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  • Linda L. Fitch

Of Surrender, Trust and the Gentle Power of the Jungle

Eight nights of Ayahuasca is humming in my blood. I feel ready to go back home, to a hot shower, wi-fi, a busy schedule of classes and my natural oceanfront air conditioning. But deep down I also long for a few more nights of ceremony, to explore more territory… to go deeper into how to get myself out of my own way.

I want even more.

I’m in. After 12 days, I’m fully convinced that this kind of extended ceremony is the sweetest way ever to do Ayahuasca.

It started as a simple comment from the jungle shaman I’ve worked with for many years; he said, casually, back in March, “My favorite way to work with people is over 8 days.” Now I know why. And it is my favorite way too.

Our group included some with lots of experience with aya, some absolute newbies, a 13-year-old and his mom, and one who previously had a rough experience with purging but was called to come when I told her how sweet and gentle our shaman’s brew is. (Not one night of throwing up by anyone the entire trip!)

His brew is so clean – only the ayahuasca banisteriopsi cappi vine and the chacruna leaf. Nothing else is added except water… pure and clean and cooked to perfection. Just like the food from the lodge over the last 12 days – pure and clean and fresh, the way our bodies are meant to be fed.

What does 8 nights of Aya teach you? Mostly surrender….and trust.

Surrender to the healing of the body that needs to happen. Aya starts first to heal your blood, and sometimes sleep is the best way to allow it to work. Including a new awareness that the physical healing may take time… that closing your eyes is fine…when you sleep you allow the aya to do its magic.

Surrender to getting out of your mind. I’ve always practiced and taught about setting intention for an evening of aya. When doing the normal three nights of ceremony, you set your intention immediately the first night. If you didn’t have any visions that night, the shaman would clear you the next day with an icaro (a special song the shaman uses for healing). It was as if not seeing meant that you weren't doing something right, that something was wrong.

Now I know differently…it is not about the seeing, but the healing. Healing from the plant and the icaros requires you to surrender to the aya itself.

Surrender to the Plant Medicine. When you sit with that cup at your lips to drink, your thoughts and intentions can be your worst enemy. The aya is called El Doctor – and the plant knows what your body and soul need. Surrender and trust the mystery of the jungle.

Surrender and trust the shaman. Each night our shaman would take our pulse and check our vibrational frequency to determine the dose our body needed. By the end of 8 nights, overwhelming consensus by all participants…new and experienced was “we trust the dose we are given.”

Eight nights also brings spaciousness and timing.

When you remove the immediate need to have all the experience and wisdom possible in three nights, you’re able to step into a place of peace. The clock is stopped, and you’re in a different kind of time.

Time filled with exploring the jungle, poison dart frogs, watching a large iguana eating red hibiscus flowers only meters from the screen, discovering rare “abundance” flowers, watching river otters, a boa almost nose to nose and an anaconda big enough to take your breath away. Scarlet macaws catching the sun with their bright red as they fly above the boat and surprising us all into awe. Sitting beneath a massive, buttress-rooted grandfather fig tree and hiking to the tallest tree of the jungle old growth…grandmother Saba tree.

Spaciousness and timing. . . our world is in a mad rush to be quicker than, or smarter than, or not miss out on. I’ve always loved the exploration of trying to figure out and make sense of the magic. After eight nights I am grateful to surrender to it. . . After eight nights, I can see clearly how I get in my own way…and am committed to continuing my journey forward.

Good thing Aya stays in your body and continues to work for up to a year. Thank you El Doctor. Keep teaching to surrender and trust!

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