Learning How to Sail My Ship:
Exploring My Consciousness with Plant Medicine

by Chris Willis

Let me start by prefacing that you may need to use your discernment while reading this as it will most certainly challenge most social and religious paradigms and could very well push you out of your comfort zone. In addition, please keep in mind that this was my unique experience and I am in no way an expert or authority on this topic.

The intention of this article is to educate and inspire people who may consider exploring their consciousness through this avenue or another. Challenge yourself and your thinking about this crazy world and watch the beauty unfold before your eyes.

I hope you enjoy the ride!

Although I hadn’t heard it until I was in Ecuador, many people who have experienced these medicines have said that Ayahuasca (a Mother type energy) teaches you what you need to know and San Pedro (a Father type energy) helps you understand, integrate and show you the path. This was most certainly the case for me. This article primarily talks about Ayahuasca; however, the integration process with San Pedro should not be dismissed as it really helps to become grounded and process your experience.

Both these medicines are powerful, have a spirit of their own and do not suffer fools. Like a healthy relationship, my recommendation is to enter this process with a strong intention, respect for the medicine and a willingness to surrender to the experience.

Ayahuasca is a great teacher and if you listen, she will provide a lifetime of lessons in just one night…

Imagine being pulled apart in the sense that you get to take a look at all parts that make up this human experience. Start with your human body, which comes with an ego. Your ego is not something bad or something to get rid of. I believe it plays an important role in our lives and it’s healthy to acknowledge that. With that being said, many people experience the absence of their ego or even an ego death while taking Ayahuasca. My intention is that my ego plays a supporting role in my life and is never the star of the show. Shortly after taking the medicine, I found myself gently asking my ego to go to sleep and assured it that when it woke up I would be eager to reunite and continue our life together.

The next piece is your soul. This was a profound introduction and something that I will remember for the rest of my life. My soul recognized the value of the human experience and is truly grateful for the opportunity to incarnate into this human body. My soul resonated wisdom and seemed to have a very clear understanding of all the players for the night with a deep respect for the experience we were about to have.

The last piece is the medicine, which most certainly has a spirit of its own. For me, she (Ayahuasca) showed up as a powerful female energy that was both loving and very stern. Her assertion was a humbling reminder that she was in control and facilitating my experience.

The stages of participation with the medicine in my experience were very rigid and structured although each shot of medicine was unique.

After taking a shot of medicine I was aware of the need to purge. The forms of purging include yawning, crying, shaking, burping, farting, puking or shitting. Word on the street is to never trust an Ayahuasca fart! Heed the advice, kids. 😉

I found that if I tried to rush into my work with the medicine, I would be denied until she was satisfied that I had purged enough. I believe there is as much physical healing happening as spiritual/emotional healing and purging can be a wonderful gift in that process.

After the medicine was satisfied that I had purged, the next step was a test or invitation to work with the medicine. The first time she was gentle and invited me with a vision of a beautiful garden path as I took her hand and followed her to the other side of reality.

Other times she would prey on my fears and reward me only if I was able to overcome them. It was during this stage, I found her unwilling to compromise or negotiate. You pass or you don’t move on. It was at this point I became grateful for my meditation practice and willingness to work through my fears pre-retreat.

I understood the importance of setting an intention in order to achieve a worthwhile experience, so I personally was very focused. However, I witnessed people who went in without an intention and found the medicine intolerant of their ignorance. It’s beyond disappointing to get five feet from the finish line (as a matter of speaking) and be denied by the medicine. I was so grateful to be reminded of the power of our intentions both with the medicine and in life.

You should know that you’re not always at the wheel of your experience. If you have something hiding in your subconscious, she will gladly fetch it for you and go to work.

I found myself overwhelmed in the beginning stages of my first ceremony working with love, not knowing how broad and far-reaching such a massive intention could be. The process really showed me the notion of not being at the wheel or not knowing quite what I was getting into. I spent a lot of time looking at multiple angles of love in my life and the relationships associated with that intention.

If you’ve made it this far, buckle up because it’s a beautiful stage in your experience as you really start to get to work on your intentions. This is where you peel back layers, experience deep understanding and find answers to some of the most profound questions facing us as human beings.

Who am I? Why am I here? How do I best serve?

I feel blessed to have been given some profound insights to these questions. I also had several life-changing realizations that will alter how I live my life, how I relationship with myself and others, and how I can free myself from limiting beliefs.

Everyone at my retreat had a very different experience from one another. Some had a very physically cleansing experience and a few like me had a profound interactive experience with the medicine.

I believe my success was a reward for really committing to the process. My commitment to myself was to quit drinking alcohol and caffeine two months before the retreat and have a daily meditation practice. I also had spent two years practicing astral projection and lucid dreaming, which helped me feel comfortable in my ethereal body and deal with fears associated with that state of being.

I was fortunate that the retreat center I was at—“Gaia Sagrada” in Ecuador—provided a “dieta” (diet/way of being) before and during the retreat, giving me the best opportunity to be receptive to the medicine. In addition to the dieta, I also fasted and had only a small amount of water for anywhere between 24-48 hours before ceremonies. This seems extreme; however, in my experience the dieta and fasting limited my purging to yawning, crying and a little bit of shaking.

The absence of the more distracting forms of purging allowed me to really drop into my experience and maximize the time spent with the medicine. I have a blessed life filled with plenty of food and water and to spend 12 days fasting, slightly uncomfortable and a little parched was well worth the experience of working with the medicine.

I am tentative to reveal the details of my experience because well…it’s so incredibly unique for each person that the only way to truly know is to experience it yourself.

I know that when I had originally been looking into going on a retreat to work with this medicine, I remember thinking, “Cut the vague bullshit and cough up the goods!”

So here is the deal, kids…. I make no promises as to how you will experience the medicine. Some people in my retreat showed up and primarily purged for 12 days. I truly believe there is immense value in being cleansed and healed by the medicine physically; however, my experience was quite a bit more interactive, mystical and gentle.

So my gift to you is a taste of an extraordinary experience…

I met my soul and learned my name. As it turns out, my soul is very, very old and quite funny. If you happen to know me, that actually makes a lot of sense.

I got to experience different dimensions and discovered why we chose to visit the third dimension for this lifetime.

I was shown ancestors from both my human body and soul body. My soul showed me where we began and what happens when our energy returns to Source. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for every experience my soul has been blessed to have, including this lifetime.

I found myself curious about the history of the earth and although I don’t have any juicy details, I was told, “There used to be a lot more magic in the world.” After asking if it could be found again, I was encouraged to develop a better relationship with the elements (Air, Water, Earth & Fire). That is where the magic lives.

I was shown my totem animal or spirit animal. This was experienced with a vision of actually being that animal and spending a moment in its life.

I was shown who in my life belongs to my soul family or soul group. As we incarnate into these lives, we choose to be supported by these other souls and this experience left me with gratitude for their assistance.

I saw aliens and alien worlds while exploring my soul ancestors. I realize this might seem out there for some people, but I assure you a great big universe is out there and we’re not the only ones living in it!

I will no doubt heal several relationships in my life by seeing the truth of karma and lessons including a very touching experience with my father’s soul.

I was shown how to best serve with regards to my occupation and how to transition to a different type of lifestyle that would allow me to better serve people.

I was shown my Guides and Angels that look in on me and help when needed. Some I would have guessed and some came as a surprise.

And lastly… as I worked with an intention to take the first steps toward Christ consciousness I was confronted by Jesus, one of many beings that have embodied this type of consciousness. I should mention that I’m not religious; however, after discerning the truth what I believe to be the truth of Jesus’s story, I think he had a pretty great message and I felt compelled to explore that while working with the medicine.

He was bathed in golden light and it took me a couple tries to embrace the light and awe of the experience before we spoke.

Of course, the conversation was so beautifully simple. The first steps toward Christ consciousness are to bring as much love, kindness, joy and peace into people’s lives as you’re capable of. How did that message get so complicated over the past 2000 years?

With all the craziness in the world, my soul graciously showed me how to drop energetic love bombs (the only kind we should ever be using). And with that, I asked Zeith (my soul) if we could practice dropping a love bomb in the ceremony circle to support the courageous group of people working with the medicine that night. With a cheeky grin, Zeith suggested we drop one big enough to touch the entire world! I agreed and with a big heart, I experienced the beauty of Christ consciousness as the ripples encircled the globe. It was in this moment I realized that my life had been permanently changed with this profound and healing medicine.

I felt an immense amount of gratitude for being shown the first steps of my new life in service to this beautiful world we’re blessed to be a part of, knowing who I am, why I am here and how I will serve.

Ayahuasca and San Pedro served as great teachers to guide me in a new direction; however, I’m very aware that the work is mine to do. The next leg in this journey is integrating what I’ve learned into my life and relationships here at home. I’m looking forward to sharing how that journey unfolds in the coming months. The more of us that can shift into a higher consciousness the faster we can lovingly transform this world into a more beautiful place.

Good luck learning to sail your ship,

Zeith & Chris (The Sailor and The Ship)

If you’re interested in working with this medicine I highly recommend contacting Christine @ Gaia Sagrada – Ecuador ( A great big thank you to Christine, Santiago, Salvador, Paulina, Sophia and all the staff at Gaia Sagrada Retreat Center. This is such a wonderful, supportive and safe place to experience Ayahuasca and San Pedro.