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” She is the only thing that can heal you “

   The first time I ever did ayahuasca, it was the most profound visually and physically. I flew out of an octagonal window of the council lodge we were in, and I flew all the way up to the stars. So I flew up, I flew up as high as I could go and when I looked down at the earth I could see the contour of Mama Earth. I saw my house, and it was telling me that it needed protection and a cover. I love to sew ceremonial clothes, quilts and dresses with beautiful patterns, so as I flew down towards my home, I started to sew a quilt and a blanket to put over it. And then I went over to where my kids were living in their homes, and I sewed all these beautiful patterns to protect them and to keep them warm and safe. My family was going through a really hard time at that point in my life. During another ceremony we were in the forest in a circle of redwood trees. A little after we took the medicine, the trees were dancing and weeping. They were crying, telling me that I needed to bring my whole family to the ceremony to heal them. Grandma Ayahuasca told me, “Did you know, I’m waiting for you to bring all your children and put them on my lap so I can hold council and give them a 

healing?” My youngest child needed the most healing of them all. For ten years he’d been trying to get out of a black hole of heroin addiction and incarceration. We, of course, tried many different things to get him out, but nothing seemed to help. There were many times when I would go visit him when he was incarcerated and tell him, “When you get out and you get sober and completely clean, I need to take you to see the Grandma (aya). She needs to heal you, because that’s the only thing that I know to be true on this planet that can heal you as this Western medicine and the Western way of healing is not serving you.” He finally went to his first ceremony, and he’s been off heroin ever since. I think that the medicine came to him right when he needed to take it because prior to that he would have abused it, like he had done heroin. He would have used it as a different thing, as a drug instead of as a medicine. It’s been the most beautiful thing to watch him find himself, be a beautiful dad, and to love himself enough to not want to use heroin again.

Interviewer: Kirill Ignatieff (founder of 22STORIES)

Photography: 22PORTRAITS

Story editor:  Seema Seraj


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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.