An ayahuasca ceremony is a multi-component ritual in which success depends not only on the quality and quantity of the active substance, but also on every aspect, from preliminary preparation to the environment in the retreat center. Therefore, the ceremony is preceded by mandatory cleansing. Both physical and spiritual.
Cleaning involves 5 main restrictions:
1. Food. In advance of the ceremonies, you will have to give up excesses in the diet in favor of ascetic and light foods.
2. Alcohol and drugs. These methods can prevent you from seeing what is most important.
3. Medical. During the cleansing period, antidepressants, nootropics and a number of prescription drugs are contraindicated.
4. Sexy. This is not only about the lack of intimacy with a partner, but even about masturbation.
5. Behavioral. Try to lead a more measured lifestyle, avoiding conflict situations and worries.
The path to understanding yourself and the world around you lies through diet.
Before trip preparations really center around starting to reflect more inwards and spend time with yourself and your thoughts and emotions. This can be quite uncomfortable at times as we live in a society which inundates us with outside stimuli and is constantly draws our attention outwards. Ayahuasca however, does the opposite – it gives us only one option, which is to go within.
Starting a slow disconnection about 2-4 weeks prior to your trip from all technology (i.e. TV, phone, computers and noisy parties) as much as possible is something we highly recommend. Reading books on spirituality or healing and spending your time meditating, listening to uplifting and enlightening podcasts is what we recommend as a substitute. For those that really want to go the extra mile, reducing or eliminating idle chit-chat and possibly even taking a vow of silence when not at work for example, will only add to your experience while at the center. We understand this is not always possible, but being aware of when you speak, what you’re speaking about and to whom, is just as good of a place to start.
For various reasons, not everyone succeeds in this. But a diet for at least 3 days is required.
Journaling about your intentions for your journey and directly communicating with Ayahuasca through inner dialogue or written word is highly recommended. The medicine knows the moment you decide you will work with Her and so you may notice things in your life starting to shift even before you get to the center. This is all normal and to be expected. Be mindful of anything that may be taking place and make note of the shifts that you’re experiencing.
What to bring
- Water bottle
- Journal & pen
- Red Flashlight
- Books to read
- Toiletries for your personal use
- Water proof shoes
- A pair of warm clothing
- Poncho or rain jacket
- Phone Charger adapter
- Cash (dollars or other)
- Artistic supplies (if you enjoy painting)
- Ear plugs (if you are a light sleeper)
- Ceremony clothes: very comfortable clothes so you can move freely and can enjoy the experience. We advise long pant and sleeves really thin and comfortable, for the ceremony.
After trip integration is arguably the most important piece of your healing journey. Think about it like this, when you are in the jungle, you are going to grow, heal and expand so much on all the different levels possible (mental/emotional/physical/spiritual) and the safety, understanding and sense of connectedness you will feel with everyone else at the center will be almost utopic. When you arrive home however, the people/places/things that you left behind, will all still be there; un-evolved and un-changed. The difference will be that you have changed and at a rapid speed.
It is normal to experience some friction when returning home, to have new relationships flourish and others end, to change your life’s course completely in terms of your profession or to gain new awareness and drive in the current career you hold. All of this dramatic change can be overwhelming and so, having an integration program is paramount to your continued and sustained change.
We recommend that upon your return home, for 2 weeks adopting the same rules and practices you adopted 2 weeks before your journey and slowly acclimating back to life. It can be challenging to not jump in and hit the ground running as soon as you get home as the level of excitement you may feel, you’ll want to share with the world. Take a deep breath in those moments and sit with that feeling. Let it be yours for a little while longer before sharing it with everyone.
Some of the long-term effects of ayahuasca are self-evident. Many people, for example, find that after the ceremony they are free from tobacco, alcohol and even drug addiction. Almost everyone gains a deeper understanding of the world and themselves. The condition of patients with treatment-resistant depression improves significantly, and this is even confirmed by official science. But to fully unleash the potential of teacher plants, you will have to make a lot of effort.
A psychedelic trip contains insights that need to be comprehended and independently implemented in life. Ayahuasca will not do this for you. Repeated ceremonies will not help either: this is not the case when quantity turns into quality. If you ignore the integration of your experience, psychedelics will turn from a powerful means of true self-development for you into a mystical attraction. Spectacular and exciting, but practically useless.