Episode 293

The Embodied
Woman Podcast :

My Night of Darkness With Ayahuasca

My Night of Darkness With Ayahuasca : Episode 293

My Night of Darkness With Ayahuasca : Episode 293

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Hi sister! Welcome back to another episode of A Taylored Adventure to Happiness. If you are new, welcome! If you are a regular, you know I love you! 

Today is a very special episode to me. I’m sharing something so deeply personal, and I’m so grateful that you’re here with me for it. I want to show you how transformation can look with the medicine ally Ayahuasca. She is known as the Grandmother of plant medicine, and she pulls no punches. Her medicine is that of going into the subconscious mind, into the feminine, into deep and potent emotions. Aya has become somewhat of a trend recently, but I urge you to only consider working with her when you are truly ready. 

I’ve had multiple journeys before in which I received profound insights, deep healing, revelations, and ecstatic trances. They were life-changing. But I never really knew just how powerful the intelligence that is Ayahuasca is until now. My last journey was a wild, wild ride. It also led to my accessing some of the deepest layers of healing I ever have. Let’s get started!

A Journey to Open Pandora’s Box

Any good plant medicine ceremony should begin with a clear intention. If you’re taking medicine just for the sake of it, you’re not going to have a very good time. You should also always wait until Aya calls to you — you don’t want to rush things. Grandmother Aya knows what she’s doing. She will call to you when it’s time, and she will provide you with what you need, which may or may not look like what you expected.

My intention for this journey was to get to the Pandora’s box inside of the Pandora’s box inside of the Pandora’s box. I wanted to go deep because I could feel that there was this lingering resonance of anger I didn’t have access to. If you’ve been with me for a while, you know my story and how my awakening began when I landed in anger management. I had struggled with a lot of inner rage due to unprocessed trauma and having grown up in a place where expressing feelings was not safe or encouraged.

I’ve been doing the work for many years now. But before this medicine journey, I could tell there was still something hidden. I could feel it, and I had done everything I could with my own tools to access it. Plant medicine is helpful because it removes the ego and brings you to those deep, dark subterranean landscapes that are just too inaccessible through the conscious mind. 

I had already done Aya ceremonies multiple times, and I had forgiven my father for a significant life event, the one that had been a source of my rage for many years. He was a pastor who was having multiple affairs with his parishioners while giving them marriage counseling and also had a 20-year affair while being married to my mom. I discovered this in my early 20s after seeing some deeply traumatic emails I would rather not have seen.

In my first Aya ceremony, I was able to see him as a little boy, and I could feel his hurt. I understood that he was a hurt person and a sad child, and I had no physical reaction of anger at him in this journey. So I really felt that I had processed what I needed to process.

“What could I possibly still be angry about?” I thought.

A Dark Night at Ceremony

My journey with Aya that night was unlike any other I’ve had before.

It started off easy. We got to our Condu in Peru — which is such an incredible country — and we were welcomed with big hugs and open arms. The ceremony was held right along a river in a sacred valley that was just so alive and teeming with grounding, divine masculine energy.

It was from this beautiful space that we were to have the ceremony. So to give you a bit of background, a guide or shaman leads the ceremony in a room with other people, and they’re all on separate mats. Couples are separated for obvious reasons, so Johnny was in a completely different area than me. You then drink the Aya and allow her to work her magic. It takes some time before you drop in, but once you do, you may get physically sick and purge, you may have visions, you might sing, dance, or cry. The guide is there to keep you safe and grounded as you journey through sometimes challenging experiences and feelings.

When we got to the second night of the ceremony, I felt like I was really struggling to drop into the medicine. I could feel a lot of resistance, and I had a sense that something intense was about to happen. I felt like Aya was protecting me from something, and I could feel that she was trying to tell me, “Lock the door. You’re not coming in yet. It’s not time.”

So I was just sitting there, feeling a little bit out of body and a little bit like I was drunk. Then I saw that someone was up at the other end of the room and he was causing a lot of commotion. This was expressly against ceremonial rules: You’re not supposed to get up, to touch people, and you absolutely don’t leave the room. I got immediately triggered. My heart started to race, and I felt anxiety rising within me. The owner, Jose, was sitting next to me, and I whispered to him, “Hey, what’s going on there? Can you go check that out? I’m nervous, and I want to make sure everything’s ok.”

Suddenly the guy starts yelling at his wife to go outside. He was getting belligerent, and I was starting to panic. My mind went to all the worst-case scenarios because when you take the medicine, if you succumb to the fears of your psyche, things can get really dark. I kept thinking, “Oh my God, this guy’s going to leave the room. He could end up doing something really bad and dangerous.” He in fact did leave the room with his wife, and I could hear people trying to calm him down outside. Everyone was in a quiet panic, and I could hear people whispering, “Is he gonna be ok?” I felt distraught that the safe container had been broken. I expected it to keep me and everyone else safe.

So a few minutes went by when I heard a crash coming from behind me — it was the sound of him busting through the door at my back. He burst into the room screaming that we were all in a cult. He was on his own journey — he had succumbed to the fear in his psyche. I jumped up off my mat and ran over to Johnny’s, shaking with fear and hyperventilating.

Now, how I feel about this now and how I felt in the moment is very different. Now I can see that the facilitators were doing the best they could with the chaos. The man had gone into the darkness. And you never want to grab someone or hold someone down who is in that state on Ayahuasca because that could be really, really bad.

But in the moment, I felt so much fear, and I kept thinking “They should have locked him up. There’s no way he should have gotten back in, let alone busted through the door, let alone the only door that’s behind me.”

The more I thought about it, the angrier I got until I was completely enraged at Jose for letting this happen. I hated him because he shouldn’t have let things get that far. He should have controlled the scenario from the very beginning. He should have handled it better.

They ended up calming the guy down, and finally Jose wrapped up the ceremony. They were doing such a beautiful job supporting everyone, but I was still stuck in my head. I kept thinking “He’s just acting like everything’s normal. Everything’s not normal. Why can’t he just admit that he didn’t handle this properly? Why can’t he just admit that he was wrong?”

My Descent

After the ceremony, Johnny and I went back to our rooms. He fell asleep not long after, and I laid awake trying to calm myself down. I was pretty shaken up. Because I’m very skilled at working through trauma, I was aware enough to breathe deeply and notice that my body was doing somatic releasing. My arms were shaking. My legs were shaking. I was like “Ok, I’m fine. I’m just releasing. That was a traumatic experience, and I’m now releasing. I can handle this.”

However, the shaking only got more intense. Before I knew it, my fists were pounding together. I kept thinking “It’s ok, it’s ok. She’s just working through you.” At this point I started tapping my body at different meridians — I’m not trained in tapping by the way. The medicine was doing it, she was working through me. I kept saying to myself, “Don’t be scared.”

Johnny woke up and said, “Babe, are you ok?” My hands were punching together super hard. I didn’t even realize that I was hitting my hands that hard. I didn’t even realize it, which means that I wasn’t able to control my body. I started to panic. Not only was I not in control of my body, but I could also feel something else happening.

I was about to drop back in.

I was going to start journeying again — without a guide, without a ceremonial setting, without support. I was going back into the medicine, on my own, in bed. Holy shit.

I didn’t want to go back into the darkness of my own psyche, into the depths of my subconscious where I could feel something was waiting for me. I flailed around, trying to grab a pillow to hold onto and finally, I woke up Johnny and told him what was happening. I said we needed to find Jose, the owner, who was in the room next door. 

Johnny came back with Jose, and they lay on either side of me. Jose and I looked at each other. “She’s back,” I said. He massaged oils into my forehead as I screamed and cried, panicking at the fact that I couldn’t control my body. I believed I was having a psychotic break. I believed I was going to end up in a mental hospital. I was resisting going into the medicine, feeling terrified of what I would feel, of what I would find once I went into it.  I was resisting with everything I had. 

The Only Way Out Is Through

Jose looked at me in his grounding way and said, “The only way out is through.”

I knew he was right. I was conscious enough to know that if I didn’t want to be crazy and fight the darkness for the rest of my life, I needed to go through this. I also knew that because I had so much resistance to it, there was likely a massive, potentially life-changing breakthrough on the other side. What you resist persists. The only way out is through.

It was a very humbling moment. I said “Alright, Grandmother Aya. I told you to take me to Pandora’s box, and I told you to do whatever you needed to help me heal. I am your humble student, and I surrender. Take me to the darkness.”

Then I dropped into this very deep, dark tunnel. When I came out, I saw my 24-year-old self. I thought, “Ok, what does she have for me?”

I heard my 24-year-old voice. I feel her deep sadness and her pain. At that moment, I realized she was still back there, stuck in that moment. She’d been there all along.

She was curled up in a little ball in that crevice of my psyche — that Pandora’s Box. She was shaking and crying like this sad feral cat that no one has touched or pet for years. She was dirty and mangy and unloved.

She looked up at me and said “Why won’t he admit that he was wrong? Why won’t he admit that he was wrong? Why won’t he admit that he was wrong?!”

I had found my intention. Ayahuasca delivered it on this beautiful platter that was my past self at this critical moment — the last time I saw my dad, after confronting him about the affair.

I was in the kitchen on the phone with the woman my dad was having an affair with. It turned out that they had a whole separate life together. She was yelling at me, saying, “Mind your own business!” I was screaming at her with my veins bulging out of my neck and out of my forehead.

And my dad was just in the kitchen with his eyes glazed over, just wiping down the countertop. He didn’t react to me. He didn’t admit how horrible it was that he’d done that. I wanted him to hug me, to tell me he was so sorry I had to go through that. But he didn’t. He gave me nothing. And I just kept thinking: Why won’t he admit that he was wrong!

Before I left, I said, “If I ever see you again, I will run you over with my truck and not feel bad about it.” I grabbed my things and left.

That was the very last time I saw my father. What followed next were two and half years that were so difficult, I don’t have any memories of them. I blocked out the memories. They were that traumatic.

I had forgotten how bad they were. I had forgotten how traumatic my childhood was. I walked on eggshells growing up. My dad had intense and unpredictable emotions, and I never knew whether he would be kind or cruel, affirmative, or derogatory.

Many times, he would bust through the door and burst into my room when I was lying there asleep. Do you know how traumatic it is to be woken up as a little child by a parent like that?

So here’s the beauty of Grandmother Aya — I needed to have the traumatic experience in the ceremony in order to arrive at this awareness. I needed that man having the breakdown — who was having his own experience and his own trip — to burst through the door the way my dad used to burst through the door. To terrify me the way my dad terrified me.

I needed Jose to seemingly fail to protect me, the way that my dad had failed to protect me. I needed to feel rage at him for not admitting that he hadn’t handled things right in order for me to know what was in Pandora’s Box — a piece of myself that has been stuck in that moment for 10 years.

Both men were playing my dad in this divine orchestration. I considered how Aya had created this masterpiece, and I thought: Oh, she’s good.

That’s what I mean when I say she gives you what you need and at exactly the right time.

Thank you for being on this journey with me today. 

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t hesitate to let me know. Tag me at @iamtaylorsimpson on Instagram with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways.

I love you. I see you. Cheers to going deep and coming out the other side. It’s a wild ride. And remember Always choose happiness because, well, why the fuck not? 


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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:  

  • How to know when you’re ready to sit with Ayahuasca 
  • The journey that led me to work with Arkana healing center
  • Why you should always have an intention when sitting with plant medicine
  • How I set my intention as I prepped for this ceremony
  • What happened during ceremony that broke my safety container 
  • How I navigated feeling anger, unsafe and not being able to drop into the plant medicine
  • How my body released the traumatic event that had just occurred and how the medicine guided this release
  • The process and events that happened when the medicine kicked in hours after ceremony
  • How I navigated through letting the fear take over and stopped resisting the medicine from taking me into the darkness 
  • What happened when I surrendered to the medicine and allowed myself to go through it and become the student
  • Who I found when the pandora box inside the pandora box unlocked 
  • How the medicine delivered my intention and how different people played a crucial part in this healing 
  • What I healed after 10 years of repressed emotions

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