The significance of Ayahuasca in my transition and coming out

Trigger Warning and Disclaimer: this post discusses the taking of banned hallucinogenic substances which may or may not be illegal where you are.  I do not advocate the taking of “recreational” drugs.  The therapeutic use of mind-altering substances is increasingly recognised as viable, but not without serious risks.  These were my experiences.

With the support of two very important people in my life, I sat with Ayahuasca over two weekends this year, once in the Spring and once in the summer.  Both people were working with me on my mental health, one of them being the woman I describe as my favourite therapist, the other a person whose judgement on these matters I trusted implicitly.  

Before signing up for the first experience I had been discussing going to do this for six months.  It was not something I undertook lightly and was also something I wished to be of clean mind and sound body for.  And above all, to have clear intention.

In addition to my own therapist, there was a somatic therapist on the staff of the institute where the “ceremony” was held.  This was good, as somatic therapy was exactly the kind of modality that I had found was particularly resonant with me.  As it happened, this staff therapist had incredible bedside manner, and I found myself open to her and with speed in ways that I have only really experienced once before.  Sometimes people are just perfect for us to open up to.

To say that she helped me is an understatement.  In a handful of sessions on these two weekends, she helped me to grab the reins of my life and make fundamental changes without fear.  This is the story of my experience.

Getting Ready

For a month prior I had begun to change my diet.  I gradually shifted to full vegan, and then to raw food, and then to liquids for the last few days.  I cut out coffee and tea and upped my exercise level and felt really good and finely tuned.

I went to Reiki, written about, “played” with ex-Mistress and had a good beating or two to knock out the cobwebs, spent extra time with my therapists, attempted meditation and yoga, and generally took care of myself.

Early Spring 2022

I arrived promptly at 4, the sign-in starting time, and it was a little disconcerting not knowing what was where, who was who, where I should go.  I tested for COVID, negative, and then completed the check in with a staff member who showed me my room and gave me an overview of where I was and the order of business.  

I had seen the accommodation I had booked, but it looked cold, and I get cold really easily (the joys of being scrawny), so I asked if I could change rooms.  As it happened, there was another room available, a nice and toasty one right in the middle of everything.  And in a way, that was perfect for me, and helped me to feel safe and cocooned throughout the weekend.

First Night 

There was a talk given by one of the hosts about what we would experience, and what we might discover, and how to relax into the process.  We covered all kinds of possible experiences from feeling nothing to experience hallucinations, both good and bad.  We also discussed how the body might react, vomiting being a common occurrence.  I had been told by one of my two support network that adhering to the diet beforehand would reduce the likelihood of my body having a strong reaction.

We were asked to think about our intentions.  This is something that had been in my mind for some months now.  A major subject of therapy—I can’t say I have ever had an objective in therapy other than trying to process, hoping to find the skills needed to survive.  But what my intention might be was also something I had covered in therapy.  On this blog I have mentioned my infantilism.  In my case, this “fetish” was born out of a dysfunctional relationship with my mother that had an almost complete lack of the attachment and attunement that are required for a child to find anchor in the world, and to find anchor in that critical relationship.  Trying to find that, hating to need it from the person who didn’t give it to me or who used that as a way to torture and control me growing up, has and had become a dominant theme of my life.  My favourite therapist is the one with whom I have truly uncovered the root causes of this with, and with whom I have done the most healing.  In particular, she has been teaching me to be the mother I didn’t have, to go back and rescue that baby, me as a child, as a baby, and to shelter and protect and love him.  

When I was asked that evening at the beginning of the ceremony what my intention was, I said, “to love and hold the baby that is me.”

We took the drink one at a time.  It is thick, dark, unctuous tasting faintly of liquorice and the earth, like a concentrated mushroom essence.  It wasn’t quite so gross as I expected.  I remember from my teens that magic mushroom tea tasted worse.  Only this stuff was incredibly strong and lingering.  A wafer-thin slice of apple was available to help kill the aftertaste.

I did not trip or feel any hallucinations.  I sat on my mat and then lay down and was a bit bored and uncomfortable.  After three hours or so, we were able to have a second dose, and since I had not felt anything, thought I should top up and did.

Still nothing really.  I did, however, feel body discomfort, even pain, but it was almost all in my belly.  It felt just like the time I went to visit the curandera in Mexico and she “readjusted my uterus”.  Her moving of my pipes.  Given what was to come over the coming days, however, this was prescient, and has cemented my faith in what I experienced was an arc, a spiritual progression, and one that could not have come from my own mind on its own, but rather that there really is some form of divine or very powerful magic at work.  In retrospect, feeling a replication of the gut feelings I had at the curandera was the beginning of this journey.  It was also the same feeling that ex-Mistress uncovered in my belly with my gurgling stomach those first times she beat me.  She would tell me that the sounds of my stomach in those intense BDSM moments were when things were coming out, being readjusted.

[I have noted the potential of BDSM and therapy together.  There is no doubt that me seeking out a dominatrix and multiple therapists at the same time was motivated by a desire to become unstuck, not in a negative sense, but in the sense that I needed to break with the past, and to move forward, to grow.  I am sure I have BDSM all wrong and recognise that most people “play” to get off, to have some kind of sexual experience.  I don’t judge.  If anything, I envy that freedom.  I don’t have it.  What I have instead is spirituality.  Mixing the profane with something that feels holy never sat well with me, has not, but thankfully I found my way to a dominatrix whose range encompassed both.  In other words, the beatings, the ritual, the formal respect, the rules and boundaries, are all part of what makes it feel holy.  And ultimately therapeutic.  And on this note, something which I feel I will soon cast aside]. 

Making a connection from the intention I had set, to hold space for my baby self, was not happening on any conscious level.  The rumblings of fertility proved apt, however.  What I did feel was bone pain, skeletal pain, and felt a need to crack my body, my ribcage, my back, and I felt myself arching my back intensely.  One thing that women have and go through at puberty is something called “pelvic tilt”…and is an adaptation that in part gives the perky bottom shape that is a delight to behold, but also serves the real purpose of making childbirth easier.  I didn’t know about it at the time, but was told about it after I described what was happening to my body.  It was intense, and it has affected my walk ever since.  Generally, the process which began that evening with my entire skeleton has changed.  I have a level of flexibility in my bones, including the bones of my back and ribcage that I never had before, and now it is if I can crack them all, a looseness that started that evening and has continued.  I was told recently that I have high body flexibility, and as an initiate into the “serpent club”, this seems particularly apt.

The other thing I felt was a desire to hold myself and to touch my skin.  And I also pinched my nipples.  It was a strong compulsion.  Throughout the night I caressed myself gently all the while contorting my body.

I did fall asleep at one point, but the noises in the room from others present were alarming and distracting, and the smell of smoke was too much for me, almost suffocating at times.  I had to be woken because I was snoring and that made noise—and it is not considered good to interrupt the flow of others with excessive noise.  

Conclusion?  The first night had been uneventful—no trip—except gut and pipe rumblings which made my belly feel like a pit of fat snakes and the body contortions that felt strong but were nothing compared to what lay ahead.

Even with the mat, the many pillows, my sweater, and blanket, I was still cold.

After the session, many congregated for slices of watermelon, grapes, boiled eggs, hummus and crudites, and more tea.  One of the other attendees, a self-described “shape-shifter” came in on all fours, very much still tripping, and I wondered if he were not a slave or a puppy.

I never felt ill, but I did at one point become afraid that I would poop myself.   When I shared this with my favourite therapist, she thought it was “cute”.  One more reason to love her.  She shared with me that many women fear this the most when they are giving birth, that they will poop themselves.  In the end, we concluded that my fear was not only apt, but prescient.

Day 2

Despite only falling asleep at around 4, I enjoyed a leisurely rise at 8:30.  I had a cold shower as the hot water knob didn’t work.  Breakfast was an abundance of fresh fruit, eggs, and avocado.  I talked to others about their experiences until it was time for Integration, when we talk about our experiences.

We went around the room sharing our experiences, and the range from dark to psychedelic to blissful to tearful was complete.  I made comments about my guts being readjusted, and that it was apt to have my female fertility experience, and made the connection to the curandera, and said I felt that it was uneventful but in line with my intention of the night before.

Some people over-shared, or just nattered on, and so, it was quite boring at times.  During the day, people did their own thing.  Therapy, intention-setting, massage of various kinds was also on offer.  There were also little groups of people gathered talking, and this was sometimes nice to join in.  Some of the other attendees were interesting and engaging to speak to.  I also took a nap, did some reading, and just rested.

After integration we had a tasty lunch.  Baked squash, beans, salads, that kind of thing.  After lunch I had sessions with the on-site therapist as well as other treatments

Meeting with the Resident Therapist

We went up to her aery, a beautiful studio set in the attic at the top of one of the wings of the building.  There were wood ceilings and we set right up under the eaves on a wood bridge.  It was very cosy and her manner almost made me feel utterly safe with her.  Before I sat down with her I was not at all sure of what I would speak of—yes, I had a rough idea, but I am not really a pre-meditated person in any aspect of my life.  I process and process and think things through—what has already happened and seek to come into a state of natural presence and stepping into my future as a reflection of this processing.  Things happen.  What did I tell her?  I spoke of my need to let my feminine side out.  Of being non-binary.  Of being tired of living bottled up.

We talked about my intention of the day before, of the baby me that was wounded and needed to be re-mothered, or re-parented.  She encouraged me to go to him and guided me in meditation to him, to find him in a moment of stress, and to take him into my arms and hold him.  It was very powerful and worked.  Later, she invited me to create an actual cavity in my chest where he could live.

We talked of my favourite therapist’s desire to see me reparent baby me daily, and she encouraged this.

She helped me find and articulate the right words for my intention, which was to let my female side to fly free.  She explicitly encouraged me to wear an item of women’s clothing.  She talked to me about how women move, how they walk, and that as I come into my body, to be conscious of this.  I described what had been happening to my body the night before, particularly with my pelvis, and she explained what I had described in relation to pelvic tilt.

Even though I had been wearing women’s clothing since I arrived, this was not obvious—jeans, and bulky sweaters look unisex.  And up until this session I was not sure I would have the courage, as I wondered about the male energy in the place, how much of it there was.  Even though the other attendees were majority female, I was struck by how I could not recall being in a space with quite so many men in years.  And gosh, by now you will know that I don’t feel so comfortable around men.  But I had planned on what I would wear before I came, so that is what I wore.  A beautiful long white dress with gold motifs on it.  We had been encouraged to wear white for its purity.  

As I think back, it is hard for me to imagine that I had the courage to do this, but there are times when we are driving the car and the steering wheel no longer feels connected, or we don’t even try to steer, but rather let life unfold.  In a way, this is how the process of coming out has felt.  Ever since I had taken the decision to go out in women’s clothes for the first time after being fed a bottle by ex-Mistress, the strength inside me had only been growing.  Stepping into my own femininity had an air of inevitability about it, as if to say, this is me, this is my life, and it is the only natural way for me to live.  Resisting it is a form of self-harm.  I thought of my dress as a wedding dress.

The Best Massage I Ever Had

After a wonderfully deep and encouraging mix of therapy and guided meditation, I went for a massage.  The masseuse was a fellow Sagittarian.  I think ok her as a closet dominatrix.  When I walked in she asked, “are you in pain?” 

“No,” I said.

“You will be,” she teased.  She was truthful, but it was good pain.

I have never had a massage in a room filled with other people.  The therapists were all talking to each other, making banter.  It reminded me of when I was little in the servant’s quarters and how I loved to hide under the table or sit in the corner and watch and listen to them as they talked and did the ironing, cooked, or just gossiped.  How I loved being in that world! It was a female space, and it was only as a child that I was allowed to be there, and I loved it and still cherish the memories. 

The masseuse just said, “take your clothes off” and there was no separation, so I was my depilated, knicker-wearing self.  And somehow, stripping down to a very skimpy and frilly pair of pink panties, and then taking those off, just felt natural and good…and well, if you’re out, you’re out.

I’ve written about getting stretching massage, which I have loved, and she did things like this, but also gave a hot stones, pressure point, and very muscular massage.  It was the best I have ever had.  In life update terms, I now see her regularly.

Second Night Ceremony

I didn’t mention that the main facilitator seemed surprised by my intention on the first night, and my second night’s intention seemed to play out even more dramatically across her face.  This time, my intention, delivered while hugging myself and kneeling before her, was that “I need to let her out; I can’t go on living this way.”  But it couldn’t be that surprising as I was wearing a wedding dress of sorts.

After drinking my dose I returned to my meditation mat and sat in quiet contemplation.  I did not feel stomach cramps as I had the night before, but after a while I felt the most unusual sensation in my bones.  It was a bone discomfort in my body, like I was wanting to crack out of my skeleton.  I kept stretching and contorting my body to stretch and alleviate this discomfort.  I was wondering if the medicine, the ‘mother’ or ‘grandmother’ as it is often called, was trying to reform my body structure.  It was intense, and ceaseless.  The feeling of pelvic tilt became so strong that I wondered lest my bones should snap.  But no ‘trip’.

After a few hours, it was time for a “top-up” if desired.  I went for this second cup, and the facilitator asked if I felt much, and I said ‘not really’, so she gave the jug a good shake, poured out her measure to the top, and then poured it into my Dixie cup and I drank it.  It was lumpier than before, like solid bits.  I waited for a while wondering if were headed for a repeat.  The body discomfort continued, and then whammo, the ‘trip’ kicked in.

I felt a range of sensations all centred around body transformation, especially my face, as if it was becoming smaller, more feminine, like my bone structure was changing, but also so too the fat, I could feel it as pressure on my face, not painful, but very firm, and very real.

And then I felt a presence between my legs, and I said that she could take my male parts, and I felt I was given a cosmic pussy.  A spiritual pussy.  And part of me wondered if I could tell anyone, and wondered what they would think, and what I might say, and how some women might be angry with me, but I felt it, and then I felt all of my plumbing getting changed.  That I was given a uterus and fallopian tubes and my stomach was going wild, and then my hips tilted, and it was like that whole reproductive apparatus was installed.

And then I saw a face that was black and red, a bit like a Mayan jaguar face, all stylised lines, like a metal grid, a bit like the face on a coupe frites…and it was telling me that it was going to fxxk me, and I wasn’t sure I liked that.  I was feeling ecstatic about having a pussy, and the gift of this re-plumbing…and was uncomfortable with this turn of events.  I didn’t know who the God or Goddess was.  Was it someone else?  Was it really a ‘mother’ or ‘grandmother’?  It felt dark and foreboding, almost evil.  My therapist has called this shadow work, that we mustn’t do too much of it, as it is powerful energy and not all clean.  So I sat up, sobered up, and heard a voice say, ‘if you want to have this gift, you must also take this other one’ and I realised that I had to take the bad along with the good…and so I acquiesced and lay back and opened my legs and learned of other gifts.  The gift of cramps.  The gift of the male gaze (and how awful it is).  The gift of vulnerability, the ultimate vulnerability, as expressed by being taken just then.  But I was also given another gift.

I gave birth to me.  My intention from the night before had been gestating all this time, and tonight it came true.  And as I gave birth to me, I “rediscovered” the scarf and extra sweater I had brought in to keep me warm this night, and I pulled them to me, bundled them up, and rather like a mother cradling a child, held my baby tight.  I was in a state of pure bliss that I had given birth to myself and was now holding and cradling newborn me, showering him with love, and feeling warm and soft.  And tears of joy streamed down my face.  I believe that I lay thus in a state of divine bliss for quite some time, crying in joy.

And in the meantime, the most horrific vomit noises and shrieks were going on, and I felt annoyed that I had just given birth and was cuddling my baby and this was going on—the sublime and the ridiculous all around me.  I have always been someone particularly susceptible to smell, and the smell of feces or vomit nearly always makes me retch, and even the noise of retching can be too much for me, so I left to go the bathroom and a woman who was there to assist helped me along, waited, and then brought me back.  I was unsteady on my feet, and I remember telling her that my face felt funny.  I was in full-on trip.  The noise was less severe when I came back and I should have waited outside a bit longer for the vomiting to stop, but I went back and thankfully much of the music drowned out the worst of the noises, and I was able to drift and cuddle with my baby for hours.  It was utter bliss.

The woman to the left of me had a really intense night, and it was hard not to feel for her, particularly since I had become aware of the trauma that she was hoping to deal with, but which left her crying, on all fours, and often out of the room, unable to cope with the environment.  That said, I was glad to have the space so I could lie on my side, not just on my back.

I did try to sit up from time to time, particularly when the music was good, but it was also nice to just float along.  My therapist sang to me and came to bless me at the end of the ceremony, and I really enjoyed the connection to her.  She was nurturing and complimented me on my outfit.  Sweet.  Appreciated.

When the ceremony was over, I had no desire to join for snacks.  I wanted to be alone and to rest and so I went to bed and revelled in what had happened and how it felt.

I didn’t really want to do another session I thought, after all, how can you beat that?

Day 3

Got up quite late for me, after 9.  Ate breakfast.  This day I did have a hot shower, which was nice.  It was followed, by choice this time, by a cold shower, a habit I have retained and for which I have not missed a day now for roughly 18 months.

Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, oats, yoghurt, chia, and also some roasted vegetables.   I compared notes on sessions with a few people.

Integration was different this time.  There were still issues of people talking too long, but it was a little more substantive.  As others described their traumas, it often made me cry too.  Others were hilarious.  Some were both, which is always the hardest.  The woman to the other side of me had not cried, but spoke of struggling with male energy and didn’t want to hurt men’s feelings.  I like her and we both expressed gratitude at being able to sit next to each other.

What I described to the group was that I had experienced a “highly localized version of the immaculate conception”.  It got a laugh, but of course it was shorthand for the most spiritual experience I have ever had.  I came out of that evening having accepted my own femininity, found that she did truly live inside of me, and that all of that skeletal pain was me finding her…and that I decided, truly decided, and that was momentous.

Lunch came after integration and was similar but not quite as good as the day before.  I stopped the head of the established and asked if I should do it again, as what I had experienced was pure bliss, and had found everything that I was looking for, not just from this, but from many years of therapy.  She sat down with me on my mat, and we talked about whether I should continue.  She felt I should, that there will be more for me to learn.

Intention Setting Sesssion

I had an intention-setting session with one of the male facilitators.  I think you can guess how that might have been hard for me, but he is/was quite accessible and gentle.  When he sang on the two previous nights, I felt calmed, soothed and quite good…ditto for one of the others…but the main singer always took me into the darkness and made me feel unwell.  So you never can tell.  I described my two previous intentions, what I had shared and why, and also the underlying issues I was hoping to work through.  Re-parenting came up.  The beauty of being non-binary is that I can both mother and father me.  A joke with a lot of truth in it.

On day one, I found a way to reach my baby.  On day two, I was able to get in touch with my female self (and become spiritually female—or non-binary).  I am a changed person for both.  

So, I had thought that my intention should be starting a supermarket, being the cake fairy, and I talked about the idea of getting rid of the complexity and just focussing on one thing and managing a transition to a future life…being me.  In other words, feeling that I had crossed a watershed, I wanted to shift to the ‘doing’ part of life.

He sensibly cautioned me to take things slowly, to allow all of this time to settle.  We latched onto finding a way to be true to my authentic self.  The me that I gave birth to, asking for help to find the path towards living true to myself.  That became the intention.  Understanding what it meant to have let her out.

Another Kinesiology experience and time with a chiropractor

I have written about this experience separately, so powerful was it on its own.  My first chiropractic adjustment ever.  He adjusted every part of me.  I won’t write it again here but if you are interested you can read about it by clicking on the bold header just above.

And that evening?

That evening I had a very intense trip.  I went into a place of paranoia also.  I had hoped to go back to where I had been before, in a state of bliss.  But I “lost my baby” and felt so awful—“what kiund of mother loses her baby?!”  Thankfully my sweater had just gotten tangled up in the covers of my neighbour.  It was a bleak moment.  And I worried too that I had joined a cult.  That I would never leave.  That I was going to be transformed into one of the many cats present.  And because that would have also turned male me on, it was like crawling right into the worst, most funky and fetid parts of my psyche.

I should not have gone for a second dose.  I said the trip was not so hard, and she gave me a big cup…and I was really struggling with it.  And I had to go to the bathroom so badly…and I could barely walk and I shrugged aside the help of one of the assistants who graciously rose to assist me.  And then I shat like you wouldn’t believe in the toilet. She came again to make sure I was all right.  I felt bad, emotionally and spiritually bereft, and as high as a kite.

And at the end of shitting out the filth, I felt this blinding clarity—”I have everything I need, I have enough.  I have a wife I love.  I have beautiful children.  They are enough.  I am enough.”  I apologise for the discussion of toilet issues, but it was so powerful.

My paranoid fantasies included that the person who had introduced me into this cult was a recruiting agent.  That they would take possession of my life and my finances, and that I would enter into a form of modern slavery.

A few days later, my wife told me she wanted a divorce.  Ahh, the irony!  Part of me thought, “well, I guess my epiphany is too little, too late.”

What else happened after this powerful weekend?  I went to see ex-Mistress and we spent the night together.  I was still high when we saw each other, and we talked quite a bit about my experiences…and somehow, though not intentionally, I believe I either insulted her or hurt her feelings, as a few days later, our relationship foundered over a trivial misunderstanding.

The watershed of events triggered by this therapeutic and life-changing experience, of me formally stepping into my femininity has had enormous consequences: no more wife, no more ex-Mistress, and while unrelated, no more life in the US…as I literally left this place to move home via a short hop to South America…I posted about that too, but what I didn’t post about was how this intense experience sent me on a path to veganism—I was in Buenos Aires, having been looking forward to an amazing steak for months, and now, I had no desire to eat one.  Such is the impact of this ‘medicine’ that I am forever on a new path.

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