Kambo: Medicine for the Soul
Kambo: Medicine for the Soul
A First Experience
“Have you tried Kambo yet?” a friend asked as we loaded our bags into his Saab 900 hatchback. We were wrapping up a three-day ceremony sitting with ayahuasca. I was still processing as I gazed off, breathing in the crisp mountain air.
“The frog medicine? Not yet, what’s it like?” I inquired.
“It hits you like a freight train. There aren’t any visions with it. It’s straight-up energy purging. If this didn’t clear you, that’ll do it,” he delivered.
His answer scared me a little, but that drew me closer. If there was an edge to things, I liked to find them. The beyond has always beckoned me. Years back, I had a near-death experience that showed me a glimpse. But what could I reach while in this body? What was beyond the programming of my childhood,
If there was an edge to things, I liked to find them.
beyond the structures I had been trained to live within, beyond the limits I knew of my body? Growing up, I always felt like there was more. Now that I had started my spiritual healing journey, I felt it even more. One more veil. One more layer of energy to be lifted. One more step into the unknown, before it transitioned into the known. Oh, what a silly quest. The enlightened ones teach, “Embrace the unknown, then you will find peace.” The NDE left me with a knowing of Light, but it also gifted me an epiphany; the real quest is to embody the Light while here.
I spent the better part of three decades pouring poison into my body in the form of alcohol and prescription drugs. I was finally getting clear with the help of mindful meditation, sound baths, and Reiki. But I sensed I could be more clear. Crystal clear. As I came out of the fog of trauma I endured through my twenties, I was slapped with a trending diagnosis of “anxiety” and told I couldn’t trust my own feelings. That was the opposite of healing. My intuition told me that much. If I could get to the root of it, I could be free of these symptoms. I could be me again. I could feel connected. That’s what I wanted.
Scott Sigety of Kambo Ascend
I began to research the secretion of the Giant Green Monkey Tree Frog from the Amazon, referred to as Kambo. The indigenous tribes in the Amazon have used it for over three thousand years to clear panema, which is bad luck. Warriors used it to increase stamina, strength, and clarity. I had no doubt I was a warrior, but I wasn’t functioning at my fullest potential. Warriors need warrior methods of training, and that’s what Kambo was. I was headed for divorce and feeling lost. They say the medicine calls you. It can feel like a deep churning in your gut, chime like an angelic whisper from the clouds, or make a surreal appearance, like a handful of hawk feathers, blown onto your doorstep. On the path of healing, I have learned, when the Universe speaks; I listen.
I weighed the pros and cons. According to IAKP (2022), the Huni Kuin legend says a spirit of the forest taught their medicine man how to apply the secretions of the frog to heal their tribe. This secretion was later studied by an Italian scientist, Vittorio Erspamer, who documented the interaction of
Kambo enters through the lymphatic system, which allows a rapid distribution to other bodily systems, recalibrating the brain.
peptides and their functional role in opioid receptors. He was the first to discover Serotonin and was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize. Kambo enters through the lymphatic system, which allows a rapid distribution to other bodily systems, recalibrating the brain. A close friend attests to healing Lyme’s Disease with Kambo, and many others with autoimmune diseases become completely asymptomatic after working with this sacred medicine.
I crossed the threshold into a stage of transformation. I wanted to feel fully unstuck, so I signed up for an upcoming session near me. Upon receiving an email with preparation instructions, I began following the guidelines. I set intentions, changed my diet, and protected my field by going inward for a few days. I began a dry fast the night before. Parched with thirst, and buzzing with jitters, I woke up and drove my car to a modest yoga studio. I entered the space, filled with the aroma of burnt sage, and filled with five-gallon buckets next to pillows, tissue, and blankets. I came equipped with my liter of water to ingest as the ceremony began.
The practitioner mentored us, “Meet the medicine halfway. Let her do her work. When you feel you are suffering, breathe. Pain is here for you to heal. Do not bypass into bliss. Dig deep and uproot the old karma to be released.” He spoke with presence and care. “When you do the work, it allows you to feel grounded and blissful on a daily basis. You will experience less of the harsh mirroring in the world. Face and release the shadows within you.” He further explained the process to come. First, we would do Sananga, an Amazonian eye tincture made from the shredded roots of a shrub, then hapé, an herbal snuff blown through a tepi pipe. Both are used for energy clearing and settling into the ceremony space. As the facilitator blew the hapé into my nostril, I felt a strong stinging sensation that spread warmth through my body and caused a queasiness to wash over me. I began to wonder, just what did I get myself into.
Scott Sigety of Kambo Ascend
As the practitioner progressed to me, he scanned my energy to determine where to place the gates. The man who went before me was a muscular man, covered in sacred geometry, with a rough voice. He had 10 points placed on him and held his bucket like a chalice. With each purge, he made a loud roar. My heart raced. If Kambo passed through him with such force, what would it do to my 5’3” body? I could hear gushes of water and spitting in the background as he finished his session, and I began mine. The placements for Kambo were created with a slight burn to the epidermis of the skin, using the tip of an unscented Himalayan incense stick. Since it was my first time, they were placed on my ankle. The practitioner said a prayer of thanks to the frog and asked for protection over me as I moved through my healing. A blessing. I was instructed to drink 3 cups of water. “You may feel weak at first, like you cannot hold your body up, but once that passes and you sit up straight, the energy aligns in your chakras and is able to lift up and release with a purge,” he assured me, “You are strong.”
As the medicine was applied, I felt the adrenaline of fear rush through my body
As the medicine was applied, I felt the adrenaline of fear rush through my body. What would happen to me? What if I had an allergic reaction? What if my throat swelled up? Why do I do these things? I settled myself with some simple mantras; I am safe. I am protected. I am meant to be here. I felt the warmth of the frog secretion travel up my leg with a tingle. The co-facilitator was playing an Indian Shruti box and I enjoyed the deep mellow soothing of his voice…for a moment. Then the discomfort started to swell inside me. Someone was playing a rattle and it felt like it was echoing from the inside of my ears. My senses were on overload. I felt the warmth flush into a pulsing throb through my arms, fingertips, and face. For a moment I thought, take it off—NOW. It’s too much. But this is it. I’m already here. I’m fully committed.
I looked up at the practitioner. “I’m afraid,” I told him. “My hands are numb.” I felt my heart pounding in my throat.
“You’re fighting it,” he said, “what you’re feeling is normal. You’re safe, drink water. Katie, let go,” he instructed me.
There was a dense ball of energy in my core that weighed me down for years. It felt impossible to release. I could hardly hold myself up. My lips were tingly and my face puffy. The energy was stuck in my head and it ached. I lost my sense of time. I was in a cloud of chaos, fully immersed in my senses. Senses I had powered down for decades. I kept forcing myself to drink more water and prop myself up on the bucket. I let the nausea flood my system until
Tears streamed down my face and my teeth and jaw began to chatter uncontrollably
my ability to hold it in became saturated. It induced a purge that released deep-seated pain. “Salud!” the woman next to me belted out. I tasted the bitter remnants of pharmaceuticals I had quit months ago. The pressure was finally gone. After the purge, I was free from the bubble of compression. Tears streamed down my face and my teeth and jaw began to chatter uncontrollably, unlocking energy that had been clenched for years. The practitioner blew tobacco smoke over me, which induced a final purge. A final relief. Lightness. Happiness. I was filled with laughter. Elation. I felt a glow surround me as the energy lifted. I felt clear and in touch with the Consciousness of my Higher Self.
During the ceremony, the singing, drumming, and blowing of tobacco smoke drew me out of my head. The more I was present in the moment, and allowed the physical process to take place without the blocks of my mind, the more I was able to heal. Once the stuck energy was purged, the current could flow again. As my body continued to quiver, the facilitator covered me with blankets. I was exhausted, like I ran a marathon through the desert. “Rest, you did good,” he spoke calmly. I cocooned into a shivering fetal puddle and quietly sobbed a few more tears of gentle release. I felt the gift of surrender. Back into the womb. These were tears of joy, sadness, relief, and rebirth. I had many emotions that were repressed due to the conditioning of my upbringing and exasperated by pharmaceuticals that further shut my system down. I became aware of how powerful the emotional channel is, as I came back online. Confidence and peace, that was in there too.
“It is okay to feel your feelings,” the healer assured. The words hit a tender space in my heart, and a weight lifted off my shoulders. I haven’t been permitted to do that in a long time, possibly ever. “Your eyes are crystal clear blue,” he shared as he gazed at me with peaceful recognition, “This medicine will cleanse you, both physically, emotionally, and energetically, revealing a more authentic layer. It helps the mask dissolve and the beauty shine.”
After the ceremony, I went home and slept until the next morning. I woke feeling detoxified. Suffering and sickness had weighed me down for so long, I forgot what healthy felt like. I forgot how good this life can feel. I experienced joy in the stillness of moments while alone and on noisy city corners. I began to hear the quiet voice between the channels. There she is. That’s me. I was now connected.
Kambo was instrumental in my healing process. It is an amazing sacred medicine that prepared me to go deep with other psychedelics. It provided holistic care for my body, mind, and spirit. This is why many shamans use it as a part of their diets for the Master Plants. Kambo taught me how to sit with extreme discomfort. In a world full of endless distractions, this was a Divine gift. There is no room for escapism or spiritual bypassing with Kambo. You are in it. The modern world prevents us from healing. Kambo taught me how to move through emotional and physical pain, showing me they are merely sensations; they are not me. I gained a deep reverence for the saying, “this too shall pass.” And on the other side, is salvation.
*IAKP International Association of Kambo Practitioners. (n.d.). What is kambo. Retrieved December 19, 2022. https://iakp.org/what-is-kambo/.