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” Through the healing of ourselves we can birth a new world “

I grew up in an atheist, anti-God, anti-spirituality household. Knowing myself now as a deeply spiritual person, I think that the “God does not exist” mentality conveyed that part of me did not exist, that in some ways, my authentic self was not acknowledged. I had a rough relationship with my mother, and felt abandoned emotionally and mentally, and started turning towards alcohol and nicotine regularly. I was living in Chicago at the time and was in a dark, depressed place in my life, where some days I didn’t want to be alive. By the time I was 18, I was drinking and heavily smoking, and was completely addicted to nicotine. After graduating high school, a profound message came to me, “If you continue on this path, you’re going to die.” It felt very real, as if it was my grandfather who died of lung cancer telling it to me face to face.  It was clear to me that I needed to change my atmosphere, so I left Chicago and moved to Berkeley, California. Over the next few years, I quit smoking, became vegetarian, and started practicing yoga. My first encounter with psychedelics was when I tried mushrooms.  It was clear that it was a different experience than other substances I had used before: I felt a reverence and connection to nature that was distinct. I spent the next 18 years on my spiritual journey through various practices, and by the time I sat with the medicine for the first time, I felt like I had already cleared a lot of things out. Because of this groundwork, I was able to meet the spirit of ayahuasca during my first ceremony, and I felt very welcomed. I knew I was at home and that my relationship with her was part of my relationship with the entire world.

 Over the years, ayahuasca has transformed me into a devotee of the plant kingdom and caretaker of the earth and all its beings. It has helped me cut out the ‘shiny things’ or things that we think we want or need, and focus on what is truly important:  my mission and what I came here for. Working with the medicine has been deeply transformational for me. My most profound ceremony put me through the experience of being in labor and giving birth. I burst a thousand babies, the most beautiful light beings, onto the earth. The message that I received was that through the healing of ourselves we can birth a new world, and that we all have the power to birth a thousand folds of our healing energy. Not only do I believe in that message, but I believe that that was an actual energetic birth that affected all of my tribe who I was surrounded by during the ceremony. It was clear to me that being a mother was an integral part of my medicine. The beauty of being a human shows me that we’re such a diverse species: we all are so different, the medicine serves us all individually, and we all get something different from it. From sitting in ceremonies and sharing a collective experience, it feels to me that there is a broader message where there are the personal missions that we have as individuals, and then there is a common call to us about how we want to evolve, transform, and see the world become. There’s a unifying force that we collectively agree upon and we collectively remember. I feel that within the call of oneness there is a message of love, unity, and harmony that’s calling to be burst like it is our evolution.

Interview and photography done by Kirill Ignatieff,  a founder of  22STORIES.


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Project Description

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive medicinal mixture of plants used for healing purposes in a ceremonial setting. The next morning after each ceremony a “Sharing Circle” takes place where all participants share their spiritual journey from the night prior.  The stories that come out of those sharingcircles are very profound and life-changing, but only very few have access to them. This project is about sharing those stories with a broader audience and help people understand the power and the benefit of the medicine and it’s community.