Excerpt from a Yage Ceremony

The visions started to come, mellow, gently but with an immense amount of energy colors and knowledge. At this point The Shaman was not human anymore. He didn’t have a single cell that contained the human genome, for now all his sacred configuration had changed. His double strand DNA opened into a flow of universal consciousness where all celestial genes were dominant, expressing, breaking into thousands of chants. His eyes were wide open. His iris transformed into a prism, giving visions, drunkenness, vomit and healing to anyone who dared to stare at him. It was inevitable to hear his chants, blow after blow, with deep inhalations which gave birth to celestial drums. “Boom boom”… every time he waved his hands into the air, atoms in the space became more and more alive, making the space a romantic meeting for all the spirits to gather. He clapped his hands after applying billions of scents, millions of plants and infinite prayers into them. His hands would fly as eagles directly into the foreheads and hearts of his patients, yet they clashed with such stealth and sweetness that harmony arrived instantly. His body was furry, his hands were paws and his chants were snakes that melted in the air simply to raise the frequency, the visions and the healing.

“Soma pinta cielo bendito”… his chants would take over the space, Yage (Ayahuasca/Sacred Plant Medicine) would come and claim this celestial party as hers, giving more drunkenness to anyone who dared not to flow and surrender. Yage was here, and she brought a tiger to heal us. Medicine started to get stronger and stronger, heavier and heavier. Silence came, only blows of air, mother blows of life were heard together with the shades of colors that spread with this moving energy. Tongue clicks were heard at the end of each blow, as if these were trying to calm down the uncontrollable spirits which were about to take the whole space into another dimension. But all dimensions were already here and all there was left to do was to pray and flow. “Vamos a pedir a Dios por fuerza, claridad y sanidad… (We are going to ask God for strength, clarity and healing…)”, he said to the dismantled patient he had just healed. As his kind words of sweetness came out, deep silence overtook the whole ceremonial space, tranquility came back only because Juanito’s voice was heard. Now we knew more than never that he was here with us, with Yage, with a tiger and God steering the whole ship. Juanito looked at one of his noble followers and helpers, instantly Yage told them to smudge the space because something big was about to happen. Before it was a moment to rest, to flow in the exploded river of visions where colors, shapes, animals and teachings bursted into material existence. The Shaman laid back into his chair and sofly exhaled as any other human being would do at such high voltage channeling. His eyes were sleek, his body breathed softly, deeply as any tiger would. His hands, with long claws held his Waira (healing device to clean the patient) as an alive sword which was ready to cut through all the blockages that we have granted to ourselves throughout life. Silence and contemplation of the visions were still predominant. Smudge of copal covered the whole area as it was waved and born from the hot charcoals. Visions sweetened with this new scent, relieve and more strength came to our spirits so we could hold this medicine for longer and good.

It was about time. Juanito called his musician without the use of any spoken word. Candles in the room suddenly lit and the first strum from Juanito’s musical petition came. Passion, inspiration, love and courage, all came at once with the first drum beat and vocal adjustment in the form of unspeakable visions and energy. The next patients were ready in front of The Shaman, all together, humbled and inoffensive towards the magic and divine flow of Yage. Juanito’s assistants started to blow spirit water, inspired by Juanito’s compassionate heart and the new birth that each of these patients were already living. Chants came, strums patterned their way through with these heavenly gifts and the accompanying sound of The Loina (traditional harmonica). The Wairas swept every fear away together with the chromatic vibration of the harmonica and its drunkening effect. Spirits were dancing all around, stepping into the earth with each drum beat reproducing a sharp and clear sound that reminded us how human we naturally are. The voice of the musician started to elevate into a new plane. His singing became celestial, angelic, became pure Yage, pure vision and healing. He was Yage. He was the material incarnation of what dancing with the drunk spirits meant. Healing came deeper, visions bitter, chants stronger and inspiration stronger. “Pachamama en este fuego…” Juan David voice vibrated, resonated, exalted, and enlightened the universe that was being experienced at this moment. He had only one thing left to do in order to get closer to the heavens, so he did it. Juan David stood up, holding fiercely his guitar looking with his eyes closed towards what was being painted in the sky. Now The Musiquero (traditional name for a Yage musician) and Taita (traditional name for a shaman in Colombia’s Amazon Region) were one, Tiger and Macaw. People stood up to fly and dance together with these animals, with the spirits and the joy of being born once again. Sweetness now came back with the smudge that had to be waved in order to keep balance and the spirits content. Cleaning, purging, crying, it all came at this instant so it could leave once and for all. People stepped with each strum, each vocal, each drum beat. Bodies moved instinctively coordinated in a celestial dance that pleased Yage and honored our Mother Earth. Healing was assured at this point, faith, surrender and forgiveness were found.

Music weaved its way together with The Shaman’s chants. The final blows of this new art piece were being danced, played and prayed along. Music started to mellow its way down, giving space to the sunrise and what Yage was about to say. Strums became sharper and lighter. Each drum beat was now distant from the next one, yet always keeping the celestial rhythm and the cult to the heights as the ultimate stabilizer. Juanito spelled his last chants, his last blows, and touched one last time each head of his patients. He had finished this healing, the helpers finished by applying sweet lotion and singing closing chants to ensure a life lasting healing. Juan David knew that Yage was going to speak, he knew that silenced was being asked back to bring once again balance to this perfect potion of synchronized healing. The wind pipe came into the mellow and tender finish that this musician always gives. Blow after blow, our hearts were calmed down and brought back to life, into our natural state of humbleness, delicateness and joy. Drunkenness became sweeter and lighter, yet synchronicity, connection and love was at its peak. Surroundings were alive, waving minuscule particles of energy in an universal language that Yage opened for us that night. Time was slowed into universal beats, smiles were naturally born from everyone’s face, and awe was expressed from everyone’s eyes. Colors, inhalations, coughs, yawns and laughs, all of these seemed wild, natural, expressed as if we were heavenly animals being the most authentic and present version ever. Yage had transformed us into The Mother Earth’s spirit. We were rooted, calm, protected and present. As a bird, as a tree, as a tiger, as a river. We were in the indescribable frequency of yage and its sweet comeback.

Last wind pipe blow was heard with its long hold and departing sharp exhalation. Now people were just waving calmly and putting their hands over their hearts as a thanking ritual to The Heights, The Grandfathers and The Grandmothers, to God and this beautiful New Realm. Juan David sat back in his chair. Exhaled with a bright smile and shining eyes. He laid his guitar carefully next to his feet, arranged his wind pipes and blew spirit water to all his instruments. These were alive, expressing healing and power. The ceremonial space was ready to continue this party, this celestial party. Yet the balance between sweetness and bitterness, sound and silence, light and darkness will always be needed and asked by the ecstatic spirits. So it was time for silence, a void space so Yage could inspire in human yet divine words. It was then when she spoke, sweetly and firmly our Taita spoke. “Dios lo Bendiga (God bless you)” , Juanito said to one patient who was looking downwards with a humble and inspired look. Juanito grabbed his hand and gave him a strong handshake. The patient looked towards him and saw the full expression of what devotion, work and integrity meant, “Dios lo bendiga”. Juanito granted the patient a beautiful smile, he then laid back in his chair once again and closed his eyes while Juan David started the next song for the heavens, for our Gente (our people), for Yage. Juan David then turned towards the drummer, with eyes closed and ready to burst into light. He asked him to get closer and then kindly reminded him what Yage had thought him well, Con Fe Mijo (With Faith Son)


Jose Andres Arvide

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