January 14, 2020
The former Jets and Cardinals player says a series of hallucinogenic trips he took as part of a documentary helped him understand himself more deeply
I wake up and Im a baby: an NFL stars journey into ayahuasca
It was a few hours into his first ayahuasca treatment that Kerry Rhodes vomited a foetus into a bucket and found truth. The former New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals star began the treatment, a ceremony that goes overnight and typically lasts seven to eight hours, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. “I didn’t really knowing what I was doing,” he says on the phone from his home in LA. Within minutes the hallucinations had begun. “Once it kicks in there are prisms and shapes and stuff like that, I could see visually stunning stuff. I literally had to tell myself, ‘You’re OK, you’re good, this is what you signed up for.’” The first “purge” – vomit – into a bucket brought a particularly bizarre vision: Rhodes, at his playing peak one of the NFL’s pre-eminent safeties, was brought face to face with a foetus. At the conclusion of the eight-hour ceremony, Rhodes’s shaman assured him the vision had been a “good thing” and that he needed to connect with the foetus during the next treatment the following night.
The next night, Rhodes began vomiting again - “you’re pretty coherent, you go in and out of it” - and the emetic foetus reappeared. Describing what happened next, he says: “I go in and I connect with it. Cut to: I wake up and I’m a baby in the crib, and I’m looking out, and I’m crying, and in that moment nobody picked me up. And I had a moment, half in the hallucination, half in the treatment room, where I was like, ‘Oh shit, I don’t need anyone to pick me up,’ and I put my thumb in my mouth, and I stopped crying. I realized that I didn’t need anyone. The thumb grew and it killed that moment – it killed that need.”
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