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Observations placeholder

Dobkin de Rios, Dr Marlene - Ayahuasca experience 2



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Marlene Dobkin de Rios – Visionary Vine: Psychedelic Healing in the Peruvian Amazon

We got comfortably seated on the floor of the house, and Antonio passed the potion around.   I noticed as I drank that Antonio, to be sure that the gringa got her full share of visions, gave me a cup brim-full of the not so pleasant-smelling liquid. Others who drank that night, in retrospect, seemed to have been given a much smaller amount.

The following is an account of what happened.

About ten minutes later, feelings of strangeness came over my body and I had difficulty in coordinating extremities. Quick-arriving visual forms and movements flitted before my eyes some twenty minutes after taking the drink, and a certain amount of anxiety that was not difficult to handle was felt, especially when Halloween-type demons in primary reds, greens and blues loomed large and then receded before me. Very fast-moving imagery almost like Bosch's paintings appeared, which at times was difficult to focus upon.

At one point after I touched the arm of my friend for reassurance, the primary colours changed to flaming yellows and pinks, as a cornucopia full of warmth filled the visions before my eyes and gave me a sort of peripheral vision extending toward the person I had touched. Then in harmony with the healer's schacapa, a series of leaf faced visions appeared, while my eyes remained open. 

They were followed by a full-length coloured vision of a Peruvian woman, unknown to me but sneering in my direction, which appeared before me. Then more visions arrived, followed by heavy vomiting and diarrhea  which lasted for about three hours.

In New York, where I grew up, vomiting was hardly anything to celebrate. And I remember my concern at the terrible noises I made with the “dry heaves" that afflicted me. Yet, later on, when chattering with others, I realized that in the rain forest people periodically induced vomiting in their children so as to purge them of the various illnesses which are rampant in the region.  My colleague told me later on that don Antonio in his subsequent healing sessions would often refer to the the gringa who had vomited heavily with ayahuasca and the terrible noises she made.  He even imitated me to the great amusement of his audience.

Throughout the experience, any light was painful to my eyes. Time was experienced as slow-moving. After effects included physical weakness for a day or two, but a general sense of wellbeing and looseness in dealing with others   .…….no jungle creatures filled my vision, nor did I experience the often-reported floating sensation.  The visions I had contained symbols of my own culture.

The source of the experience

Dobkin de Rios, Dr Marlene

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Symbol system

Activities and commonsteps