High in the Amazon - Aurianna Joy's quest for peace in the jungle
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Get a degree, find a job, build a family, and then eventually die. That is what most of us do, or get stuck with. We run and rush following rhythms set by others, and forget what we’re here for. “We forget there’s much more than just the hussle and bustle of making money and driving a big car,” says Aurianna Joy, 25, rays spilling through a window on the luscious land of sunshine, Florida.
Born and bred in the beautiful American Pacific Northwest, Aurianna is a woman with an unusual take on the way things work. Being diagnosed with the common - but often underestimated - illness of Chronic Lyme Disease, Aurianna battled with depression and feeble health throughout most of her school years. But in August 2013, aged 22, she took a leap of faith straight into the unknown. She travelled to the Amazon jungle in Peru to work with an ancient sacred plant medicine known as Ayahuasca and underwent a life-changing journey. She visited shamanic centres, initially seeking medical healing and then returning to learn how to heal others. Curious and persistent, Aurianna took part in tribal rituals for several months, consuming the potent medicinal hallucinogenic almost seventy times. This brew of Dimethyltryptamine-containing plants is also known as the teacher drug, as it is said to reveal realities humans cannot experience when lucid therefore provide enlightenment. Indigenous tribes have used this concoction in meditation for centuries so the Peruvian government has recently legally accepted it as a method to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and psychological deficiencies. “What Ayahuasca does is it allows you to see yourself from the outside in, and better understand the reality you belong to.” Aurianna explains that her different experiences with the drug allowed her to take on both positive and negative aspects of her past life and her present state. These intense rituals revolved around the capability of facing emotions and sitting with them, allowinga journey to discover and explore personal fears and unprocessed trauma. Aurianna highlights the greatest wisdom she has acquired as, “Everything is energy, everything is unconditional love and there is so much more than what we are now accustomed to. Life is the ritual, we should embrace our emotions.” The Ayahuasca trip is often referred to as a form of rebirth and awakening. Aurianna emphasises that it is more of a form of remembering rather than awakening. “It’s not like we’ve been asleep all this time and we suddenly just wake up. It’s like we’ve forgotten what it’s like to love unconditionally and exist in harmony with nature and the spiritual world. Society has accumulated all these layers upon us that we just forget what it’s like.” She supports her claims by bringing examples of children and how they seem to perceive invisible friends or experience encounters with spirits but adults are quick to dismiss such as fantasies. Being in the jungle was a learning experience also when not in ritual.
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