I like writing about seemingly unrelated topics, which is why today I’m talking about my weekend at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival and my Ayahuasca experience.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ayahuasca (also known as yage), it is medicinal tea made from a specific vine in the Amazon. The tea is taken as part of a shamanic ceremony, and it is a powerful hallucinogenic with spiritual, emotional, and physical healing properties. If you want more information, this site as a lot of great content.
I’ve participated in two Ayahuasca ceremonies, and the first was about a year and a half ago while I was travelling through Colombia with a friend. I’d first heard about it when I was in Peru a few years earlier, but the timing wasn’t right, and I didn’t get a chance to experience it then. In 2012, I went to Nicaragua to do my yoga teacher training, and it was a profoundly healing and spiritually fortifying experience for me. After my training, I was going travelling with a friend, and I wanted to keep the momentum going so we decided to seek out Ayahuasca.
I learned SO much from that ceremony, and it was one of the craziest and best experiences of my life. A lot of it was very personal, and it’s difficult to put a lot of it into words, but there is one piece I want to share today (because it ties in so nicely to my weekend at the music festival ).
Before the ceremony began, we (me, my friend, the Shaman, and two other participants) sat around a campfire and smoked tobacco (I’m not talking cigarettes- this was pure tobacco, which is a highly respected plant among native cultures). While the rest of the group chatted in Spanish, I focused on setting my intentions for the ceremony, one of which was to increase my connection with God and Source energy (throughout this post, I’ll be using words like God, Source, Higher Power, Universe, etc. interchangeably).
After the tobacco smoking, we went inside and drank the tea (it tastes pretty bad, so you basically take it like a shot), and then lied down. It’s kind of like drinking alcohol where you take it, and then it takes a little while to hit you; so you drink it, lie down, and then wait for things to start happening.
As I said, the Ayahuasca showed me many things that night, but as requested, it explained to me how I can be connected to the Universe in my daily life.
I had been looking for a connection in a sort of transcendent or out of body kind of way, and I could not figure out how to get there. What the plant explained instead is this: Although we are all Source energy at our core, we are currently living and experiencing the Universe in the physical reality. Because we are currently in this physical form, our connection to the Higher Power will be experienced in the physical as well, rather than solely in the transcendent or intangible form like I had initially believed. Of course, through meditation and other practices, we can reach a transcendant state, but for everyone, on a regular basis, we can reach God through the physical world.
What I mean is that it’s through the day to day things that bring you joy that you feel God. That feeling that you get when you look at your partner, or your child, or your kitten is much more than a feeling of personal love- it’s actually Universal love flowing through your body. And it can be felt through much smaller things as well. For me, I love my collection of mugs and bowls. I don’t know why, but I feel so happy when I use and look at them, and so what they really are is a physical channel that allows me to experience the love of the Universe.
I hope that makes some sense. The insights you get from Ayahuasca are often understood better when you experience them rather than put them into words.
Now, you may be thinking, okay that was weird. And what the hell does that have to do with a country music festival?
For the last five years, some of my best friends and I have been going to PEI for the Cavendish Beach Music Festival. It’s basically 3 days of day drinking, being outside, and listening to our favourite country singers performing live. This year got a bit disturbed because Hurricane Arthur caused one of the days to be cancelled, but in general, they are three of my favourite days of the year. I just feel relaxed and happy the entire time.
Yeah I have a pretty consistent buzz on, but it’s not that. I think those 3 days- being with some of my favourite people, spending time outside, and listening to my favourite music- is just a giant infusion of love from the Universe. Although we leave the island on the last day with scratchy voices from singing too loud and mild dehydration from too many beers, I feel an overall feeling of contentment and gratitude.
Summer is the perfect time to let this love into your life. Feel it as you lie in the sun, jump into the ocean, and have a BBQ with friends. Don’t brush off those things that make you smile- instead open your heart and really let them in. Being alive, on this planet, really truly is a gift, and when you take time to connect and enjoy the physical world, you allow a deeper love into your life.