Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to diet Mama Coca under the care of a good friend who has dieted her before and was able to open my diet. I wanted to share this experience to give some people an idea of what dieta can be like sometimes, and also to share some of my insights from this plant.
Before meeting my friend for the dieta I prepared by dieting for 7 days on my own - no sex, no oils, no sugar or spices, no red meat and no drugs/alcohol (I do not use drugs or alcohol but for me this meant no cannabis). I met him for the diet where I stayed in mostly isolation camping in the forest and then my diet got more strict. For 10 days there was no media (books, TV or music) and the only food I was allowed was plain oatmeal with a banana for breakfast, trout with green beans, carrots and either potato or rice for lunch/dinner, and sometimes a green apple for a snack. No other food was allowed and 7 out of 10 days I did not have dinner because we had ceremony those nights with Ayahuasca. Now that I am home I am back to the prepatory diet I did before arriving and I will keep that for 30 more days to make sure my diet is not interfered with and can take deep roots in my body (yes, that is 47 days without sex, salt, oils ect).
This is a real commitment to the plant and to myself, and it isnt easy, but is very rewarding. Some days the no salt gets to you - you get dizzy or lightheaded. Sometimes you feel ready to faint. You crave the things you can't have, but try not to think about it too much. Eating the same exact thing for 10 days gets a bit boring but you try to enjoy it as much as possible. This builds character and discipline and also appreciation for the little things.
Ceremony is no cake walk either - Ayahuasca isn't a gentle teacher for me. She does not like make life easy, and if anything might make life a little harder.... I often spend hours in ceremony feeling sick and having violent puking. Dark visions and barely being able to stand or walk can sometimes be a little scary. Why do it if it is so unpleasant sometimes? Like I said - this builds character and the way the plant challenges me makes me rise to the occasion. Teaches you to find your inner strength and laugh at your illness - teaches you to overcome obstacles and live with grace even when you suffer. These are good lessons and sometimes you cant learn them if everything comes easy. Challenges are good for you.
There are many rewards to this process and I can share some specifically from this diet. Coca is heart medicine and really teaches you to find your inner strength and passion and to see clearly the path you want to take in life. The first night in ceremony I drank a cup of coca tea - I could feel the spirit of coca embrace me right away in a warm hug! I saw rays of yellow filled with coca leaves flying to me and knew I was in for a powerful diet.
The next day I sat with my coca tea and prayed. I asked it to teach me. Over the next 30 minutes I wrote two new songs in a completely new style then I had ever written before. Coca was inspiring me already! Music became a big part of this diet for me.
In ceremony there were some spirits trying to harass me - I had picked them up a couple weeks earlier and needed to purge them. As Ayahuasca and Mama Coca brought these spirits to the surface to be purged I was getting real sick - but instead of feeling sorry for myself coca helped me feel strong and determined. I found a mantra: "Creator, Pachamama, Mama Coca - We are One!" I repeated this mantra holding my mesa in my hands as I stared down these spirits and laughed in their face - I knew I was filled with the power of these plants and these spirits didn't stand a chance! My body was tired from dieting and my mind wanted to wander and rest but I kept calling on Coca to help me stay strong and focused - and Coca did not disappoint!
During this battle with the spirits I had many realizations about my personal life as well.... I work hard sometimes but I know I can also be the type of person who likes to avoid work as well. I can relax all day and have a great time, so sometimes projects I want to work on get put on the back-burner. I found a new determination to push myself a little bit more on these projects - and so far this determination is already showing up in real ways in my life. I finally started writing a new fiction book this diet - a book I had been putting off writing for over a year because it intimidated me. Already I am paying more attention to my wife who deserves it instead of focusing on myself so much. I see myself getting more done around the house which is great because my house is also my place of work. Dieta has real results fast.
The first 7 days of the dieta were just myself and one other dieter drinking with our facilitator. Sometimes there was one or two others with us in ceremony and sometimes it was just the 3 of us. The final weekend of the diet a group showed up for ceremony and drank the last 3 nights with us. I helped out a little bit with keeping clean energy in our ceremony space - when someone purged I would go blow mapacho on them to make sure that energy didnt sit in our space, and I also helped people who had trouble walking or getting around. Even when I was sick over my bucket or barely able to walk it was my job to help out so I found coca helpful in giving me that strength and focus to help others when I was already in a challenging spot.
I also was able to play music every ceremony. Every single night after I sang and played guitar everyone would tell me I need to record and start selling my music... Maybe a little nudge from coca? I even discovered some possible opportunities to make some special recordings at some point during a future ceremony which sounds very exciting...
I found a very deep appreciation for Coca, for dieta and for Ayahuasca this diet. I always knew Ayahuasca was a great and powerful teacher, but was sometimes confused where she fit into my path... I already have such wonderful plant teachers who are much easier to work with, and sometimes I wondered if Ayahuasca was really right for me personally. Now I appreciate her tough lessons - she showed me the value of structure, discipline and challenges in my life. She doesnt make things easier for me and she doesnt spell things out or tell me how to overcome things - she just pushes me into the challenge so I am forced to figure it out and rise to the occasion, and sometimes I need that push.
I am also hugely grateful to my host for this diet - he made this opportunity available for me and gave us so much personal attention. 7 ceremonies in 10 days and many of those were very personal ceremonies where he would sing 3-4 songs personally to each of us and really give us a lot of his energy and focus. He took the time to teach me some Shipibo words and help out with learning new icaros. Really a great host and the diet would not have been so powerful without his attention to detail.
So now I am back at home with Mama Coca - her spirit will be with me always now and I know I can call on her when I need to. Thank you Mama Coca and Las Plantas! Muchos Gracias!