If you had told me ten years ago a frog was going to change my life … I might have believed you. But a frog and a toad, that would help me process years of trauma, that didn’t turn into a prince In the end? I might have said you can kiss my charmed ass…. But nothing could have prepared me for this experience I want to share with you.
I mean I’ve kissed plenty of frogs in my time, I’ve dealt with a few toads. Turns out none of them left me with the fairytale ending that we were so often promised. But then I met two amphibians that changed my life.
Enter: Kambo and Bufo. A frog and toad.
Let’s set the scene: Kambo is often viewed as a cleanse, and is a traditional a healing ritual that originated in some South American countries. Proponents claim it triggers an immune response that can heal a wide range of conditions, from addiction to depression and PTSD.
“During the ritual, a shaman burns several superficial holes in your skin. Typically, women are burned on their legs to promote fertility, while men are burned on their arms and chests to promote a successful hunt or virility, Dr. Kuhn said.
Then, the shaman adds Kambo—toxins extracted from a type of frog—to the burn and leaves it on for about 15 minutes. The burn makes it easier for your body to absorb the toxins. The toxin contains several different compounds which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramping. You may also experience an opioid-like mellow feeling or euphoria.” – Banner Health
The effects of a Kambo cleanse don’t last long, and it’s unlikely they could impact a chronic health condition, though everyone should proceed at their own risk and do their own research before embarking on such a journey. It’s also imperative to have a medicine guide to do the ceremony. Do not attempt this on your own. You will need support, that is, especially if you had as much shit to sludge through as I did.
That whole process lasts no more than an hour and is often followed by a Bufo Alverius toad medicine, also known as 5-MeO-DMT. That’s where things really got interesting. This molecule comes from a rare species of toad native to the Sonoran Desert. This 20-minute powerful psychedelic experience with DMT, often called the God or Spirit Molecule, but it’s scientific name is dimethyltryptamine. (There is a great documentary on Netflix called DMT: The Spirit Molecule if you want to learn more). This incredibly powerful psychoactive compound is generally smoked and followed by a short but unparalleled psychedelic experience unlike any other. Some say you talk to God. Others say you talk to your spirit guides. Some may even say you simply are talking to yourself. What I’ve come to know of DMT is that it is a natural compound that is found in everything, every plant, every being, has a small amount. In humans this chemical lives in our pituitary gland, and it is said to excrete upon death. Ingesting it is the best thing I can compare to a near death experience without actually coming into physical harm.
It is important to note, that while this is a well known treatment for depression and anxiety, unfortunately DMT is still a schedule-1 substance that is highly illegal. Some cities have recently decriminalized it, but it’s still illegal under state and federal law. It absolutely should be administered also under supervision. Now I’ve done DMT before, but not like this. The combination of purging and cleansing before opens you up wide, so that the experience of spirit is WAY more powerful.
DMT is the main active ingredient ayahuasca and the two experiences together, Kambo and Bufo, imitate a shower version of an ayahuasca experience, with the purging coming first so that your mind and body is clear, followed by the DMT trip that allows you to push yourself further in a shorter time frame.
My medicine guide suggested that I detox for three days before the ceremony, with no drugs or alcohol in my system, as well as for two weeks after for the medicines to keep working. I am dedicated to doing so, and am currently on day 7. I’ve never considered myself a full blownaddict of drugs or alcohol (cheese and love, sure, but substances, while I love them, I don’t need them always). I will however own my own coping mechanisms have not always been the healthiest. It has been quite some time since I’ve done a total cleanse, and the ceremony was just the right tool to jump start this “factory reset” and kick my healing journey into high gear.
For years I have been consistently using cannabis, generally at the end of a day, and certainly through this past year and a half pandemic, to cope with the drama and trauma that swirls around us. I cannot remember the last time I didn’t do SOMETHING in the evening be it a drink, a smoke or some other substance in order to deal with the world before me. Someone said the other day that “America is a Narcissist”, and we’ve all been in this relationship way past due.
I’ve dated my fair share of narcissist individuals, and I’ve used substances to cope with the trauma that came out of those relationships which has in turn led me to face my own narcissistic tendencies of my own I would gather. There is a lot of shame we/I carry, shame that has been built up for years. Shame concerning the way my ancestors have treated the natives on this land. Shame concerning the way my Jewish people are treating the Palestinians. And personal shame of the way I have chosen to take care of my body (or lack thereof) for the sake of instant gratification. Participating in this ceremony honestly felt like taking the last ten years (personally) of avoidance and trauma, and not only processed it, but released it. Needless to say, my body was wrecked afterwards, but it opened up a doorway that I had to be brave enough to step through. When opportunities knocks, are you afraid to answer? Because I was. But I pressed on.
During the ceremony I cried, I laughed, I screamed, I moaned, I puked, and yes, I even had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom a few times, like a lady. (Even tripping I’m still a classy broad). I had to learn to ask for my needs, like when the music as too loud or my water was too low. “Don’t contaminate the whole water supply just because you’re thirsty, Sara”. We cannot let our pride get in the way of asking for help, or speaking about it afterwards, and that’s what this blog is. about: HONESTY.
Letting go is hard work, and requires your full attention.
It’s been several years since I’ve completely stopped doing any altering chemicals at all. I’ve never been one to tune out all day, every day, or even every day, all week, but for the most part, at some point, I’ve turned to some sense of relief, as many of us do to process trauma or avoid it. Trauma is relative, and while I recognize that my trauma is mild compared to what many have experienced in this world, largely due to my privilege as a white female in a position of power as an artist, I still had shit to shift through. Some of it was mine… my abortion, my failed relationships in love, my coping mechanisms of choice, specifically not taking care of my self the way I’d like to think I should be. And then some of it was others’; the pain of those I have hurt, the pain of our collective consciousness in such a torn up society.
Since the ceremony, my body is still cleansing and purging, physically and energetically. I can feel darkness lifting, slowly. I am feeling HYPER emotional and allowing myself to sit with that for the first time in a while, rather than run away.
Yes, I have been broke. And yes, I will be whole once again.
Truly facing your emotions is not fun, but it’s necessary to get to the next level I found, for me. I want to be able to own my emotions and process them real time, not stuff them down to bubble up later. I want to be able to take the harsh criticisms of others and let that shit roll off my back without rocking me to my core. I want to be strong in the face of adversity and stand up to injustice. And I will. It starts with taking care of MY soul first so I can be present for others.
Rules to keep in mind for processing grief and doing this kind of work: There is a fine line between soothing and escaping. Get to know your medicine options, including natural remedies. Don’t underestimate your power to heal yourself. Law of nature says that any injury you sustain, there is likely the remedy nearby found in nature. And most of all, I’ve found that when any paint hurts worst, that’s when it’s leaving you.
I wish you all the greatest success on your own healing journey as we come out of this collective trauma of the past 2 – 200 years (or however far back your inter-generational trauma may go). Don’t look away from it if you can stand. I hope you find something that brings you peace in a healthy way. I don’t know how long I’ll ride this sober train, but for as long as I need to. I trust in my own path and medicines. Remember, what can heal you can also kill you in an instance. Be careful and take this work seriously.
Love you always and forever,
PS If you are struggling with addiction or depression, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally so we can process together with the intentions of finding your own path. What is right for one may not be right for everyone, but you don’t need to suffer alone. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org