It’s been a while now since participating in three, back-to-back Kambo ceremonies, and still I am integrating the shifts that took place. Three Kambo ceremonies within one moon cycle is considered an initiation, and the work accomplished within this sequence was deep, indeed.
What is Kambo?
Kambo is a traditional Amazon medicine harvested from the Monkey Tree Frog. It is not to be confused with Bufo, a very different, traditional frog medicine. Kambo is bioactive, as opposed to psychoactive. It’s action is physical, and it is used for the healing of all types of physical ailments as well as the strengthening of the body.
Not only is Kambo completely legal in all countries, but no frogs are harmed in the collection of the medicine. The same frog can actually be reused to produce Kambo, as it is simply the exterior “slime” which is needed. Frogs regenerate this over time. Kambo provides livelihood for Amazon natives and further incentive to preserve precious habitat. It’s another one of those ancient resources we can benefit from so immensely in our modern world.
How do you take it?
Kambo was administered by our practitioner through “gates” in the skin. These are openings created by burning with the tip of a stick. Yeah, it hurts (!) but only for a quick second. The Kambo, or frog excretion, is then rolled into little balls (see top photo) and placed on the “gates,” where it is absorbed very directly.
What does Kambo feel like?
Kambo is quick. It went to work fast and finished fast. It shook me to my core. It has intelligence, and knows where to go. It also responded to intention.
As soon as the little balls of frog excretion were applied to the gate, it began to burn and tingle at the point of entry. But this was hardly noticeable as it entered the rest of my body. I knew a little bit about what to expect, so at no time did I not feel safe. But I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced anything quite so overwhelmingly excruciating. Within moments it was total body tingles and something weird moving around in my belly. Seconds later my heart began to race and my lips and eyes ballooned out, like a frog. The nausea was as much as I could possibly bear.
Then it all came to an end with a very nice purge: north pole or south pole or both:-)) And the sensations subsided, almost as quickly as they began. 20 minutes tops, and I was resting on my mat, on the other side of froggy hell.
Choice of practioner
Like any jungle medicine I’ve experienced, Kambo brings up a lot. So it was non-negotiable when beginning research to find a qualified, well trained practitioner I could trust. I know from the past that the benefit of these powerful plant substances is equal only to my ability to open up and be vulnerable. So choice of facilitator is utmost in my mind.
Although Kambo is a medicine for healing the physical body, I can say that other levels of myself came very much into focus, as well. The body is very much connected to emotions, mental constructs, family history, and on and on. I found myself unendingly grateful for the particular practitioner we had who was skillful at managing the whole package, so to speak.
Kambo is a powerful ally for healing the physical for those who are ready to address and embrace shifts in the related mental and emotional layers. So even though the essence of the Kambo experience lasted less than an half hour, our ceremonies went on for several hours, and included plenty of preparation time as well as critical follow up for integration.
It is said that taking Kambo gives fearlessness. In my own experience, this holds true. If you don’t consider yourself a brave person going into these ceremonies you might very well feel different in retrospect.
Keep in mind, this medicine is not simply intensely agonizing, it’s targeted intensely agonizing. It’s a frog smart bomb, uprooting and evicting issues and ailments deep within you, very specific and personal to you. The frog knows more about you than you.
This is why an environment in which you feel safe to surrender is paramount. And the final reward of fearlessness is invaluable.
Which brings up another benefit: connection to breath.
While the frog had me in it’s grip, finally in the third ceremony, I found my life raft. This was my breath. I was able to gather myself enough, and trust enough, to hang onto my breath.
And I notice now, in follow up, I have a renewed relationship with breath – a greater overall awareness and deeper appreciation for what it offers me. Not to mention all the shifts I am still noticing and integrating. Namely, physical maladies have diminished considerably and been replaced with a feeling of lightness. My sleep has never been better. There is a greater sense of calm and emotional well being, overall gratitude, and a deeper sense of responsibility for my own happiness.
And I feel so wonderfully bonded to those I participated in ceremony with. It’s a connection that you get the feeling goes beyond that which we can perceive. It touches the soul.
Kambo gave me a life changing experience on so many levels. Like other particular tribal medicine experiences I have had, I consider it among the most profound and positive events of my life. But never would I take it without deep trust in the environment and the practitioner. And YES. I would do it again. Absolutely.
*Ana Cortez is author and co-creator of “The Playing Card Oracles,” and the soon to be published book and card deck under the working title of “The Doors of Somlipith.” Join her newsletter for updates and information about her monthly, free card reading event, The Oracle Tide.