A Journey With Huachuma

I am an investigator, here to explore what it means to be alive on this planet and how to optimize our soul’s journey so we can step into our highest potential.


In September of 2017 I went on one of my investigations into the jungle of Peru to learn about sacred plant medicines and the world of shamanism.  


The use of a medicine plant called Huachuma, or more commonly known as San Pedro, has roots that steep back in Peru nearly 4,000 years. This sacred plant ritual is used for healing, and intended to open a channel of direct mystical connection with the great powers of Earth and Cosmos. San Pedro is a cactus containing the psychedelic mescaline that is boiled down to a tea form and is said to be a key that reveals the mystical world around and within us. The shamans refer to the spirit of this cactus as a powerfully visionary teacher healer plant.


I didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into but the journey I was about to embark on would shift my perspective on life forever. Below is my journal entry from one of my three days I spent with this master teacher.


9/19/17 - Amazon Rainforest, Peru


Yesterday was indescribable. Incredible and magical are the only things that come to mind right now. I don’t know if words exist for this. I just experienced a life altering perspective on how this world works. So many veils were lifted and layers peeled back. The level of clarity and awareness I experienced feels invaluable and immeasurable. I’m completely baffled and blown away. I kind of knew what I was getting into, but I had no idea the magnitude of what I was getting into.


We started the Huachuma ceremony at 12:30p. Gathered around Don Howard’s beautiful mesa we went up to drink the sacred tea one by one. My heart was pounding out of my chest when I approached the Mesa. He handed me a cup full of the weird smelling tea and I almost give it right back to him and ran out the door. I centered myself for a moment, took a deep breath and stood there inside my beating heart. He cleared my energy field with sacred tobacco smoke and chimes, I could feel myself getting lighter and clearer. Don Howard is a master Shaman and one of the wisest souls i’ve ever been in the presence of. I decided in that moment to let go and trust his guidance. He gave me the signal with a smile and a nod that it was time. I put the cup up to my lips and downed the tea as fast as I could trying to not to breathe in. It tasted so bad I thought I was going to projectile vomit all over his sacred objects on the Mesa. All I could think to myself was Shit. It went down. Here we go, no turning back. I went back to my seat, heart still beating out of my chest.


We jumped on a boat and headed an hour down the Amazon to a small fishing village on the river. As the wind hit my face I started to feel a subtle shift in my energy and then a feeling of expansion within every molecule of my being. I felt a sense of calm, warmth, and overwhelm all at the same time. I put my headphones in and felt the beat of the music, it had never sounded so sweet. I could feel it coursing through my whole body. I instinctively understood the healing power of sound and how crucial it is in our everyday lives. It creates a kind of resonance and vibration through our energetic system that has the ability to change matter.


We got off the boat and began our trek passing through the fishing village and toward the jungle forest. This tiny village is so poor, these people have next to nothing. It was like Don Howard planned this journey perfectly so we would see everything through a different lens on the world. We passed by a women sitting on the ground in front of a tiny single room shack that was completely falling apart. Two of her four kids were playing with a little soccer ball as the younger ones sat in her lap. As we made our way down the path a woman in our group said “I wonder what we have lived through in our past lives to have deserved this life we live now.” These words latched onto me in this moment. I began to ponder what I could have lived through in past lives. If I’d been in a similar situation as that woman in the village. How many different walks I’ve taken in how many different shoes. Walks of different colors, sizes, status, gender, wealth, locations, and genetic makeup.


I began to feel profound compassion, empathy, and connectedness to these people, walking through their village, their home, their situation. Then this feeling began to spread to everyone and everything. A butterfly flew by and I felt I had been a butterfly once, a tree, an insect in previous lives. That I had gone through these various incarnations and had received compassion from other humans that were in a similar life situation as me now - people that had helped me or showed me kindness when I needed it. I felt a powerful and immense gratitude for these acts of compassion, big or small. I felt the urge in this moment to flow my energy out in a similar way to the people in this small village and the incredible creatures and nature that surrounded us. We are all here to encounter different kinds of experiences on this earth and it’s all depending our souls journey during that particular time. This is why any sort of comparison is erroneous and completely absurd, instead we need to focus on empathy, compassion, generosity and love.


It is bizarre to try and describe all of this in words because none of it came to me in words. This whole realization seamlessly came through me as a feeling, a knowing. It was like my internal dialog was completely suspended  - I wasn’t having any real “thoughts” or what we consider ordinary thoughts. I wasn’t even thinking. The space inside my mind was completely still.


We walked past the village and crossed a beautiful bridge that led to the start of our forest trail. We were engulfed in lush jungle that was vibrant and alive. My vision and perspective shifted to a hyper sense of awareness on everything around me, as the feeling within me became even more elevated and heightened. Everything was glowing with a new light, a kind I’d never experienced before. The leaves and trees were each individually breathing and I could see their unique field of energy around them. I was experiencing a child-like feeling and an overwhelming sense that I was in the right place at the right time, that I had truly followed my intuition and instinct here.


It all felt so familiar, like I’d been in this state of being before and deep down (way beyond the mechanics of my mind and comprehension processing system) I knew that I needed to get back here, that the layers and veils of truth needed to be lifted. That there was something more to this life that I was missing. Something I had known before, maybe in one of these other lives perhaps. There was as a deeper, more ingrained universal wisdom at play.


I could feel the wise grandfather like energy of the Huachuma - very stable, calm, and proud. A strength that honored the instincts and the path I followed to get here despite what society and others thought. I could feel this powerful energy willing to guide me back to some sort of truth in this world and back to me. It was profoundly humbling.


I was taken back by the level of intuition I followed to get to this place. I could tell that something deeper had brought me here, beyond all the doubts and fears and noise. It was compiled not just of this one trip but of all the books, information, explorations, the previous trip to peru, all of it, this whole process and journey was this intuition unfolding in this very moment. All it brought me here.  It took setting aside the thoughts of the rambling and stubborn ego, suspending belief and disbelief and knowing in my core that I had lost my way and needed to find it again - even though I had no idea what that even meant. But in this moment, it all made sense.


The odd familiarity I felt in this state was an extremely comforting feeling, like a home I never knew I had. A home inside my heart that never ever leaves me - rather my mind is the one that tends to stray away from it. Inside flows endless amounts unconditional love and has a connection with everything else. I knew in that moment, this was big. This was life changing. It wasn’t intellectual, it was a feeling - it was all feeling based - a kind of knowing intuition, an understanding that could only be felt at the absolute core of my being. This is why I could never do it justice with words. I can’t begin to describe how hard it is to describe. Our language doesn’t translate to this kind of wisdom. It simply must be trusted intuitively and felt from the heart. It is a wisdom that lives within us that can be tapped into anytime in any place.


As we wound through the single file trail of the magical overgrown jungle forest, I began to notice things I hadn’t before - a depth of beauty I tapped into that usually lies just beyond my conscious thought. It felt like tapping into an elevated realm or dimension. The vines interweaving with one another, the strange and diverse plants and trees of the Amazon. Trees with roots springing out from the bottom like pyramid stilts, spiky fungi sticking out from tree trunks and massive green leaves radiating with brilliant color. Everything was pulsing with life.


A giant tree had fallen across the river bed and we used it as a bridge to get to the other side. We arrived at our destination, what our guide called The Enchanted Stream and where a local forest tribe lives.


We all immediately stripped down and got into the water. It truly felt like the most enchanted place I’ve ever experienced. There was a small but wide waterfall made of stone and thick jungle surrounding us everywhere. We rubbed clay from the riverbed on our faces and bodies. I lied lightly submerged in the river on a sandbank and let everything else in the world melt away.


I watched little water skippers bounce around me. It brought me back to childhood memories and the feeling of fascination as I played with the water skippers on our pond back home. There was such an innocence, wonder and awe of the tiny things in the world. In this moment suspended from everything else, I was being shown the importance of slowing down in life and appreciating the beingness - of simply watching water flow by for the sake of watching the wonders of water flow by. The guidance from seemingly small and immensely large beauties of this planet.  I learned that sitting and watching water skippers is actually a really productive activity, (probably more productive than most) contrary to everything we’ve ever been taught. We are taught to be “busy” and getting to the next step, phase, next item on the do to list is what productivity is. That for some reason that type hustle equals important…...being able to tangibly check something off or tell someone what we have accomplished that day gives an illusory stamp of approval. We forget to be curious of the environment surrounding us. To listen to what we actually value. To feel what we are really meant to do here. To ponder what time even means.


I had a vision of me sitting at the pond at my parents farm just watching the water and all the diverse and spectacular nature around. How profoundly powerful that simple act can be if we just pay attention to it. That slowing down and really seeing the world has the power to shift my perspective on everything. Especially when I’m stuck in my head and trying to think my way out of things. Thinking of solutions caused by the thinking - a cyclical cycle. Sounds absolutely insane. Instead to simply STOP. Go out in nature and witness. Listen and learn from outside of my habitual well worn thought tracks. Listen from a place of intuition and openness with Mother Nature, with the divine source of unconditional love, instrumental energy, abundant flowing creativity, endless wonder, and life force inside every atom.


We can learn so much from listening and from opening the heart and mind to a new kind of intelligence. Trusting a force that is greater than our rambling habitual ways of thinking. We are all connected to one another and there is so much that goes unnoticed because our society is bombarded with distraction. Distractions in every direction - smoke and mirrors - programs and conditioning - deceptions that create false realities. We need to redirect our attention away from our ego’s desperation to be accepted by society and listen inward to our unique, individual, innate rhythms that resonate intrinsically with nature.


Some of the other women were now lying in the river bed beside me.  I said something that came so natural, it just flowed through my being and gracefully out of my mouth. In this moment I realized how many self conscious automated filters I typically have running and sifting through my brain before I say or do anything. I haven’t really grasped the level of unconscious censorship that usually takes place inside me until now. A mechanism I built over the years to protect myself from showing the real me, or rather the fear of not being loved as the real me. This felt like me, my energy naturally flowing through me rather than me trying to be me and filtering what I’m going to say in the ego’s tricky attempt to be accepted by others.


There was an intuitive feeling coming from the plant (that is the best I can describe it but it feels more like communicating telepathically) “it’s ok to be you, exactly YOU. You don’t have to try to be you and it doesn’t matter if anyone else approves or like you. The only thing that matters is that your authentic energy flows through naturally with an open heart.” It felt so incredibly good to have these heavy layers stripped back. Invisible layers that I didn’t even realize were there, weighing me down and distorting my reality for years. I can just BE ME with no fear or reservation. It doesn’t matter what my family or friends think or if my mom approves of certain behaviors. They love me for me. It is my job to be me for me and not for them. I’m loved no matter what - I can trust that always and let go of everything else. Where did I miss this along the way?


The walk back through the forest was just as blissful and beautiful, full of curiosity and wonder and the feeling of connectedness - to my past, present, future all at the same time. Being fully alive and one with everything. Being connected to the force of life and my intuition. We came out the end of the trail and took a long pause by the bridge before heading back into the fishing village.


And then everything blew wide open.


One of the guys in our group walked up to me and asked how I was doing. I automatically replied without thinking about it “really good, I have a lot energy running through me.”  I didn’t even consciously realize it until those words came out of my mouth and in that moment I took a deep breath and repeated to myself slowly…...


“Woah, I have a lot of energy running through me.”


My awareness shifted to just how much energy was coursing through my entire body. I stood there looking down at the river and the forest and I could feel the energy of the rainforest coming up through my feet, flowing through my legs, up my body and fountaining out my head and hands. The energy of everything, everything is energy. It was different from reading about it and understanding this information intellectually. It was an unshakable knowing, a complete sensory experience - touching, seeing, grasping, feeling it through my bones.  I felt the energy of the universe that makes up and connects everything. I could see it, I could see a kind of universal code in the form of energy patterns - like in the movie The Matrix but more beautiful. Colorful flowing crystalline information streams of energy connected in a vibrant field, making up everything we perceive as matter and also filling in the spaces unseen to the eye. Full of intelligence and beauty. It is a totally different kind of information than we perceive of in our everyday lives. This was subtle but it was real, vital, rich life giving and expanding information streams.


I realized that I had been stuck inside my own dense structure, trapped inside myself. That energy had been tangled and lodged in specific areas in and around my body from old emotions I stuffed down of unresolved grief and trauma. It hasn’t been able to flow freely. Our energy is meant to flow through us and out of us - intaking and expelling in a beautiful energetic rhythm. We are a part of this, everything is a part of this energy flow. We get knocked off balance when it gets blocked and stuck within us.


I could feel my energy system, my chakras turning, everything moving. I was filling and filling with energy. Once I was full all I wanted to do was give it away, share it, spread it out. I connected with a tree and gave it some of the love energy flowing from my heart. It was so easy to connect once I saw and felt this subtle energy. We are all always connected and we can direct where our energy goes with INTENTION. I sent the tree my love energy with my conscious intention. I wanted to laugh at how simple yet profound this felt. The tree became more alive, almost animated and exuding a ‘thank you’. I could see it’s spirit light up. I did the same with a giant plant next to me, and then with the whole interconnected rainforest. Letting this energy flow through my hands and outward as new fresh energy was being generated from the earth up through my feet and feeding into my entire body. This system knows intrinsically exactly what to do. It was almost as though I didn’t even have to do anything except let it flow naturally and not tangle it up in my “issues”. This is how the world is supposed to work, a symbiotic dance.


When we let our authentic energy flow through us we are capable of anything.


I got side tracked for a minute as my typical thoughts of worry began to creep back in. I think it was a lesson meant to happen because I could feel the shift in my field move all that energy into my head, feeding into those worry thought tracks. I realized in that moment how vital and nourishing this energy is and also how destructive it can be if we let it flow to the wrong places. It is wild how much of this precious resource I waste on worry, doubt, and self conscious neurotic thoughts, only perpetuating these negative patterns. So much energy is wasted in the ego’s desperation to be liked and accepted.


I had a vision of myself at my apartment when I get stuck in my head and give all this energy to anxiety, worry, and wasteful negativity - I will remember THIS MOMENT and shift the energy to the intelligence my heart and it will know exactly what to do.


We are all a part of this magnificent energy field that we can tap into at any time. The earth, the stars, planets, we are all connected through the vast network of intelligence and information.


I could understand how synchronicity works through the energetic signature we send out. We magnetize what we put out into the world and pull that energy back in - like attracting like. The strings that connect through vibrational fields and frequency. We need to be open, receptive and broadcast the messages we want outward not what we don’t want.


I saw myself as a flowing system of ribbons of color. I realized the true importance of breath, yoga and meditation. It is so vital to practice this everyday to stay balanced and to move old energy out and bring new revitalizing energy into the system. I could see how easy it can get stuck if we don’t cycle it through. I was moving it with my breathe and intention - these are the two keys to unlocking everything. Once we become aware of it there doesn’t have to be any judgement or attachment to it, we can just let it move by letting go. Once the energy was flowing through me all I wanted to do was to share it - that’s how it works - flows from me to others and more comes flowing through me. It is not limited, there is an abundant flow to bring in and give out.


I thought about how I could exude this more in my daily life, showing more kindness to everyone I encounter and making a better effort to express love to those close to me. To focus on opening more instead of building walls up and retreating to myself. Letting the people I love in, instead of keeping them at a “safe” distance. To let go of old grudges or reservations and open the energy of the heart. There is the cliche of reading this on a bumper sticker that I have always rolled my eyes at and strayed far away from, but then there is the visceral experience of it like this. We have lost the grasp of what this truly means on a very fundamental human level.


I realized just how much my mind holds me back from creating true art from the depth of my being - from creating so many things in my life. If I just allow my energy to express innately in its creative nature, I’m truly capable of anything. It is all about letting it flow through without the obstruction of the mind. I’m guessing this is what they mean by the term flow state. Letting the energy move freely through without allowing the mind to shut it down or get in the way. It is so counter intuitive to the way we were taught but it is our limited thoughts and beliefs that hijack the energy and hinder us from achieving our dreams. The answers come in trusting what wants to express through us naturally.


The boat ride back my entire being was vibrating with excitement, creativity, and gratitude. I put my headphones in and let this new perspective completely take me over. As Nicolas Jaar filled my ears I could feel the energy powerfully coursing through my entire body. I felt in alignment with my life for the first time in a long time. I watched the colors of the lights dance on the water as the night turned darker. All I wanted to do was send this energy out, to share it with everyone. So I just opened my heart and let it all go, I sent this love out to the world.


I was cracked wide open.

- Kristen Murphy