Am I as scared to write this as I think I am? When I first wrote about DMT, it took months for me to come to terms with the awe and find the words. I am only four days out from the most powerful event of my life; I am still scratching the bug bites from my days spent laying in the sand of Punta Chueca. Yes, I am afraid.
We had done an ayahuasca ceremony the night before and were going on little sleep when we pulled into the secluded cove the day after the full moon. The doctor and shaman, whom I had met the night before, were both there and they held rattles and a feather stick. My biggest concern was the scorching heat with only one application of sunscreen. A fellow psychonaut tried to divert my attention from the ayahuasquero who had just smoked the 5-MeO-DMT and whose eyes were rolled back into his head with bubbles coming out of his mouth. She held me close to her and asked me to look only into her eyes. She said, “You go in there and be all that you ARE. You are magnificent. You are beautiful.”
They held towels up around me to protect the flame from the wind. The doctor had me take several deep breaths, and he held the glass bulb pipe to my lips. “Slowly,” he cautioned. I sucked in the smoke and finished it only with his persistence. I told myself to hold it in as instructed, but I wanted to exhale.
I stood in the beautiful sun and my body almost immediately dissolved into white light. Like confetti, I fell apart. I lost myself completely and ceased to exist. I do not remember anything here, though on the video I am moving my arms quite a bit. I wonder if this is what they refer to as the “white out.”
The next thing I remember is not being human. I do not remember what was happening, but I know I was increasingly losing control. In the video, I am beginning to kick my legs and run in place, though I have collapsed on the ground. My throat sounds start low and gradually become higher-pitched and more afraid. Things begin to turn inside-out in ways that don’t make sense at all. Every atom in my body is attacking me, and every dimension that ever made sense is imploding and taking me with it. I have no thought of self or my name or 5-MeO-DMT. I am gone completely. Lost. And more and more out of control. I don’t even have these thoughts. My essence is twisted into all that is Hell — and it’s only coming on faster and more intensely. If I even attempt to find myself, I am punished with more horror and pain. I do not even know the word “release” or the term “let go.” I am in the grip of Hell itself. Pain and horror that cannot be described here.
It is at this point in the video that the doctor turns me over on my back, and my human body has stopped breathing. My friend tells me my face had gone purple, and that he saw the doctor become concerned. They pour water into my throat to get me to breathe for survival.
In my Hell, the water they pour becomes another part of the madness and propels me into farther, more isolated levels of Hell. I am drowning, I am dying, I am dying everyone’s death, I am all the pain that ever has existed, and that’s a silly understatement. I begin to truly panic.
I see myself clearly suddenly. I have finally done 5-MeO, the ultimate thing I’ve been so foolishly chasing. And I’m trapped. I am worse than insane. I am trapped in a Hell that is compounding upon itself infinitely with each unfolding moment. It cannot get worse — and then it does. Again and again. Shockingly. Disturbingly. Infinitely. Over and over and over until my sheer terror makes me crack wide open and accept it.
This is my new reality. The certainty is terrifying. I am the poster child for The One Who Got Lost Forever. The One Who Never Came Back. The cautionary tale for all psychedelic users for the rest of time. They bring in Buddhist monks, healers, priests, and exorcists. No one can get me out. I assume that from the outside, my head is shaking back and forth, I’m clawing my face, and screaming with all I am. This is how I will look for the rest of time to the outside world. But inside my soul, it will always only be this compounding, infinite horror. I’m left alone to act as the example. It’s what my whole life has been leading to. I, ME, Jennifer… this has been my destiny all along. This is my purpose. I am the chosen one to embody Hell for others to learn from. To the spiritual people of the world, the Burners and psychonauts, monks and yogis, I am a legend, and they pay solemn homage. They speak about me at gatherings and try to make sense of me. They come see me, locked up in a museum with glass walls, living out my private Hell for them to observe. They cry and shake their heads. I make them shudder and have disturbing nightmares. Most are too afraid to come see me at all. I become a tragic relic.
As I fully accept this, my panic becomes so immense that I lose my mind. Absolute and desolate madness. I implode into the Hell that has become my only companion. If there were a boulder, and I was able to use my body, I would have smashed my head on it until death released me. With horror, I remind myself that this reality will not end with my death. I am trapped. Forever. The only true lost soul in the universe. I am what everyone fears. Does that make me Satan? No. It makes me the opposite of light. I am darkness. The yin. I am suffering itself. The chosen one trapped here to allow the other side to exist. It was me all along. How’s that for destiny?
The doctor begins singing one of his ancient songs. To be honest, I am not sure what finally transitioned me to the light, but I know his song is now the Arcana imprinted on my soul forever. I find myself humming it every moment my mind is quiet. I felt it through every minute of my sleep last night. I believe it guided me out of the darkness. At first I thought the doctor saved me, but now I am starting to believe I saved myself. I had to conquer Hell to reach Nirvana. The price was high. But you get what you pay for.
Nirvana blooms into all existence. It is a soft, pastel, fractal of being. Of oneness. Of light. More than love. It is free of suffering and beyond the cycle of death and rebirth. I reach Nirvana. True enlightenment. The beauty and reality and pureness of it is compounding equally as infinitely as Hell had before. It is equally intense. Building, yes. But also becoming more and more real. More true. I slowly realize that this Nirvana is not just within me or something I’ve reached… all of existence now finds itself here for all eternity. The thought of wars cross my mind, and I realize they are no more. All suffering has ceased. We are allowed to simply exist here now. Forever.
And in the greatest moment I have ever known, it dawns on me that it has all come from me. There was a tiny hidden atom (?) located behind my ribcage that had held the power all along. This is my destiny! I am the chosen one to release all beings back into Nirvana. We have found our way home! And the same spiritual community of Burners and seekers now pay homage to the one who somehow held the key to unlock all of true being. And they shake their heads in delight because no one could have guessed it would come from such a small person. We had all done our parts by awakening others or feeling gratitude or doing yoga or fasting or praying or loving one another or being patient with ourselves.
What we have all been seeking, I fully realize I have found for us all. There are no “thank you’s” — just utter and sheer joy that it has come back around at last. Our hard work is over!! We all did it together! I am God in the existence of Nirvana. As are we all. And this knowledge validates all I have ever been and ever will be.
I have been dealing with some intense flashbacks of the difficult part. The Arcana really has seemed to be my crutch, but I intend to release it soon. I can feel myself getting stronger.
After writing all of this and reflecting in the past few days, I believe my takeaway is this: I am not lost. I am not trapped or doomed. I do not have to be afraid. I am not alone. I am all that exists. I am responsible for Nirvana, and I will always find my way back to the light.