I was invited to a top-secret plant medicine ceremony in early November. I had been wanting to experiment with Ayahuasca, the hallucinogenic tea derived from an Amazonian vine, for the past few years, but the time had never been right. Until now.
At seven o’clock in the evening, I entered the meditation temple and found my place marked with my name and a few cushions, bolsters and blankets for me to sit or lie down.
The shaman/medicine man came into the temple around eight o’clock, after we’d all been cleansed with sage smoke by his female assistant. He gave a short talk. Myself and three others were the only first-timers. The other 16 people in the room had consumed Ayahuasca at least once prior to this occasion.
This medicine man happens to be French, though he spent two decades living in Peru and training under the guidance of the Quechua-Lamistas, Aguarunas and Shipibos indigenous peoples of South America. He’s also a Reiki Master healer and a Sun Dancer of the Red Path, and he has been adopted into the Dakota Tipi and Lakota/Sioux nations.
Still, he is a white man. He’s aware that he is a white man.
As a white woman and yoga teacher, I am aware that I’m not from India (not in this lifetime anyway). I am okay with cross-culture healers.
My husband, however, is Colombian. To him, the idea of a French shaman is a complete oxymoron. Next time we go visit Colombia, we’ll attend an Ayahuasca ceremony with a “real” shaman, and I will surely write about the differences in my experiences.
But, back to the story at hand. Keep reading.