This first huachuma ceremony I ever went to was in the UK. Now that I know huachuma so well, I would say that it has a more gentle approach than ayahuasca, and it encourages connectivity with others, nature, and the world around us, whereas ayahuasca is usually a more introverted experience.
At that first huachuma ceremony, I was full of life and wanted to move, where others wanted to relax and journey inward. Both plants cultivate a sense of universal connectedness, but they do it in different ways.
First of all we went out into nature, and although things started to take on an unusual level of luminosity, it was still very mild. When we got back to the house and imbibed a second time, things started to intensify. We sat in a circle and started drumming and chanting. I found myself wanting to giggle, and felt like a naughty child not taking things seriously.
I found myself giggling at inappropriate times
Then I realised that it was the medicine taking effect, because I found myself giggling at things repeatedly from that point onwards. I was passed a drum, so I started playing. Soon it seemed that I wasn’t moving my hands but the drumming kept happening anyway.
Others picked up instruments and we developed a rhythm that went on for a long time. We seemed to be in a trance. I started singing with one of the other women there, just making things up. I remember thinking that I didn’t seem to have as much control over my voice as I usually did. I kept singing anyway, although it sounded like someone else was doing it.
The myriad drawings and paintings in the house – and everything from the throws to quilt covers, curtains, ornamental arrangements like huge collections of sticks seemed perfectly designed for the experience. The visual experience had started and everything I looked at seemed to be alive.
The detail I could see in every day items was astounding. I remember looking at a towel in the bathroom and seeing every minuscule variation of colours in the fibres. I felt that I got lost in the pattern of the towel for a while. I managed to tear myself away from the towel eventually and went back downstairs.
Everything shone with iridescence
In the lounge, everything in the room seemed to have a silken quality. The curtains looked to be made of pure gold, and everything in the room shone with an iridescence impossible to perceive through the normal filters. All colours had intensified and the range of hues completely surpassed those seen in our every day 3D realm – they were other-worldly.
Every item had a depth of detail that was captivating. I found myself staring at certain pictures on the wall, trying to keep up with the dancing movements and changing colours. It was like living in a hologram.
The medicine made me feel that that my DNA had come alive. Everything seemed to be lighter than usual, and anything white gleamed like a mirror, as if the sun was shining in the room even though it was dark.
The world music that was playing was upbeat and beautiful. The songs seemed to speak to the soul, each one complementing the experience perfectly. Upstairs, others were having a more introverted experience akin to that ayahuasca facilitates, but I couldn’t sit still. I was dancing and laughing. I couldn’t stop moving for hours.
The huachuma highlights the perfection in all things
While I danced, I found myself looking at my own arms moving. They seemed to be doing it of their own volition and seemed very long and thin; the skin seemed to be flawless, like a new-born baby’s.
I realised that the medicine highlighted the perfection in everything. Even the simple fruit we ate tasted unbelievable. I had a profound sense of appreciation for everything and everyone. I felt a deep sense of love for the people in my life, and for myself.
The medicine made it very easy to see clearly all the positive traits in the people I love. This is because there is no place for ego in a plant medicine experience- ego translates as resistance and in an ayahusaca experience that can make for a very challenging process.
Huachuma required no hard work from me
The ayahusaca requires that you face the ego and deal with its nonsense, but with the huachuma, it seems that ego just slips out the back door. I wasn’t required to work on anything, it just infused my entire being with love and appreciation so that I could see my own potential and my human power more clearly.
This isn’t a delusional feeling due to being intoxicated; on the contrary, it just removes the layers of illusion, the false conceptions of the ego and unnecessary fears.
The whole experience lasted around 16 hours for me - it's a long one; a true journey. We started at midday and my visuals didn’t calm down until around 4am. I left the next afternoon feeling exhausted after dancing, singing and laughing all night, but feeling very much in love with life, the present, and inspired for my exciting future.