Ayahuasca – My Heart of Darkness
Listen (with an open mind) to Nic Gabriel recount his experiences with Ayahuasca and San Pedro just a short time following his visit to the Peruvian jungle and El Purguero. Nic’s story is a personal one. He is vulnerable, honest and (quite frankly) bursting with love. Skeptical or not, as you listen to Nic guide Brian through the residue of his recent interaction with hallucinogenic plant-medicine brews and the infamous shaman Ron Wheelock, if nothing else you’ll be charmed. Take a walk with London Real; we’ll take you to hell and back into the light again. Grab a cup of tea and put your feet up for one of the longest episodes to date. Nic discusses his ego, giant spaceships made out of feathers, frolicking in his underwear with an Egyptian queen and being afraid to die. Always open to the possibility of sounding like a crazy gringo, Nic was indeed ‘overwhelmed with the depths of his own madness,’ but also clings to the validity of these events – or at least to his perception of what transpired. His sincerity is palpable and makes for a very entertaining, insightful and enlightening podcast. It’s a must-consume episode for the experienced muti-dimentioner, novice adventure seeker or even the tepid fair-weather fan.
Two weeks after his experience in the Amazon Rainforest and with the powerful and elusive drug Ayahuasca, Nic Gabriel sits down with Brian to chat about how he got to the jungle, what happened while he was there and where he’s at now.
To get to the Amazon Nic flew from London to Madrid then from Madrid to Lima, Peru. Flying hundreds of miles over dense jungle canopy Nic could sense that he was awaiting something potent. Once in Lima Nic met up with his Ayahuasca counterparts and set off for final destination, El Purgero. After taking a puddle jumper flight and Motorkar-ing his way into Iquitos, Nic endured a final bus ride deeper into the jungle where he eventually walked his way into his jungle retreat for the next several days.
El Purgero is an out-of-the-way retreat and one that Nic describes as “idealic”. A wooden dormitory, a creek to bath and long drop toilets may be ideal for some perhaps, but Nic was there on an Ayahuasca mission, not to bathe imperiously with Swedish super models – although there were goddesses afoot.
On the first night at El Purgero, Nic and company didn’t drink Ayahuasca but they did meet the radiant Ron Wheelock and resident shaman who introduced himself and then said, “I will take you to hell, but I will bring you back to the light.” Well if that isn’t an intimidating first impression I don’t know what is.
The second night in camp was when the first Ayahuasca ceremony took place. Reluctantly and terrified around 7pm is when everyone gathered at the retreat’s man-made temple and prepared to drink this ancient and fascinating medicine brew.
After being instructed to, Nic takes his dosage of the (apparently) vile tasting plant stew, listens to Shaman Ron perform his tobacco ritual and tucks into his chair – preparing as much as he can for the ride ahead. After what could have been between 15-45 minutes the Ayahuasca medicine started its magic on Nic. During the subsequent 3 or 5 hours Nic experienced himself as a sort of Egyptian “God King”, bodiless and without a bit of dignity. I’m summarizing, of course.
A day of reflection passes and Nic’s onto the second ceremony only this time it was the very powerful medicine San Pedro that he took instead. San Pedro is mescaline and comes from a cactus. Nic talks about his involvement with it being completely different from his Ayahuasca experiences and actually unscrupulous in many ways. Dispersed by a different shaman, the San Pedro ceremony brought on earth spirits and insights that included crawling insects, feline alien species and a goddess chaperoned mud bath. I’m into it!
After San Pedro another day of rest was in store for Nic and crew, and then the second Ayahuasca ceremony took place. On this night there was a storm brewing – literally! Nic took a small measure of the brew this time and proceeds to have the most ‘surreal experience of his entire life,’ up until that point at least. There was yet another ceremonial to come after all.
Shaman Ron performed his opening remarks in song and chant (giant gong and all). Nic strappedhimself in again and started to embrace his second Ayahuasca journey. He realized the importance of his friends and family, what they mean to him and what he means to those around him. He saw the remittance of a broken heart, himself as a holy man under a tree and how mother earth is being destroyed. Feels a bit like watching FOX News.
In the final ceremony was the last day on the Mayan calendar, December 22. Nic decided to take a full measure of Ayahuasca and why the hell not since the word was about to “end,” right? Nic talks about his potent feeling of something “big” on the horizon and that there was a sense of an ominous sprit at camp this night. From this point there was face painting, group chanting, something about a jerk participant debacle and a lot of real heart to heart conversations with strangers in the dark.
When Nic sat down with Brian and London Real TV it had been a week or so since his final ceremony. He still had a lot to process, but what he could divulge was potent, generous and all-together scary. Even if you didn’t know Nic before his trip into the jungle, you’d be hard pressed not to agree that he came back a changed man, and I think he’d say, for the better! It’s one of the longest episodes of London Real and one that you certainly won’t want to miss.
Music by: Kevin MacLeod & The Edenites