"Tell the spirits to leave you with ease," Hamilton says to me.
"They won't!" I yell out. And now they appear to be escaping en masse from my throat. I hear myself making otherworldly squealing and hissing sounds. Such high-pitched screeches that surely no human could ever make. All the while there is me, like a kind of witness, watching and listening in horror, feeling utterly helpless to stop it. I've read nothing about this sort of experience happening when taking ayahuasca. And now I see an image of a mountain in Libya, a supposedly haunted mountain that I climbed a year and a half ago, despite strong warnings from locals. A voice tells me that whatever is now leaving my body attached itself to me in that place.
Haunted mountains. Demonic hitchhikers. Who would believe this? Yet on and on it goes. The screaming, the wailing. My body shakes wildly; I see a great serpent emerging from my body, with designs on Hamilton. He shakes his chakapa at it, singing loudly, and after what seems like an infinite battle of wills, the creature leaves me. I grab the vomit bucket and puke for several minutes. Though my stomach has been empty for over eight hours, a flood of solid particles comes out of me.
The visions fade. My body stops shaking. Hamilton takes his seat again and Rosa releases her grip on me. I examine the vomit bucket with a flashlight: Black specks the size of dimes litter orange-colored foam. The shamans believe that what we vomit out during a ceremony is the physical manifestation of dark energy and toxins being purged from the body. The more that comes out, the better.
"Good work, Kira," Hamilton says to me from across the room.
My entire body hurts. My head throbs. I can hear the others in the room, whispering to each other. I had barely been conscious of their experiences, they had seemed so quiet by comparison.
"Is Kira OK?" Christy asks Hamilton.
"She just had a little exorcism," Hamilton explains with relish. "She's fine."
"Bloody hell; was that what it was?" says Katherine.
"She just picked up some travelers," Hamilton says. "We had to get rid of them."
"Bloody hell!" Katherine says again. "Is this what you'd consider a normal ceremony, Hamilton?"
"About one out of a hundred ceremonies is as intense as this one. We kicked some real demon butt tonight."
...There is probably no hangover that comes anywhere close to the hangover from an exorcism. It's the next morning and I can barely walk—not that I really want to. I have zero energy. My voice is almost gone, and I must communicate in a hoarse whisper if I communicate at all. This has proven not to be an issue as the others on the tour are so freaked out by what happened last night that they can barely mumble an obligatory "good morning" to me.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
What a Trip
Kira Salak takes a trip to Peru to take Ayahuasca, meets an "exceptionally good-looking" 27 year old master shaman, vomits fire, and experiences an exorcism hangover: