The Dark Side of Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca Vision by Paulo Jales-2

My personal tale of using Ayahuasca for the first time to enhance my spiritual journey, but instead experienced the worst night of my life.

After a day at the beach, my husband drives me to a nearby residence where I will drink a concoction made from Ayahuasca, a vine from the Amazon jungle, combined with another plant containing DMT. Ayahuasca tea, also called yagé, is a psychedelic brew used by shamans and indigenous peoples in the Amazonian jungle to reach an altered state of consciousness, allowing them interact with the spirit realm. Many people claim that Ayahuasca has amazing healing powers; some tout that the experience is equal to 10 years of therapy in a single night. My personal goal is to heighten my spiritual connection to the divine.

Ayahuasca brewing

Ayahuasca brewing

We pull into the driveway and get out of the car. I carry the recommended “gear” of wet wipes, paper towels, sleeping bag, bottled water and a pail for vomiting. My friend and his girlfriend warmly greet us. After an hour of small talk, my husband leaves—he did not plan on participating, and the hosts worry that he might get overly concerned when I start throwing up, interrupting the experience.

The hosts spend an hour explaining what I should expect from Ayahuasca. They mention that geometrical codes might appear, and at some point I will need to surrender my ego to break through to the “other side” to meet the divine. The hosts tell me they’re giving me their greatest gift, and assure me that Ayahuasca has been life-changing for them.

We go outside to sit on the deck overlooking the inlet. Two small jars are placed on the balcony railing. I open the first jar and drink the reddish-brown liquid in one gulp. I had read that the concoction would be bitter, but it tastes more like a strong herbal tea. After 20 minutes, I drink from the other jar. It too goes down easily.

After a little while, my body heats up and I notice that my vision is flickering. I suggest that we go inside so I can lie down.

I lay on the couch, propped up by cushions. The hostess lays a crochet afghan over me. A transparent geometrical code appears across the room like a hologram. A booming sound begins. Part of the geometrical code bounces before shooting into my energetic body. I accept the code since I had read that the symbols were supposed to heal a person’s DNA. Everything seems to be going well.

The geometrical codes keep appearing, accompanied by the strange bass-like tones. Jungle sounds fill the room. I feel that Ayahuasca is sharing her heritage with me.

Interspersed between the geometrical codes, I hear snippets of voices issuing instructions, “Cue. Ready? Now!” and I wonder what is going on. It sounds like a TV production team is in the background orchestrating the event. It reminds me of the movie ‘The Truman Show’ starring Jim Carrey—the one where he was living in a TV show, but didn’t know it.

I catch a glimpse of the ‘producers’ who issued the instructions. They appear as four Asian people, stylishly dressed, wearing headsets while standing in front of audio/video equipment. I silently tell them, “I can see you! Hallucinations don’t work if I know they’re not real.”

The abstract painting on the wall changes into a portrait of a Geisha girl wearing a multi-colored robe.

I am sucked back into Ayahuasca’s realm, and a traditional Mayan mask appears, but I see a dark figure holding it, moving it around. The event seems contrived.

The geometrical codes kept coming nonstop, infusing into my body. I wonder if the force behind these codes is benevolent or malevolent. I ask for inspiring messages, but get none. I ask the force to send me love because while it might be able to shape-shift into deceptive images and sounds, it can’t fake love. I don’t feel any love, only darkness and a huge, empty void.

I am scared that the plant has exposed me to its dark side—the archetype power of black magic that has accumulated over thousands of years, or perhaps worse, the ultimate struggle between good and evil.

At this point, I ask it to stop, but the geometrical codes and sounds keep coming, over and over again, and the words, “Cue. Ready? Now!” ring out.

Another geometrical code appears.


Another geometrical code appears.


I shout in my mind, “NO! I invoke the Universal Law of Oneness and ask you to stop!” But the codes and sounds continue barraging me. Since I know the Divine Source never forces itself on anyone, I become convinced that dark forces are attacking me. I ask the Great Spirit for help. I call on my spirit guides and enlightened teacher, Jesus, for help.

It feels like I am dying. I have a fever and shiver uncontrollably. The hostess puts another blanket on me.

I listen to my heartbeat, which slows down, then eventually stops. I gasp for breath and my heart resumes beating.

The gentle Voice, the one I have heard throughout the years, says, “Drink your water.”

I take a sip, but it is extremely difficult to drink more than that.

The geometrical codes begin again. I invoke the Universal Law of Oneness, demanding that it stop. Finally, it does.

I ask Aya to remove all the codes already infused into me. The codes are forcefully extracted all at once. It’s painful and overwhelming. I begin to projectile vomit while silently screaming, “It’s all a lie!” over and over.

One of the hosts holds the bucket. The vomit seems to come from deep within my bowels. The same concoction that went down so smoothly is extremely bitter coming up. For the first time since this began, I have a glimpse of normal reality, but it flickers away quickly and I am again back in Aya’s grip.

Although the geometrical codes have stopped, Aya continues shooting sights and sounds at me—all with a dark, jungle backdrop. I offer everything that is appearing to the Great Spirit for healing. It has become a battle for the control of my mind. It takes extreme concentration on my part to stay conscious, and I am convinced that I must stay awake to win this battle, but it’s difficult because I am exhausted and sleep beckons me like a sultry seducer.

The gentle Voice reminds me to drink water. It takes considerable concentration and fortitude to down another bottle, which is followed by another round of projectile vomiting.

In my haze, I realize that my expectation of Ayahuasca being a fast-track to enlightenment was a mistake. I should not have expected a plant spirit to do the work for me. I hear the Voice say, “Everyone is already enlightened. You did not need to do anything.” I feel foolish.

Suddenly, I think of my husband. I have a vision of him, and see his spirit as my guardian angel. I urgently want him here with me. I mumble to one of the hosts, asking her to call my husband.

I go in and out of reality. It takes incredible focus and determination to resist merging with the dark forces. At this point, I am thankful for my experience with shamanic journeying and healing; otherwise, I would be at a loss on how to deal with this. I ask the hostess to turn on the lights. I am tired of the darkness.

I fall back under Aya’s spell. My father, who passed away ten months earlier, appears with dark entities dancing around him. He wears a green cloak made out of Ayahuasca leaves. He asks me to join him. It is a bittersweet moment because this is the first time I have ‘seen’ him since his death, but I believe the dark forces have shape-shifted into his form to trick me. I’m not sure, so I tell him, “If that really is you, I’m sorry because I won’t join the darkness.” He disappears into the black void.

“It’s all a lie!” blares through my mind, followed by another round of projectile vomiting.

My husband finally arrives, and sits on a nearby chair, trying to assess the situation. He sees me with wild hair, talking nonsense and holding a pail lined with vomit. He is rightly concerned.

I ask him to sit next to me because I need to feel his loving energy. The hosts leave the room to give us privacy.

I tell my husband that I never knew how much I loved him until now. This makes him happy.

I look around the house. The painting on the wall changes again. It displays a devil seducing a woman. I consider that a bad omen and want to leave, but I am unable to walk. I have to wait.

I babble on and on about what I am seeing in the other ‘reality.’ My husband listens patiently, but is visibly tense.

He escorts me to the bathroom. I go in by myself, balancing against the walls and sink countertop. I manage to sit on the toilet and urinate for the first time since ingesting the concoction—a positive sign. I wobble to the sink and wash my hands. I look at myself in the mirror. I don’t look as bad as I feel.

My husband is waiting for me when I open the door, and helps me back into the living room where I sit on the couch. I drink more water. A minute later, I throw up, but it’s less forceful this time.

I stare at the water bottle. The water sends me a vision. I see the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant dumping radioactive wastewater into the ocean, a pipeline leaking over the United States’ largest aquifer, and fracking machines pounding chemicals into water supply. The water tells me they are killing us by contaminating the water—another form of global genocide.

The Voice reminds me to drink more water and I do, grateful that it is unpolluted.

At one point, I tell my husband about the people who keep cueing the images and sounds. He asks who “they” are. It takes me a moment to gather my thoughts. I answer, “They’re aliens who are in control of the Elite/New World Order, you know, the illuminati who control the secret government, which controls the corporations, which control the public governments.”

My husband doesn’t know how to respond and wants to leave since enough of the Ayahuasca has left my system that I am able to walk with help. He gathers my things and carries them to the car. I wait on the couch.

While he is outside, the hosts’ cat comes into the room. She sits in front of me and stares. I believe she is a fairy helping to balance the home’s energy. Her ears look like wings.

My husband returns and sits next to me. The cat stares at him, then walks closer. She sits up and puts her arm on the coffee table like a human would. My husband mentions that he has never seen a cat do that. I tell him the cat is fairy. He says it is time to leave.

It is now 1:30 a.m., and the hosts have long-since retreated to their bedroom. I text them to let them know I am leaving. My fingers stumbled over the keyboard. Autocorrect makes the message come together. I wait a minute. There is no response so I leave.

My husband escorts me outside. The warm breeze is refreshing. Arm in arm, we go down the stairs to the car.

He drives slowly back to the hotel. It feels so good to be back in this reality.

We pull into the hotel parking lot, which is full, forcing us to park on the other side. My husband holds my arm as I totter across the pavement holding a bucket, looking like a bad drunk.

Back in the room, I’m afraid to fall asleep—afraid that I will be pulled back into that psychotic hell. I keep drinking water. I suspect that I have nodded off, but I am not sure. I go to the bathroom again, grateful to urinate more of the substance out of my body. This repeats every 40-60 minutes, leaving me with very little sleep.

The next morning I feel terrible. We drive to a restaurant down the street for breakfast. A waitress comes to our table, warily looks at me and asks if I need coffee. I manage to eat, although I am nauseous. Little did I know that the nauseousness would continue for weeks.

Back home, I meditate everyday, but it isn’t until five days later that I feel my elusive connection to the Divine return. I am relieved when the loving energy flows through me, finally breaking through my barrier of fear.

During the meditation, I feel prompted to shamanic journey to ask for a healing for myself. A spirit guide and angels immediately greet me.

They perform an aura cleansing and remove my damaged energetic body, replacing it with a new one. As they burn the old ‘body,’ a black smoke rises and manifests into a dark entity, which tries to attach to my new energetic body. The angels prevent it, but the entity keeps trying. Finally, one of the angels seals the entity inside a jar, stating he will take it to another realm where the entity won’t be able to find me.

I return my attention to the spirit guide and remaining angels. I apologize for allowing myself to become vulnerable to the dark forces. They assure me that we all make mistakes and to forgive myself.

In hindsight, I should have meditated or prayed to ask whether Ayahuasca was right for me. And when I read that Ayahuasca is traditionally consumed at night, I should have realized that it might elicit spirits from the dark side. I went in expecting love and light, and instead journeyed to where the angels dare not tread.

Although it goes against popular opinion, I do not recommend Ayahuasca. I believe the risks are too great. I think its connection to the dark side is real, and that Ayahuasca is capable of producing images of “enlightenment” to entice people to ‘dance with the devil’. Despite my belief that the dark force is an illusion, I know that all thoughts have power and are capable of trapping us within their archetype belief system—derailing us rather than helping us.

While I consider the Ayahuasca experience to be the worst night of my life, I have managed to glean several positive things from it. First, I came to realize how much I love my husband. Second, my meditation sessions seem more intense, probably because I appreciate the divine connection more than I ever did before. And finally, I am much more conscious of my thoughts, and focus on being in the present moment because that is the closest we can get to eternity within this marvelous and sometimes dark illusion called life.

Additional thoughts: Aya, the plant, offers access to another dimension with both the potential for divine connection and negative entity contact. When I shamanic journey, the spirit realm offers amazing contacts with spirit guides, angels, totem animals and other divine helpers, but there are negative entities who appear on occasion. The negative entities’ presence does not mean I’m doing something wrong — usually it’s the opposite. They want to sabotage the healing in progress.

We have free will. That means there will always be opportunities to choose between love or fear. I have my totem animals to guide me in the spirit realm to ensure I am at the right level and working with divine helpers. If a negative entity tries to trick me by appearing as a divine helper, my totem animals will warn me. During my Aya journey, I had wandered into another dimension without my divine helpers and the entities used this opportunity to attack. I do not wish this experience on anyone and only offer my opinion so that others will be prepared.

For more insights, read the post The Ayahuasca Party Crasher.

64 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Ayahuasca

  1. Hey Elizabeth, thanks for sharing your aya experience. I’m glad you were able to find positives out of your experience. It seems sometimes the universal spirit of oneness will revel certain aspects of the universe to us when there is an important message to be gleaned from the experience. After my mystical experience, I re-read the book of Revelations in the Bible, only to realize that even a loving God has to show us those things which humans may deem as less beautiful or frightening. You may recall that nearly every prophet, saint or ordinary person who was visit by angels or spirits of the dearly departed had themselves thought they had died because the things they were seeing were so frightening. My mystical experience certainly frightened me for the first portion but my meditation practice had taught me simply observe my reactions without attaching value to those reactions.

    Stay strong. It seems to me that the things you saw were revealed to because of your strength and the spirit’s confidence that you would relay those things with truth and clarity. Our tendency to what to only see the pretty side of spirituality could be a huge disservice to our spiritual growth. You had the strength to survive this experience and share it with the rest of us. Thank you! You’ve inspired me to write about my own experience. Love & Blessings 🙂


    • I spent 30 years exploring the religions, then shamanism. I was evolving meditations, digesting spiritual knowledge from every sphere, and taking college physics, cosmology, philosophy, and psychology classes in an effort to bring the wisdom together into an expanded consciousness and heightened awareness. I was successfully modeling a parallels between ideas shared between Eastern mysticism and discoveries in quantum physics relative to cosmology and the structure and function of the universe. I explored sacred geometry, the occult and magic, numerology, etc. Like you, I was going down a path where ideas like a Christ consciousness where rolling off my tongue in characterizations of my beliefs to others. But then I discovered I was wrong about everything. I found the correlations in the “forbidden knowledge” of the 1st Earth age that evolved to the days of Babylon. I discovered the paths that the remnants of fallen Babylon took to manifest as the new religions all around the world. I discovered the connection in the faith by your works systems and the fall from Eden in a desire to know all that God knew. All of the knowledge on this planet would seem to be part of a larger mystery pointing back to “source”. That “source” is Lucifer, not Jesus. I would urge you and others to investigate the idea of “Scientism”. Check out the Youtube lecture “The Philosophical Corruption of Physics.” Although I am not an SDA, I stumbled upon the lecture/ sermons of an SDA pastor who focuses on revealing the Occult ties to most all modern systems along with tracing them back through the ages. It filled in the gaps that I had not had time to research entirely myself. Also on Youtube, he has 1 lecture titled “The Mark of Cain” and another titled “The Wine of Babylon”. I suggest and even pray some here will look at these resources and consider them.

      I have friends that were going deeper than I. They began going in to meditative trances for a couple of days at a time. I found different friends that did this at different times in my life had near identical experiences. They did not know of each other, yet both experienced a progression where they were ultimately contacted by “ascended masters”. It evolved until they ultimately met the “serpent”. This is the same ancient serpent from the garden, the one the Ayahuasca shamans speak of, the same you will find in all of the traditions. The knowledge the serpent gives amounts to being spiritual steroids and they have the same impact on the energetic body as regular steroids have on the physical body/ mind. The process of opening the chakras is opening firewalls whereby these entities can “merge” with you and give you “power”. The opening of the crown chakra is the final step where the serpent can access the seat of the soul, as depicted in the Pharaoh head dresses. We prize knowledge above all, but few stop to think about whether it has really improved anything. I am not saying it is terrible or evil. It is necessary. When we chose the serpent, he put the logos in our heads and it destroyed our frequency to a degree we can no longer “see” in that way. We can only have faith in the direction given by Jesus and trust that it is guiding us through the serpent’s mine fields.

      Final thoughts. In the new age and occult traditions, they like to reference the “double slit experiment” to show how man is “magic” and how his awareness and will can bend the universe. What it really reveals is what happened in the garden. We had everything but God warned not to eat of the tree of knowledge. This was before we had the logos, so I take it man could communicate and knew things innately. He was instinctively attuned with his world and his creator. But when he fell for the temptation of knowing how it all worked, which implies to also take control to some degree, he could no longer see the light that was God. The double slit experiment revealed how when we try to KNOW light, see what it is made of, it shed the “God” quality, an energetic trait, until we stop looking. Then it returns. When we build systems f knowledge based on this form of observation, we judge the parts of things minus their spirit or their God qualities yet presume we are dealing in wholes. We form systems of understandings based on these observations. These systems presume the whole will be the sum of these parts.

      Drugs open us up to these spirits. They are deceptive, they are beguiling, and they want to deceive you into surrendering your identity and opening your soul for their use and abuse. Most things you have been taught to believe are not true. This starts with quantum mechanics and extends into the macrocosm. Tesla knew more than Einstein, but neither of them knew anything. Trust Jesus. Not “Christ Consciousness”. That concept is wholly Luciferian. It goes back to Gnosticism and Simon Magus. As does simulation theory, the big bang, and these new age pantheistic ideas about us all being 1 consciousness, etc.


      • First, thanks for such an in-depth comment. I am also interested in quantum physics. I believe that the essence of God is in every particle (hidden like you said), but still a thread that can be found to lead us back home. You are correct that the “source” hides itself when observed. I suppose it’s its way of saying you cannot grasp the power, but rather must surrender to it.

        Although you have your reservations about Oneness, I do believe that we are one Mind that has splintered itself into all that is in the universe, except for a few exceptions, such as angels.

        You mentioned Babylon, Eden and new religions. My latest novel “Of Stars and Clay” dives into the origins of the biblical “God” and the integration of the “serpent” DNA. You might want to check it out. If you buy the paperback, be sure to buy the most recent edition (ISBN-13: 978-0990349273) because Amazon is selling unproofed copies.

        Regarding the Kundalini, I have often wondered if it was a good thing. The reason for my doubt is because one time, back in 2006, I was at a Reiki share (my first). I didn’t know about the Kundalini at that time, yet I felt this snake rise from my root chakra and slither under my skin and up my belly, but when it reached my heart chakra, it abruptly stopped, leaving me with, what can only be described as, terrible heartburn. I have always wondered if my heart chakra had purposely stopped it to protect me.


        • First off I appreciate you telling us about your experience. I’m very glad you didn’t give in to the demonic, very wise I think! What if you had done? Who knows what demonic entities that had gotten attached? I’ve heard that it’s tricky to clear oneself even if one is an energy worker. The more deeply rooted the trickier I imagine.

          I’ve heard about the moving-of-snake sensations with kundalini yoga before so it’s interesting that you mention kundalini too, it appears to be quite a common experience. But you mentioned reiki in the same context like it wasn’t kundalini yoga exactly. Was it a merger between the reiki and yoga modalities that you tried, or witnessed?

          From what I hear, it appears that kundalini probably opens one up for intrusions to demons (via the chakras?)!
          I’m worried about yoga in general, and kundalini and tantra in particular (especially kunda.), being so popular. But I’m also very suspicious of other eastern types of modalities (like reiki) and belief systems (like hinduism).

          I don’t have any personal experience with kundalini. However, I did have a face-to-face session once with a man who practiced his ”own” adjusted form of reiki (taught to him by his ”guides” I assume).
          He isn’t nationally well-known here in Sweden but he has got good reviews in the area where he works and lives and I’ve never heard anything negative about him.

          I was being harassed (and still am) by demonic entities and although I never thought reiki was a powerful enough tool to completely free and heal me, I was hoping the reiki man could alleviate the problems so that the entities at least couldn’t attack me anymore (at least not for a while, until I had perhaps found more help somewhere else).

          When I was lying down and reiki man supposedly channeled healing, I was feeling how a negative entity was starting to lift a bit upwards, away from my genitals. However, the reiki man didn’t remove it and after the “healing” ended the negative entity/energy just dropped back down (on one of the lower chakras maybe? I don’t know how these attachments work exactly). The reiki man looked happy/blissful throughout the healing and was completely content with the situation, as if he either didn’t realize that he didn’t actually remove the entity or that he never knew what he was doing in the first place.

          We talked for a little while directly afterwards but he didn’t mention anything about the attacks or any removal of entities (aside from a supposed arrow in my chest).

          If he worked with good guides or angels then he probably would’ve fully removed that entity I mentioned, and also the other intruding energies or I would’ve had an explanation as to why they wouldn’t remove the dark energies. The inappropriate sensations were supposed to stop now that the supposed arrow was gone. This never happened.

          If my anecdote isn’t convincing enough, I urge everyone interested in reiki to watch
          It’s about a Scottish former reiki master healer who wondered why her clients, although feeling better, didn’t get completely healed.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I came from a similar background of spirituality and my grandmother is Quechua from the Andes so Ayahuasca is in my lineage and works very well for me. I’m just curious why with your obvious preparation and experience that you didn’t work with a qualified indigenous Shaman with a lineage to facilitate your first journey with the plant? As you know the Shaman specifically holds the space with sacred music throughout the evening to guard and protect our psyches from any dark energies and yes they will see them and intervene on our behalf. Your hosts left you at 130? That doesn’t sound like a safe container for the work at all. Ayahuasca is capable of all the beauty you described at the beginning of the article and I hope the readers dont dismay to the point of not working with this amazing plant that I feel is a gift to us in this time and in this present world darkness. But yes I do hope it’s a cautionare tale to know as much as you can about the Shaman and the facilitators involved before ingesting the medicine.
      Peace And Love

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for this reply
        That was exactly my question too
        I have only drank a handful
        Of times but the more I drank the more it has become immensely clear to me the power of the icaros and the voice that carries them.


      • This comment about the container/shaman is so true. Aya’s visions have life-changing consequences both positive (newly realized love, etc) and challenging (physical difficulties, upsetting images/psychic experiences that may linger, etc.), but speaking as a person who has experienced her demons, and they can be terrifying, I know that even the demons leave gifts. Don’t do this medicine – for it is a medicine, not a drug, let us be absolutely clear about not diminishing this powerhouse substance by stuffing it into that dirty word “drug” – if the container and the shaman are not both safe, loving, and experienced, don’t do it! It is not safe to toy with Ayahuasca. Much more care is required than you gave it. I’m sorry to hear of your experience. My own experiences have been super-challenging as well, but without a doubt there has been unbelievable healing, including the healing of my intractable lower-back problem which resisted all other treatments for years. I threw up all night, and I fully agree with you it was the worst night of. my. life. but in the morning, to my amazement, my back didn’t hurt, (neither did my knees, and my vision improved in one eye!) That one healing alone gave me a new lease on life.

        Please also, don’t listen to the Christians who try to superimpose Jesus (blessed be His name) and a Western mindset on this medicine. Ayahuasca comes from the jungle. She is much more deeply comprehended by indigenous people than academics or evangelists, who so often fundamentally misunderstand. She is far beyond concepts. She partakes of and is rooted in sacred mystery. She will take you and bash you against the rocks. She will throw demons at you and make you puke like you’ve never puked before. She will show you breathtaking beauty that lives forever in your heart. She will fill your heart with lasting love for your husband or wife, or with insights into your child’s heart, or with visions of all the times you turned away from opportunities for intimacy with those you love. And she has these powers in infinite variation.

        If you do go to her, go with mindfulness and care: go with veneration, honoring, humility, & love. Many blessings to all of you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Scary read but one that I can definitely relate to.

    Ayahuasca is definitely not something for the faint hearted. Important to remember not to cut corners or opt for cheaper alternatives. Proper care and supervision are of paramount importance. This is powerful stuff and the potential consequences are devastating as has been reported in Press in recent years with deaths that could have been avoided.

    For me though, it was the single most powerful, scary, emotional, exhilarating, educational episode of my life, and one that I’m personally glad I did.


    • Me and my fiance did first San Pedro and than Ayahuaska with an Andean and Amazonian Shamans a few days ago. It was safe and enlightening journey but the Shamans helped a lot. I was able to overcome and relese myself of some of my fears and old emotional blockages and I found the love that’s inside of me and every person in the world.

      I must say that doing this kind of medical plant journeys should be done with much care and always with a person that really knows the plant and can help and protect you through the journey. In our case we did it with shamans that hold and protect the tradition for many generations. The journey itself helped me understand myself a lot as well as some parts of the universe that I had questions about.

      I think every person has an inner compass that can tell if the Shaman is coming from love and light and the conditions are proper. If you go to do Aya(or any medical plant) and don’t know your inner compass or you feel that the Shaman is not experianced or is not coming from love, please consider if this is the right thing to do at the moment.

      Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing the perils and dangers of using medical plants without the proper guide to show you the path and help you overcome the heavy energies. I hope you give it another chance if that is your path. It can be trully amazing and enlightening journey.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am happy that your journey was loving. I realize that I only saw a part of me (fear) during the journey, and that I did what only what one can do when faced with it…forgive it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Good that you realize that. It takes a bit of facing and taking responsibility for that fear to resolve it. Recapitulation, vipassana, shadow work etc. should be tools of every shaman.
          With respect


  3. It is very good you published your story with Ayahuasca. It shows 2 important things: should never ever do without a ritual, which is intended to keep not so light beings away.2.or without a experienced shaman or someone who has taken many times.
    I have done it 4 times. I only saw the lighter side, DMT geometric patterns, higher self messages, and even mother Aya. But the last time my guardian angel told me she was the “mother aya”. And that I was a person who is already in contact with Gaia, the elementals, and the spirit world, although I cannot see, only feel them. She also told me I should trust my intuition and learn healing in order to help people, including the ones taking Ayahuasca. I myself should not take it anymore for a while, until I trust my intuition.
    I cannot say it is my imagination, my higher self, or my angel saying those things. But one truth I believe; the drug content of Ayahuasca can fascinate people and keep them away from the real spiritual path, which requires discipline and hard work. Ayahuasca is a great tool for drug addicts and people out of touch with their higher selves. However it also opens gates to other realms that can be really dangerous. You were lucky you had your knowledge to help you out. One thing about Ayahuasca is that you are supposed to feel great after the effect. The fact you did not raises my suspicions that the people administering the Ayahuasca do not have the permission to do so, and are prey to tricksters and not so nice spirits. I am glad you had your guides to help.


    • Thank you for your detailed and insightful comment.

      You mentioned that finding an experienced shaman or person who had taken it multiple times would help. There are a couple of problems with theory. First, the host that gave me the Aya had eight Aya experiences. This was of no benefit to me. And, I could have picked up some of their issues—this is a common problem when doing healings—or I could have picked any number of entities roaming the universe. I foolishly opened myself up to dark energies. A good-hearted, experienced shaman would have been highly beneficial at holding a sacred space or talking me through it, but fortunately I had my spirit guides to help. I did set intentions and ask for guidance through the process, but I didn’t ask whether I SHOULD do it. A small but extremely important detail.

      One thing for those considering experiencing Aya is “not all experienced shamans are working with the divine,” especially those in Peru where it’s estimated that nearly 60% of them practice black magic. This is important as more and more people head down to Peru to attend workshops.

      And finally, I believe Aya WAS a sacred plant, but her collectively consciousness has been contaminated by the rush of damaged people looking for a quick fix and the shamans who practice black magic. I personally wouldn’t trust the advice and/or images shown during an Aya experience. Anything that is perceived is always a distorted version of truth. Truth can only be known, not heard or seen.


      • Hi. I think the sacredness of the plant is overrated anyway. Ayahuasca is a spiritual tool. How you use the tool is up to you. One of the things it does very well is bring up hidden and blocked energies out of your system. So going in to dark places is normal. But without a proper context and guidance, it can attract very negative energies that are not yours. Please do be aware that Ayahuasca has a history of dark uses that stretch back further than just the last 80 years when the westerners came in to contact with it. It has been used for war, hunting and all sorts of activities by different cultures. Not all shamanic culture has been or is very enlightened. My advice for any Ayahuasca use is to go to a very experienced shaman or curandero that has some knowledge of contemporary therapies. The ideal mix is someone who has traditional training, but also a western context in psychotherapy.


        • Hi, thank you for your comment, Michel! Indeed, not all shamanic cultures, nor “shamans” are enligtened. I use entheogens with a respect for my own, but ayahuasca is very special and certainly needs somebody to support you, the person who mixes this two: curandero and contemporary therapist. I’m really lucky to know such a person, she is western psychoterapist, clinical psychologist with a transpersonal approach and she knows how to “find” people who got lost during sessions. She holds a lot of aya ceremonies in Portugal, with very high level of set and settings, which I prefer than taking in a jungle (I have an experienced ones). They always use banisteriopsis caapi, not other inhibitors, and sometimes it is enouth to have a very profound spiritual experience without dmt part. Anyway, in my opinion, what happens whet we meet this “dark side” of Ayahuasca is more meeting another oportunity to just LOVE ALL WHAT IS… Because the only dandgerous thing in the world is our own fear. We are so powerfull that we do not need to be guarded even if we choose to be only vibrations of light oureslves. What can do darkness in the presence of pure, loving light? It can only transform or dessapear! This is not theory, this is my own experience. Blessings to you, Elizabeth!


          • Hi Pablo. Thanks for your reply. Loving Intuïtelligence is crucial! Could you tell me where I can get in touch with this person in Portugal that you mentioned? You can mail me at Adelaar… (fill in the @ yourself). Love and lightness!


        • I am very intrigued with Aya, have done a lot of research and consulted with someone who has had numerous experiences with the plant.

          For best results it seems finding the proper venue and facilitator is key and someone knowledgable of east/west culture and therapy seems highly beneficial. I have never come across anyone like that do you have any recommendations?


  4. Hi Elizabeth,

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with Ayahuasca. I have to say that I was not surprised by the outcome of the nightmare based on the telling of the story. I would like to offer my thoughts in response to the negative perception following the experience, and although I will be critical, I hope that you do not perceive this as a personal attack rather food for thought, professional criticism and positive reflection. First, I would like to state that I believe ayahuasca is a powerful medicine capable of providing both a healing and positive spiritual experience if approached in the proper manner.

    In my personal and professional opinion the experience described was set up from the beginning to be a difficult one. I did not read anywhere in the story about the very important step of preparation (other than going to the beach on the same day) and I will not assume that you did not prepare, but for the sake of other readers it is important to note that proper preparation includes a special diet of bland foods and mental reflection that includes long periods of personal self-analysis and low physical activity in quiet and comfortable surroundings. Most Curanderos and Ayahuasqueros recommend 5-7 days of preparation and a special diet called “la dieta” and even longer periods are better. While the medicine can be served after only one day of preparation it is not advised as your body needs to be detoxified beforehand. Another point to note is that exposure to sunlight oftentimes cause a negative interaction. From a physical perspective this is mainly due to the possibility of dehydration in combination with the medicine.

    Another point to note is that it is very important to work with the medicine with experienced guides, shaman, therapists in the right setting. Although, I do believe going to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca is an exciting and amazing experience, I am not a purist in the sense that I believe you must drink it in the jungle where it is from. In fact, my first experience with the medicine was in the basement of a home in the Chicago suburbs. I believe the medicine can be offered anywhere as long as the setting is appropriate and the guide is experienced. Please note, I also did not say that the guide needs to be a shaman, but a person who has been properly trained. Home brewing does not qualify in my mind as proper training. A prior commentator used the phrase that it is “important to remember not to cut corners or opt for cheaper alternatives.” I could not agree more.

    As a point of clarification it is mentioned that ayahuasca is illegal in the US. To be more accurate people should understand that the vine itself Banesteriopsis caapi is not illegal in the US. The ayahuasca brew which contains a DMT component however is illegal with the exception of the use of ayahuasca in a religious setting via Santo Daime or the Uniao do Vegetal under the same dispensation offered to the Native American Church for the use of Peyote as a religious sacrament. Both of these syncretic religions listed above use ayahuasca as a spiritual sacrament and its use is legal during religious ceremonies.

    Another important part of the ayahuasca experience, that I found missing in the story is the ritual component. Ayahuasca shaman prepare a sacred space, they blow tobacco and use perfumed water to ward off evil spirits and provide protection prior to entering into the spiritual realms which have both good and evil spirits. Shaman are also present throughout the ceremony to continue to work with people, diagnose disease, protect against evil spirits and guide their “patients” through the experience. They also keep relatives and friends far away as their presence offers no additional benefit and are usually considered a disturbing presence. One can garner a sense of love for a spouse whether they are there or not, for example. Having a proper shaman by your side at the juncture that you started feeling the darkness would have offered the opportunity to turn the experience into one of light. I was horrified to read that by 1:30 am your hosts had “long since” gone to bed. When you needed a guide the most, they objectively abdicated their responsibility of providing a safe environment and promise to care for you by leaving you to fend for yourself. Even worse that your husband was allowed to be there. He, with his best intention in mind, wanted to leave and took you away from the house in the middle of the experience. Most of the important insight that comes from ayahuasca occurs during the processing period following the intense visions, and then over the days and weeks that follow. He of course did not do anything wrong and was only trying to help, but since he was inexperienced his solution was not a good one. Shame again on your hosts to allow this breach of trust.

    It is recommended that after drinking ayahuasca that you continue your “dieta.” The longer the period following working with the medicine the better as you remain in a reflective mental state and do not introduce toxins to your system – I hope that you did not drink coffee when it was offered? Nor anything processed or heavy, spicy or salty or sweet or fatty foods – because this would be a strong indication of why nausea persisted for two weeks following the session?

    I am very happy that you have regained your spiritual connection with the divine in a good way, but I would recommend that you refrain from advising that ayahuasca is “risky” and “connects one to the dark side.” While this is a true statement based on your personal experience there are strong reasons why it happened (all listed above). I would suggest that a better approach, one that would truly help people who are thinking about working with ayahauasca, would be to warn people about working with ayahuasca in home brew environments that do not offer the medicine in a proper way. Which, is in fact the experience described above. Had the circumstance been different, I believe the outcome would have been perceived as a positive one.

    I would also suggest that you reconsider your position and seek out a proper channel for working with the medicine in a proper way. In reading the article I do find that in a round about way the experience did provide significant catharsis that cannot be discounted.

    I don’t believe there is a legitimate shaman out there that would say working with ayahuasca is easy or fun. It is hard work and often times difficult and un-fun. It is not a happy “drug.” It is a teacher plant that has significant lessons to be taught and learned. Some of life’s best lessons are the difficult ones and it is wrong to expect that the experience is going to be a rosy one. Beginning an ayahuasca experience with an “expectation” is a setup for disappointment. A proper shaman would advise that one needs to have intention without expectation. But in the end it is the teacher plant, the cosmic serpent that will ultimately decide. And what did mother ayahuasca teach in this case? I think a wonderful lesson that you expressed so eloquently in the final paragraph of the article, that in your words….

    “I came to realize how much I love my husband. Second, my meditation sessions seem more intense, probably because I appreciate the divine connection more than I ever did before. And finally, I am much more conscious of my thoughts and focus on being in the present moment, because that is the closest we can get to eternity within this marvelous, and sometimes dark, illusion called life.

    This is beautiful and I think aya did it’s work very well…



    • Absolutely agree with Seti. One must definitely be in a protected environment with experienced Shamans (and those who know what they are doing) that cleanses the area and provides protection during the experience. The longer your are on a bland diet the better. Medications can also have a great affect so it is very important that you know what medications interfere with the use of Ayahuasca. The benefits of using Ayahuasca under the right circumstances can be life changing. .

      I agree that Mother Ayahuasca calls to one. I actually had very little knowledge of what would happen or why I was being called to Peru and was turned down twice before I was accepted on the third try. I had to go.

      However, the decision to undergo this process certainly isn’t to be taken lightly and preparation should be taken seriously. If one isn’t called to Mother Ayahuasca, they should not do it.

      Also, in reading your account, It also sounds to me like you took a tremendous amount all at once. In my experience, we were only given a small amount and then later asked if we wanted more and were closely watched during the entire ceremony. We also went through a cleansing with other plant medicines over a 15 days period.


      • I think the atmosphere and accompanying people impact the journey. In addition, one must be very careful who the shaman is. Many South America shamans practice black magic, so research your teacher! Thanks for the added details!


    • Hello,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this medicinal plant, i just came back from Peru after trying Ayahuasca, it was the most intense experience of my life!

      I am a very sensitive person and i pick up energies very easily, i realise i put myself in a very vulnerable and dangerous situation straight after drinking it, i can tell that the shamans present in the ceremony were absolutely amazing, i couldn’t pick a better place to do it! Serious and safe.

      The visions i had were absolutely disturbing, evil spirits trapped me and didn’t wanted to release me, i found out it was a test to see how strong my love could be, finally i got pulled and saved from Ayahuasca herself, she present herseld and spoke to me, she welcome me to her world and she said i had enough for that night. I felt peace, but as soon as the memories from the journey started to pop up in my head i couldn’t stop crying for over 2 days.

      On my second ceremony things went smooth, and i got to know a protective entity, i got shown three different plans, the dark, the universe and the heaven, i was at heaven’s doorway and this entity called Pedro teach me how to deal with darkness and so with any problem in life… Mother Ayahuasca came to me again and asked me to drink more in other to show me more of the universe, although i physically couldn’t handle it and i was scared to see all the darkness again.

      On my last ceremony dark entities appear again and i got scared again, i tried to see beauty and love but somehow i was to scared to face it, to face my darkest sides, i was out of the effect already since i haven’t drunk much, but then i felt the real danger of it, i had a blockage on my stomach going up and down taking care of me, i couldn’t stand up, it was reacting to icaros of the shamans like fighting against it. I was conscious but suffering i couldn’t move, i took over an hour with both shamans singing at my belly, one of then a lady, rub me with aqua florida, i was crying like i never cried before, something was fighting inside of me to stay, finally she rubbed also my throat and face, she went away the other shaman was singing and after a while i feel something coming up, and i finally throw up, i felt relief and light, one of the shamans left immediately after i trow up, since then i feel like im clean, but im aware of the dangers of the dark side.
      Im glad i was surrounded by serious professional people, and i bellieve i need to go for cleansing from time to time.

      Regarding ayahuasca i dunno if im ready to deal with that anytime soon, i will look for another kind of approach of spirituality and i will make sure my vibration is high!

      It was a very important experience, but i was not totally ready for it.

      My life changed for better, I’m healthier than before, but i took a big risk.


    • Hello, I read your comments and I think you have lot of insights about ayahuasca. As I am so desperately in need of a way out of current bad health condition, I would so much want to try ayahuasca to seek for advice and healing . But I want to take it safe so I want some advice for taking it from experenced people. So may I have your contact information so I may talk to you ? Thanks a lot!


  5. Thank you so much for your wonderful article and sharing your experience. I think it serves as an excellent example and warning of potential misuse and misunderstanding of this most powerful master plant teacher.

    I agree with everything that Seti has said in the previous comment. I would perhaps add that Ayahuasca is an extremely powerful plant spirit and is certainly not to be taken lightly or without respect. She is a sentient being and has been used for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years in various ways to access other realms and dimensions – and no, it is not all love and light. And, yes, she will absolutely kick your ass if you are not reverent and haven’t prepared yourself, the brew, and the environment properly. As mentioned, there were a number of things that contributed to your nightmare. I would say that the most important was that your journey was not supervised by someone who had the appropriate relationship and respect to create a safe space for you. When you open yourself to these realms you most definitely need someone to manage the energies that you become vulnerable to. Ayahuasca is in no way, shape or form a “feel-good drug”. She is a teacher and healer. I personally liken her energy more in line with Kali, the Hindu Goddess Creator/Destroyer.

    Secondly, you must prepare yourself physically and mentally for this experience, which you acknowledge was lacking. Has Madre Ayahuasca called you? Yes, have you asked permission? What do your guides have to say about this? Are you going into this experience with respect and humility? Have you researched the people who are overseeing this while you are going to be so open and vulnerable? Ayahuasca does give you the opportunity to die unto yourself and it does really feel like dying, this is a commonly reported experience. Do you want to heal badly enough that you are willing to die? For me, this act of surrender was key to my own personal healing.

    And, absolutely – you must create sacred space! I, too, cannot believe that your hosts left you alone! That is truly unforgivable and it is telling that these people should certainly not be administering Aya to others. One can have a personal relationship with Ayahuasca but that certainly does not qualify them to administer it to others.

    So I feel that your article is very valuable in educating the public as to what to look out for in this. It wasn’t until recently that people who wanted to heal drank Ayahuasca themselves. It was usually a shaman who drank it and Mother Ayahuasca communicated with the experienced shaman what needed to happen to take care of the situation, and s/he communicated that to the person seeking healing. This was the case with my own first experience and I daresay it was the most powerfully healing of all of my experiences including consuming Aya myself. My own experiences have been very mixed, never pleasant and usually healing on so many levels – I find these transcendental experiences difficult to put into words.

    This is what they taught me that I can share:
    1. Other dimensions exist. I have been there and now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt. I cannot convince anyone else of it through my experience because I can hardly put it into words, this was a deeply personal experience. Being there was so powerful and so overwhelming that it took every fiber of the consciousness of my being just to see it and not have all the molecules that make up my body go flying off into a thousand different directions. There were colors and textures that I’d never seen before, and haven’t seen since.
    2. I lost my fear of death. I surrendered to the possibility that I might die during this journey and indeed, I was in so much emotion pain at the time that death seemed like a viable alternative. I will not be surprised if when I physically die I find myself in an experience similar in some ways to where I went during the first time I drank Ayahuasca myself. It was so incredibly foreign and definitely not of this world.
    3. Ayahuasca is one of my key allies now. I have worked with Ayahuasca 12-15 times over the past 9 years. She came to me, she called me, I resisted for a while and I eventually surrendered to her. I don’t have to drink her to feel her presence now and she is a guardian spirit for me. I am ALWAYS reluctant, anxious, scared – every single time I work with her. I am reverent and open to her teachings. And she works with me for days, even months after I journey with her through prophetic dreams and bringing me teaching experiences that are so unlikely and powerful that I know I am receiving assistance when they happen. She makes me “step up to the plate” and makes me be a better person.
    4. Every single time I drink Ayahuasca it is completely different from the previous times. She never gives me what I expect, she always gives me what I need, and I apparently don’t always know what I need cause I never see it coming and it is never what I thought it would be. And sometimes NOTHING happens during the actual ceremony, and she sneaks in days later when I am not expecting it and something so radically unlikely happens, I know it is her.
    I personally have never had the lovely, colorful, entertaining journeys I have sometimes heard of. And from what I have learned from others, I would estimate maybe 10% of people get this, and maybe it is just what they need.

    Ayahuasca is certainly not for everyone. It can be terrifying, physically exhausting and extremely uncomfortable. I rarely vomit, it seems that this plant so resonates with my body that it is unwilling to let it go, but as the plant matter goes through the lower part of my body it feels like a million daggers going through my intestines. Before anyone considers working with this most powerful master teacher plant spirit I would encourage you to go within and question your motives, educate yourself, do the research on what you are putting into your body and the integrity of the person who will be with you at this most vulnerable of times.

    Lisa Sims


  6. You had nothing but positives out of your experience but tell people to avoid Ayahuasca.
    I’m not sure I get that.
    And I think it’s common knowledge that Ayahuasca can be really hard and terrifying. Well you don’t need much research to find that out.
    I also had by far the worst night in my life on Aya but I’m very grateful for it and it took my life in a much better direction.


    • I believe in learning from my mistakes, but I wouldn’t do it again. I have had much clearer and long-lasting healing and messages through Shamanic journeying, meditation, and just sitting quietly listening to the Voice. My purpose was too let people know that Aya might not be right for them.


  7. Only a good shaman will help you have a great experience with ayahuasca. I’m peruvian and ayahuasca is in my culture, you need to be trained and prepare with rituals and a diet many days before you take ayahuasca…


  8. Something I hear in your description repeatedly which I also perceived in my journeys with ayahuasca and shamanism is the perception of ‘dark energies’ or ‘evil spirits’. This theme comes up repeatedly in your description… the theme of your angels and guides and the light and Jesus, versus these dark energies and evil spirits.

    I just want to comment that if I understand darkness not as something separate but something which is part of the universe, part of God’s creation, it changes the whole meaning of what you experienced. So you are perceiving the experience through your own understanding and experience.

    Darkness is simply the veiling of light. It has no power of its own, it’s only the spirit which has forgotten its own true nature, and chases its tail blindly, thrashing. It appears to us in all kinds of horrible forms and manifests in the world in horrible ways, but it is still only the innocence of a blind child whose eyes are not yet opened… Evil is only to be blind to the truth…. and so we all contain that darkness, that ignorance to some extent.

    So when we have that experience on ayahuasca, or in any meditation, where we go to these very dark places, we can recognize that these are dark places within ourselves. What we see in the world, or in our visions, is a reflection of our inner world. That is why in buddhism they have both the angels and the demons in the temples. It is not to endorse violence or invite ‘bad spirits’. It is to honor that everything is part of creation, and everything has a reason for existing…. therefore, understanding is not to cast out ‘darkness’ but to understand its purpose, and how we awaken from the dark into our true nature, which is pure love.

    We relate to the darkness differently, but it never goes away. It is part of life. With ayahuasca we have our ego that dies and we unite with all the universe… the so-called ‘good and the bad’. It’s this difficult journey into all of creation that can give immense insight.

    Ayahuasca brings us ego death, sometimes thru terrifying and difficult trial. She has ‘moon’ energy – not all sunbeams. After about 30 sessions, I am afraid of her, and will not participate in ceremony until I get a strong call again. I’ve already been to the hospital twice after ceremony, thought I was dying, etc. She confronts us with our own mind, our own ego, our own death… that is not an easy thing for anyone to come face-to-face with… The world is not rosy, is not black and white, is not filled with angels and devils. The world is filled with human beings, with all kinds of living beings that are capable of love and violence… Ayahuasca tears down our constructions, our pretty concepts of good and evil and shows us the stew, the animal stew, and the divinity that we all are living….

    We make sense of the experience in our own way…. Certainly it is good to have a trustworthy guide through the experience, and certainly there are people who through negligence or ill will can cause grave harm during ceremony…. but there is also the potential for healing. It’s not a shortcut… In my experience it’s more like a deeper dive into the rabbit hole of our own humanity and our own divine spark.

    I am glad that you are trusting your own intuition and process… I think that is a good approach for anyone to do. I certainly advise caution for anyone wanting to do work with ayahuasca- it’s very deep work, akin to surgery or a major life event. I have seen people get hurt from malpractice.. it’s really not that different than going to a quack surgeon… anyone who gets involved with ayahuasca should approach practitioners thinking, ‘i am putting my life in your hands’. Are they skilled enough to hold your life?

    In my experience, if you don’t trust the practitioners or the experience, it’s best to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elizabeth, i think you need to analyse your experience and work out what is going on inside of you to make that happen. Ayahusaca has no dark side, well it does but the dark is in you not it. It brings out what you need to see and sometimes it is scary. I have had some really tough ceremonies, some have taken 6 months to a year for me to start to see what she was pointing at. But in the end, it is all things that are inside of me that I refuse to see, part of delusions that was all create with our ego. This is about opening yourself up to the real you. I think your article should be the called ” the dark side of me that ayahusaca bought out”. Ayahuasca is an amazing medicine but you got to open up and really accept what she shoes you and every time see it is a lesson. I think you should do it again but maybe do a dieta, so you have time to sit in nature and quiet and actually figure out what it is trying to show you. I feel like the camara action cue thing maybe had something to do with what you are doing here. Writing an article about it. Maybe she was trying to tell you that this is not about that. This is about a personal journey for you. Not about your career as a writer, healer or in the spot light. She want to strip everything that you relate to the “image” you create of who you are so you just get down to the bones. I don’t doubt you do good work and have good roots in native craft but it is still a label and image, part of entertainment for the camara so to speak. Anyway, i hope my perspective helps a little. Peace….


    • Good comments, Teemu. In my own journey, I have found that “dark side” or “shadow side” is not something that in and of itself is “bad” or “evil”. We use the terms “dark” or “shadow” for events, people, places, ideas, thoughts, feelings, or things that cause us discomfort. I never pretend to speak for others, but for me, I have found that when I avoid all discomfort without even considering what message it might have for me, I am merely postponing some lesson my higher self truly wants for me, of some element of growth that cannot be achieved without facing the discomfort of the thing I consider to be “dark”. I believe this is very much the same thing you are saying. I appreciate your wonderful words of wisdom!


  10. I am loving all the comments that came after your article. I appreciate your openness in sharing such a deep and personal experience, and I also advice you read the responses from the many experienced people that have written here. After a few sessions Aya teaches you very quickly that the path to “enlightement” is not just through seeing and speaking to the divine, but actually “illuminating” hence “throwing light” into our most dark places, those where we dare not ever recognize as our own… And from what I read i am horrified by the lack of support and guidance from your “facilitators”.
    The only time i had an extremely hard and face to face encounter with dark energies was when i took Aya without a shaman, there were four of us, we had all taken Aya before, but were still very innocent and the following things happened:
    One, I took too much Aya at once.
    Two, it quickly connected with death, as such a loving all embracing reality that coexists with life. That IS life.
    Three, my friends got scared because i was crying a lot, (from cleansing so much grief from my past).
    Four, in my mind i got scared it might be too much, and started trying to control the session, “negating” the experience and turning my heart away from what Aya was showing me so openly.
    As soon as i got scared, the whole experience became covered by a dark dark veil that dropped on top of all of us. we were all scared. and it was so dense.
    There was no “ending” to the session, just trying to get distracted from what was happening and being afraid it might suck me in. I think my friends didnt know how to deal with what was happening and i was completely taken over by the experience.
    The next day I felt also sucked in this horrible sadness and darkness in my spirit that I contacted a shaman i trust very much and he performed protective chants to cleanse me from the bad energies that had entered my energetic body. The veil was lifted, i felt so much at ease, rested and connected to life again.
    I understood that at the precise moment I turned away from the experience, let fear in, and judged it as “dark” , I was actually turning it into exactly that. And it got out of our hands.
    I would never- ever- do another session without a qualified Curandero, shaman, or ayahuasquero in the setting that is required. (the shaman is next to you until the session is officially closed energetically and makes sure you are ok to sleep).
    So the part i value in your article is that it clearly shows what can easily happen if you take Aya without the proper guidance. I just wouldn’t judge Aya like this after doing only one session, in the wrong setting and specially if you are not willing to see that what she was showing you might actually have been very enlightening…


  11. Thank you for sharing. I am happy to hear that you seem to have recovered from this traumatic event, I am sorry that it had to be that way.

    From my experience it is most essential to drink with a facilitator or shamanic practitioner that knows how to navigate the space with you and for you, this can often times determine the difference between a challenging yet therapeutic experience or a traumatizing experience. From what you have written it seems that this couple seemed utterly irresponsible in their administration of this very powerful plant medicine. Especially in that they simply “retreated to their bedroom” and did not even respond to your text…the fact that you had to text them is ridiculous in itself! They clearly have no business offering Ayahuasca. Your story is definitely a cautionary tale to all of those seeking to partake in this powerful medicine…one should do extensive research before drinking with anyone about their background, ceremonial / administration methods, and their reputation…as well as asking exactly which plants they are using in their brew and if their source is one that can be trusted. There are many admixtures added to the basic ayahuasca/chakruna…some of which enhance the purgative effect and some of which enhance the visionary effect. It is common practice that Toe or brugamansia is added to the brew in South America which, although it will enhance visions, it can be very dangerous. A sign of Toe in the brew is excessive thirst.


  12. Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree with Seti’s comment about the importance of a guide to prepare you and guide you through the experience and I am sorry that the hosts left you. I would also like to share some of my experience after several Ayahuasca ceremonies. At my second ceremony, I interacted with an ancient dark spirit. Sitting with the spirit, who wanted to talk with the shaman, I learned that this spirit was dark, but not evil. The dark energy needs to exist to contrast the light, and the more you can accept and embrace the dark spirits fearlessly, the more you can accept and embrace the light spirits fearlessly as well. It seems like you have learned that from your description. I wish you the best of luck on your life’s journey.


  13. Pingback: The Ayahuasca Party Crasher | Shaman Elizabeth Herrera Blog

  14. I hope anyone reading Elizabeth’s account will learn from her experience but not be frightened away from this beneficial medicine that has healed so many people over so many centuries, myself included. Ayahuasca is a powerful medicine that needs to be approached with care and respect. I recommend reading “Ayahuasca Safety Precautions” ( Unfortunately for Elizabeth, none of the 5 important suggestions listed in “Choose the Location, Retreat and Shaman Wisely” were observed. Anyone considering ayahuasca, do not underestimate her — read the link (or similar counseling) and be prepared.


    • I am glad you were healed. Anytime we release fear, we are healed in some way (or even completely). However, expecting a shaman to ‘do the work’ for a participant is naive, no matter how gifted the shaman. These shamans have spent years, maybe even a lifetime, preparing. Participants flying to Peru, no matter how carefully they watched their diet, meditated, etc., will not be prepared for this experience, which has the potential to kill. Also, keep in mind that a significant number of shamans in South American practice black magic, so they must choose a shaman very carefully.

      I highly recommend these people learn to shamanic journey instead. In this process, spirit guides will help them heal. This too can be intense at times, but it’s never been more than a person can handle. It’s more of a process of facing our fears without fear, letting the divine love flow through us.


  15. Dear Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your experience. How do you feel about it as the time passed?

    As I felt it in my first Ayahuasca ceremony – there is no right or wrong and you can never get it right. I too had an extremely challenging and dark experience. Although I was blessed to be surrounded by an amazing shaman and supporting stuff of the retreat I went to.
    I was confused, I was alone without any support in my trip, No love and kindness in my heart could spare my suffering. I could not let go easy. What I brought with me is exactly that – “Learning to LET GO”. Whenever it seems bad or good. It is all illusion in the end except – pure and unconditional Love.

    We are like Yin and Yang. We need both: dark and light in order for us to expand. We can’t fully appreciate daylight and life it gives us to enjoy without experiencing the night.



    • As they say, “Time heals all wounds.” I still feel that refusing to surrender to plant spirit was the correct thing for me. There is a big difference between surrounding to a consciousness that isn’t loving and facing/releasing a fear.

      Yes, I agree it’s all an illusion, except for love.

      Still wouldn’t recommend this process to anyone. There are other ways to access the Divine that are less dangerous and traumatic. Releasing our fears doesn’t have to this difficult. We can rely on the Spirit’s power for help. I find that I receive much more help during a shamanic journey than I did with Aya. But there are many paths.


  16. Thank you for sharing your experience. I consume Ayahuasca in another form, using Syrian Rue and Mimosa Hostilis raw, just with water when I do my Shamanic Journeys. From my expedience, the Earth spirit in the plant root exposes and opens us to the complete global consciousness. This consciousness contains the good, the bad, and the ugly of all thought and action on the planet. I honestly don’t think the Earth’s spirit/soul differentiates between benevolent and malevolent forms. It is all part of the fabric of existence here and Ayahuasca opens a person up fully into that current when they consume it. This then is not for every person, and even the most experienced healers and shaman can have difficulties each time they use it to journey. I’ve found that each of my shamanic journeys and spirit work using Mimosa have been useful, although like you, I do sometimes vomit violently. Its all part of the process if one chooses to take that particular path using Ayahuasca. Persons seeking an all-loving divine experience should be wary and very careful if they expect Ayahuasca to provide that instantly to them. They will get more than they bargain for.


  17. HI Elizabeth,

    I just wanted to let you know- I did ayahuasca in the full Peruvian ceremony, with a very respected shaman and hated it! I didn’t have any dark energies- just a horrible physical experience (and yes, I did the diet and am pretty experienced in meditation and other heart work, so wasn’t carrying anything huge), but another friend had a rough time with very dark energies. We both left the retreat after just one ceremony, feeling very strongly that aya was not for us.

    I am happy to do my journeying other ways…

    It’s ok if someone loves it and it works for them. It is also ok if it doesn’t work for others.



  18. Thank you for your comments, and for sharing your experience so eloquently. What you have told me causes me to be very grateful that I was blessed to be involved with people and REAL shamans, loving shamans, experienced shamans, powerful shamans, who were dedicated and trained to guide our group through the Ayahuasca experience in a protected spiritual environment. Your experience shows what can happen when this plant is used in an inexperienced manner, even if your hosts were well-intentioned good people.

    My first experience was, in all honesty, among the absolute worst and absolute best of my spiritual experiences. I found it to be very purifying of both my physical body as well as my emotional self. My next two Aya experiences were far more gentle and sweet.

    I have met and spoken with over a hundred people who have participated in Aya, and this is the first time I have ever heard of anyone having a totally negative experience.

    I do not feel that this plant should be illegal as it is in most of the world, but I do see how easily it can be abused, either through lack of education and preparation, or on purpose. Aya does have a very powerful healing potential, and it would be wonderful if it were legalized in the US and in Canada so further research could be done. Problem is: how do you do scientific research on something that spans the realms of both the physical world and the spiritual dimension?

    Blessings to you!!!


  19. That is a very insightful and complete piece of advice. Thank you for sharing “yourself” in such a raw and honest way. My husband is right now doing his first time Ayuhuasca. What you describe really resonates and gives me confidence. I believe this will be a transformational experience for him. I will refer people to this article when they ask me for advice.


  20. I totally believe that your feelings about the bad spirits where totally accurate. But I’m also certain that everything you had experienced with Ayahuasca, was all inside you. Your demons. it was all the inner you. Please write me


    • Manuel, I agree to some extent. All of life is a projection, but it is also a collective consciousness. Aya definitely exposed some of my own fears, but it also exposed the extent that other spirits will go to prevent people from reaching the light. But then, we all come from the same mind. Round and round it goes! 🙂


  21. Pingback: "The Ayahuasca Party Crasher" by "Shaman Elizabeth Herrera" with special quote by "Stewart"! - Expansions

  22. I had a very similar experience: darkness, geometric shapes, and fear as negative energy felt like it was seeping inside of me. I did it twice, the first time when I was sleep deprived and freaked out by the idea but pressured in to it and the second a few days later in attempt to face the fears from the first. Both, though, ended up being similar scary and traumatic experiences. After the first, I had a new level of anxiety and felt like I no longer trusted my own intentions in life since the trip brought me in to such an evil dark place. After the second I just felt immensely empty. Now over 5 months later, both symptoms persist. Any words of advice or suggestions?


    • Daniel,
      I totally understand how you feel. I remember the fear of opening myself up during meditation, afraid the negative spirits would attack me again. The first thing I recommend for you is a shamanic healing to restore your energetic body. Also, meditation is great to keeping you connected to the divine source. I have three techniques that I highly recommend on blog at: Try these today if possible. Start with the “Giving it to the Spirit” meditation. It will be an effort of recognizing your fears then releasing them for healing. This meditation is life-changing. Remember, nothing can control you without your permission. — Blessed journeys!


  23. Hi Elizabeth! Your perspective of your experience saddens me, as mine was the most beautiful experience of my existence (although dark). In empathy I hope to share a different perspective of your experience:

    First, it sounds like the ‘host’ was not practiced in this medicine at all. The environment you took the medicine seems wack. There is always ceremony first in a sacred environment + the shaman leading the experience is VERY PRESENT, chanting, communicating with the plant and directing your experience to best heal you. The doctor…

    However, it seems like you often are shown the light. But a universal truth told to me in my experience is that light cannot exist without darkness + true awareness is the integration of both at a level that doesn’t affect your vibration. You see what you need to see from the plant, and when you surrender you wake up on the divine side. It sounds like Aya wanted to gift you with the awareness that darkness exists as well + that darkness feeds on your fear. As do the Illuminati. Some powerful messages are coming through that, that you perhaps are meant to share. However, there is always light in the darkness guiding you home. It seems in your experience that light was you, meant to surrender to the darkness, trusting your light would shine through it + dismiss it. Surrender + you will wake up on the other side 💙


    • Thanks for your comments. Fear is a powerful emotion, but ultimately one that I believe is an illusion. Obviously, I still have lessons to learn on fully realizing that.


  24. My experience with Ayahuasca was the worst event of my life. It was a real-life horror movie. I believe it’s probably ok for most people to do Ayahuasca, but for those of us who are spiritually sensitive, in that we see ghosts or have visions, it’s downright dangerous. The ceremony conjures the spirit of ayahuasca, but sometimes that portal invites other, malevolent spirits as well. Here are my notes from the next night and 5 months later:

    Waited around for an hour
    Then served tea one by one
    * Then the songs: the Icaros. These are meant to conjure the spirit of ayahuasca (or whoever)
    * At first: small images here and there of vines growing, flashes of snake images, some computer like hardware being integrated into the walls of my mind, almost like setting up a machine
    * Eventually, after about an hour I went for a second cup
    * Then things got more intense
    * Imagery, the snake
    * Emerging from a hole, then going back in but changing its face to a baby doll as if it was harmless
    * Images of machinery, indicating that all this was somehow a simulation
    * The songs made the images stronger
    * Some images of my family and a reminder that it’s not the house we grew up in but the relationships that matter, even if we are spread around the world. Honor them. Seek them
    * Of my wife: when I asked how I could repair our relationship, keep it healthy , it yelled LOVE HER
    * showed me how she was abused as a child. The house. That her parents said nothing
    * Then vomiting. My body felt like a hollow tube having its inners scraped out
    * Saw the silhouette of a woman at a doorway at a distance. I saw her dropping off a snake
    * The goddess wasn’t even here yet
    * I demanded that the thing that was hiding reveal itself
    * Another consciousness entered me. Hands tingled, new movements. My hands started making rhythmic gestures
    * Fingers tapped against one another
    * I wanted to get rid of this thing but couldn’t
    * It was a snake, I was inhabited by a snake
    * My tongue started flickering around in my mouth
    * I got cold and coiled inside a blanket
    * The shaman’s voice got deeper, meaner, growled
    * Mocking tone. I wanted them to leave but they laughed
    * The office admin’s voice transformed into crystalline perfection with some machine like reverb as she sang
    * I said I didn’t want them here and then they showed me their intention. It was to clean up the bodies and minds so that they could occupy us. Possess us. Eat our souls.
    * I asked why, and it said “we’re hungry”
    * I saw the snake trying to suck my soul, but I was holding it
    * I don’t think they got it but the snake remains inside
    * My body danced rythmically like a snake would to the music. Even my feet were like snakes, bouncing to the beat enthusiastically
    * I realized that this whole thing is a trick and a trap
    * They showed me images of my baby daughter at the San Diego zoo where we saw a snake behind glass the day before and said “we want her”
    * We argued for 3 hours. I said it could not have my soul or her and I wanted it to leave
    * It fed off my fear and anger
    * By the end of the ceremony i was still in the battle and not sure who had won
    * I’m certain that this thing is in me now and I need to get rid of it

    Day 1 after the ceremony: Sunday
    * Sai wanted a 7 foot long toy snake to “be friends” and wanted to kiss me with it. Super weird coincidence?
    * Drank coffee and alcohol during the day
    * Had a heart-to-heart w Anika
    * Felt connected, good
    Day 2 , Monday
    * Felt mildly euphoric in the morning
    * Hooked up w Sharmeen at night
    * Drank 2 glasses of wine
    * Felt bug bites in my sleep, but there were no bugs
    Day 3, Tuesday
    * Worried and distracted about my sanity in the AM
    * Started to think the thing is dying?
    * Continued drinking alcohol

    5 Months later: May 22, 2018
    * No day-to-day experiences
    * I don’t want to drink alcohol anymore
    * experiences in meditation:
    * where I used to see a glowing tunnel in meditation visions, that tunnel now looks like the inside of snake’s throat, as if I’m being swallowed
    * Instead of a vision of beautiful fields or light, I had a vision of swimming through swamp water
    * I heard sudden, mean-spirited laughter – the same as from the ceremony – while deep in meditation

    This thing is still in me and I want to get rid of it. I asked the shaman for help and he minimized my experience and blew me off.


    • Hi Reeling,

      First let me empathize with you: your experience sounds so scary!
      I can relate my own experience to you too, I just had ceremony four evenings ago. I had demonic visions half the night and it was absolutely brutal and terrifying. The snakey thing not so much but for me more like evil monsters. The next day I couldn’t get the evil visions out of my head and it felt like I was being attacked by these demons who would enter my head through portals opened by the medicine and kind of fly around leaving scars on my treasured memories, kind of like throwing black acid on them. I was freaked. Memories are all I have left of both my mother and my father (not to mention my entire past), so to lose them, or worse have them desecrated and ruined would be tragic. I was totally freaked that demons were going to have access into my head on some kind of ongoing basis and ruin, like, everything in my head.
      I was told by an assistant that I had “suffered demonic attacks” and that languaging really helped to freak me out further.
      I hope it helps if I tell you what happened two days later…yesterday. I told my shrink, and great though he is, he couldn’t help. I didn’t expect that he would be able to but after the session I had my finger on the telephone to speed dial my shaman and ask where the hell I could get an exorcism, but I had a lunch date with a dear friend who’s had similar experiences to mine, and to my sheer utter relief, his words were medicine and the visions I was unable to get rid of and the fears of being possessed by demon spirits simply dissolved and disappeared upon hearing his words. I still can see the demon faces if I want to, but they no longer hold fear for me. He told me that the Spirit Medicine never gives anyone anything they can’t handle and if she sent demons it was because she knew that I would be forced to amplify my own ability to be Light and be Love (by being fully freaked I guess! haha) in order to produce the light that would illuminate and dispel the darkness the demons are made of. Perhaps it’s because I have faith in Mother Aya (I’d experienced her undeniable healing in previous ceremonies) that upon hearing his words the demons just melted away. I still feel tendrils and coils at the edges of my mind if I push my awareness out, but he said also that these kinds of experiences or feelings weren’t dangerous or even scary after a while and that it would push me to drop down into my heart even more and produce more light and love to make those final coils disappear as well. He seems to think that our purpose here is just that, to learn how to produce more Light and more Love and that my journey was exactly perfect to push me beyond my own limitations. And in that regard I’d have to acknowledge that the extremely fervent praying (to put it mildly) I did to the Lady of Light the day after the ceremony to help me create the Light I needed to dispel these evil visions from inside my head was indeed the hardest I’ve ever prayed or visualized to grow the Light inside myself. So I can’t say that he was mistaken.
      I don’t know if this helps you at all, but it helped me and I hope it can help you too. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. You are strong!
      Blessings and abundance to you.


  25. Dear Elizabeth, thank you so much for posting this. My first Ayahuasca experience 11 days ago was very similar to yours, and I’ve been trying desperately to make some sense of it. My host was incompetent, and he is unwilling to support me. Reading your story helped me tremendously. The vertigo and dizziness I still feel are now easier to tolerate. Ever so grateful to you. Thank you ❤ ❤


    • Thanks for sharing. I hope you feel better soon. I found that meditating helped tremendously to move past the fears that lingered and connect to the divine.


  26. Thank you for your experience. I recently have come from Peru and am dealing with some of what you expressed but not through the curanderos, they were amazing people. First let me preface this with some information. I am registered Native American; I have done ceremonies with my shaman since I was a child with peyote and mushrooms. This is not new to me. I have been experiencing entities and spiritual things since I can remember. I don’t, at all, think the curanderos did anything negative. This is my second trip to Peru with a vastly different experience than my first trip. I took these trips at the suggestion of my shaman who knows I am dealing with a large amount of very serious trauma from my childhood and young adult life. He tried his best to help but figured Aya was best for this sort of thing, as she is known for it. My first trip was amazing. She did everything she said she would do and started my healing journey but informed me I would have to come back because she can only do so much in three ceremonies. Exactly one year to the date, I returned to do more work. I did 5 ceremonies this time. This experience was different, I dealt with more “entities” both positive and negative with far more communication than the first time. I was able to differentiate good from bad based on what could not enter the maloca during ceremony. During my limpieza on a particularly difficult night where I was being shown my past like a movie reel, the shaman was speaking on opening and closing doors (I speak Spanish). I was seeing the doors that were opening and closing in my mind as he was singing. I was seeing entities crowding around me as if a light had turned on and started flashing and I became a beacon. I think I assumed that when the ceremonies closed, so would the doors and the beacon would shut off. Fast forward, it has been exactly a month and I am now dealing with entities continually coming in and out of my space and I cannot make it stop, turn it off or close the doorway that has been opened to the other side. They are NOT all light and love, even my dog is reacting to the things I am seeing so I know it is not in my head. I see people warning off bad shaman, but this is not their doing. This is a side effect of piercing the veil to the other side that I rarely am seeing spoken about. This is not for the faint of heart, for sure, I am strong spiritually but even I am struggling to deal with whatever I brought back from my trip as well as what is already around me. I am at a true loss as to what to do. Dealing with a singular entity is easy, I can make it leave, being a beacon that calls to them is not what I signed up for!! They don’t warn you about this … only the “light and love” and I am emphatically telling people not to play with things that they don’t understand! You may get much more than you bargained for. Thankful for the past healing, that part was every bit of what I was told it would be!


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