I’ve Been Pain-Free Since My First Ayahuasca Ceremonies

Ayahuasca preparation. The medicine is boiled
for many hours and reduced into a potent brew.


by Chris Isner, Laborer, USA

on October 21, 2014

I stared goggle-eyed at the lead shaman literally blasting me with his icaros –– vomit drool hanging from my lip –– and saw that he wasn’t a man at all; he was, in fact, an undulating red dragon festooned with thousands of kaleidoscopic eyes! Then one of the other three shamans would spark a mapacho, and I saw him in man-form again for a split second, gesturing forcefully over me, as if revealed by a crack of lightning…..and then the dragon again.

We were actually sitting face to face but he towered over me. The predominant feeling I had during that ceremony was of joyous terror. At one point, I realized that my knees were ice cold, which I had been told to expect. Told that, yes, ayahuasca will indeed cure my painful, battered, surgery-bound knees that cracked every time I bent them. Told that the feeling of cold would be the brew working on them. That was last January. It is now October and I’ve been pain-free ever since even with much rigorous hiking. Stairs do not cause me to look for escalators.

Then there is my head to consider. Put it this way: I met my current girlfriend exactly one year ago, just a couple months before my journey to Peru. In that year –– most of which we’ve cohabited –– we haven’t ever argued, not once. Not even close to it. It’s been nothing but sweetness and love and support. Granted she’s an exceptionally awesome, easy-going individual, but me, not so much; it takes two to tango and my fightin’ boogey shoes are well-worn.

While I’ve never been diagnosed with anything other than alcoholism (sober 4 years, tyvm), I did some research and self-scored 9 for 9 on the Borderline Personality Disorder chart, to varying degrees with each criterion, and I definitely have the battle scars to prove it. Now, I don’t know if my layman’s diagnosticisms are worth their weight in feathers or not, but in my best opinion, I’ve been almost entirely asymptomatic since those six ayahuasca ceremonies. Life is pretty damn good. I’m happy most of the time. That’s a new thing for me and sometimes I’m at a loss as to what to think about it –– like it isn’t natural, ya know?

I do feel, however, that I’ve barely wet my toes spiritually and am definitely looking forward to my next retreat this December. And my girlfriend is joining me 🙂

Ps. If you happen to run into an exceedingly malevolent wolfman lookin dude surrounded by a webwork of tarantula legs and he seems poised to tear you limb from limb, don’t worry, just tell him to split and he will.