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I can still taste her full array of colours and sounds. This Journey to Peru has been a long time coming. Having opened up to this medicine path 10 years ago, now felt like the right time to journey into the Jungle and see where the plants come from, to understand my calling, to deepen my practise of surrender and letting go. To connect more deeply to mother earth and see where I can be more aware in my daily life of treading gently on this planet.
The last year leading up to this Dieta has been such an accelerated time of learning and growth. So much change happened in such a short space of time it has been difficult to recognize myself in many moments and all I have done is keep moving forward and trust in my own path for truth. This momentum of change landed me right in the heart of where I need to be and that was embarking on my first Dieta.
Having opened up to this medicine path 10 years ago…to understand my calling, to deepen my practise of surrender and letting go. To connect more deeply to mother earth…
However, when used in Amazonian traditions this work, works with variety of visionary plants known as plantas maestras or teacher-plants, the word comes to mean much more than just Diet.
An individual who under goes a dieta retreats into isolation for a period of time (from days to months or in some cases, years). Our Dieta was 10 days. 2 – 3 weeks before leaving to Peru one was asked to abstain from sugar, wheat, dairy, salt, alcohol, shell fish, red meats, pork, chilies, spices and fermenting foods as well as all stimulants. There was also and 2 – 3 weeks period of no sexual activity on either side of the 10 day dieta.
The therapeutic value of a dieta is to modify states of consciousness and purify the body. It allows one the space to easily deal with the strong healing and visionary effects commonly associated with the plant teacher medicines. The dieta is designed to stimulate the body’s innate ability to self-heal and renew.
The Journey to the Jungle itself was a remarkable vibrant ride of a few nights in Lima, meeting the group from Australia and then all flying to Pucallpa and landing at Don Jose Guest house in the middle of bustling noisy jungle town to rest, repack and head out first thing the next morning to the Amazon and where our dieta would take place.
Waking up that morning I can still feel the tingles of excitement and nerves as I realized we were about to head off into the Jungle. It’s so strange we have this pre-conceived notion that the jungle is this dangerous place of jaguars, deadly animals and creatures; so with these belief patterns in place I was rather apprehensive to say the least.
After our 4-hour bus ride and an hour upstream in the little motorized canoe boats, we landed at our destination tired, excited, alive and all ready to take on this 10-day Silent Dieta. We were each given our own little hut (Tambo). We were asked no shampoos, toothpastes or creams during the duration of our stay. They would give us leaves to bath in each morning and we would receive 2 meals a day consisting of rice, potatoes, plantain and if we were lucky a fish. We would also be drinking a litre of the Bobizanna plant, which cleanses the emotional body and promotes Lucid Dreaming.
That first night alone in the dark Jungle was overwhelming with the soundscape that is at play.
That first night alone in the dark Jungle was overwhelming with the soundscape that is at play. It is a never-ending orchestra of birds, crickets, bats, cats, toads, frogs and some creatures that I have only yet to learn about. I lay under my mosquito net, the air hot and humid and knowing that my fear of the dark would have to dissolve as this would be my home for the next 2 weeks.
I woke up to hear the different sounds that the morning melody provided. I was excited that I managed to have slept and I felt rested and awake. The duration of our stay would consist of 5 Ayahusaca ceremonies in the Moloka (Large Ceremonial Hut Space) these would be conducted by Don Jose himself. It would take place in the dark and last around 5 – 6 hours. Having worked with the medicine for the last few years, I felt very confident that I would be able to work and navigate with her. The first two ceremonies were deep and I managed to sit upright and do the work needed. It was not until the end of my third Ceremony that I was flawed unraveled beyond what words can even describe or articulate.
It felt like I died a thousand deaths, which as we know is the death of the Ego. The Tea herself was thick and lumpy like soil, making it hard to even swallow her down. He blows out the candle and night silence descends as the medicine begins to work its way through you. There is no one to hold your hand or heal you with his or her feathers and tell you it’s going to be ok. You are in it alone and you only have yourself to work with and fight for. The Fevers started on the 3rd Ceremony and I have never experienced such intensity and insanity at the same time. Each fever and sweat felt like I was purging out all the impure thoughts I had ever had about people, myself and humanity. Each fever taking me deeper in the darkness of my own mind and the sickness that we as humanity have created. If you have ever read the Book ‘ Dispelling Wetiko’ then you will know what I am referring to.
The real jungle lies in the minds of our judgments and blame. It lies in the inability to take full responsibility for ourselves.
I was completely flawed and humbled that night. It was truly the death of an old me and after the night I could no longer recognize myself. A new space with no drama, no stories, no projections, no lies, no attachments, no judgments and no blame. Only inside, a deep knowing that we are all mirrors to each others journey, we are all one as we are all spirit. A very deep love and admiration for the other 22 people that were on this journey with me who had the courage to really dig deep and to show up night after night and die again and again and again.
The days and nights danced into each other. Each day in the jungle softened my senses. The little fishes that nipple on your toes as you bath. The lizards, frogs and grasshopper’s splash their colours around in the day. The forest floor moist and alive as I started working barefoot and feeling her pulse of energy. The silence of each day was so healing. No technology, no one to answer to, so much time to reflect, dissect and just BE. Feeling the layers of my pain, my separation, my anger, and my hurt all dissolving and feeling the forgiveness and unity within myself.
After landing back in the real “Jungle” I feel so deeply humbled and grateful for this experience. It feels like a whole reset button has been pushed and no way to go back only forward with new lenses of perception. I see now that the real jungle is our cities, our towns, our madness of consumerism and self-medicating. The Real jungle is our own minds that prevent us from waking up, from caring for the earth, from being generous. The real jungle lies in the minds of our judgments and blame. It lies in the inability to take full responsibility for ourselves.
The Jungle herself is wide open with all ecosystems caring and looking after themselves. The Jungle being the home for all these amazing teacher plants that have found their way to the west. The Jungle is soft, peaceful and alive. She has the magic that can still and heals our minds. She tantalises all our senses, allows us to develop deeper awareness and trust of self. The jungle shows you how to surrender, to let go and be one with all that is. I feel so deeply humbled by my days in her presence.