Archive for Vacations that sound fun but you know how they’d be

The Special Shaman Tour

The Shaman’s Special Tour. It’s a 12 day eco-tour of the Amazon, involving a lot of speed boating and canoeing and visiting things like cattle farms and learning about conservation. You can imagine it. Statistics about clear cutting, things the size of Rhode Island, medicinal pharmacopia potential, etc. And of course the shaman’s potion.

Participants gather at Master Shaman’s tambo to prepare the magic circle. A number of fragrances and esoteric utensils are used, among them: the “shakapa” or sweeper, the “mapacho” or cigar and the “carmalonga” or protective potion also known as “arkana”. Master Sahaman calls upon divine powers through chants, prayers and “ícaros” (cigar smoke puffs). Ayahuasca potion prepared by Master Shaman is passed to participants. The effects of the “take” will be noticed 10 minutes approximately after drinking it. Purging is one of the purposes of the ceremony and that is why nausea is common. This way, both body and spirit are cleansed and so harm and evil are expelled giving room to a better health. The rite ends around midnight, and then participants will return to the lodge to rest.

Those who participate of ayahuasca will be assisted by the shaman’s aides when the effects of the take manifest. Master Shaman suggests that those who have taken ayahuasca must refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages or having sexual contact at least for 4 days.
It is not necessary that all participants take ayahuasca. If they wish they can receive a flourishing bath or cleansing or just simply witness.

Oh man. Jungle darkness. Germans with black socks, that spooky blond Dutch family, the loud mouth, the bickering couple, the recent widow, the unsettling loner, others, everyone retching in the darkness all around you. New Age flute music plays out of tune on a small boom box whose tape cassette mechanism is uneven, too slow then catches up too fast, over and over, like its wheels have been melted into ovals or the source of its power is uneven. The sound too of stumbling people, shuffling feet, things crashing into the vines and leafy plants that give the darkness substance around the camp. And then the shaman’s aides “assisting” you suddenly when they think the effects of the “take” manifest, even though you feel pretty much fine. They’re smothering you with their assistance. All you want is water, fresh air; you want to just sit up and walk around but they keep pushing you down. They force a dirty stick in your mouth and laugh at you, tie it behind your head like a bit (or a bridle?). Now with the adrenaline and the stress you can’t tell if you’re just freaking out for normal reasons, or maybe you really are feeling the ayahuasca potion, because on top of being pinned down by Puruvian teenagers with caterpillar fuzz mustaches, the widow has taken her shirt off and won’t get out of our face with that jaguar mask, luching at you and doing something that must, to her, feel like a very earthy and tribal sort of shamanistic dance, but which is actually just clumsy, uncoordinated, sad, unintentionally lurid. The humid air is the opposite of what you need right now. It’s filling your lungs with foam and you’d kill the widow Judy with your hands, right now, if that would get you the fresh alpine air, the clean stream water you need. It starts to almost seem possible, actually obvious, necessary, imperative, and now the only things holding you back from slaughtering Judy are, one, the shaman’s aide, sitting on your chest while he smokes a cigar that resembles a monkey arm to you (and which, it turns out, is), and two, the fingers on your hands have fused together and melted into small, pale dolphin’s flippers. You begin to weep. Water, sweet water. Air. Jaguar-Judy, spinning in and out of focus in the orange fire and silver moonlight, is an evil blocking the doorway to a portal tot he future, to the Andes, to a glacier and solitude and health and clarity. You must open the gate. Open the gate! Your flippers wave in front of you. Useless flippers. The Shaman is having sex with the blond dutch wife, right there by the fire. The flames’ erratic light paints them with deep shadows that look like greasepaint on their sweating skin, and nothing about the Shaman seems mystical. Her husband has chosen to simply witness, from the edge of the darkness, his small glasses are two shapes of greasy light in front of his amber sadness, which burrows into your brain and lays eggs inside your eyes. Where all those blond dutch kids are is something you can’t even thing about right now. The next morning you awake in your bed in the lodge, in your wrinkled muddy clothes that smell like smoke and pee. Holy fuck. You take a shower and wander to breakfast. You drink heavily for the next four days and forever after, because fuck the shaman’s suggestions (though you probably never have what you used to consider “sexual contact” ever again). The shaman’s wisdom wasn’t mystical advice though, and indeed: diarrhea.