Ayahuasca and a Celebration of Life

Journey to Khungi with Guy Borgford: life's reflections, the wisdom of master plants, and experience the healing power of Mother Ayahuasca.
Mother Ayahuasca. A Photo of a plant sprouting from seed on some earth with a blurred-out green background. There is a graphic of other seedlings and a pair of hands opening up to the sky drawn in thin white outlines surrounding the seedling.
Author: Guy Borgford
By Guy Borgford
June 26, 2024(Updated: June 28, 2024)

Journeying to Khungi: A Spiritual Odyssey

Khungi is a magical place, a temple built in honor of Shipibo Teachers and the ancient wisdom of master plants and mystical states. I found myself here through a series of events that I deem to be nothing less than miraculous. The journey had taken an exceptionally interesting turn when I began working with Behold Retreats as a Plant Medicine Preparation and Integration Guide in March of 2023.

You could say that my journey to sit with Mother Ayahuasca with Behold Retreats began the moment the collision of sperm in egg sparked my human experience. However, to dial things back to a more materialist perspective, I committed to this retreat about ninety days before the sticky brew touched my lips this first night. 

“It’s a process of healing and cleaning, and it’s a beautiful experience that is nothing short of magic.”

— Guy Borgford

Despite having drunk ayahuasca several times before, never before had I prepared so diligently. This time, I focused so much on getting ready for the medicine. It had been two and a half years since I had last sat with Mother Ayahuasca. Leading up to the first ceremony, I felt the usual mix of nerves and excitement as the first day of retreat drew closer. 

Following a strict dieta and reflecting often about intentions, I spent my time leading up to ceremony deep in reflection. I contemplated what questions I would put forth to the master plant energies of Mother Ayahuasca and Chacruna. As retreat got closer, I whittled things down to just four. I planned to ask for opportunities to both heal and expand while held in the Sacred space of Khungi

From Mexico City to Sacred Grounds

The journey to Khungi from the Pacific Northwest was mostly uneventful, so I found myself in Mexico City two days before the retreat started. After the first evening of rest and meditation in my hotel room, I walked a couple of kilometers to Central de Autobuses del Norte. I wrangled myself aboard a bus to see the impressive Meso-American remains of Teotihuacan

This world heritage site was something to behold. Almost 70 years prior,  my parents had come here on their honeymoon, new love blooming in their hearts. I sat in the hot afternoon among the giant, cosmic beacons for most of the day. I pondered my ancestors’ past, many whose names drift among the dunes—forgotten long ago, as mine will be one day. Returning to my hotel in the afternoon, I opted simply to remain in my room. I fell back into meditation and fasted to prepare my systems for the medicine further.

A car met me at my hotel in Mexico City. Subsequently, we picked up four more guests and made our way up to Khungi, about two hours west of the city. The drive up was enjoyable and light. My fellow guests were all open and full of excitement and energy. Our conversation bounced around like one of those giant beach balls at a music festival. 

As we turned off the main road in Valle de Bravo, the road changed from asphalt to gravel and got pretty rough in spots. At one point, our driver struggled to get over a rock outcropping. Then, out of nowhere, a man appeared. He provided some tips to the driver in Spanish, which did the trick in quick order. Then, once again, we were on our way. 

Encountering Khungi

Passing through the front gates of Khungi, I could feel the energy of the place. Life was everywhere. My dear friend and facilitator, Luke DeStefano, joined the angelic team at Khungi. I had been working with Luke for over a year but had never met him in person. With the weird world of COVID and Zoom, I’m sure we’ve all experienced this to some degree, but meeting Luke face-to-face after over a year was more epic than I had anticipated—brothers from another Mother. 

Our rooms were each a wonder of fine craftsmanship and biophilic design. After being shown to them, we met in the library for our retreat orientation with Behold Retreats. Amina Tezkatlahuiz, the lovable and magical Curandera, and Puka, a talented medicine practitioner and musician from Peru, joined Luke. After some settling in, Luke asked each of us in the group what one word described how we felt at that moment. As it came time for my response, I answered with the word ‘raw’ as a lump in my throat threatened a release of intense emotion. This journey was going to be good. 

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Initiation under the Full Moon With Mother Ayahuasca

The first evening of the ceremony fell on a full moon. The hills were alive with a million nightcalls, a chorus to the greater realms of life permeating everything. After a round of sananga and then a strong dose of hapè, it was time to connect with Mother Ayahuasca. As I kneeled before Amina, the Medicine Woman, I whispered my request for a large cupful to start the evening. Pouring the brew with the help of a small flashlight, Amina then held out the cup to me. I carefully took the cup, thanked Amina for the medicine, and held the cup to my heart. I expressed my sincerest gratitude for the gift of being present in this beautiful ceremony. After thanking Mother Ayahuasca, I swiftly knocked back the thick, bitter brew. Quietly, I made my way back to my mat and rinsed my mouth out. Then, I settled in, back upright in anticipation of the first waves of the powerful medicine. 

Someone extinguished the lights after everyone had consumed their portion of the potion. The beautiful maloca fell into a quiet normally only known in death. I stared up at the ceiling of the ceremony space, the brilliant mandala design of the intricate woodwork etched against the soft blue of the moonlit sky. The medicine began snaking its way through my digestive tract. The warmth—slightly foreboding of some course correction or energetic cleansing—was undoubtedly coming. Closing my lids, the static ever present in darkness began to organize into patterned intelligence—the medicine was coming up fast. 

The Healing Purge as the Medicine Takes Hold

Meditation and breathing techniques genuinely come in handy when psychedelic medicine comes on strong. Notably, ayahuasca can be one of the more powerful come-ups. This experience was one of those experiences as I channeled my awareness into my breath. I focused my effort on not getting caught up in overwhelm as the strong psychedelic brew took over my consciousness. Slowly breathing in and out, the urge to purge became much more evident. I grabbed my bucket and began to vomit from the depths of my Being. 

Lifetimes of energy came forth, rising up from my root chakra and violently expelling into the large plastic bucket. My stomach was mostly empty due to a very light vegan breakfast and lunch. It was about 9 pm by this time, so what was coming forth was nothing but mounds of ancient, stuck epigenetic energy. Many who have never met Mother Ayahuasca and have never drunk the medicine shudder at the mention of the notorious purge. But it’s not like food poisoning or a bad hangover. Instead, it’s a process of healing and cleaning, and it’s a beautiful experience that is nothing short of magic. 

As the nausea subsided, I lay back and looked up. Beams from the full moon high above lit up the ceremony floor. A joy spilled from my Being as I swam in the warmth of the medicine and felt immense gratitude for my ancestors who brought me into this human experience and blessed me with such a life. Well into the night, I got up and asked for another cup of medicine. This time, the brew brought me deeper into my appreciation for the miracle of life. It led me to swaying to the ancient songs and angelic sounds of the music and mystery of Sacred Ceremony. 

Surrendering to Mother Ayahuasca and the Cosmic Dance

Tears flowed, hands clasped in gratitude, and ego completely humbled as I prayed to the wonders of Consciousness, the awe of Being, and the gift that is this life. I stumbled outside and walked out into the silver sea of the full moon. Night sounds of life sang their distant songs throughout the cool valley below.  I knew in my bones that my ancestors were with me, holding me up to the glory of the cosmos, catapulting off into forever more, for as far as the eye can see. 

This night was a celebration of life—this life, this moment, and all the teachings, lessons, gifts, and falls that brought me here. Inhaling deep into the early morning air, I drank in the last of the full moon on this magic night and quietly tip-toed off to bed to enter the strange world of dreams. 

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The content provided is for educational and informational purposes only and should be a substitute for medical or other professional advice. Articles are based on personal opinions, research, and experiences of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Psychedelic Support.

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Author: Guy Borgford
Guy Borgford
Starting with a meditation practice a few years ago, Guy quickly began intentional work with plant and fungi medicine shortly thereafter, resulting in both profound healing and personal and spiritual development. Along with a variety of consulting positions at various organizations in the psychedelic space, Guy is also an artist and avid student of learning about our natural world with a keen interest in regenerative systems design. He runs a meditation retreat from his home in the North Cascade Mountains and counts the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy and working with the legendary and beloved Dennis McKenna among his volunteer experiences. Learn more and connect with Guy on his Linkedin Profile.

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