Ayahuasca is Not a Healer. Healers Don't Exist.

We talk a lot about healing in conscious circles these days. Most of us are seeking some form of respite from pain, trauma, and wounds of all kinds; be they physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.

We pay scads of money for a perceived panacea. We go head first into unusual modalities with the hopes that something will help. None of us want to suffer.

The good news is everything is medicine. The bad news is everything is also toxic and poisonous.

Everything? Yes, everything.

We as individuals determine how something interacts with us. Normally, that relationship is deeply subconscious, and not at all intuitive. But it starts and ends with personal integrity. That’s why knowing ourselves is quite literally the solution to everything that ails us.

In these spaces of pain, we turn to each other for assistance, and that’s beautiful. It takes a tribe to help us awaken, and when we use each other as spiritual mirrors and support systems to go deeper within, magic awaits.

But when we turn to someone or something as a healer, hoping they can do the work for us, at the very least we are disappointed, and at the worst our suffering increases tenfold.

Does this mean we should ignore healers and do everything on our own? Goodness no. What it does mean is it’s very wise to understand the process, so we can keep our personal responsibility to achieve maximum results.

So let’s do this. Let’s figure out how healing works, and let’s go soul-first into the magical abyss so we can walk in the light and love we all deserve.

Why the Western Medical Process Does Not Heal Us

Western medicine is an allopathic process. The etymology of this word is simple: It’s Greek root means “to attack the suffering.” Visit a Western medical guru, and they will find a way to fight the disease that ails you. Whether through pharmaceutical means, surgery, or some other invasive system, the goal of Western medicine is to eradicate the disease.

And yet, we know so little about diseases. Why do some people get them and others don’t? Where do they come from, really? Why can’t we solve riddles like cancer and heart disease and Alzheimer’s?

Because they aren’t riddles. They’re information reserved solely for the vessel that contracts them.

Yesterday’s big medical breakthrough is today’s fallacy. This is because we focus on attacking – eradicating – and not understanding.

Disease is not a monster to go to war with. It’s information. It’s a sacred reflection of deep wisdom.

Image by Rob Shields

Image by Rob Shields

Attacking a disease is like hacking off a snake on Medusa’s head. Another one always grows back.

Say you beat breast cancer with chemo and drugs. If that illness doesn’t return, another will – if you haven’t yet felt the reason it manifested to begin with. Maybe depression will enter in. Maybe it will show up as migraines or rage or an existential crisis. But it will return; in this lifetime or the next. Not because it’s evil or even that it wants to harm you; because it has divine lessons in the form of emotions for us to learn, integrate, and expand with. These are sacred lessons.


The Real Way We Heal Ourselves

The opposite perspective on disease is the homeopathic philosophy. This word breaks down to mean, essentially, “similar to the suffering.” It holds that like understands like. The spiritual practice of this resolves to a one concrete concept. It has nothing to do with attacking, and everything to do with feeling.

Interestingly enough, the Greek root “patheia”, found in both “allopathic” and “homeopathic”, has a triple meaning. It stands for suffering, disease, and feeling. I love that disease and feeling are synonyms here. It tells us everything we need to know. Physical disease manifests because of trapped emotions.

Feeling is healing. It’s that simple. And that complex.

Emotions are energy in motion. When we stop feeling, those emotions get trapped inside us. If they’re trapped long enough, they can transform into a solid form. It’s pretty damn magical.

Why Ayahuasca is Not a Healer

People talk about Ayahuasca all the time as a healer, and in many ways, that’s very accurate. She is a ridiculously potent brew that has been shown to transform all kinds of physical ailments. People with cancer have walked away healed. People with diabetes have had their blood sugar levels balanced. She can eradicate just about any bacteria or toxicity. Some have even shown she can regenerate nerves and brain cells. That’s miraculous!

Here’s the rub: Once again, if we receive the gift of physical healing from Yage, we have to understand why it manifested to begin with. She does not take away our disease, she gives us a chance to see why it originally formed, and then she walks us through the emotions that were trapped so we are freed from ever recreating that illness – in any form.

If that process is incomplete, then the healing is temporary.

And that’s OK. This is part of the core of expansion we humans came here to learn. Since death is not a permanent destination, we have all the time in the world to figure this out. Mama Aya is infinitely patient too. She just wants us to wake up to the fact that we are the ones with the power. We are the ones that create the disease, so we are the ones that can release it as well.

Isn’t that wonderfully liberating?

Making Friends with Fear

Making Friends with Fear

Learn how to coexist with the hardest emotion

How Migraines Became Gallstones – A Personal Story

When I first started drinking Ayahuasca, I had regular bouts with horrific migraine headaches. They were so intense I would crawl my way to a patch of darkness and hide out with muffled sobs for hours, sometimes dry heaving, sometimes ending up in the ER with a panic attack.

Image from P.T. Video Game

Image from P.T. Video Game

In my second ceremony, Ayahuasca thrust me in to a video game (appropriate, as I produced them at the time). The digital atmosphere  turned aggressive and terrifying. There were rapes and murders happening all throughout the environment. All kinds of atrocities played out before my eyes.

Why are you doing this? I asked her.

Get angry, she told me. Get angry at the suffering and horrors of this world.

She didn’t relent until I started simmering. A simmer became a boil as she showed me specific examples from my life that enraged me.

Only I had never let myself feel that rage. I had tried my best to be the “nice girl.” All smiles and sweetness. Anger didn’t fit in to my identity. It wasn’t OK or safe to feel this rage.

As I started to let myself get mad, all the energy rushed up to the center of my head. BOOM. Migraine time. I started sobbing. I wanted anything but a migraine. It pulsed and throbbed and I purged and wretched. The shaman came over and sang to me then, his hands on my head, pulling out the energies. Then he came around to my temple and sucked out a huge nugget of darkness.

We both purged.

He patted me on the head and told me, “Esta bien, Gatita.” It’s OK, kitty cat.

When he walked away, I knew unequivocally my migraines were in the bucket. And Aya was quick to tell me why. She said that because I was willing to feel my anger, she and the shaman were able to help me release the energy.

I rejoiced at this understanding, but she didn’t let me off the hook. The rest of the night still reigns as one of the top three worst ever. This is because the trip into rage had to be complete. Sometimes I fought it, and that was nightmarish. The only way out was feeling.

She also shared with me this simple truth: You are healed, but nothing is permanent. Stop feeling your emotions again, girl, and you will get sick again. That’s OK, she said, you know the secret to healing.

Fast forward 11 years. I started experiencing intense stomach pains, right in the center of my solar plexus. They lasted for almost a year before I received the diagnosis of gallstones. In studying the Eastern wisdom about these suckers, one thing comes up a lot: The gallbladder holds anger, as its partners with the liver. More specifically, it holds resentment. Oh boy. Here we go again.

I’m in the middle of healing this now. My Western doctor told me surgery is the only option, my case was bad enough he didn’t believe it was reversible. For several months now, I have followed a strict diet protocol, lots of self-care, and of course, feeling. Deep, difficult, entangled emotions. And a good old hunk of it is anger.

It turns out a lot has happened these last 11 years that have brought up rage in me, but I went back to the old habits of smiling my way through the intensity, and denying this anger. So I have been weeding out the places that bring up this emotion. It’s a game of hide and seek, and it’s working. I haven’t had pain for 2 months. Physical, that is. Emotional pain has been almost unbearable at times, but the results are so, so worth it.

Feeling is healing. I’m in the middle of the magic of this truth.

What a Healer Really Does

Yes, the shaman – and all other legitimate healers – play integral roles in this process, just like mine did in the story above. I am completely, utterly reverent about what Don Rober helped me do; that’s a core reason I dedicated myself to this path too. Just because we are wholly responsible for our condition does not mean we can’t help each other kickstart the healing process.  

What a healer does not do is eradicate our illness for us. Those that do try to take our pain must first grapple with that energy themselves, as it does not disappear. Don Rober was only able to help me because I was getting down into the root of why my illness had manifested to begin with. He saw what was happening and came in to assist. It was the perfect storm, but only possible because I made it so.

Most importantly, as I mentioned, if we don’t integrate the lessons of the sickness – yup, you guessed it - eventually it will manifest again. Into gallstones or blindness or cancer or whatever it is our souls know we will pay attention to.

Hands On Healer

A true healer is a vessel. Which is no small task, mind you. A true healer works first and foremost their whole lives to be a clear, purified being. The less toxic and the more conscious they are, the more powerful they are as a channel for divine energy.

So if you visit a healer that knows that we heal ourselves in partnership with divinity, then you’re in immaculate hands. They can hold space and call in that energy, allowing us to have a different perspective of ourselves and our disease. And miraculous things can happen. In an instant, we can feel and understand why we were sick to begin with. And in an instant, that energy can move and set us free.

Know that no one can do it for us. They can only help empower us to unravel the mystery of how to do it ourselves. But it IS possible.

Not All Illness is Meant to Be Healed

Illness is not an enemy to eradicate, it’s a divine message to be wholly welcomed and appreciated. We aren’t meant to be here, trapped in a body, for all of eternity, so some of them manifest both as messages, and as a portal to let us go home.

Thank God for that. I don’t know about you, but 100 years in duality is plenty. Eee gawds.

Peaceful Death

I have seen several beautiful souls come to the medicine for healing, and what they received wasn’t a physical release, but a spiritual one. One woman in particular came not even knowing she was sick. Aya kept preparing her for what she called “The boom.” She had an experience of complete surrender in her final ceremony, and left telling us she knew she was eternal. She even smacked me in the head with her wing in ceremony, and remembered the incident in the morning. It was unbelievably beautiful.

Six weeks later, her spirit and soul merged, and she passed of Leukemia. And she left us with grace and surrender. She was not afraid. What healed in her was the resistance to death, not the disease that was there to usher her back into the cosmos.

Disease is not the enemy. Nothing is. It’s all just information. We can go to a healer from any tradition and receive a reflection of what might be going on. Then it’s up to us to figure out what our bodies are telling us, and to invite in the emotions so the energy can move.

This is why our medical system is broken, at its core. We trust our doctors to tell us everything we need to know and to be the ones to tell us how to fight the sickness too. 

It doesn’t work that way. Only we can know why something has manifested, because only we can access our feelings. We can rely on healers to offer wisdom, sacred space, and partnership – but nothing more.

If you’re sick, and you would prefer not to be, in addition to what ever treatment you feel called to use, start telling yourself the truth of how you feel. How you’ve felt your whole life. Revisit the spaces and memories that feel stuck and painful. Be a detective to your internal process and see if you can find the roots. Or reach to Ayahuasca for help in the illumination. Or a great psychotherapist. Or a spiritual coach who knows how to hold space.

But whatever you do, remain responsible. Stay open to hearing and feeling the truth of your situation. Know that you are not being punished or tortured, despite what it may seem. And that no matter what, it will be OK.

We suffer so damn much in these bodies and minds sometimes. But this is why we get to exit. We deserve to rest. Illness is often the angel that takes us there, despite being labeled an evil that we ought to learn to kill. But the truth is, disease loves us enough to play the villain and takes us back into the arms of unconditional love.

This is such a magical world. And it’s all there waiting for us to feel.



About the Author

Tina “Kat” Courtney, The AfterLife Coach, is a traditionally trained Ayahuasquera and a vocal advocate for all sacred psychedelic spaces. She works with people in all types of existential crises, and is a compassionate support system for any dark night of the soul. Her calling is to be a light as we walk through our shadow, and to be a passionate voice for the truth that everything is and always will be OK.