Ayahuasca Ceremony – From Afghanistan to Ayahuasca
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra
I vividly remember the moment when the course of my life changed.
It wasn’t dramatic like some Hollywood scene of enlightenment with a Morgan Freeman voice-over. It was a scorching afternoon in January 2008 and I was a 21 year old Australian soldier seated in the middle of Afghani military base looking around at the chaos, destruction, and violence that war breeds. I’ll never know exactly what sparked my internal revolution, but from one second to the next I realized that the path I was on was not mine.
It was in that moment that my consciousness seemed to expand beyond what I thought was possible; ideas, understanding, and a range of unprecedented emotions began flowing from the outside in, and from the inside out. My whole thought process seemed to change. I looked at things, people, and situations that I had seen hundreds of times with a new perspective; I found myself noticing the connection between the seemingly distinct and separate elements of my reality. My thirst for new knowledge was unquenchable and I spent a lot of my down time scouring the Internet for information about spirituality and the real history and origins of human consciousness.
After another 3 months in Uruzgan Province of juggling spiritual education and fighting the Taliban, I returned to Australia. I still had over a year to go until I would be finished with my military contract, and as time crawled along I became increasingly disillusioned with the whole military experience. It felt as if, for the Monty Python fans out there, as if I was living the scene in which they’re marching up and down the square, and in-between Michael Palin look-a-likes spitting onto my face and cleaning rifles, I began to have an urge to travel to South America.
That’s when I first watched a documentary about Ayahuasca. Little did I know then that “Madre Ayahuasca” and the world of shamanism was calling me.
At the end of 2009 I boarded a Buenos Aires bound flight from Sydney, saying goodbye to Australia and my 6 year military career. It took me 6 months and a journey from one end of the continent to the other, but in June 2010 with two roommates that would go on to be my brothers and project partners at the Eagle Condor Alliance, I found what I was looking for in the Andes Mountains just outside of Medellin, Colombia. Mother Ayahausca.
My first experience with an Ayahusaca ceremony in Colombia is hard to put into words, but if I was to try and describe it, I’d say it was a combination of confusion, visions, sickness, and a sense of euphoria. I remember in the morning feeling complete oneness, love, presence, and happiness, and I remember being overwhelmingly grateful for my life and for Ayahuasca´s arrival to my life. The clarity and sense of physical lightness that I felt convinced me that I would continue to work with Ayahuasca for the foreseeable future as my teacher, my medicine, and my guide.
Although I was blessed enough to come away from 7 months in Afghanistan with no real PTSD, that experience did fuel my relationship with alcohol into a downward spiral accompanied by recreational drugs. It was during my first few Ayahuasca ceremonies that I was able to begin heal and identify the root causes of those problems. I do believe 100% that Ayahuasca when used in the correct environment can be a very effective and powerful tool in healing victims of PTSD.
After 4 years of living between Western Australia, where I worked as an iron worker and construction union delegate, and Colombia, where I worked with Ayahuasca and the other sacred medicines of the Americas, I finally moved to Medellin, Colombia and established my life in the mountains outside of the city.
Now, working as a retreat facilitator at the Eagle Condor Alliance, I often wonder what my life would look like if I had ignored that moment of spiritual awakening I had received in Afghanistan, or the calling to Ayahuasca and the sacred plant medicines and shamanism of the Americas. But more than dwell on that unsolvable what-if, I give thanks for the fact that for the first time in my life I am doing something that resonates with my soul and that excites to live every waking moment with passion.
It is a blessing to walk this path and I hope to share the beauty and mystery of these plant medicines with as many people as I possibly can. Whether it is an intense Ayahuasca ceremony, a San Pedro Cactus ceremony, or a hot Sweat Lodge (Temazcal), I look forward to being the bridge between people who are seeking guidance, love, passion, and clarity in their lives, and the medicines. I am forever grateful to myself for the work I have done to become a better man, to Ayahuasca and the sacred plant medicines, and for the opportunity to spread love and healing as our center facilitates an influential shift in peoples’ life paths towards positive change and growth.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin