We arrived late, 10 minutes before the beginning of the ceremony.
We got lost on the way, rough roads and no signs. The sun moon lodge was nowhere to be found on Google maps, and our campervan was too big for the narrow roads on the mountain. At the verge of panic with the van suffering in the mud, we found a locked gate with a sign on saying ‘private area, enter with appointment only’. There was a phone number in the corner. It clicked to me, this must be Nixi Waka’s number. And it was. Four locked road gates later, under the orange pink sky we arrived at the lodge.
In the hut there were about 30 more people sitting in peaceful circle around the fire. Nixi didn’t say much, we were tense and excited. Yawe Bane looked nothing like the wrinkled sun dried old man of wisdom I imagined before. He looked about 30 years old, a well fed Brazilian dude with simple clothes and a constant little smile that made me wonder if it requires any effort or if it’s just part of his features.
The ceremony started with Nixi explaining the process, most of the people were there for the whole week already following Dieta, a strict eating – healing process with ceremonies every night. Only me and another 2 people never had the juice before. I felt confident but nervous and a part of me wanted it to finish as soon as possible, so we could go to bed and chill. If I had only known, what was about to happen.
We then drank the juice. One by one, in a small glass, the taste wasn’t as bad as I expected, bitter sour but manageable. I kind of liked it. The fire was burning, and I sat down next to a nervous girl who was drinking also for the first time, and to an experienced middle aged man who asked me to move my bucket in front of my mattress in case my vomit smells bad.
Around 30 minutes later, I was sitting still in the same position watching the fire, observing and waiting. Bane was singing, and Nixi was playing instruments and singing along. Soft beautiful sounds from the other side of the world, but yet so familiar, like a mother’s lullabies to children about to sleep. I tried hard to empty my mind, and just observe what was happening. I closed my eyes, and I noticed that I could see clearly with my eyes closed, there it was, the view from the campervan window, African fields and fluffy clouds running before my eyes. They were moving along with the rhythm of the song. I thought shit, those 11 hours of non-stop driving to get here is messing with my head.
Soon after, the campervan window view dissolved, it slowly transformed into an explosion of colors and shapes, a divine kaleidoscopic show, and I surrendered.
I lay back with my eyes closed, my body went numb I could no longer feel my legs and arms. My skin extended to infinity, and there I was, inside my own body. Every sense translated into visions, my touch became shapes, sound became space, everything melted into one state, and there was no escape. I turned my head, reached my hands to feel the floor, but I just kept falling, sinking deeper and deeper into that world. There was no scale, no divisions, no time, I was flying through a colorful vast place, stunned by the infinite beauty of the spiral forms and the genius designs, I was inside the motherboard of the universe, and at the same time inside my own cells. That world was in control, turning everything I knew inside out, I was shrinking down with the speed of light into my veins, observing my blood cells and then suddenly out to the edge of the universe and back inside my cells. I could not stop it no matter where I turned my head to.
The songs got louder and louder, I could hear women and children whispering and laughing in my ears. I opened my eyes stunned, who are they? Where are they hiding? I tried to sit, struggling to find balance, the hut looked different, the fire was spinning upwards to the ceiling, the whole room was filled with red lights, flying around with the music, forming a pulsing web of light, beautiful and stormy. What is this? I wondered. It’s real, it’s here, what is this? Who is laughing? The laughs got louder and louder, I looked around, tried to focus, everyone seemed quiet, but different than before. I looked at the nervous girl next to me, she seemed so different, her hair seemed so long, a supernatural creature, she looked at me, I laughed. She laughed too, I said can you believe this is happening? Can you see this? She kept laughing.
I looked at the fire, Bane was playing a drum and singing, it sounded like the heartbeat of the earth, loud and strong, and my body started shaking. The red lights kept spinning faster and faster, the laughs kept getting louder and louder, I thought, is it the lights laughing? I laughed, this is magic, I thought. I found balance in the lotus position, it just felt right but I kept swinging back and forth with the music. Why can’t I stop moving? Something was in control of me, entirely, all I could do was to keep breathing. My right leg was shaking violently, the drum got louder and louder, fluorescent green creatures emerged from the floor dancing and whispering to me, showing me the orange bucket. Come on come on, do it, do it, in a strange language I don’t remember anymore. I felt pushed towards the bucket, my body shaking still, and something was crawling out of it. And then I purged.
I was inside my vomit, a golden waterfall, and I was falling with it inside the bucket along with the dancing creatures. It was blissful. Swinging over the bucket, still purging, I heard the sound of a glass bottle shuttering in my mouth, and then the taste of white wine. I remembered; I had a bottle of white wine the night before, though you are not supposed to drink alcohol for days before the ceremony. What is this? Did I just purge a whole glass bottle? How can this physically happen? It doesn’t matter, a voice said. It doesn’t matter, I repeated. What is real is not real and what’s not real is real. I laughed.
I pushed the bucket away and sat. I felt cleansed, reaching a higher state of bliss and surrender. Shapes, colours, spinning lights, whispers, laughs they were now all melting into one thing, one magical show that was in control of everything I thought I was in control of all this time. My body, my brain my being were not mine anymore. I felt peaceful. I yawned.
And I yawned again. It felt like my whole body was yawning, every cell was yawning from inside, like a newborn child. It felt like all the stress and tiredness of the whole humanity since forever was released through my every yawning. The songs felt like a womb, or the arms of a mother, nurturing and comforting, and I kept yawning. I thought, is it rude to yawn? Should I cover my mouth? I was confused. What is yawning? Is it bad? No it’s not, a voice said. Nothing is bad. There is no such thing as bad thing and good thing. Yawning, laughing, shitting, peeing, farting it’s all the same thing. You never see a lion embarrassed to yawn, you never see a dog embarrassed to take a shit. It was so clear. All the human filters, all the human interpretations, it was all so clear, reality was so clear in front of me. And it was so beautiful and simple, that pure reality, my human eyes and filters could not affect it anymore. That’s what it is, I can’t do nothing about it, it doesn’t matter what I think or what I believe.
I looked around, no one cared I was yawning, no one bothered, I laughed.
It felt like shifting into an even deeper state, my body was cleansed and calm, I sat still watching the fire. And then it happened. My consciousness broke into pieces, every piece turned inside out, and then broke into smaller pieces that turned inside out. It felt like it went on and on forever. I thought, is this what it’s supposed to be? Why I’m I here again, what I’m I doing? I?
I looked at Nixi and Bane, singing by the fire and for a moment I thought I found the answer. Instantly I felt guilty, how dare you thinking you found the answer in your first ceremony, you are so arrogant, and instantly I understood, it’s ok, you are only human, that’s why you are here, you evolved to have the illusion of finding answers, you are only human, it’s ok, it’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok. I laughed. It became so clear again. My little human nature next to the vast intelligence of the universe, together they made sense. There is nothing to feel bad for. I made you wonder, observe, question and find answers, the voice said. It’s ok.
I felt calmer and calmer. The red lights were fading away, and the fire was reaching towards me with every sound. Its flames were warming my body, I started gaining feeling again. My legs got warmer and warmer and then a wave of heat emerged through my belly. I thought I peed on myself. I touched the blanket, I couldn’t tell if it was wet or not, my hands were still numb. Its ok I thought, it doesn’t matter. The wave came back, this time stronger, a flame through me connecting me with the fire and a flame from the fire connecting with me. I observed it, there was a river of flames between me and the fire. I leaned back and then it happened.
I gave birth.
Overwhelmed, I touched the blanket again, what did just happen?
I looked at the fire, and saw my mother. There weren’t any visions any more, they had faded away. The fire was my mother. And the fire showed me what is like to give birth. It hit me suddenly, the link.
It wasn’t a thought; it was a truth coming from outside hitting me in the face. I am not an isolated being, I am a part of a chain. I am linked, I exist because I am linked, I did not remotely emerge into existence. My mother, is my mother. She is my Mother. Fuck.
It was a feeling like no other, that pure love, unconditional true love, from mother to child to mother to child, all my filters, my individualistic perception of me, was gone. All I felt was love.
I cried. And then I laughed.