My First Ayahuasca Ceremony : I Had No Idea What I Was Getting Into

From this picture, you may be thinking that I was ready and confident going into my first Ayahuasca ceremony. But this was not the case at all. I was very nervous and had no idea what to expect. I really don’t blame myself because I was in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, where the closest form of normal civilization was miles away, and I was about to take one of the most powerful hallucinogenic substance known on Earth, with people and Shamans I had just met. Luckily for me, some of my family members were with me which gave me comfort, but I knew they were just as nervous as me.

I did do extensive research on Ayahuasca and knew the ins and outs of it. I also did read up on hundreds of experiences to get a feel of what to expect. I realized now that this did not help me prepare much and I really had no idea what I was getting into.


It was dark. Sounds of animals were emanating from the jungle around me. I went into the maloka (a place where ceremonies were held) and waited my turn to take a shot of Ayahuasca. It had a deep, dark red color to it and tasted horrible. Imagine drinking boiled tree bark. I was sitting there waiting for the trip to come on. After about 15 minutes I could hear the jungle sounds getting more and more vivid. I was becoming more and more aware of how much stuff was actually going on around me. The jungle noises were furthering my experience. The birds, insects, monkeys and whatever else was out there created a jungle symphony. It was like I was aware of the jungle and it was aware of me.

Then things started to get a tad bit insane. I started to see these tribal snake like patterns. The only way to describe these visions would be to say that there were these intense, vivid, colors behind my eyes. But it wasn’t like watching TV, I was fully immersed in these visions and at the time seemed as real as reality itself. These snakes started to wrap around my body and I started feeling this immense pressure in my body and in my forehead region. It was as if these tribal, vivid colored snakes were squeezing my body. Surprisingly I was not too frightened by this, but it was very intense, uncomfortable, and a lot to handle.

Then I started to really lose my grip on reality. I was freaking out. This all was too much to handle. After this point I am not sure if the events are in correct order; I just have memories of extremely intense moments. The Icaros (songs shaman's sing) had not begun yet, and I was waiting for it. It felt like eternity, and I was thinking this whole thing was a sham. I kept asking in my head why they weren’t singing. I started losing my grip on reality. I was lost in this crazy world of absolute darkness, and did not have a ground on reality. I was terrified. Then the Icaros began. It was very odd and profound at first. I was wondering how someone could sing something so beautifully, but I was still freaking out. I was thinking there must be a mic and speakers somewhere I couldn’t see. My senses were extremely heightened and this could have led me to think this.

Then things started to get really insane. Keep in mind that during an Ayahuasca ceremony you lose your perception of time. Everything got magnified by a billion. When I say everything I am referring to everything in my awareness. Every thought I had was leading me to the exact same feeling of being magnified a billion times. I completely lost my sense of reality and had no idea where I was. I was stuck in some cycle and I felt like I was going around a race track at the speed of light, over and over again. To say it was extremely overwhelming would be an understatement. At this point, I was terrified and I thought I would be stuck in this loop forever. It truly felt like an eternity. While all of this was happening, I was also throwing up vigorously, and moaning at the top of my lungs. It felt as if my insides were my outsides and my outsides were my insides, almost like I was turning inside out from within.

The more I yelled, the more I would hear a voice telling me to be quiet, and calm, saying I was disturbing others. The more I heard this voice, the more I wanted to yell. It was just pure insanity. I had no idea where this voice was coming from or who was speaking. It was like a roller-coaster ride, and I kept moaning as I was launched higher and higher. There was such a vivid smell of the Ayahuasca coming out of my body when I was throwing up. It was almost kind of nice, and I will never forget that smell. I kept trying to find peace, but I couldn’t. It was too overwhelming, and I couldn’t handle it. I would moan, throw up vigorously, be so overwhelmed, throw up some more, cry, and then laugh about how I was stuck in this cycle. It really felt like an eternity. A voice told me to focus on the Icaros. As I did, it guided me through, but I could not focus on it with all my effort. My reality was too distorted.

It felt like an eternity. Finally, I started getting moments of peace, and when I found that first moment of peace, I knew everything was okay and that I was fine. I was still going through this cycle, but I had moments of peace. These moments of peace were getting longer and longer. I finally felt this calm feeling. It was okay, and I was okay. Then I was getting a grip of myself. I started drifting toward reality. The rest of the trip was pretty smooth. I kept thanking Richardo (the Shaman) in my head for guiding me through this and making it easier. I was so grateful that I had a grip on reality. I became tranquil. I was like “wow, how did I survive that?” I was so glad I did.

The ceremony finished. I walked outside, and it was so bright. The moon and stars illuminated the atmosphere. I started to understand that I had to focus on myself and not worry about others. This worry from my experience was what I do subtly in real life— worry about what other people are thinking too much. I feel like this is why my experience was extremely rough. Ayahuasca was cleaning me of that. Apparently I was only going through that cycle of throwing-up and moaning for about 15 minutes. To me it felt like I was stuck in that cycle for eternity. I went to bed but couldn’t fall asleep properly until the sun rose.

I was in Peru for 9 days and partook in 5 ayahuasca ceremonies. My trip to Peru completely transformed me and the way I view life. It was a very difficult, terrifying and uncomfortable experience to say the least but the gains I got from it heavily outweighed the pains. I really understood myself more on a whole new level and developed this sense of inner peace which is still growing till this day. This is just a brief overview of what happened in my first ceremony. I went a lot deeper into the experiences in the ceremonies that followed.

You can check out my book “Trip to the Infinite – The Ayahuasca Experience” available on to learn more about what ayahuasca is; how it affects your mind, body, and soul; my detailed ceremony reports explaining what exactly happened to me in the South American Jungle; and the ways in which I transformed afterwards.

I also included some ways to prepare if you are looking to have an ayahuasca experience of your own.

Author : Amar Sahota,

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