• Julieta Chiara

Tepezcohuite: Mayan Ayahuasca Ceremony

What is Tepezcohuite? I too had no idea what this smokable, healing plant medicine was until last month.


Photo by Devin Orlando

Tepezcohuite

Ironically, a google search of Tepezcohuite gives you a shit ton of skin care solutions, which is pretty cool. With some deeper search, you see that the dried tree bark of Tepezcohuite contains DMT. From my purest understanding, it’s still not the same feeling - Tepezcohuite and DMT from other sources are very different experiences.


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Taken from my Shamans’ description:


“Tepezcohuite, known as the Tree of Life in Mayan & Aztec culture is a pure and organic plant medicine that offers you a deep connection to Source energy and all of Life. This ancient Mayan Medicine, only recently re-discovered in 2012, is one of the most healing sacred plants that exists on the Earth today.

Tepezcohuite works with every individual at their own unique Soul level allowing for a beautiful, powerful journey within the Self. The plant is known to assist in healing physical and mental traumas, and release energy blocks from the spiritual body. This is a powerful and loving ceremony that brings you into clarity, self-love and a feeling of acceptance & unity.”


Dipping into the next level.


I’ve been experienced with taking psychedelics close to 10 years now: LSD & mushrooms are second nature to me, and I microdose them often for my mental health. While they have helped me heal greatly, there has been an urge in the past couple years of my life to dig deeper into myself with the use of psychedelics. This became clear to me since the past few times I have taken full doses of LSD or mushrooms (which isn’t often), I want to be alone and go inward.

So, what was going to launch me into that next level? I’ve been recommended Ayahuasca by nearly everybody under the sun, but something just doesn’t feel right about that yet. I don’t feel called to mama Aya in this time, and that can be for a number of reasons. My main reason is I want to unpack everything I’m going through gently, and ayahuasca is a very intense experience. Knowing myself better than anyone else, I think the experience would be very stressful & inhibited due to my panic responses.


My friend came to visit me in Tulum, and inquired if I’ve heard about Tepezcohuite. An experienced DMT user, he was interested because it had incredibly similar effects - one being that it was short lived. The effects of DMT last anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and the same goes for Tepezcohuite. That rung a bell in my brain, and I felt extremely called to it. An option to explore a very intense, nearly out of body psychedelic for a short period of time.


Easy Tepezcohuite prep!

As he forwarded me the info about our ceremony, everything fell into place easily. The facilitators were young, experienced, and held a private ceremony to tend to your needs and guide you. Since the medicine is smokable, it doesn’t require weeks of prepping time like some plant medicine ceremonies call for. We simply had to abstain from alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. the day before + be fasted for the morning of. If fasting was too hard, we had the option to eat some light fruit.

I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t fucking nervous. I was freaking the fuck out inside, scared of what this medicine would show me. My friend sat me down the watch a documentary called “The Spirit Molecule” which definitely calmed my nerves.


Alexander & Andrada: Our Shamanic Guides


We were greeted kindly by our Shamanic guides Alexander & Andrada for our “Mayan Ayahuasca Love Ceremony”. They let us into their beautiful home, where they had set up a safe space with rugs, pillows, and an alter with crystals, sage, etc.

Sitting us down on the masculine and feminine sides, they asked us a little bit about our experience with plant medicine, and what our comfort levels were. They let us know what we could expect to experience such as feelings, visuals, and normal reactions.


What was very comforting to me is their explanation that this plant medicine is rooted in love. When you set an intention, it will give you what you ask for, and only give you what it thinks you’re capable of experiencing. That no matter what you see or feel, you can always come back to love and let the plant medicine show you the way. I set my intention, and asked the medicine to be gentle with me since I was very anxious about this experience.

Setting & space is everything


To get us prepared for our trip, we had to establish an energetically clear and safe space before commencing. Our Shamans cleansed us first, and initiated sacred space with invocations of the four directions. Once completed, we did a small meditation to get grounded - this helped me get into my heart space.

What was most important was the breath work Alexander led us through. Since the medicine is smokable, it’s most important that you inhale and hold the smoke correctly. We spent about 10-15 minutes practicing this breath work before starting on our trip.


Taking in the smoke


The goal and technique of inhaling the smoke is to get one big inhale, hold, and then “swallow” the smoke. Essentially the more you can retain, the further you’ll go into the medicine. Ideally, you will do two of these big puffs before you launch off to another dimension.


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I unfortunately have deep trouble with smoking. It’s always been insanely difficult for me to take a big puff without coughing, making me the world’s weakest pot smoker. Sitting down on my knees (So I could drop into child’s pose when ready), Alexander sat infront of me and lit the medicine. As I inhaled, the smoke was fucking strong and my initial reaction was to cough. I held this one in pretty okay, but I was definitely struggling.


As he went to give my friend his first hit, I could feel the initial effects that they told me would happen. I felt a rush of warmth start at my hands and move up to my head, and was feeling airy. He came to give me my second puff, where I coughed it out almost immediately- very kindly seeing I couldn’t handle big puffs, we moved to doing smaller puffs.


The Trip


With 5 tiny puffs in, the plant medicine was coming on STRONG. It felt as if time completely warped, and I started seeing kaleidoscope vision immediately. These were colors, shapes, images that made LSD and mushrooms look very weak in their effects. With the effects being so intense, there was no way I was physically moving. I tried to go into child’s pose, and found it uncomfortable so I moved myself to a laying down position with our guides help.

As I laid down and closed my eyes, I couldn’t feel my body anymore. I felt that I was flying, and it was very indescribable. I found it really overwhelming, and it was a good opportunity for me to coach myself into surrendering to the experience and letting it happen. I was safe, our guides were here, and this isn’t forever.


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