November 30, 2018 - 18 days ago

Green Beauty


kambo001 I recently participated in my first Kambo Ceremony. Kambo is a secretion from an Amazonian Green Tree Frog. It has no natural predators and so its medicine is used by the indigenous to lift Panema (negative energy) and is also revered for its ‘Hunting Magic’ as its believed that senses, speed and survival instincts can be vastly enhanced. During a Kambo ceremony, the skin is burned / blistered with a hot stick, then the top layer is peeled back to expose the epidermis underneath. This is where the prepared Kambo medicine is applied in what are referred to as ‘points’. The medicine then searches the body scanning for problems and will work directly on those areas, causing an intense purging of old traumas and toxins. My practitioner is extremely experienced having trained in the Jungle with shamans and Masters who work closely with the Matses tribe. She has, not only the knowledge and deep connection to the medicine, but the scars to prove it.

My practitioner is a friend. The closeness of our bond at odds with the time we have spent together. As we met on an intense 4 day womens immersion, our conversations tend to be free of surface level bullshit so our souls connected quickly. I feel safe with her. Her strength, shown in her face, the space she holds and the many Kambo scars on her legs were a shining light guiding me to my own inner courage. Courage I would need for this experience that would cleanse my soul, clear my mind, purify my body and push it to its limits.. and why? I couldn’t really tell you. That’s the weird thing. I heard of Kambo and something triggered in me. Fear. Curiosity. Familiarity. Then I dreamed about it, and from that point, I knew I was being called to this powerful, ancient medicine.

As the day approached, I had mixed feelings based on my research. My inner knowing assured me that the gains would outweigh the intensity of the experience so I looked forward to the day with subdued reservation. Interestingly, I had read that ones appearance can alter dramatically throughout the process, some puffing up to resemble a toad. Some experience concaving distortion to their face. Some report a glow post ceremony. So a part of me wondered if my appearance would change in any way.

The day arrived and the ceremony was to be held at my home. My bedroom, we decided after being informed that the bathroom needed to be close. So with only minor concerns about shitting my pants, I prepared my bedroom with plenty of water, some incense and ample toilet paper.

My friend Matilda arrived, dressed all in white, drum in hand and all manner of other sacred items that would set the space for our ceremony. I sat and watched in curiosity, lost in seemingly meaningless ponderings. The last time I had sat in my bedroom with a girlfriend was probably as a teenager, listening to Backstreet Boys. So for a moment, I was taken back to an innocent time in my life and wondered when I stopped appreciating how fun it is to sit on your floor with a friend listening to music and playing with Crystals.

And then as Matilda invited me into the sacred space, I was transported out of my bedroom and out of 1999 where I had travelled in my mind. And emerged in some exotic jungle location in another time.. an ancient time. And my friend was a powerful shaman / scary cult lady, as we liked to refer to her on that day. And she was holding space for me to take a journey that I knew was going to be deep and merciless but exquisitely beautiful.

With South American music playing, sage burning, chimes dinging and drum beating, I took my place. Head on the pillow that cradled my head to sleep each night, body resting on the floor that I walked upon to the bathroom each day.. a path that would be well marked by my sweaty foot prints today. I felt oddly calm as my friend explained to me the pre Kambo medicine, that was a jungle derived liquid that was to be dropped into my eyes causing excruciating pain that would be intense but short lived. I was warned that despite my overwhelming urge to tightly squint my eyes closed, I was to continue to slowly blink and breathe through the pain. When she asked if I was ready, I said ‘yes’ without thinking and the pain was instant to the first eye, giving the 2nd eye an agonizing moment of anticipation. The need to close my eyes indeed overwhelmed me, but with my friends strong presence anchoring me, I allowed myself to surrender. I went back to my breath. Many yoga and meditation teachers voices resounding in my mind – come back to the breath. Come back to the breath. In this moment, I truly appreciated the power of presence. I thanked myself for all of the times I had inadvertently trained my mind and body to work together to overcome adversity and pain. So much awakening just in those few moments of intense discomfort and heightened awareness. And so I continued to blink, finding strength and surrender in each painful fleeting glimpse of my roof. Once the pain subsided, my eyes felt puffy and tender but my heart felt ready, cracked open by the medicine and the gaping hole left where I had dug around for my own resilience. I sat up and placed my foot on my friends lap, completely at her mercy as she prepared to burn the inner side of my left ankle.

Once more, she asked if I was ready, and I said yes.. again without thinking. But this time, it was not a self trickery tool. I truly was ready. With the persisting sting in my eyes as a reminder, I welcomed the pain. Almost calmed by the heat on my skin. The medicine was applied to test my receptivity to it, which evidentially was high. A warmth washed over my face and head, down the front of my chest, bringing with it a more pronounced beating of my heart. The medicine seemingly worked its way down, causing tingling and slight numbness in my arms and hands. I felt light headed but almost in a pleasant haze of sedation at odds with the acute presence I felt in my body. The medicine was applied to my second point. Within minutes I felt the next wave of the haze, this time far more extreme.. far more… physical. And the purging began.

The 3 ltrs of water I had just forced myself to drink were seemingly coming up in one go, with the first purge being tsunami like. It was huge gushes of pure liquid and old trauma.. Heavy metals and gut bacteria. Pain, sorrow, self doubt and judgment all spilled cathartically into the armor oil bucket. I was deep in the process but remembered my friends advice to not hunch too much as it would prevent the flow of energy and vomit. So in my near death like state, I adjusted my posture in a way that almost egged on the deepest darkest shit to come forth. My stance correction acted as a battle cry to my own inner demons – No excuses. No obstacles. No energy / vomit blockages would interfere with my process. I had come this far. My mild scoliosis was not going to hold me back now. And so as upright as I could manage, I continued to purge. And then, a quick urge caused me to glance around the room scanning for toilet paper. I managed a few words to indicate I needed to get to the toilet. My friend and I were about to get a little closer. I continued to fill my armor oil bucket whilst on the toilet. Though I had offered my friend assurance that I was not going to pass out, once the effect of standing had taken hold, I feared I may indeed loose consciousness in a pile of my own shit and vomit. So I leaned back, cooled and supported by the ceramic. After one more purge, my friend asked me to look at her, so she could assess if I was done. Hopeful, I looked her way but was soon disheartened when I saw her face, expressionless with a slight but definite shake of her head. I moved back into the bedroom to finalise my purging in darkness, escaping the non filtered light of my ensuite. Willed by my own perseverance and over zealous smudging, the final purge found its way up.

My head still in the smoke filled bucket, my words echoed, breathless and defeated ‘I think that’s it’. My friend responded ‘look at me’ and with a nod, the ceremony was complete.

I took some breaths, I brushed my teeth. I looked in the mirror, and I looked sweaty, pale and slightly yellow. Apparently my face became somewhat concaved during the process. I felt clear and light. Drained but empowered. And I saw this in my reflection. So did Kambo do anything to improve my appearance? I believe I was able to clear old wounds. Peel back some layers. And what was underneath was truly beautiful.

Im so grateful for this experience. I feel this was a gentle initiation into Kambo, and though I may not actively seek out this medicine again, I am surrendered to the calling. And if the green light appears in my life again. I will follow it, with an open heart. And what is more beautiful than that?

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