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It was like going under ether, or when you are very drunk and lie down and the bed spins. Blue flashes passed in front of my eyes...The assistant was outside lurking there with the obvious intent to kill me. I was hit by violent, sudden nausea and rushed for the door hitting my shoulder against the door post. I felt the shock but no pain. I could hardly walk. No coordination. My feet were like blocks of wood.*The calm returns for a moment as I locate my shoes and exit the tent. The “bathroom” consists of a shovel and a small side path of dirt and thorny branches. But it’s private, I think. As I step onto the path trying to steady myself with the large wooden handle, I lose my footing and crumble to the ground. The earth is shaking and screaming at me. “What did I do?” my brain shouts as my words find no breath, “I’m just here with everyone else… trying to find God!” Some strength hidden in the deepest part of my core brings to me feet, just as a violent purge takes me back down to my knees. The vomit is violent, acidic, and relentless. Just when I think I can wipe the rank-smelling liquid from my lips an invisible hand reaches into my mouth, through my stomach and pulls out my insides once again. So this is The Purge. It feels like an exorcism, though I don’t know what kind of devil is inside me. Have I really sinned so much in my life? Is it the chemicals I’ve been feeding my body? Perhaps I’m just making room for God to enter? “Well that just sounds crazy!” I say out loud. This time the vomit brings me all the way to the ground and I am left crawling to escape the rancid smell of death and darkness that I have created. Suddenly a figure in white offers me a small tin cup of water. She asks how I am and I valiantly reply, “I’m ok. Just a little sick.” I am cleansing my blood, and my soul with these purges, she says. You’re not sick, you’re cleaning. She is smiling, bits of coca leaves in her teeth. The angel takes my hand and leads me away from the darkness and back to the light.
“Yage is space time travel. The room seems to shake and vibrate with motion. The blood and substance of many races, Negro, Polynesian, Mountain Mongol, Desert Nomad, Polyglot Near East, Indian – new races as yet unconceived and unborn, combinations not yet realized passes through your body.”I am unable to move once returning to my mat, but notice everything. The little girl is dancing and drawing symbols on people’s foreheads. People are laughing and there is music. There are chants, prayers, songs and dances that grow from people’s hearts to their mouths and bring them to their feet. I am in awe. The others seem to have been unaffected by this powerful vine, while I am nearly incapacitated. I pull the blanket over my head and listen, trying to control the ravenous demons in my belly from escaping again. Stay in, I say. Why are you even there? Why can’t you leave me alone? My shaman stands over me and quietly reassures me that I will feel better again. But for now try to listen, she says. I am brought to the epilogue of The Yage Letters, but this is not my ending.
'I am dying, Meester?' Flashes in front of my eyes naked and sullen -Rotten dawn wind in sleep - Death rot on Panama photo where the awning flaps.The sickness leaves after about 6 hours, and I am empty. Now, I am a vessel; clean and pure. My body is weak, but my brain is sharp. I follow the others back to the cabin and sit down to the most delicious arepa and vegetable soup I have ever brought to my undeserving tongue. We discuss images and imagery, visions and prophecies. Our shaman explains certain relevance given to the colors and animals we may have experienced. She assures me that my journey was positive and I listen. For the first time in my stubborn life, I am listening. Perhaps it was the sheer power of Die versus Survive that shook my consciousness into action. Perhaps I only realized what was important when faced with raucous violent and physical pain. Or perhaps, God actually stopped by for a visit to show me who’s boss. Although this experience is not for everyone, it certainly is healing; a complete catharsis of physical and emotional baggage. It is not for the weak of heart nor the weak of stomach, but if you take this journey perhaps you’ll find that you are stronger than you once believed. You are calmer than you ever imagined. You are capable of the greatest love there is. You are life and light and brilliance. You are human. * San Francisco August 28, 1963 To whom it may concern: Self deciphers this correspondence thus: the vision of ministering angels my fellow man and woman first wholly glimpsed while the Curandero gently crooned human in Ayahuasca trance-state 1960 was prophetic of transfiguration of self consciousness from homeless mind sensation of eternal fright to incarnate body feeling present bliss now actualized 1963. Old love, as ever Allen Ginsberg *All quotes with this mark are taken from “The Yage Letters” by William S. Burroughs and Adam Ginsberg. The book was first issued by City Lights Books in 1963 and covers nearly a decade of letter exchanges between the two beat poets in their South American search for Ayahuasca. Jana DeBusk is a musician, educator, and world-wanderer. She enjoys strong coffee and red wine. Her travels have inspired two albums that you can find on Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes. Check out her music and follow her travel stories at www.janadebuskmusic.com. She is a also a guest writer for Dig Travel Magazine. A native of Kendallville, Indiana, Jana currently resides in Manizales, Colombia. Previously by Jana DeBusk: The Magic, The Music, and the Men: Cartagena Delivers for Solo Female Travelers
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