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Ayahuasca & Drugs


Growing up in the Mormon community I learned at a very early age that drugs were bad, along with alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea. A long winded story and explanation for another day. Would you believe me if I told you I’ve never drank a glass of alcohol before? I’m almost 30 years old by the way and left the Church 10 years ago. How about if I told you I’ve never drank a cup of coffee? Hard to believe I suppose. I went to school in Las Vegas, worked at REHAB at Hard Rock Hotel and none of it every appealed to me. I guess you could say I saw more of the negative effects than the good and religion or not, I was just never interested.

“Yeah but what about coffee?” People say with a shocked look on their face as if I’d gone 29 years without breathing. Honestly, even the smell of it makes me gag. If I had a dime for every time someone made me try their triple chocolate mocha this or mocha fudge that I’d be rich! Bottom line, I absolutely hate the taste of it. Tea however, is something I came to appreciate in London during my study abroad. Such a little rebel I was!

My mom and I went to Ireland after my semester was over and during a ferry location mix up, our taxi driver reluctantly agreed to take us to the right location for free so we could still buy a cup of tea. His words after we said we didn’t have much money left as we counted our change, “Do you even have enough for a tea?”. We said, “Well I think we have just enough for a tea.” “Fine! I’ll take you over at no charge.” My mom and I looked at each other in great confusion. My point being, tea is vastly under appreciated in the states. That gem of a photo was taken on my 21st birthday in Dublin. Being the good daughter I am (the best lol), I gave my "birthday shot" to her.


I still haven’t even smoked marijuana. Another smell I loathe. Yet there I was sitting deep in the Amazon jungle in a candle lit maloka (super cool and circular ceremonial hut) getting ready to let a shaman blow the ashes of sacred tobacco and other plants up my nose pre-Ayahuasca ceremony. I was a little outside my comfort zone to say the least.

Art by Luis Tamani

Here is what you should know about Ayahuasca and why I learned not to label it as a “drug”. Ayahuasca has been around for centuries, partaken of by the indigenous shamans and healers. It is a tea-like drink that is created by specially preparing a specific leaf and specific vine. A combination that stumps historians today because the two ingredients were extremely unlikely to come together by chance. However, this special chemical combination can unlock parts of the psyche that are rarely ever accessed in a conscious state. How the ancient people learned of this method is a magical story for another day.

Traditionally, only the shamans would drink the Ayahuasca, rendering them capable of seeing ailments in the physical and emotional bodies of their patients. They would then sing what they call “Icaros” that would rearrange cells in the patients body and help them purge any toxicity. In short, it was never meant to be a “fun” psychedelic trip as some people assume today. It was created for deep spiritual, emotional, mental and physical healing. I know, because it helped heal me. For that reason, when someone calls it a “drug” it bothers me. Probably because that word has always held such negative and sinful context in my mind due to how I was raised.

Art by Trevor Welsh

Another thing to be aware of. Ayahuasca is something that will call to you. You will feel the pull, the calling, the curiosity around it when you are meant to experience it. It shouldn’t be treated like an extra curricular activity you just decide to do one day. Everyone has a totally different experience, however I want to be clear that doing Ayahuasca can be very difficult, confronting, painful and hard. It can also be transformational, validating, peaceful, beautiful and enlightening. A lot of it has to do with your intentions and of course, your own journey. I just can’t stress enough that it is a sacred plant medicine and it should be given the respect and reverence that it deserves.

My ceremonies were all unique and challenging in their own way. One ceremony I literally didn’t feel anything happen and in another I legitimately went to space and the shaman had to come pull me back down. Seriously guys, it sounds crazy but I’m telling you right now, there is so much more to this universe than we ever give thought to.


Everyone is worried about throwing up because Ayahuasca is famous for “the purge”. This isn’t…untrue… however not everyone does it. I didn’t have that type of purge until my 5th ceremony. What I did experience was a LOT of crying, shaking, sweating, extrasensory visions and waves and waves of emotions. They also make sure you don’t eat or drink for around 6 hours up to ceremony so the medicine can digest properly and so you aren’t barfing up rice and beans.

Funny story. The first time I barfed, I legitimately saw a universe in my purge bucket! I thought for sure I was losing my mind but this was the ceremony I went to space so I thought, screw it, I’ll play along. It was honestly magical and confusing all at the same time. People have been known to see faces in their barf even. Faces of people who had wormed their negative energy into the body of the purger. It’s just so much bigger than we can understand. You aren’t just throwing up, you are purging toxicity, negative thoughts, patterns, bad habits and more.


I plan to go much deeper in explanation about all of my transformative ceremonies in The Purple Eye. I could write all night but this is already turning out to be a novel in itself! The main things to remember are:

  1. Ayahuasca should seek you first

  2. It is a sacred plant medicine and not to be taken lightly or done “for fun”

  3. If you can, experience it in its birthplace in Peru or somewhere in South America

  4. Remember to respect the process, follow all the guidelines and get ready to do some hard work

  5. Everyone’s experience is different so it’s better to go in with no expectations

I want to end with the full version of the video created during my trip to Peru. I was called to Ayahuasca in the most random of ways. A long story for another day. However, I was blessed to be able to go to the Arkana Ayahuasca retreat center to experience the retreat and be filmed during my experience for their promotional materials. I am an actress, but I want you to know that none of the emotion you see in this video is acting. It was real and raw Shelise and Underscore films did a beautiful job of capturing the essence of the experience.

I hope everyone is staying safe during this quarantine. It’s unbelievable how this pandemic has really taken the world by storm. My heart goes out to all of you who are no doubt affected in a multitude of different ways. Don’t forget to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your immune system strong! Talk soon my friends!

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