Kambo – My Journey with the Frog (part 2)

You can read about my First Journey with the Frog in this article.

The longing to travel again with Kambo resided lingering in the back of my mind. But my horse died, my business asked a lot and there was a lot in general to deal with. Until two friends I have known for years and who had been involved in shamanic ceremonies for ages, invited me for a Kambo ceremony at their place. At cycling distance from my little house in the forest. On a sunny Sunday where my agenda was wide open and empty. Spontaneously I decided to join.

The thing with entheogens like Kambo or Ayahuasca is that you always get what you need, not necessarily what you want. And what you will get can be completely different each time. I knew what to expect, yet I had no idea what would come today. When my friend opened the door and let me in, I suddenly remembered how intense I found my first Kambo journey. Fear struck me. Could I go home?

But I was there already anyway. I had no other plans for today, and I loved seeing my friends. Why not stay and let myself be guided into this experience. I survived last time – heck, it was beautiful! A second time couldn’t be much worse, right?

Be careful what you wish for!

The four of us, my two friends and another participant, were sitting in a circle in an old classroom of a former school that was now a commune of artists. Feathers and dream catchers were decorating the walls. A big pan of soup was heating up on the stove. It reminded me again that the last meal I had was before the workshop I facilitated last night – a long time ago. Large bottles of water were lined up already, and just the sight made me nauseous. My body clearly reminded my previous experience.

The person holding the frog was allowed to talk, the others listened.

“What’s your intention for this journey with Kambo?” My friend asked me his question as he lovingly handed me a frog made of Jade or another kind of green gemstone. The person holding the frog was allowed to talk, the others listened.

Usually I have clear intentions, days before I dive into an experience. This time I hadn’t even thought about it. I held the frog and closed my eyes, feeling my body relax. Something would come up. It always does. I just have to trust to keep those channels open.

“My intention for today is to learn how to deal with fear. I can feel pretty insecure because of all the challenges I’m facing, and sometimes it freaks me out. I would love to learn how to deal with that gracefully.” I handed the frog to the other participant and we smiled at each other. Sharing deep experiences, or embarking on them, is bonding.

“If you feel called, you can start the journey today with Rapé.” My other friend, a gorgeous young woman, looked at us. I heard about Rapé just a few weeks before and I was curious about experiencing it. Synchronicities. I love them. Rapé is a powder made from tobacco and the ashes of holy trees that gets blown in your nose by someone through a wooden pipe. Active components get absorbed by the tissue inside your nose and are transported to your brain. It’s supposed to burn like hell, and ground you in an amazing way although the exact effects depends on the mixture of the Rapé, the moment and the person. It can be anything from a wonderful experience to creating nausea.

She came sitting in front of me, her knees touching mine. Of course I felt called. Besides, I’m not passing by on a chance to experience something new. She poured some of the green powder in the V-shaped pipe and held it in front of me. I had to place my end of the pipe against one of my nostrils. I looked into her eyes, took a deep breathe in as requested, and put the pipe in place against my left nostril With a short exhale she blew the powder into my nose. Yes, it stung. The stinging spread to my brain quickly and made me a little dizzy. Tears streamed down my left eye. I placed the pipe against my right nostril, held my breath, and she blew the powder in again. Now I had to sit, breathe through my mouth, and spit saliva into a bucket that was already encouragingly lined up next to the water bottles.

A strong rush moved through my body, up to my head, making me aware of an immense source of power inside me. I had experienced my full power before, but never this strong and this long. I sat up straight, a smile on my face, wishing I could remember feeling this powerful for no external confirmation on moments I felt small and insecure. Then my muscles started to relax, my mind settled down and I sat back down, embracing my knees with my arms. Moments later I could feel the rush of the Rapé leave my body, leaving me relaxed and a little nauseous. I looked around me. The colors seemed brighter. Feeling the other people in the room was more intense. Cleaner in a way. I realized that the self-conscious inner critic shut down. How lovely.

My friend sat down in front of me, gazing into my eyes. My heart felt open towards him as he gently smiled. “Do you have a feeling of how many dots you want, and where you want them? Traditionally men receive them on the left upper arm, and women on their left lower leg. But we feel free to tune in into you, and also receiving your own feeling. Remember that the dots might leave scars that you will be able to see for quite some time.”

Another thing I hadn’t thought much about. I received four dots last time, which should be a good indication. Where would I want them? I didn’t want them on my leg. That felt so far away somehow. I noticed my left hand was holding my right shoulder. Maybe that was the perfect spot? “Here”, I kept holding my shoulder and looked at my friend. “Four dots.”

Fresh dots

“Yes, that’s the same number I had in mind. Now keep drinking water. In the meantime, I will prepare your ceremony.” I filled the glass again with lukewarm water. My stomach felt terrible and I could feel the fear I wanted to learn to work with creeping up on me again. I was just in time to grab the bucket nearby, and purged out most of the water I drank so far. Shoot. Now I had to start all over.

“Is it already starting for you? Don’t worry, just drink as much as you can. You’ll be fine.” My friend smiled and I relaxed. My stomach felt much better. I managed to drink another liter or so before I felt that any extra sip would make me throw up again.

“Now sit here in front of me.” My friend pointed at a sheepskin. I took off my sweater and freed my shoulder for him. Four dots in between thousands of freckles. That must be a pretty sight later on. I liked the idea. The stinging burn of a smoldering wooden stick reminded me of what I was doing. Voluntarily being burned to receive frog poison on my body? What the f*ck am I doing? The fear came back. I reminded myself to breathe calmly. Nothing bad is happening. After the fourth dot he announced that he would apply the Kambo. As soon as he put the first dot on my skin, the heat spread through my left arm. It felt like it was swelling all the way to my hands. Then the heat moved upwards as well. Was it just the feeling, or was my head really expanding to the size of a big balloon? My mouth was swelling on the inside, I was happy I could still breathe. My head was leaning on my knee, my arms wrapped around myself, the fear came back in, in full proportion. I could feel how easy it is to lean on someone with the fear. To search for a hero, a savior, or just someone to tell about what frightens me. They are all ways to find a relief for the fear. Of not containing it, accepting it and surrendering to it fully. I could look up and ask my friends to hold my hands, to hug me. They had offered it.

But I had a choice. I could just sit here. I knew this feeling would pass eventually, and until then, I could hold myself and just be with it. There was no story that needed solving. I didn’t need saving. I didn’t even need support. I could just sit here. Or lay on the couch over there. I slowly stretched my limbs and crawled the three meters to the couch. I couldn’t find a comfortable position. I tried lying down on all sides, before sitting cross-legged again. The sun shining on my closed eyes. My head still feeling swollen, but the fear subsiding, and the most intense sensations slowly diminishing.

Now I remembered the frog face: sometimes Kambo leaves you with swollen lips or swollen eyes. It takes about a day for the effect to disappear.

Kambo is a very intense, but not a very long process. After about half an hour I felt pretty relaxed and started getting hungry again. My body felt comfortable lying down now. I snoozed a bit, quietly choosing some events and people to think about, without the usual drama or attachment. I could just look at the thoughts and let them go again.

Suddenly I felt my body relax and expand. I made it! But my face felt weird. I touched my lips. They were much bigger than usual. Now I remembered the frog face: sometimes Kambo leaves you with swollen lips or swollen eyes. It takes about a day for the effect to disappear. I felt glad I didn’t have a date. When I looked into the mirror I saw my face. How funny, those immense lips!

Frog face!

By the time we all moved through our processes and ‘came back on the other side’, we moved into the sharing circle again. This time a huge stuffed frog indicated who was talking. I felt beautifully connected to this beings here with me, as if I really saw them, the loving being beyond the form, the shape, the appearance.

Aftermath

I sort of expected the same after-effect as after my first Kambo journey: feeling lots of self-love, super clear senses, knowing exactly what I needed to eat and what not. But it was different. Over the course of a full week all my fears came by. The fear of being manipulated, of not being good enough, of not giving enough, of not being able to make enough money, of being abandoned… it was a hell of a week! I’m used to emotional rollercoasters, but even for me, this was a lot.

Dots after aftercare

Each time fear was taking over, I reminded myself of the imprint, the experience I had during the ceremony: I don’t need to leak my fear onto anyone. I don’t need to blame anyone for my circumstances. My emotions color my experiences and drive my thoughts nuts. But are these thoughts really true? Am I blaming someone for something? And yes, I can still have boundaries and desires, and of course I can express them. But what happens next is not up to me: how will someone respond and act? When I am vulnerable in sharing, I am also vulnerable for being hurt. And that is oh so scary. But it’s worth it.

 

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