ago… Real organic farms should supplement their plants using Borax powder mixed with the soil… it gives a long term cure for lack of boron in vegetables… simply adding boron to your diet will improve your pineal health and your physical health and longevity.

32 torko July 10, 2015 at 12:50 am

does the temple allow you to bring your pet? cat, dog, or reptile?

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