My early experiences of San Pedro had always existed of sitting in ceremony in a maloka, with 20-30 people, whilst the shaman took us one by one and exorcised the negative out of each and every one of us who were willing to stand up and face our fears. San Pedro you see connects us, it connects us all, or at least that’s how we feel. The truth is we are already connected to each other, we just forgot in this busy life that we lead. We are always communicating with people around us without even realising.

 

Back to the maloka… It was a 14-hour long siege of every human sense, every particle of energy and only a toilet break if you really needed it. You were required to give your full attention to the ceremony and more or less be present for every second of it. At the end… any part of you that was still left was too weak to make it out of that maloka… I remember crawling at some points over a grassy hill trying to get back to my room wondering how this shaman is able to do this almost on a daily basis.

 

san pedro and maq

Maq in the San Pedro Valley – Ecuador

I was new to San Pedro and I had decided not to research prior to the ceremony as I wanted to approach it without expectation. After the ceremony I decided to research to see if there was also another way… To my delight there was a way to experience San Pedro with nature, to be outside of a maloka and be free with the awareness of connection.

 

I ended up in Andalucía in July, there was a heat wave and my wife and I joined a group of 8 people. The shaman gave to us San Pedro powder which was vigorously whisked into a glass of water and then gulped down as if we had just come from a famine. Yughhh that taste… Ohhh that smell…

We sat in a yurt, it was a hot 40 something degrees, not even midday and I was sweating, another 14 hours of this and no matter what ‘consciously aware pacing’ I had meditated and focussed on leading up to this ceremony…. It was not going to work if I had to sit in this maloka all day… I coudnt wait until for us to be told we could go out. Then the miraculous happened… An hour into the ceremony the shaman, said “okay… now go out… go out in to the field, on to the grass, in to the swimming pool, enjoy San Pedro with nature, enjoy the connection San Pedro gives you with nature”. At first I felt as if this was a test… it was so alien to me to be given this amount of freedom… would the first person to stand be the first to be exorcised???

 

No test… the shaman wasn’t one to mix his words… we were free! I sat outside on a wooden bench, under a bush of bamboos, a gentle breeze hit my face and I felt San Pedro introducing itself to me throughout my body. My wife came to me and asked me to give her a hand in the yurt, she wanted to take off her bra, it was annoying her, she wanted to feel free… and in that concept I thought a bra gave you control so you could be free. Naturally, I felt a compulsion to understand this contraption, understand its logic… and feel its feel.

 

San Pedro Alter

Shamans Alter in the San Pedro Valley – Ecuador

 

I asked my wife if I could wear her bra, she looked at me, smiled and said “of course you can…” I turned around and she clipped it on to me, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt at the time and the bra was put over the t-shirt so it was completely visible. I put the straps on top of my shoulders and I felt a level of sexiness first… it was my wife’s bra after all and a surge of feelings ran up my spine… I felt sexy! I could smell her… I felt her energy, her vibration still running through the bra. It was still warm. I imagined wearing this under some clothes, maybe even under a dress… there was something more though… a feeling of secureness and control, the bra hugged my rib cage, it made me straighten my back and gave me a sensation of being supported.

 

Well this is novel. I decided to take full advantage of the situation and make myself comfortable as possible with this bra… I put my cigarettes in one of the breast cups and my lighter and cigar cutter in the other. I left the yurt with the bra still on in a confident pose, my shoulders responded with an upper swagger with every step I took, almost as if to say “hey… have you seen my ‘beauties’ recently”. There were the usual jokes and fun made of me initially and I engaged within it, San Pedro seemed to have taken away my level of usual in secureness and left ‘me’ with… just ‘me’, comfortable in any situation ‘me’, comfortable in myself ‘me’.

 

As the day progressed, the novelty wore off not just with me but with everyone around and I part took in one of the most serenely beautiful days of my life, there was beautiful soft music in the background, a group of us, sat and talked and laughed the day away, we danced and connected with each other and in turn helped each other to overcome some fears of the past that, at this moment in time, felt so unimportant, felt so trivial and behind us, as we all looked at the present and appreciated how beautiful it was and acknowledged that tomorrow will be just as beautiful.

 

I noticed during the day, that the feeling of being hugged and supported by the bra had faded away and left me with a feeling of irritation and uncomfortableness. I also noticed the feeling that whenever I was in conversation with my newly made friends and participants on this retreat that what was in front of me was always at the forefront of any conversation, and by this I mean that there was always a feeling from women and men, that not only was I, as a person, being communicated with, but also separately, my new breasts. People were subconsciously including an energy I hadn’t felt before towards my breasts as we spoke face to face. They were being acknowledged by an energy coming from the other party subconsciously. I experienced feelings initially of happiness towards this, but later it made me feel as if I was not being acknowledged and only my breasts were, or at least they had first say as to whether they wanted the attention or not, as if they have their own consciousness. I suppose they do! What we give energy, manifests, if we give conscious energy to breasts do they become in their own right an entity?

 

San Pedro In The Valley

San Pedro In The San Pedro Valley – Ecuador

 

 

I experienced feelings of being left out, playing second fiddle, I felt almost controlled by this piece of garment that had switched on a light that had never been switched on before. I felt oppressed by its level of seemingly innocent helpfulness which turned into oppression. After all the bra was invented by a man… and for what purpose? It is only in the material society where normal is to wear a bra and if you don’t, you will probably be frowned upon… this is of course if you choose to live in it.

 

The simple ‘of course you can’ my wife lovingly said to me at the beginning of this experience, when I asked her if I could wear her bra was now haunting me. She knew the feelings I would go through; she knew the feelings I would encounter as the day progressed. It’s not an easy job to go conform into a society that says, wear this or you won’t be included, a society that says, now experience not taking part in your life every day or you won’t be included. I’m still trying to figure out the possible benefits.

 

I thank my wife for her patience with me and I thank her for her bra.

Again?…. No thank you… I am thankful for the experience, I am thankful for the freedom I am able to express and feel without this seemingly innocent object strapped around my rib cage. As always, I am grateful for the experience and humbled by it.

 

As for San Pedro, I realised that whereby in my past experiences I had always felt a rush, a surge of energy which had always been associated with a very masculine feeling, San Pedro was teaching me that it’s not necessarily masculine that can endure, so much more can the feminine endure and under so much more oppressive circumstances. Again I am grateful and humbled by its teachings to me.

 


 

Maq Umaqe is a shaman working with plant medicines, using traditional shamanic techniques with integrity and love – To know more about our group retreats or private retreats simply contact us.