Psychedelic Stories | Snake: The Spirit of Ayahuasca

I’d seen the snake only once before, on my first trip to the Amazon nine months ago. He appeared during my first ayahuasca experience, darting back and forth like some elusive creature of myth. At the time, I had struggled to maintain my concentration long enough to determine if the mysterious serpent was friend or foe. I had the feeling the snake was evaluating me as well, though he vanished as quickly as he had appeared, kept at bay by my intense fear and apprehension.

There was none of that fear or anxiety now, this being my second trip down to the jungle city of Iquitos to experience the ayahuasca medicine. As I caught my first glimpse of the snake slithering past in my peripheral vision, I felt only gratitude that I would get a second chance to interact with the majestic beast. My initial hesitation had been dispelled in the months prior by reading accounts of fellow psychonauts describing the benevolence of this great spirit and the benefits that could be attained by forming a relationship with the creature.

The night of my second ayahuasca experience, an army of shaman surrounded us, creating a wall of sound with their icaros, protecting the large ceremonial maloka. That night, their voices were needed more than ever. It was a full-moon ceremony, which meant the already powerful ayahuasca was made even stronger by celestial energies. All of this created a perfect environment for another meeting with the snake. After just an hour, the energy in the maloka was already reaching a fever pitch. The interplay between the icaros and the ayahuasca created a vibration in the room that was indescribable. It was almost as if the whole maloka was humming to a frequency that I was tuned into.

As the ceremony progressed, I could sense the reptilian presence creeping closer to me as his energetic field brushed up against my own. A slight tinge of paranoia crept into my mind as the snake approached. My subconscious did not want to relinquish control. I didn’t know if I was really ready to let this spirit inside; the possibility existed that this serpent was malevolent and meant me harm, but I tried to silence such fears.

 

 

 

“What do I have to lose?” I asked myself as I finally let go of my apprehension and mentally allowed the snake access to my being.  As soon as I did, the fear completely vanished. I knew that I had just put my trust in something that would not harm me.

By now, the reptile was circling the perimeter of my body and head like a whirlwind. I could see it getting closer and start to move faster. As it approached, I could make out its features more clearly. The snake was brown and spotted, thick and robust, resembling an anaconda. Suddenly, his approach stopped and he ascended into the air up out of my field of view.

“Was that it?” I wondered, as an eerie calm came over me. Perhaps, he had performed his work and departed painlessly.

However, this proved not to be the case. Suddenly, he reappeared above me and began to descend down through the crown of my head. My rational mind told me that I should be absolutely terrified, but I felt no fear at all. As his consciousness merged with mine, I knew instinctively that he meant me no harm. The snake continued his descent down my esophagus, through my chest, and finally settled in my stomach. What was so remarkable about his movement was that I could physically feel the entire process take place and my body respond in turn. The snake began rapidly darting around the inside of my stomach, gobbling dark matter with his mouth as he moved. I decided to simply surrender, giving the snake free reign of my body. I knew that whatever he was eating was foreign energy, and I was glad to be rid of it. As he swam around in my guts, I could feel every movement. When he would hit the wall of my stomach, the lining would protrude outward as he reversed direction. His serpentine shape seemed able to change size at will, depending on which crevasse of my belly he needed to penetrate.

Then all of a sudden he became much larger. His body outstretched, and he coiled himself around my entire stomach. The feeling was jarring, like something had totally commandeered my being. I was no longer in control, just a passenger in my own body. His head moved up into my skull, and I found myself gazing into his red eyes. His tongue darted in and out of his mouth with excitement. Again there was no fear, just calmness and gratitude. At this point, he began gently cradling and shaking my whole body like I was an infant that he was consoling. I was in awe. I felt totally cared for and protected. I hadn’t experienced this feeling of unconditional love and safety since I was a child.

With deeper concentration, I could see why he was doing this. He was shaking little black bugs loose from my body. All different kinds of insects—worms, spider-looking creatures, beetles—were flying off my energetic body and into the ether. I knew that whatever these parasitic creatures represented, I did not want them inside me any longer. I could feel tension throughout my entire body release as this process continued.

In the middle of this cleansing, one of the facilitators came to the front of my mat and whispered in my ear, “How are your visions?”

“I have a snake inside me,” I told her quite plainly, as if it was completely natural.

She laughed sympathetically. “That’s good,” she said. “It’s the spirit of Ayahuasca.”

I nodded with a knowing gesture. She sang me a beautiful song and then stepped back as the snake continued its work. The bugs were getting bigger and it was starting to become quite hectic. I could feel the itch of nausea creep over me as the parasites increased in strength and tenacity.

Sensing my physical disturbance, the snake began to move its tail. Without warning, he violently constricted his whole body as if he was ringing out a towel. My stomach was forced inward, and the vilest green vomit made its way up my esophagus guided by the tail. I barely made it to my bucket but watched as the green ooze exploded from my mouth. Instantaneous relief percolated throughout my entire system as the purging stopped.

I thanked the snake profusely. I felt lighter, like some leech that had been draining me was finally expelled. I sat there for a moment and tried to catch my breath, stunned from what I just felt ripple through all of my senses. I was heaving and exhausted, but calm. It felt like spiritual surgery had just been performed on me, and I was now in the recovery ward. After I regained my composure, I was ready for more work. I still could see that the snake was inside of me, but it was mostly dormant, only occasionally moving within my bowels. He seemed tired as well.

I was in no hurry to be rid of the snake. I enjoyed his company. His primal energy was strong and aggressive, but he used his strength to protect me. I felt a fraternal connection to the reptilian creature inside me, almost like a big brother. After spending some time being mesmerized by the snake, my gut started to ache again, and I knew it was time for some purging in the other direction. By that point, I was coherent enough to make my way to the restrooms located just outside the maloka.

I stumbled out into the humid night, opened the stall door, and plopped myself down on the seat bracing myself for whatever was to come. At this point, the snake became active again and started swimming around in my lower intestines. I’ll spare you the graphic details, but the snake exited in just as dramatic a fashion as it had entered. At that point, I felt total relief, like everything was in its right place inside of my body. I had just experienced a physical and spiritual flush of epic proportions. I was completely rejuvenated.

I knew that the main part of my journey was over for the night. As I returned to my mat to relax and listen to the sounds of the jungle, I reflected on my experience. There was no doubt in my mind that I just had an encounter with a spirit. What the snake was was another question. He wasn’t angelic or ethereal like most benevolent spirits are portrayed. He was primal and instinctual—an animal spirit, a creature of the Earth. The facilitator described the snake as the “Spirit of Ayahuasca.” That seemed reasonable. The anaconda is an incredibly frequent vision for many travelers on the vine, especially when journeying in its native habitat.

Whether it was an animal spirit, a shared vision in the collective unconscious representing our primal nature, or actually the Spirit of Ayahuasca wasn’t my concern that evening. All I know was that there was a benevolent force helping to purge my body of negative energy, and I was eternally grateful. This is a fundamental characteristic of ayahuasca, which distinguishes it from other psychedelics. Ayahuasca guides you and will provide assistance, especially if you ask.

 

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