A Chance for Rebirth: My Journey Towards My First Ayahuasca Experience

This article is a submission for the Ayahuasca Awareness Program, an initiative by the Spirit Vine Center in Brazil. The program aims to help increase awareness of the potential of ayahuasca by sponsoring free ayahuasca retreats every month for people who feel the call for spiritual development with ayahuasca and other methods.

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A Chance for Rebirth: My Journey Towards My First Ayahuasca Experience

My mother once told me about a time when I was about five or six years old and I was riding on the subway train with her when something had caused me to start laughing. She said I laughed continuously and within minutes almost everyone on the train was laughing too.

I would love to go back to being that child, to regain that sense of innocence.

As an adult, I don’t laugh often, as family and friends can attest. I have sometimes been described as very serious-minded, even overly so.

I have come to the realization that somewhere along the way, I had gained much emotional baggage I was initially unaware of. I had lost that sense of freedom that had allowed me to laugh as a child with such total abandon. It is lying dormant inside me, waiting to awaken to remind me in a visceral way of my connection and unity with the Divine and all things.

I believe the experience of ayahuasca will help me get back to being that child on the train who felt so completely free.

I do not consider taking ayahusaca lightly. I am being called in my life’s journey to this sacred experience, as I have witnessed many signs on my path of self-discovery and self-recovery. I know I cannot and will not reach my full potential, fulfill my Divine purpose and share my gifts with the world if I don’t know who I am.

Several years ago, a succession of life events, some traumatic, had brought me to a point of living in survival mode, where my dominant emotions were fear, anxiety and anger. All my relationships to others, including with myself, suffered greatly.

All my disciplines of yoga, meditation, exercise, and eating a healthy diet went out the window.  I did anything I could to stay in my emotional comfort zone, creating a life I came to resent,  Yet there, I didn’t have to take risks or be vulnerable. I didn’t have to deal with whatever pain I’d stowed away inside me.

And yet, I found myself more and more in extended states of depression. I had two anxiety attacks. I was weighted down with immense feelings of regret. It took me a long time to stop beating myself up and even longer to forgive myself for thinking my mistakes had been unforgivable. I am still in that process.

Though my path to growth has been rocky due to my more-than-occasional stubbornness, I have come to realize that if I do not clear out whatever baggage I am still carrying, I won’t be able to reach my full potential in carrying out my life’s purpose, which I feel I am getting clearer on every day.

I am here to love, to create and to share my love and creation. I am here to grow, to learn everything I can and share what I’ve learned in-order to spiritually evolve. I do not want to live my life unfulfilled, sabotaged by subconscious fears, in a state of habitual contraction rather than expansion.

Several years ago, I’d come across several documentaries about dimethyltryptamine, aka DMT, aka, the Spirit Molecule, which then lead me to information about ayahuasca.

For those who do not know, ayahuasca is a specific combination of two plants found in the Amazon: Banisteriopsis caapi and chacruna (or chagropanga, depending on the region). The combination of the chemical properties of both plants creates the psychedelic effect by which ordinary reality is subverted to a heightened state of awareness, allowing access to the spiritual realm.

An apt analogy to an ayahuasca experience would be the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, in which the protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge is taken on a journey by three spirits  to moments from his past, present and future. In the course of this journey, Scrooge realizes he has spent his life avoiding love due to his fear of being broken hearted like he had been during his youth. By morning, Scrooge has been restored to being a vulnerable and compassionate human being free to give and receive love and express joy.

My path has lead me to be called to experience ayahuasca as a means to continue my healing on the spiritual level and return to a state of balance.

I know much may come up during my ayahusaca experience that may be painful. It will not be easy. But I also know pain is felt when I allow myself to bury emotions rather than work through them. Suffering is staying in a situation or mindset that no longer serves its purpose and it causes pain that goes on and on. I no longer want to suffer this kind of pain.

Therefore, I must look my truth in the face and deal with it. With the guidance of the teaching plant, ayahuasca and a knowledgeable shaman, I know I will gain such a clarity as I have never had before. I am open and ready to be healed. I am ready to die to my old self, to be reborn as my true self.

I would like to travel to Spirit Vine, an Ayahuasca Retreat Center in Bahia, Brazil that administers the sacred experience with strict observance to tradition as well as having knowledgeable facilitators guide the retreat’s participants.

I am ready for the sacred plant of ayahuasca to teach me, to heal me. I am ready to die to my old self, to be reborn.

Author: Donn Swaby

I was born and raised in Queens, New York. I have been blessed to develop my talents thanks to the encouragement of my unconditionally loving parents and I have enjoyed a professional career as an actor, writer and musician. I am also passionate about exploring Nature, Sacred Sites, Ancient Civilizations, Comparative Mythology, Quantum Physics and Ancient Alien Theory. Though the road may be sometimes rocky (or extremely so) I am nevertheless thankful for this journey of continual self-discovery.

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Spirit Vine COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 5th May 2021

In light of the global situation, we are establishing new guidelines to ensure that we provide the maximum amount of safety to all participants who attend the retreats.

We will be following the guidelines provided by the Brazilian government which you can find below, and adding any necessary precautions suitable for the retreats.

In the Itacare area, where we are located, there are very low number of COVID cases.

We will update this section when new information is available.
Content listed here is subject to change.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Brazilian Government Recommendations for COVID-19

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water;
  • if water and soap are not available or when hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used;
  • Maintain at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and others;
  • Wear a mask, that covers your nose, mouth and chin;
  • Practice respiratory hygiene;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Be aware of the situation of your destination and follow the guidelines of local public health authorities;
  • Avoid spaces that are closed, crowded or involve close contact;
  • Monitor your health for COVID-19 symptoms and, if you feel unwell:
    – seek medical attention;
    – stay self-isolated as recommended by local health authorities.

Anyone who wants to enter in Brazil must present a negative Covid RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to boarding the flight or a negative Antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding the flight. 

Travelers must also fill out an affidavit 24 hours before departure acknowledging the health measures that must be complied with during the period that they will remain in the country. You can find the affidavit here.

Prior to leaving Brazil, depending on the requirements of your destination country, you may be required to present an RT-PCR or Antigen test. If you need a PCR test we recommend you to budget the required time of 6 hours to take the test and get the results at Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport. Antigen test can be taken in the town of Itacare near our center before you go to the airport.

Please note that Itacare and Ilheus do not have RT-PCR testing centers.

Spirit Vine Guidelines for COVID-19

We are requiring all participants and staff to provide a valid Covid-19 test prior to entering the center. The Antigen test is only valid for 24 hours and PCR test is only valid for 72 hours. A valid negative test result must be sent by email prior to entering the center.