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A Grindr chat and a desire to lead a fuller and more enjoyable life led Gerwin Rutten to seek an unusual, but very old South American form of natural healing, Ayahuasca.
Rutten, who is sales manager for Out & About PV, has taken a spiritual journey that has helped him emotionally and physically, opening his eyes to a different world of natural healers.
“It was November, 2020 when I was chatting with a guy on Grindr here Puerto Vallarta. We exchanged WhatsApp and started a friendship. He shared with me that he had used ayahuasca to treat a medical condition,” Rutten said. “I researched it and became quite interested.”
That led to Rutten experiencing a cacao ceremony with magic mushrooms in December 2020.
“That was an amazing experience and my friend shared that the ayahuasca experience was even greater. By January 2021 I knew that ayahuasca was calling me.”
Ayahuasca is known as a spiritual medicine – a psychoactive brew used in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin – and is used to treat various ailments. It is also known as a medicine that expands consciousness and reconnects you with the here and now, as there are claims that Ayahuasca is capable of activating up to 99% of our cerebral activity.
The Ayahuasca experience is not a recreational experience, but rather a very profound experience that requires a lot of work from one’s self. It is about finding out what has been holding you back. Think of Ayahuasca as a flashlight that lets us explore our unconscious.
Rutten began his Ayahuasca journey one week before with a diet that eliminated meat, alcohol, dairy coffee, sugar and salt. He also had to eliminate sexual activities. He said on the day of his ceremony he had to stop eating eight hours before.
“There are also some fruits and vegetables which are not recommended to eat,” he explained “But the ‘dieta’ depends as well on the healing center or shaman, so the best thing is to follow their instructions.”.
We will return to Rutten and his story soon, but first you probably have doubts about Ayahuasca, so that is why O&APV talked to psychologist Víctor Fuentes Chong, an Ayahuasca ceremony guide and a promoter of consciousness development and of the use of indigenous people’s traditional medicine as therapeutic and ceremonial use. He discusses some of the important aspects that you want and need to know if you ever thought about taking Ayahuasca.
What does Ayahuasca contain?
Ayahuasca contains a chemical substance called ‘N, N-Dimethyltryptamine’, also known as DMT, a neurotransmitter that is already present in our bodies. Ayahuasca, or also known as Yague, is a potion made from two plants, Ayahuasca and Chacruna.
It should be noted that none of these plants by themselves has a psychoactive effect since it is necessary to combine the two to achieve the potion with psychoactive properties.
In combination with Liana Ayahuasca, which chemically contains an MAOI, chemically speaking it is the inhibitor of an enzyme (MAO) responsible for the degradation of DMT in the human body. Ayahuasca is known as the mirror of the soul because it allows us to see our interior through an expanded consciousness.
Who would be a good candidate to take Ayahuasca?
Normally, a person that is going to go through this experience is someone willing to let go of burdens of the past, resentment, traumas, fears, and attachments. This medicine is for those who are willing to live in peace. Many people do not want to live in peace because they like drama, so for those individuals that are not ready to let go of the past are not candidates for the Ayahuasca experience.
If you are thinking about doing this, go with the mindset of making a change, a willing heart, and the confidence that you will do a good job.
Are there any health benefits?
It brings relief to some ailments such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and according to a considerable amount of testimonies, it is also capable of curing cancer.
Who shouldn’t take Ayahuasca?
It is contraindicated for individuals with mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolarity. It is very important to find a responsible facilitator that knows what they are doing. A true healer cares about your health, your personal process, and one that is available to provide support if needed. Remember, this medicine is easy to get and anyone can administer it, but not just anyone can guide you with the heart.
Why is a pre-ceremony diet necessary?
This medicine acts at three levels: physical, mental, and spiritual. It is better to go into the ceremony with a cleansed body and free of conservatives, meats, and all these types of chemicals. This medicine being very strong and pure, will first go through your whole system and do a cleanse. This is also a purgative medicine, but it isn’t your typical purging when you’re sick, it’s a freeing purge. You will only purge if you have a physical, mental, or spiritual burden that needs liberation.
Are there any risks?
We are talking about a powerful medicine. The Ayahuasca plant is actually called the “grandma” of all plants, there is no comparison to any other plant. I could say that there are no risks, as long as the individual follows all recommendations. There haven’t been any deaths due to taking Ayahuasca, however, if you go with a tough shaman that does rough experiences that are not loving experiences, the individual will have a very hard time with the integration and have a negative experience.
To get more information, you can contact Victor through their Facebook page ‘Ayahuasca Puerto Vallarta’.
In the mountains of Nayarit, you’ll find Rancho Vallejo, which offers a wide set of activities focused on nature. Those activities include Temazcal, and sacred ceremonies such as Ayahuasca and Hikuri.
Rutten joined a group of 40 people in a circle around a fire, connecting to himself and nature.
“It was a beautiful setting,” he said. “My intention was to be thankful for my life to be there and to experience it.
And after what he describes as “an amazing journey of beautiful colors, I saw myself as a little child and a lot of emotions.”
“During the ceremony the medicine music was beautiful to listen to, I could feel it in my whole body,” he said. “ It did make me a bit nauseous and as I did not want to purge all night, and I was fighting this. At the end of the ceremony the shaman asked if anyone needed to get rid of anything and I felt like that so I took some rapé from the shaman and two minutes later I purged all the bad stuff out of my body, which relieved me a lot.”
Rutten said it is almost impossible to put his feelings into words, but he’s definitely more relaxed, and he’s lost a desire to eat meat.
“And it’s interesting,” he added while describing what he’s gone through after the ceremony. “I feel less the need to go out till 6 a.m. partying in a club, I prefer to be more at home. I have now been to three ceremonies and I still feel like I am working on myself. The most important thing that I have learned is to live today, don’t look at the past, you can’t change that, don’t be afraid of the future because you don’t know what will happen, live in the present.”
In addition to Ayahuasca, Rancho Vallejo offers Temazcal, a ritual that consists of a steam bath inside the sweat lodge,
Rutten experienced that after his first Ayahuasca ceremony, which he said was amazing.
Dafne, who is Rancho Vallejo’s conscience awakening events organizer, said Temaazcal provides many physical benefits.
“The heat to which the body is subjected during the bath in the Temazcal therapy, reaches high temperatures producing a series of reactions, among them: it stimulates the superficial and deep circulation of the blood, accelerates the frequency of the heartbeat, increasing its strength,” she said. “It also generates the action of thermoregulation mechanisms and activates metabolism. It is an effective method to stimulate all internal organs, since by sweating in large quantities, we discard accumulated toxins. It significantly improves the functioning of the skin and kidneys, since it stimulates the discharge of toxic substances by opening and activating the pores of the skin.”
The Temazcal ritual happens every Sunday and you can contact Dafne for more information regarding any of their activities. You can reach her at 32-2166-0600 or through their Facebook page “Rancho Vallejo”.
This spiritual journey is one that has to be an individual decision and Rutten said he does recommend it, as it’s helped him and opened up a new way of viewing the world.
“I do recommend it but it’s not for everyone,” he said. “There are some medical conditions, like heart problems, that exclude you from the experience. And, not everyone will have a good journey. Every experience is different so it’s up to the person to feel the call.”
Rutten said if you want to go be prepared, mentally and physically, and know what you hope to achieve and learn about yourself.