The peak of the experience of this enthogen’s retreat at the mountains was a Temazcal ceremony. The medicine to be served a mix of Ayahuasca and San Pedro and rumor had it the shaman would bring tiny amouts of Peyote as admixture (practice i learnt later is used to summon plant allies without neccesarily adding the chemical composition of allucinogens)…. I had never experienced a Temazcal before, nor had i experienced the effects of mixing different plant medicines for that matter.
I could barely handle drinking Aya under normal conditions!! To say I had MAJOR reservations about my ability to go through this would be an understatement and I pondered to the very last minute whereas to back off of this part of the experience; I only didn’t because of strong and specific guidance about this particular event (read about it here) I had been reassured everything was going to be alright and I trusted it.
While pondering all the elements, they seem a bit much, the physical exhaustion from 7 hours exposure to heat and no water seemed like the least issue to be concerned about. I was most worried about meeting a new spirit medicine (Peyote) and having to handle the three master plant teachers at the same time. I spoke with the shaman and warned her about my apprehension, she assigned me to a spot near the door saying I would be less likely to get claustrophobicout there and I would be a bit less hot than next to the burning rocks. Claustrophobia? Right, twenty five souls packed as tight as sardines in a small tipi like structure I hadn’t thought about that one…
The sun was burning high and strong, jokes were made about how lucky we were to enjoy a particularly hot sweat lodge. As per the shamans instructions, I had prepared my prayer/intent beforehand; I had been praying so much before to overcome fears (the number one reason I had started on the Ayahuasca path), however this time I felt it was time for me to pray instead to recover my power. It wasn’t until we were all inside the tipi, the tobacco ashes blown into our nostrils, the (awfully tasting) cups of medicine shared, and the door of the collaboratively assembled tipi closed, that I realized I had missed the darkness. God! how could I have missed it?!? , off course It would be dark! pitch black dark inside!… This threw me off completely, I had been silly enough to overlook it and was SO NOT ready for it…
Maybe it was the effect of the three teacher plants altogether or maybe it was just that I was not mentally ready for the darkness. I freaked out as soon as the effects set in… I couldn’t care less about the suffocating steam, the heat, and the overwhelming chants. I was dying inside because I couldn’t open my eyes and stop the visions. In this darkness the visions had grown as wild, as strong, as fast and as scary as they had never been before and this time, there was no way out, no way to open my eyes and make it all go away. Opening my eyes had no effect, they would continue replaying in the background of darkness. I panicked so badly I was one split hair away of losing it. I concentrated in breathing which was getting harder; I was overly concerned about what others would think of me if I lost it and started screaming (I know!). I laid my head to the ground, concentrated in the chants as they had advised, it didn’t help and if anything it intensified the visions. Above all, I didn’t want to scream or go crazy letting others know about my internal turmoil yet keeping it all in seemed impossible…
I don’t know how long this struggle lasted but by the time the first round of healing had passed (Temazcal ceremonies are split in 4 healing rounds across the 7 or so hours) and I was ready to bail. I was sorry to be the one to break the circle and to abandon the experience, but this had been a mistake; I should have known my limits and not participated. I found comfort in being able to relate this in the privacy of Spanish to the shamans… Sophia the head shaman took my hand and look straight to my eyes saying “don’t let your fears be greater than your will” which had a profound impact in me. It brought me to the knowledge that if I would get out of there, I would be defeated, my intent on reclaiming my power lost… I just couldn’t let that happen, the price was too high and I hadn’t come all this way to let that happen.. I decided to stay and face it… If I had to lose my mind right there in the presence of everyone, so be it.. I would not give up my power again, and I would not leave.
We would have a 20 minutes rest before the “second round” (less heat and some light coming in through the open door). I was dreading it, the thought of coming back to the vision chase, reliving every night terror and panic I had experienced growing up as a psychic kid facing attacks from dark entities. It all had been too much to endure in the first round, and the prospect of several more hours of the same, just the thought of it, seemed impossible to bear. I was sure I would either lose it or pass out. The door was closed and the chants started for the second round. I was soon relieved to know this time it would be different.. The fear (terror would be more appropriate) had been lifted, along with the scary visions, even my breathing had grown accustomed to the steam and I wasn’t suffocating anymore. The songs been chanted were comforting, I sang along and I knew I would make it out fine. I was overfilled with gratitude for the relief and was able to actually enjoy the 3 subsequent rounds; Feeling the steam coming inside me and the purification brought about by the sweating, I gave in and let myself be healed.
Several hours down the road, I came out along with the other twenty five souls, to a campfire in a clear and starry night.. I recognized the San Pedro blast of joy taking over in the striking beauty, the happiness, the pleasant company and the overfilling love. No one would be able to sleep this night (medicine effects) so we all enjoyed together the music, the laughter, the sweet dogs, the amazing food, and the gentle sunrise… I knew a part of me had died earlier in the first sweat lodge round and I felt reborn anew in this sunrise.
In the subsequent weeks I would be given an opportunity to confirm I had “regained my power/ lost fear of facing dark entities” This had been such a paralyzing factor for me growing up. I was static to realize I was no longer hesitant to face them. I even surprised myself, literally chasing after one spirit I discovered had trespassed in my house one night… I know that when facing the spirit world we are exposed to duality (same as in this world) and ever since this healing I have not experienced even a bit of fear remnant and know I can defend myself if needed be. For anyone experiencing anxiety and panick … both irrational feelings that takenover beyond ones own control, its important to know that healing with sacred plants and concious intention is a real possibility.
3 thoughts on “Reclaiming Power – Medicine Temazcal (Sweat Lodge) Healing”
[…] it here) where I was shown the bliss of loving nature and my second one… a mixed plants ceremony (read about it here) where I was able to heal several phobias… and another encounter where he decided to visit during […]
where to start,
Hi there… I can recommend only a aya and or san Pedro shaman down here in Ecuador jungle/Andes respectively…. shoot me a note if you are intrested in the details