Henna Maria’s Story of Healing Grief With Ayahuasca


My first ever trip to the jungle, where Henna healed her grief.

This story is about healing grief, which I feel is one of the most profound gifts Ayahuasca can give us. I lost my first partner to suicide. The Medicine helped me find peace and heal all of my guilt and the pain of his passing, after 8 years of severe emotional struggle and suicidal thoughts. Many people say that losing a loved one to suicide is a pain that one has to live with for the rest of their lives. Ayahuasca proved that it is not so. My healing was miraculous.

 Now, together with my dear husband, I hold space for others to face their pain and find peace. We have a small healing practice called Wistin Origins and we specialize in giving one-to-one treatments and retreats for small groups, in order to offer a lot of individual support for everyone in their healing journeys. 

It is an honor to share my experience to help spread awareness of the life-changing healing potential of sacred plant medicine. Here is my journey:

During my first year apprenticing in Ecuador with the Shuar – being prepared for a traditional Natemamu ritual.

Losing a loved one to suicide is one of the most crushing experiences of loss and grief anyone can experience. Many say it is a pain that one can never truly heal from, and this was my belief too – until I encountered Ayahuasca.

Eight years before my first trip to the Amazon to sit in ceremony with the sacred brew, I lost my partner to suicide. In that moment, my whole reality collapsed, and I was spun into a world of terror I had never known before. The crippling grief took all of my life force and the unrelenting sense of guilt kept devouring me from within. I went to suicide survivors group therapy, only to find myself dwelling in the dark thoughts of how to end my own life. It was a nightmare I thought I could never get out of.

Eventually, I mustered up the faith to begin to build my life again. I knew I had to lift myself up from the darkness, but the only way I was able to do that was to totally sever that hurting part of myself. I reclaimed my maiden name and stopped talking about my past. My new friends had no idea that I was a young widow. Behind the false smiles I drowned my emptiness with alcohol.

It was not until I met my husband, Richard, that the trauma started to resurface again. In his presence, I felt so safe and authentically met, that all of my psychological defense mechanisms and artificial masks began to slip away. I began to experience frequent panic attacks and fits of rage. An inexperienced person might have gotten frightened and thought I was losing my mind but Richard, already having drunk The Medicine could recognize that this crisis was a sign that the unconscious was becoming conscious – the first prerequisite to liberating deep soul burdens.

On the path of the curanderismo
Learning curanderismo, grateful beyond words, but very tired and thin as a result of traditional dieting.

It took a year of spiritual preparation for me to feel ready to meet Mother Medicine. I still remember flying over the Amazon and seeing the rainforest for the first time – I just burst into tears. Deep inside the fibers of my being, I knew I was coming home. I was coming home to myself.

Within ten ceremonies, I managed to dive into the depths of my pain and find total peace with the passing of my first partner. The question of afterlife no longer was a daunting subject, but a deep comfort. I had experienced a world beyond this material plane. I knew now for certain that our lives do not end when our bodies die. It no longer was a question of belief but an authentic spiritual experience that nourished me to my very core. 

I was shown the journey of the soul. I realized that there are many mysteries that are beyond our comprehension for the reasons as to why we suffer so much, and why some of us end up taking our own lives. I met no judgment but was embraced by all-encompassing mercy and eternal love. 

I met the hurt part of myself that I had locked away deep inside and loved her back to wholeness. It was a painful and at times overwhelmingly difficult journey, but through it all, I felt safe in the arms of the Spirit. I felt held by the vibrations of the Icaros and the authentic integrity of the curanderos and facilitators present. They were there for me all the way. My heart swelled up with gratitude. I was finally healing.

With my husband, Richard, feeling celebratory in Iquitos after cooking our very first batch of Ayahuasca.

After the retreat, which felt like a lifetime of inner work, I knew this was only the beginning. I knew I had to walk a different path from now on. I quit drinking alcohol. I started my practice of prayer. I stopped pretending that everything was always alright and started opening up about my emotions. I began learning how to truly love myself, how to eat well and nourish myself with art and Nature.

Not once did I feel I had found a short cut – it was as clear as daylight that healing oneself in ceremony and in daily life requires tremendous courage, ceaseless commitment, and arduous labor. 

With the help of Ayahuasca and the loving souls who have supported my journey, I have been able to heal my addiction, insomnia, panic attacks, rage, depression, and suicidal thoughts. 

Through my healing, my heart was ignited with a calling to learn traditional plant medicine and the sacred art of curanderismo. Now, after years of apprenticing and passing through traditional initiations, my husband and I are blessed to be able to help others heal themselves. Last year we opened our own little healing sanctuary called Wistin Origins in the mountains of Andalucía.

Healing grief is one of the most amazing gifts Ayahuasca can give us. Liberating oneself from painful soul burdens is the closest thing I know to actually flying. It can be terrifying to take the initial leap of faith, but it is encouraging beyond words to feel the heavens within supporting your flight. Thank You Plant Medicine, from the bottom of my heart!

The #ThankYouPlantMedicine movement is organizing a huge viral campaign, where people all over the world are encourage to share their plant medicine healing stories online on February 20th, 2020, using the hashtag #thankyouplantmedicine.


The #TYPM movement does not encourage any illegal use or abuse of plant medicines and psychedelics, whether cultivated in nature or lab synthesized.

Psychedelic and plant medicines, even within the confines of applicable laws, are not appropriate or beneficial for everyone. They are not magical cures, but are tools that when used properly – with respect, clear intentions, guidance, and a safe, supportive environment – can catalyze personal growth and healing.

To minimize harm and increase therapeutic potential, it is imperative that one performs sufficient research, adequately prepares, and integrates their own experience.


With permission from Henna Maria, this story was published by Anne Lyons in February of 2020. It has been edited for length and clarity. 

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