The following is Andrew’s account of his 21st experience with ayahuasca (Andrew is a pseudonym). I interviewed Andrew about his ayahuasca journey because it appears to be a classic encounter with what I call the “Singularity Archetype.”
http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/ayahuasca/ayahuasca.shtml, which will take you to detailed information on the erowid.org website. Andrew selected the three computer art images as images that he associated with his journey. I don’t have any info on the talented artists that created them.
A: I had been having a difficult time for the previous year. I hadn’t taken ayahuasca for a year or more. It was one of the most difficult years of my life. The first hour it hit me very strong and quick. I felt it getting hold of me. You can feel it soaking into the center of your cells . . . It’s totally organic and alive in a way that is very difficult to explain.
J: Let’s stick with that for a bit. You feel it entering your cells. What does it feel like? Does it feel like you are being invaded by microorganisms, by an intelligence, by what?
A: I wouldn’t say it feels like I am being invaded in any way.
J: OK, what verb would you use? Embraced?
A: I’d say permeated. Permeated is a better word than invaded or embraced. Because it hasn’t taken a form yet, but you can feel it.
J: And is there an intention or awareness you feel within the permeation?
A: With ayahuasca, it is a life force similar to air, it’s on that level–primal potency. It’s a feeling of walking into the tiger’s cage, it’s that potent. All of my experiences have been useful in that I become intently aware of my own mortality. With the ayahuasca, you’re getting information on a lot of different levels. For me, it’s always very visual, but there is also a very meaningful and complex download of information that’s hard to describe. Sometimes it’s through emotions, and other times it communicates through knowledge or unfiltered knowingness.
I consciously wished to see valuable insights. In my interpretation, the first thing I saw was the condensed visual representation of suffering and slavery, of every kind of negative experience you could have in the physical world. All that darkness had created a living prison made out of what looked like a living, tattooed, tribal metal (structure) towering to a great height with flames licking out and morbid, wretched, awful feelings of darkness. I floated up, reaching the top of this flaming tower of imprisoned souls, and saw the black-winged angel of death. The angel of death was pitch black, its wings as black as black holes, and when they flared out, they consumed all the light. It was a great consumer absorbing essence.
J: Was it particularly devouring the people who were in the prison?
A: No, it was the devourer of all souls, light, and life.
J: What exactly did it look like?
A: I only saw flames and black wings. I didn’t see a face or anything . . .
It was a very chilling struggle just to look at this primal representation of darkness–sorrow, agony, despair, suffering, slavery, hopelessness, devastation–and these are all very true and real right here in the 3D world. The angel of death was inescapable and inexorable. The wings represented the consuming aspect, the inescapability of death, loss, and this type of thing. It was there to consume human souls, and it starts to fray human consciousness when you even think about it.
J: Where are you in the vision? Is it threatening to consume you? Is it aware of you?
A: It wasn’t threatening to consume me; it wasn’t like I was actually in physical danger. But I was directly in front of the wings and the flames at the top of the tower of slavery . . .
I liken ayahuasca to very real powers, predators, and apex things that happen in the physical world that we can see with our physical eyes. The ayahuasca shows you things you can only see with your higher mind.
But this part of the vision was just too much. I had to take some self-preservation steps. I wasn’t about to stay in the temple of slavery and death for four hours. So I roused my courage and went up for a second cup, which takes a lot, it really does.
J: When you came up to take the second cup, was the vision still encompassing you? Or are you able to pause it or what?
A: When the experience gets to be too much, I’ll shake my head and disrupt the visions. Then I’ll try to stand up. When you move and stand up, it breaks it up a little bit, but you’re still sweating, you’re still dealing with intense emotion. But when you open your eyes, the room is there, so there are these two perspectives. I try to make eye contact with other people in the room. The eye contact really helps. You’ve got to rely on friends a lot of times. I came out at the point where we turned the lights back on, and anybody who wanted to take more could do that. I drank a second cup and then sat back down.
As soon as I settled, I encountered the most unbelievable display of beauty, symbolism, meaning, friendship, and revelations of what it really means to be alive and close to people. The light formed into meaningful symbols made out of gossamer light– northern lights, aurora borealis–and colors I could never imagine forming–complex mandalas made out of blue and purple jungle flowerings of psychic flames that were dancing and lifting me up. This went on and on, and the psychic flames became more intelligent, more complex, more enriching, and more involving.
J: Let’s ground this a little bit. When this happens, are you in a landscape, or are you just floating in space, and the forms explode into your awareness?
A: I’m usually floating in some sort of ambient background light. Sometimes it’s pitch black, and I’m seeing these incredible formations of purple and blue light. The colors were off the charts. They were iridescent, blue like the color of the Caribbean ocean, but electrified, electric-blue. This emanating light was forming a display that was shattering my conceptions of beauty, of what was possible, and of what could be imagined. It was very, very humbling. With the humbling came curiosity and wonderment about where this display was coming from–how am I even seeing this? It was symbolic, perfect, and balanced, and the designs were alive.
A: By alive, I mean that they were interacting with my emotions and forming a language of symbols and meaningful things. I was almost crying, and I’m usually not that emotional.
J: And the emotion you felt was one of awe, of heartfelt emotion?
A: Humble awe and gratitude on a level not felt in ordinary life. I would ask the display simple questions: ‘How can I be of service?’
. . . My mind started to expand outward to encompass the planet. Everything I had ever read, every scrap of knowledge about this planet, was intensely present in my awareness. It wasn’t background, it wasn’t some statistic I could call up, it was present. I sat on the planet in a way that I never had before. My consciousness encompassed all the cities, all the people, all the jungles, rivers, waterfalls, coral reefs, the deep sea, the entire living network, and everything was very present in my awareness.
J: Would that include the manmade world, the buildings, and so forth?
A: All the cities, everything where we are now in real-time, spinning around the sun, were prominent in my awareness. I was sitting on the world, and ayahuasca was pushing my consciousness outward at a fierce pace. I understood how phenomenal all the forces that come together to create this planet are.
I pulled my consciousness back in, and that’s when I realized that intense sentience permeating all the quarks, atoms, structures, and empty space. The sentience was unbounded and potent; it was the universe. The permeation of sentience was utterly powerful and utterly beautiful beyond description.
I saw a flutter of white wings off to my left. My consciousness turned to my left, and I saw the most exquisite, physically perfect entity. The entity was angelic in a warrior-like way. It was a Valkyrie wearing armor made by the gods, and it was immaculate and invulnerable. In the Norse tradition, the Valkyries take the fallen warriors off the battlefield to Valhalla, and it had that kind of potency.
I followed the Valkyrie and found myself before a gorgeous mountain of what looked like alabaster and marble. Directly in front of me was an other-worldly staircase shimmering with platforms where warrior, Norse-looking, god-like figures wore divine armor. At the very top was an Odin-looking figure with this fantastic armor made out of gold, metallic light–a living golden metal. Below Odin was a Thor-like figure with long blonde hair. He was wearing massive armor structures that were silver, gold, and dark reddish-gold.
J: What do the figures within this armor look like?
A: They look like Norse gods, chiseled—
J: Flesh and bone?
A: Yes, it was flesh and bone, but radiating, vital, beyond mortal flesh and bone.
To the left of Odin, the figure with the long, blonde hair was holding a sword. The blade was living, liquid metal. The hilt was beautifully, ornately carved metallic, living-light-illuminated metal carved with symbols. There were three gems, one on each side of the hilt and one on the end of the pommel, and they were held by spiraling gold metal. It was psychic, living armor. The Thor-like figure was holding the sword up. Then he turned the blade down and put out his arms. I put my hand below his and grabbed the hilt of the sword. Liquid metal came over my hands, crawling up my arms and into my cells and DNA . . .
Later, at the end of the visions, the darkness returned, and there was all the despair, the empty eye sockets and slashed faces.
(Note: Andrew runs a nonprofit that helps women who have been mutilated by attempted “honor killings,” “stove burnings,” and other acts of extreme violence against women in Islamic fundamentalist regimes.)
Ayahuasca seemed to be taking all the information I’ve learned about honor killings in the last six years, all the burnings, and the intent behind those burnings–and it’s really a physical force on this planet–and it was forming a representation of all this dark force. The representation included all the visual details of the actual cases–the faces of all the burned victims that I have seen, but it also coalesced into this hideous creature. The creature was gargantuan, octopus-like, and it had giant viper fangs, poisoned mucous, and a deadly stare that would turn you to stone. It had a thousand arms, suction cups full of face-rotting poison, and giant bulging eyes with slits for pupils. It was like a cross between a brown recluse spider and something out of Captain Nemo’s nightmares–a horrible, slimy, scuttling, viperous thing.
This creature was the living rot spewed out by the human race. Specifically, it was a representation of the honor killings, the burnings, the suppression and poisoning of the feminine–the rending, burning hatred of the feminine. It came after me, and I held up my sword. I was just trying to make a stand for my own psychic space in a world with venom everywhere. My sword saved me more than once in these final, dark visions.
I felt supported on the psychic plane by potent beings. It felt like a confirmation of other forms of life working at a level where they communicate through presence, display, and symbolism. These are nonphysical beings who communicate with these massive displays of what the world really is. They communicate on a symbolic level, a level of beauty, a fierce level, a pitiless level . . .
There was also much more regarding the circle of people within the room. For instance, there was one point where I came back into the room with my awareness, and each person, on a soul level, was upholding a psychic temple with their own sparkling presence and with what the ayahuasca was showing them. What they really were, at a primal level, was an apex creation of the universe, physically, psychically, and in every way.
The experience superimposes itself when I’m shopping in the supermarket, stuck in traffic jams, and struggling with mundane things. It continues to live inside, teaching me and expanding my consciousness.
There are also two of my own trip reports on Zap Oracle that have commonalities with the dark parts of Andrew’s experience.