Life begins at sixty? An adventure into the world of shamanism, ayahuasca and other marvellous things.


My son said to me the other day ‘Mum, how d’you feel about being nearly sixty?’ It’s a fair enough question I suppose and one that had fleetingly crossed my own mind a few times lately, what with the impending birthday looming ever closer.

I have to agree that sixty does sound very old, at least it does when you’re thinking about it in relation to yourself. After all, for much of my earlier working life it was the age that female colleagues had taken their retirement and so for me back then (in my blissfully naive twenties and thirties), it was a kind of abstract landmark where a woman would leave the world of useful work and start a graceful and accepting decline into her dotage. It never seemed like something that could possibly happen to me.

Somehow it had always felt like I would never be as old or as ‘past it’ as that. Then I hit forty and I started to have vague suspicions that the years were going by more quickly than before, but still it wasn’t too bad. On my fortieth birthday I had a big night out and managed to get thrown out of a nightclub for being too drunk. So I didn’t feel quite past it at that point.

Then, in the blink of an eye I was turning fifty and that did sound somewhat worryingly old, but I was lucky enough to become a grandmother that year and so I had a new role to slip into. But now it’s even less than the blink of an eye later and here I am just two weeks from turning sixty. How did that even happen?

‘Well I’m not happy about it,’ I began in reply, ‘of course, I’d rather be thirty again given the choice. But on the other hand, I much prefer it to the alternative.’ He nodded and smiled ever so slightly. It’s the kind of answer he was expecting I guess.

But there’s so much more to say on the matter than that. I’m thankful for so many things. I’ve had no major illnesses, no major accidents. I’m quite fit and healthy and for the most part I’m happy with my life. I now have three beautiful grandchildren and many wonderful friends. I love my job (although I’d rather have more spare time) and I love my home and where I live. I have so much to be grateful for. So how could I ever think that reaching the age of sixty was anything less than a blessing? And I don’t, not really (not even when I catch sight of myself in the mirror and wonder with shock who that grey haired old person is!).

But more than all that, I’ve found something completely new to be excited about. At an age when I might have expected I’d be slowing down, when I might have even been becoming a little jaded, (and I have been at times) I’ve found a new passion, something that’s come into my life unexpectedly, but which makes me feel more alive than ever before.  Something that makes me feel so very curious about what the future might hold.

The thing is I’ve recently started a new training course. I know that doesn’t sound overly exciting in itself and of course it’s not at all unusual to still be studying at my age. I’ve always loved to attend courses and learn new stuff, but this course is unlike anything I’ve ever done before and I know it’s not only going to be life changing, it’s going to be ‘me changing’ too. I’m currently two modules (out of nine) into the course and already it’s been an experience like no other. The course is the “Bio Humano Project’ with Ayahuasca Plantas Sagradas.

It’s a course about shamanism and the sacred plant medicines of the Amazon rainforest. Teacher plants like ayahuasca, often called ‘the vine of the soul’ which has been used for thousands of years by the indigenous people.  The course will open up the possibility of joining a team of people who use these ancient medicines in ceremony to help people to heal themselves, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Of course to really learn about anything it’s essential to experience it first hand. So that’s what we’ve been doing in the first two modules and it’s what we’ll be doing much more of as the course progresses.

I know it’s going to be a huge transformative experience and so I feel the need to keep a written record to look back on later.  So far I’ve not not been as good as I planned to be at keeping notes, although I do have some. Hence this blog. It’s going to become a record of my ongoing journey with ayahuasca and the other medicine plants.

To begin at the beginning I’m going to go back to the start of this journey and a documentary I watched many years ago called “DMT – The Spirit Molecule’.

And that’s where my next blog will begin.

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