Sananga & Hape & Kambo Oh My!
I drove 2 hours away to get poisoned. It wasn't psychedelic, either. It wasn't even enjoyable in the moment. In fact, it was a gauntlet of 3 potent medicines that push your body out of the comfort zone and into something new. Something euphoric at times. But also, something with the potential for healing the mind, body, and spirit. A purification through fire, if you will. A wildfire is destructive, but it makes way for so much new growth. This felt like that.
I signed up for a ceremony that starts with 2 interesting plant medicines: sananga and hape. Sananga is a liquid that is dropped into your eye. It comes from the Amazon tribes and is from the root and bark of a sacred shrub. Thank you to the tribes who have allowed outsiders to learn it's ways and use it with their consent. When dropped into the eye it imparts an intense burning sensation. Like really intense. The idea is to allow the pain and breathe through it. Through Tantra I've learned to breathe through intense pleasure, this is similar but on the other side of the spectrum. The benefits include: richer colors in vision, treat and prevent eye disorders (including blindness, which I was particularly interested in), antimicrobial antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, and a deep cleansing of unwanted spiritual energies, plus many more!
Some say it works more on the spiritual level. I was interested in all of it. The burning only lasts a few minutes. I breathed and writhed on the floor as I allowed it to enter me. I actively tried to relax my body and eyes as it burned. Using the tools I've learned of breath, movement, and sound helped me to allow it to happen. Then when it finally melted away, I felt incredible. There was a spaciousness in my energy field. A relaxation I hadn't felt in a while. My arms were so light I thought they would float away. There were no thoughts in my head. This was the first step.
Hape was on the docket next. And my practitioner, Emily, had a beautiful Tepi, which is the device used to transmit the hape into your system from another person. Hape is another plant medicine from the tribes of the Amazon. I'm so grateful for the tradition and beauty that comes from this forest. Thank you for sharing your magic with us. Its base is usually tobacco, and each tribe has their own special blend of herbs and spices. All the ingredients are crushed into a snuff powder that is blown gently up your nose. It's an invigorating experience! Also, in the vicinity of pain. But also showing you how to deal with the adverse. Breathing through it and allowing it to be.
The benefits are again both physical and spiritual. It can help to focus your mind, clears any unwanted energies, detoxifies the body, mind, and energy, clears the hell out of the sinuses, and can ground and calm you (you know, after the pain). Emily told me it starts at the crescendo and comes down from there. And wow mama did it ever! It's a very spicy feeling starting in the nose and expanding into the brain. I could feel my head pulsing and had to continue to breathe through it. I called in some Tantric energy work to help it flow down. I worked to relax into it. But soon after it starts it begins to subside into a more manageable experience. Again, my arms felt like they were floating away. I could feel my energy flowing down, which is something I've been working more and more on lately in Tantra. I felt utterly grounded after a few minutes. Totally in the moment. My energy felt light and relaxing. My tummy was a little upset from the tobacco, but in a delightful way.
Now, I was ready for the Kambo, pronounced like combo. It is scraped from the backs of an Amazonian frog called the giant leaf frog. This beautiful creature uses this poison to fend off attackers. If the poison enters the bloodstream, it could have serious adverse effects so doing a Kambo ceremony with a trained practitioner is always advised. Luckily, I had a wonderful practitioner, Emily, right there to lead me through! The safety in the space she opened was comforting and humble. Since this animal medicine is seriously detoxifying, you want your body to be prepared before you enter into the ceremony.
Emily had me follow a particular detoxifying diet for 7 days prior to the ceremony. That meant no drugs or alcohol, no meat, no huge sugary meals, no caffeine, and a few others. For me this was relatively easy! The only thing I did on the list was smoke weed sometimes, which I was already cutting back on. So, I agreed not to smoke week for 7 days prior and 7 days after the ceremony. Although, she did say that weed was the least of the worries. You want your body to enter into the purification from a state of stability and strength. This is why the diet is so important. I can't imagine doing this hungover! She also insists that you don't eat for at least 7 hours before the ceremony. Mostly because of the nausea.
The only safe method to getting the poison into your system is through a burn mark: the gateway. She lit an unscented incense and very lightly burned three holes on my right ankle. Just aiming to get the top 1 or 2 layers of skin off. She starts preparing the Kambo and puts a small glob on the first hole. Then she watches. Some people need more to go deeper. Some people have a lot of resistance to the medicine on an energetic level. She's waiting to see how you react to the medicine, and if she should add more.
It started as a lightly burning sensation at the gateway. A few minutes in and it felt like I had a heat pack on my neck. I was getting flushed. I wanted to lie down, but she asked that I remain sitting up. Then the nausea comes. I don't often throw up in my life, but it's a distinct feeling. I threw up 3 separate times. All water, since I hadn't eaten in over 7 hours. Once I stopped throwing up I felt much better. A wave of energy washed over me. I sat in the feelings. I moved a bit, I breathed, I sounded. It wasn't overly intense. I could feel that I wanted to pull away from my belly, but I worked to open myself up to the feelings. I felt my energy moving down again. I felt my arms light again. I felt a clarity in my mind that was permeating. I was getting rid of what did not serve me.
Kambo is a powerful tool to purify and clear what is not serving on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. I had gone into it with an intention to clear away the blocks in my energetic system. I could feel it working it's magic. I felt lighter at my crown chakra. And my solar plexus had a new feel to it. After 20 minutes she wiped off the medicine and I was able to sit silently in my space for a while. It was relaxing, and my mind was no where to be found. If I felt the thoughts enter, they were quick to leave and I was left in an almost euphoria. Emily offered some sweet aftercare of veggie broth and miso and space. When I left it felt like I was floating away. I stopped and got some Thai food next door and as I ate it was in such peace and harmony with all things around me.
The full effects will continue to integrate in the coming days as I explore my energy again. Yesterday during my daily energy work I felt a clearing and a flow that I hadn't felt before. Kambo doesn't do all the work, you also meet it halfway. I'm prepared to take action to move towards my intention with the support of Kambo at my back. I already know I want to try it again in another of Emily's sweet ceremonies!
This experience was designed to prepare me for a new offering Emily and I are collaborating on. It's called Feel. Heal. Be. Where Tantra meets Kambo. It will be an immersive 4 hour experience in Seattle on February 26th, 2023 where we will use Tantra to prepare the body, mind, and spirit to go deeper into the Sananga, Hape, and Kambo. Allowing the body to relax into deep sensation and embodiment is one of my specialities. If this is calling to you reach out with any questions.
INSPIRED ACTION: Imagine what your intention for a ceremony like this might be. How do you desire purifying, clarity, healing, and clearing in your life? Ask yourself if you're willing to go into the taboo of pain to get these things. Tantra is all about entering the taboo areas of life to gain the knowledge we are hiding from. Kambo is about deep healing and detoxifying. Ask yourself if you are ready for this type of embodied sensational healing.