“You sick?” the shaman asks. He’s looking at me, his ancient dark eyes peering into my soul.
I stutter for a second, trying to figure out how to explain, grappling with the difficulty of separating pain and sickness.
“Hmmm. Well, I’ve got scoliosis in my spine, suppressed sexual abuse from my childhood, and I was raped when I was 14 by three young men.”
He looks at me for a moment, consults an inner voice, and replies, “We will give you bobinsana.” I had never heard of bobinsana, but given where I was and why I was there, I knew it to be one of the indigenous plants from the jungles of Peru. I would drink this plant for 10 days.
But let’s back up a bit. While living in between Nicaragua and Europe, I started to explore the power of Ayahuasca, an Amazonian plant that induces altered states of consciousness, hallucinations, and – to me, the best part – purging. I had always wanted to try her but the opportunity never came, until one day, it did.
While these days you can find Ayahuasca retreats all over the world, her native land is the Amazon. As such, I knew that at some point I would have to go deep into the jungle where she grows in order to go deep into the abyss of my unconscious being. Was this a terrifying thought? Hell yes. Was it something I was looking forward to? Absolutely! Ayahuasca is the queen of her jungle and she has numerous species of other plants that help her heal you. These other plants get inside of your organs and start to clean very deeply inside the body, brain and nervous system. Ayahusaca comes in and helps to purge whatever you don’t need through several methods of release. Yawning, crying, puking, shitting – if it needs to come out, then, well, it’s coming out. “Better out than in” is my motto.
After drinking Ayahuasca I knew she was my new teacher and healer because of what I experienced both physically and psychologically. She pushes me to feel everything that I have been afraid of. Anxiety, heart ache, longing, and fear of losing my mind. She takes me directly into the body and peels back the insanity layer by layer, only to bring me home to my essence – the part that has always been there but I that couldn’t reach. I should note this process feels deeply antithetical to what seems to be de rigueur among new age practitioners: over the past few years, it feels like all I’ve heard from certain adherents is, “Just let the past go,” or “Be here now.” (If I had a penny for every time I heard one of those phrases, I would have approximately $75.)
Yet I’ve always had trouble with this mantra, as for me, the past is locked inside of my body in 400 different rooms; some have keys and some have bolted locks that I have no idea if I will ever be able to get open. So to “just let it go” may be a little harder for some of us. Everyone is on their own timing system for what they are capable of healing.
The true key is never giving up. Continue to dig deep into the dirt because the truth is, we are made from love. Even if you have no idea what loves feels like consciously, you are made from love and it will come if you continue to seek. I’m not talking about continuously, obsessively working on what you hate about yourself and feeling like you will never be good enough unless you continue to grind at your unconsciousness every second of every day. I am talking about healing through love and that is exactly what these plants are here to teach us.
My path is healing. I have been healing my whole life. 20 years of trying everything I could get my hands on to feel better. To function in real life. To be able to have a relationship and a job. I tried yoga, meditation, rolfing, bodywork, cranial sacral therapy. They all helped manage my pain and put me in the right direction, but ultimately it felt like it wasn’t going deep enough. I needed something from the earth to get me fully back to the earth. Makes sense to me!
On this particular journey with the Master Plant bobinsana, I would drink 3 glassfuls of the plant everyday. Bobinsana is a female plant that grows near the river. She has extremely strong roots, so no matter how strong the wind is or how hard the rain falls she may sway but she will not break. She watches over the waters and symbolically, that means that she watches over the emotions. The shaman informed me that bobinsana would clean out my first and second chakras, the first chakra being my roots and the second being my sexual energy and emotions. I was instructed not to touch anyone (no hugging), to talk, or to read – only meditating and writing, as it is believed this is the best way to receive the spirit of the plant and it is the plant’s spirit that holds the power for transformation.
When people awaken to the living energy of the earth, they begin to see that all of life has a spirit. Shaman’s are doctors and are in contact with the spirits of the plants, and are able to connect a person with the right plant to to give individuals access to the plant’s spirit, teachings and healings.