Hello, my darlings. Hello, this is Micah Riot, your host of Ink Medicine podcast. This episode is coinciding with the week in North America that we think of as Thanksgiving week, and I don't care for the sentiment of the day. I don't celebrate it, although I do also enjoy the occasional meal with friends or family or chosen family whenever I'm able to make that happen. That year and this year, it's been pretty chill for me. I am actually part of a market, a queer artisanal market on December 2nd, in another week and a couple days and so I've been in the production mode. I've been making, making, making, making. My partner called it ELF mode, so I've been in ELF mode for this week and last week. As you know, I make jewelry out of silver and stones and a little bit of gold here and there, and I also sew. I sew pouches, boxy pouches, makeup bags, things like that. They're really fun for me to make and I also have been making stickers. I have this thing with the retro, my little pony characters doing sports and they're all queer and cute and stuff. So I guess this is my small business owner urge to be making a little bit of money from something else besides my main gig, a side hustle for a small business owner that's self-employed. It's a good thing, let me tell you. So the theme of this episode is probably sits the closest to my heart and is the most personal episode I've ever made. The podcast is almost a year old. I started it last year in December, so this time feels very sweet for me. The podcast turning a year old and me having over 50 episodes under my belt. It's been fucking amazing and I'm really. This is the magic of living in this time is that I can sit at home and I can make a podcast and I can put it up online in you, wherever you are. Maybe you are across town, or maybe you are in a different country, in a different continent. You will hear me. You'll hear me say these words. So today I wanted to share with you my journey with ayahuasca. I have heard a lot about ayahuasca and people journeying with it for probably about a decade prior to having experienced myself, and I was very much pulled to the idea of it. It always, every time a person told me about their experience or their experiences, it just felt like magic to me. It felt like something I knew, I wanted to do someday, and I do have a little bit of experience with psychedelics. I have a handful of acid and mushroom trips under my belt. I have tried a lot of different things in my life. As you can probably tell, or maybe already know, I'm a seeker of ultra states, of spirituality, of God, of meaning and substances plants. They are a gateway to some of that knowledge, some of that awareness. So I have always been curious about ayahuasca, and a couple of years ago, about three years ago, I was in a bad space. I was in a hard space. I was going through. I had gone through a divorce, I moved a couple times, the pandemic was happening. I could not work. It was a rough time, I would say. I wanted to find myself again. I just didn't feel good. I spent a lot of time depressed, crying. I wasn't feeling motivated and I thought to myself this is the time. Time is now. In this next year, I would like to find my way to Mama Aya and I'd like to get some information from her about what it is I am needing to do for myself, what it is I'm here to do and why am I here. I felt quite untethered and I felt like this was going to be helping me. This would help me, that this would be one of my answers, and I also knew, after looking sensibly on the internet, that what I could find on Google was not what I wanted to be involved in. I found a lot of retreats that offered ayahuasca as medicine, but none of them stuck out to me. All of them seemed not quite right, so I figured I would wait until it finds me, and I knew what I wanted. I knew that I wanted it to be elsewhere. I knew I wanted to travel for it, travel further than just drive across town or somewhere else in the state. I wanted a journey to it. I wanted to make it inconvenient and expensive for myself Because I wanted to be so sure of what I would my desire to be a part of this experience that I would put myself in that situation, and so I did. It found me. It was October, maybe late September or October of 2021. It had been about nine months since I decided I wanted to have the experience with Mama Aya. I wanted to do it at the end of the year. There was something about the end of the year, this season, and it's both nourishing in its spaciousness, in its weather, and also I also really love New Year's. It's my favorite holiday, it's a time of contemplation for me, it's an excuse. It's truly this is truly one, probably one or two days a year that I feel no guilt about taking it off. And by taking it off I don't mean taking it off tattooing, but taking it off thinking about work, doing work, email, newsletters, all of this stuff. I really do truly rest around New Year's, 31st to 1st. My favorite thing is to take it. Take those days, go somewhere else, go into the woods, go by the ocean with my partner and my dog and just be like, really just be. It's a rare time for me that I can actually relax and just exist, and so I wanted this experience to come upon. To come somewhere around this time right before New Year's was really felt kind of perfect for me, and so you know it wasn't looking, I let it go, I was like it will find me. I had some intentions, I had desires and wants, and then I let it go. And so in late September, maybe early October, I was sitting with a person I admire, so very much. She came to me to get some tattoo work. I don't get to see her very often. It was really exciting to see her and we were in the shop, in that space that is so sacred that I enter with with her when we're in that space of tattooing. And she said to me have you ever thought about doing ayahuasca? And I said yeah, I've been thinking about it for a decade. I would really love to have the experience. And she said you should come on this retreat that I'm going on around Thanksgiving, and this was a month away. This was about a month, a month and a week, a month and two weeks away. And I said okay, what are the details? And she sent me the website and I looked at the website and I said okay, and I went through all the steps I applied. I paid, I got my plane tickets and by five, six weeks later, whatever that was, I was on the plane heading to Tulum, mexico, to be in the space to receive mama ayah into my life, into my body. For preparation, I had to do a dieta, I had to be on a limited sort of intake of food, I had to limit salt and sugar and red meats, alcohol, dairy spices really just kind of chill my body out to prepare it for ayahuasca. Also, there was no coffee, which was a little bit hard for me to let go of. But honestly, ever since I got back, I have not been a regular coffee drinker. I've been an occasional enjoyment coffee drinker and I've been drinking tea, same with alcohol. I cut out alcohol before I went and since I got back it's been not nearly as attractive to me and I've, little by little, drank less and less. I still drink occasionally, have a drink occasionally, but it's just not all that attractive anymore. Also, since I got back, I've been very, very reluctant to partake in any altering substances at all. It's not been something I've wanted to do and it's not been something I've been doing. It's been two years. I now feel a bit more ready to have some other experiences, perhaps with mushrooms or something else. The experience lasted. I remember everything. Even now I remember everything. I listened back to my recordings that I am about to present to you and it's crystal clear Like there wasn't anything. I said that I was like oh, I've forgotten, that was a thing. It's all right here, like right here near the surface, right here close to my heart. So before I start playing you the recordings I made two years ago after getting back from my trip. I just want to set up the scene. So we were in Tulum area, mexico. I flew into Tulum airport. I was picked up with a couple of other folks. About half the people who were on the retreat were coming from North America and about half were living there already. In Mexico there was an almost all black retreat. The woman organizing the retreat was black, the woman who invited me is black and a lot of the supporting staff were black folks and also there were some other folks of color as part of the team who gave us the medicine and then sat with us through the experiences we had. I wanted that to be the case. It was important to me to not even though I was having an experience that was coming from place of privilege. I could come from North America and pay the money to have this experience. Even though I'm not an indigenous person, I wanted to give my money to people who were not white and it felt important to me and I'm glad I had the experience I had. The retreat was fairly short. We arrived on Wednesday and we left on Monday morning and we had two ceremonies of ayahuasca. There was one on Thursday night and one on Sunday night and in between, we had some other things happening. There were other ceremonies, some of which were optional, but Mama Aya was the one most appealing to me, so that's what I concentrated on for the duration of my stay at the retreat center. The first one that we had. We arrived on Wednesday and the first drinking ceremony was the next night, and we were staying in a retreat center in the jungle, which was lovely. But for the first ceremony the team took us out to this beautiful temple in the woods, this absolutely gorgeous temple. It was like a cob made temple. It was really, really cool. I wish I had photos. The space was amazing and the drive was terrible. So I was really tired, I was jet lagged, I was still under slept, we were fasting and when we, by the time we arrived at the temple, coming from the retreat center, I was just grumpy as all, and it was not my night. I could barely exist. So you will hear me talk about how the first night was not it for me. Then some days went by. We did a trip to some ruins and we also checked out some swimming holes and bonded. We ate some meals together, we spent some time together and the folks who were on the retreat we all kind of bonded together more and got to know each other more. My second experience, drinking ayahuasca, was just what I was there for. You'll hear me describing that experience as well. I will let you listen to that now, and when those recordings are done I will come back. But so my first night wasn't much of a journey. There was just a lot of annoying patterns swirling around and it was exhausting. But I also wasn't really resourced. I was still tired from my travel. I was feeling pretty lonely and the drive there was a lot, and then the standing around the fire was a lot and you know, we had been fasting and I had basically been fasting because I was traveling. So it just felt like a lot on my body and I was so tired. And so my first night was, you know, the best part of the first night was the music. Music was beautiful, the temple was beautiful, shelly singing was just, you know, completely soul retrieving or something. And so the first night, after you know, the ceremony was coming to a close, I believe it was Yvonne who came around and blew smoke on our heads and into our hands. And he comes around to me and he says are you in bliss and I say no, no, I'm not. And he says, well, why didn't you have more ayahuasca then? Why didn't you take a second cup? I was like I don't know, it's my first time I was scared. Yeah, I was scared. I didn't enjoy the beginning of my first cup and so I yeah, I did not want to take more, but for Sunday night I was set on taking more. If I wasn't having a big journey, I was going to take more. So I, sunday night, you know, the rapé with Shawnee was really sweet and smooth and just lovely and loved me feeling ready and it definitely was more resourced. We had had a nice day, we'd had a real meal for lunch, even though we did a lot of driving with those vans were comfy. So I felt okay and, um, you know, we got back and got into the ceremony and everybody was really excited. I took my first cup and then they you know, it went dark and I was ready. I was like, okay, aya, I would love to meet you, show me what you got for me. And she came and I felt this big presence. It was so big. It was kind of like a big stone, like a giant. It wasn't a stone, but it was a big ball of energy and there are all these different like faces and elements and everything in it. It was a one big presence and I was like here you are, thank you for coming to me, and I was a little intimidated but I was like, okay, I'm feeling the presence and I was just like here I am, mama, take me, take me where you want me to go with you. And she kept being like come with us, come with us, come with us. And I was like, okay, I'll come, I'm coming. And there was like this motion upward, kind of towards the sky, and I was like I want to come, but I have this human body and I don't know how to leave it behind. So I'm trying, it's all I can do. And then after a while that motion kind of calmed down and we were more somewhere that felt more like underground and it looked like a palace. There were a lot of intricate designs in the walls. The walls were gold kind of these like layers of gold, and it was like a brassy gold, like not a really shiny, bright gold, but like a calm, centering, grounding gold and rainbows. There were all these like rainbow lights how to describe but they were sort of like moving around. So it was like all gold with rainbow highlights mostly. I mean, there were all the colors, but that's sort of what appeared to me like. And that was her palace. And then she just became like she was no longer this ball of energy, she was just an energy just without a shape, just this kind of an emptiness, almost like a conical, I don't know, but anyway. So I was laid down and I mean I was literally laid down on the floor. But she said I'm going to give you a new body. And I felt tingles all over my body and kind of energy moving throughout me. And she said I'm remaking you, I'm renewing every cell of you so that you know that you are perfect. I made you and you are perfect. There's nothing at all about you that is not perfect. Every single cell is perfect. And don't you dare question this body, don't you dare not appreciate it, don't you dare wish it was different. It is perfect. I created you and every little bit of you is perfect. And she kept saying these things you are perfect and you're mine, and you are amazing and you're perfect. I think perfect was the word she used most of the time, and so she kept saying this to me as this energy kept moving through my body and I was like all I could say was thank you, mama, thank you, mama, thank you. Mama Just kept saying that and she would kind of nod and pat her. She would nod and be like good, good, and so she kept saying things to me and there were just there were a lot of reminders and things. So she showed me, like me, inside my house and I was this kind of like intricate mechanism and so again it was about, like you know, your body is a miracle, each body, each life is a miracle, everything around us is a miracle and I created all of it. She was saying to me, and everything you have I gave you. And so she showed me my dog. My dog is very anxious. She has a lot of trauma in her background. She came from the streets of Oakland, she was probably in the fighting household, so she has a lot of anxiety and she's very whiny and demanding and she shakes a lot and I mean she's a pit bull, but she's so scared and anxious and so you know I love her and then a lot of times I would just kind of ignore her or just be like go away, I don't have time to deal with you right now, and that sounds really harsh. But you know, I just always was like why do you always need something from me? Like I can't like pet you right now, I'm busy working or whatever you know. So, anyway, she showed me Lulu and she was like I also had this thing with her. Like I didn't, like she didn't love me, like she was just using me for my resources and she doesn't actually know love. And so I was like that is ridiculous. Like your dog, lulu loves you, like you are all she knows, you are all she has and she's a complete mercy of yours. Like you could you know, like I have power over her right as the person. And so she she said, don't you ever question that Lulu, that loves you. Like of course she loves you. You are everything she has, you're all she knows. And I just heard balling and I can like I'm balling right now, like crying right now, thinking about it, because I just feel like I haven't appreciated her enough. And so she showed me Lulu, like just looking at me and being super sweet, and she was like Lulu is precious, she loves you so much, she's a gift. Your job is to take care of her, your job is to love her. And so I kept saying to me, like your job is in this life is to love more. Like, as much as you love people, as much as you love Lulu, as much as you love your family, as much as you love your girlfriend, like, love them more If you love yourself, love yourself more. Like, love more, dig deeper and love more. And that was, you know. That was incredible to hear and she was like let Lulu sleep in the bed if she wants, which, of course, is hilarious, because Liz has been wanting Lulu to sleep in the bed always, but you know we don't sleep as well if she's in the bed, so mostly she doesn't sleep in the bed. So there was, you know, I brought up Liz and I was like this girl is precious and perfect and she's yours for now and she loves you so much and she's a gift. I'm giving you this gift. I've given you the gift of her love and the love that you share. Your job in this life is to take care of her, to love her more, to be a soft place to land for her, because she's amazing and she's perfect and she's yours and the way that she expressed it was just so beautiful. Like she's yours for now. I can't promise her forever, but just like, let her come and go as she pleases, let her love you the way that she can. She will give you back your love tenfold. And I was just like thank you, mama. Thank you, mama. Thank you so much. Oh, she was like. You earned it. I really haven't. The last one with my ex-husband like. That divorce was fucking brutal, and not like the part between the two of us, but just like the idea of divorce. You know it's. It's just a brutal thing. I don't know if you've been married, but I think when you commit to somebody for like a year, you know you're going to be like I don't know you're going to be like I don't know you're going to be like I don't know you're going to be like I don't know you're going to be like it and you know it doesn't even work. How Like. I mean, it's the. It's my at fault that I want you back. The feeling responsibility is that I want to get out of it. Yo, let me ask you the guys. They always say that there's never something that comes. It was just a lot. It was a lot of work and I Felt so terrible the last couple years. I did not want to be here, even though Liz and I were already together, and that was like the best part of my life. I just still. I Just couldn't really shake it. So I was like that's it, look forward, look now, look at the now, don't look bad. You know so many things that I already knew, but it was great to be told that by my god. Goddess, what else, what else? So you know, I I looked at some of my family stuff and it just, I mean, she showed me the sadness and the pain of people around me, like my grandmother and my father and the mother, and you know, she just said love them more. Like, none of it is my responsibility, but she said love them more, you can love them more, and it's true. And she also, she said your house, like own it fully, like decorated fully, take complete ownership of every corner of it, take care of it. It's an extension of your body. Essentially, I was just like Stretch yourself out into your life, like embody every corner. You know, I haven't been not fully like, I haven't been Doing everything a hundred percent. I've been doing my work a hundred percent and I've been doing my relationship with Liz a hundred percent, but nothing else was quiet as an integrity. So I'm gonna end this voice mail, this message, because it's a nearly 15 minutes long, and I'm gonna make a part two. So here's part one, part two and and so the whole. Almost the whole time my body was still being kind of scanned and I Would sometimes feel myself like feel my body and just be like wow, it's a miracle. And yeah, she said to me everything we are, all humans are miracles, life is a miracle and Plants are miracle, animals are miracle, all of it. And that was beautiful. And I asked for healing for one of my close friends who has been sick for a while and she basically it was like I'll try a child, but there's not much I can do. People are on their own path. And one thing that was kind of funny is I. After a while, I was like Wow, you're so present with me, you're right here with me, I'm taking up so much of your time and energy. What about the others? Which is silly, of course, because she's Everything, she's everywhere, and she was like I am with others too, fully and presently. I'm also with others, I'm everywhere, I'm infinite. Of course she is. So that was silly, but it was just my tendency to be like I don't want to take up too much of your time or energy, I don't want to overstep, you know, I don't want to overstay my welcome. It was that. And then the other big thing she kept saying to me was patience, have patience, learn patience, so patience. And I asked her about chest surgery, because that's something I've been thinking about for a while. And she said, not right now. Learn to live with your body as it is, as I made it your perfect body. Um, learn to be you, regardless of how other people see you. So for right now, while I'm learning to do that, no chest surgery. Also, she said and Liz likes them, so let let the girl have her toys. It's like, okay, it was funny. Um, she is funny, I was funny. She has a great sense of humor. In the music, of course, the whole night. You know everything that they played. It was. I was just such in such a bliss listening to this music. It was, it really felt like the most beautiful music I've ever heard in my life and music that I could merge with and, you know, really feel it inside my body and like in my bones, gosh, it was so beautiful. And then, you know, when they came around and played a song for each one of us and Shawnee came and helped me like sit up or like got me up, and I was just in awe and just worshiping, and the worshiping, the worship part, came, you know, throughout, like I was just in such gratitude. I was like thank you, you, thank you, goddess. Oh, glory, you are so glorious. Glory be. Glory be to God. Gosh, you are just so amazing, so beautiful, and I mean now the words can't really describe it, but I was in such gratitude and in such awe and to be with her. And to you know, whenever I would say I'm Tired, because I was so tired, she would say stay present, don't waste our time, we don't have very much. And towards the end to ever stand, I was so, I was just exhausted and I could. I had to remind myself to breathe All the time. I just kept being like breathe, because then I would notice, had to forget to breathe, breathe, and she kept. She was so present with me. I felt so heavy, like I got up a few times to purge and like got up to go to the bathroom and I was super wobbly, I couldn't focus my eyes, I could barely walk, like it was really hard to move and you know, it had been hours and everybody else seemed to be like physically coming down, but I was still very, very, very in it, very affected, and so at one point I was like, mama, I, I'm tired, will you please start to get me back to normal? And she was like no, you're mine, I like you, I'll keep you as long as I want and don't waste our time. We don't have very much. And you know, when I brought up my mom, she was just like love, this human woman, think, thank her for the gift of life. But I gave you Everything. I gave you her, I gave you your body, I gave you all the things you can thank her for helping you come through, but don't forget who your real mother is. And I just kept being like thank you mama, thank you mama. And at some points she felt more like a grandmother and then I would say thank you grandma, thank you grandmother, and Other points. She felt more like just God, goddess, and I would say thank you goddess, thank you goddess. And she just was like good, good to all of it. So I kept calling her different things and it was all good with her because she felt like different things to me, different relationships. So what else did she say? She said that music is a gift to humans to help us enjoy our lives, to listen to lots of it and enjoy it. It's one of the main gifts. Oh, and she also said that creation, like any creation, anything that wasn't there before but exists now, any piece of writing, any piece of art, any jewelry I make, anything anyone makes and creates, that's being God, that's creating Something that wasn't there before. So that is a godly act. And I Wasn't it for so long. I was so under the spell I could barely keep my eyes open. The only the time when I kind of started to come to was when the fruit came out and I forced like a little bite of something papaya into me because I still felt so nauseous. I had a pretty intense purge like red at the end of night, right before the ceremony ended. So my stomach was really sore but I forced myself to have some fruit because one of the facilitator said that will help me come down and that was lovely and it was nice to hear everyone else singing and and dancing and Laughing and loving on each other and I just couldn't participate. But people kept coming to me and saying sweet things to me and laying their hands on me and that was the best. Yeah, I was relieved when I started to come down and I could focus my eyes again, because I was fucking intense. I can't imagine getting any more messages, even though everything I heard from her was stuff that I really kind of knew. I, yeah, I really felt good to hear it again or to know it for sure, or to be told by the divine goddess herself and, of course, some things I just really needed to hear and I, I feel like I am full Present day. Micah, here, micah, from November of 2023. This is the most vulnerable, most raw, most open, most Intimate stuff you will probably hear ever of me. It was an absolutely gorgeous experience that I will never forget. It was absolutely one of the best things I've ever done in my life. That connection with the goddess is was everything is everything. One of the things she said to me was that I always had access to her and that drinking ayahuasca was Away. It was a quick way to get to her, but that I could talk to her anytime. She was always with me and and I feel that I feel her, I feel her with me. And then the other piece that I Don't think I did justice to is how Fucking beautiful the music was. Like I had never heard anything beautiful To that extent in my life and I was, of course, chemically altered, but it was just like having a full soul, full body, full brain orgasm, except not sexual. It was like a Beauty orgasm. It was like having a peak experience on just Hearing beauty, on audio beauty, on the most beautiful, most awe-inspiring sounds that could, that could be made, possibly made here on this earth. I cried so much because of how beautiful this music was. I'm talking about the music that was being played by the shaman, yvonne, and his team of folks that were there, his people. I don't think I could explain how good that experience was. Just that alone was worth having that whole experience for. And I got so much more. I mean I got everything I asked for and more. I got so much. It was a huge, huge, huge gift, gift of my life. I have been integrating the lessons, the things that she told me to take on to embody the ways in which she told me to live and love. I've been trying to embody them ever since, stretch out into my life and fill it up with myself, own it and love harder. I've been trying. So I don't know if you listen to this because you listen to all my episodes, or because you are very interested in ayahuasca journey descriptions, or just as a concept, or if you would like to have this experience for yourself, have a similar experience, have an experience with ayahuasca. I don't know if there's a similar experience out there. I think everybody gets their own. So, regardless, I hope you found this interesting, useful, and you're welcome to reach out to me if you have questions that you think I can answer. Thank you for listening and holding my tender little heart with care and love, and I'll talk to you soon.