2019-01-22T16:32:53+00:00 January 22nd, 2019|
Ayahuasca the mother of plants
According to the shamanic heritage, Ayahuasca is not only perceived as a drug but as a way to connect with your own soul, the spiritual world and to use it as medicinal healing.
For many people this medicinal plant might be unknown, since its’ origin is among the tribes of the Amazon. Throughout time, the medicine has slowly been entering the Western culture for multiple reasons.
Drinking Ayahuasca is like taking a medicine for the soul and it is considered to be one of the most important plants for the traditional shamans as ‘Aya’ stands for ‘rope’ and ‘Huasca’ is the soul. According to the shaman Yanaanka Tasorinki this plant has the power to modify our perception and enable us to feel love within ourselves and our surroundings.
The ayahuasca plant consists of the vine Banisteriopis caap and the leaves from the Psychotria viridis bush. The active substance DMT is a critical ingredient in the brew and therefor ayahuasca is considered to be illegal by many governments. However, many studies about ayahuasca seem to make people curious to find out what the benefits this medicinal brew has to offer.
Ayahuasca medicine for a western culture
Since the medicinal plant isn’t indigenous to the western culture, it can be quite unclear where to begin. Even though ayahuasca is considered to be a medicine, it is not prescribed by a doctor. Ayahuasca is given by a shaman during a ceremony.
A concern that many people might have when considering to take the brew, is the trustworthiness of the shaman. There are retreats that offer ceremonies where the shamans who provide ayahuasca ceremonies are not properly trained or don’t even use traditional ingredients while making the brew.
The best way to find a trustworthy shaman is by reputation and hearing from other peoples’ experiences. Not only the trustworthiness and competence are key for a ceremony, also the setting has a strong influence on the experience.
What is remarkable when comparing Ayahuasca to other chemical drugs?
When comparing ayahuasca to chemical drugs, which is more common and usual in the Western world, there in an interesting finding. People who suffer from depression and anxiety might use anti-depressants. This drug has an effect on the person in a way that it can lessen the symptoms.
As for ayahuasca, the drugs in the brew makes people see visions from within. This mystical experience has the ability to create a shift of the minds’ perspective by clearing up unconscious issues and even solving personal problems. Ayahuasca is all about healing in a psychological, emotional and spiritual way, whereas anti-depressants are not really curing the problem, rather balancing chemicals in the brain to improve the persons’ mood.
Ayahuascas’ healing can offer people to get a better sense of the self, improving relationships, curing depression and anxiety.
What to expect from a ceremony?
The ceremony is conducted in a spiritual and sacred way in order to enhance the healing process and profound effects. The shaman uses an incense to clear the space from negative energy to make it a safe environment.
The energy of the medicinal tea can cause symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting to appear during the journey. Therefor the shaman is accompanied with skilled helpers, who help out during those challenging moments.
Usually the ceremony takes place at night with the light from candles as the only illumination. There is barely any direct interaction and eye contact is avoided, so all the focus can go inwards.
The shaman also sings healing songs called ‘icaros’. The icaros are sung in Quechaun, a language that originated in the Amazon basin. The use of instruments like drums, guitars and flutes can also add an additional sound to the songs. Icaros have a strong influence on the participants.
What preparation is necessary?
Before taking the actual ayahuasca, there is a personal preparation that takes place. First there is a diet which is recommended to be followed. Some people start following the diet four weeks before the ceremony, but others start much later.
The aim of the diet is to prepare the body, mind and spirit for the medicine. It cleanses the body beforehand, which will give the medicine more power to focus on curing parts of the mind rather than curing the toxins in the body.
Making sure you spend time by yourself before the ayahuasca is essential for the preparation. By doing this you will be able to set intentions and focus your mind. The intentions which are made will be of utmost importance during the journey, but also after the ayahuasca they can be used to integrate the experience in the daily life.
As for the shaman it is also necessary to prepare for the ceremony. The ayahuasca tea, a brown liquid, is made by the shaman himself and every batch differentiates from others. Describing the taste of the tea, which is given in a small cup, can be a quite subjective matter. According to some people it tastes bitter and others actually think it tastes good.
From Aluantu to the world and back
Someplace in the south of Chile, we find a retreat centre named ‘Aluantu’, which stands for ‘bright shining sun’. One of the purposes is to help people heal through nature and to awaken the spirit through experiential learning.
Aluantu is a magical property where people from all over the world come together to visit and live here with different expectations and intentions. Spiritual development is one of the many reasons for coming. Whilst learning more about spiritual self-development when living in the community or just taking part of the retreats, the possibilities are endless. If the personal devotion is present, growth will happen. One of the many workshops we have at Aluantu retreat is Ayahuasca ceremonies, for which we have the great pleasure of receiving a Shaman from Peru. His purpose here is to facilitate Ayahuasca ceremonies. Not only volunteers, but also visitors are able to experience this magical medicine.
Wilder Sanchez Munoz, a direct descendent of the Shipibo family lineage living in the Peruvian jungle, found his way to Aluantu two years ago. Since then he has been returning multiple times, accompanied by the brew called ayahuasca.
A personal view on Ayahuascas’ medicinal healing
These last few days the ongoing Ayahuasca ceremonies have had a big impact on many people. From volunteers, helpers and facilitators to guests, every one of them with different reasons of taking part.
One of the volunteers that has participated the ceremonies, is Andrew. The first ayahuasca ceremony he did, was in November 2018. He got into Ayahuasca whilst reading about it in books and online experiences, also during traveling he gained more knowledge about it.
It took him three years to eventually do an ayahuasca ceremony at Aluantu. Not really knowing where it’s possible to do ayahuasca in Europe, made him wait to do it until finding the right place.
Once he came here to Aluantu as a volunteer it made perfect sense. This is a place where he could work as a volunteer, but also work on his inner growth. Surrounded by people he can rely on, makes it feel safe and trusting.
When Andrew did his first Ayahuasca, he ended up doing four ceremonies. For him, a shift had happened during the first ceremonies. Letting go of shame, having more confidence, being open and more expressive with his body were some of the things he felt afterwards.
In the beginning of January 2019, Andrew had been invited to participate in thespiral of light retreat. Besides that, the upcoming ayahuasca ceremony was also happening.
Even though he has done it before, he felt a calling from the medicine. A feeling that it still had places for him to discover and explore. For him, doing another ayahuasca ceremony, continued his healing process and gave him a better understanding of what he learned in the previous ceremonies. Because of the intentions he had set, it was possible to clear up what he wants to overcome.
As for the icaras, it had a remarkable impact on his experience during the ceremonies. Really focussing and tuning in on what the shaman was singing, gave him vibrations throughout his body and being in trance. In his recent ceremony, Andrew also had an invitation of the shaman. This moment when the shaman sung directly to him his visions started appearing without the need for him to control it, he could let go.
Besides Andrew, there have been many other people who have participated in the current Ayahuasca ceremonies. Everybody has a different experience, but at one point it all comes down to the same thing. Getting in touch with yourself, the true you, which is in fact all that matters.
Ayahuasca medicine as a longterm healer on your spiritual journey
People seeking to learn more about themselves and improving their sense of self, can surely consider doing an ayahuasca ceremony
As Jennifer Sodini wrote ‘’If you make a choice to walk into the darkness, eventually you may come to know that love is the invisible glue that binds, and light is the container everything is held in. Darkness is a temporary illusion, but the light is ever present.’’
Though Ayahuasca is not as straightforward as the typical western medicines, it is really worth finding out more about the healing effects.
I guess you can say it all comes down to love. Such a powerful thing, yet sometimes so difficult to feel. Therefor the wonderful power of Ayahuasca makes you go through all that has been covered up over time, only to rediscover the love inside, which has always been there.
Chamanismo Andino-Amazonico, Coca Ayahuasca, San Pedro Yanaanka Tasorinki, Cusco Peru 2009
Listening to Ayahuasca : new hope for depression, addiction, PTSD, and and anxiety Rachel Harris, Novato California 2017
Jennifer Sodini, ‘’Ayahuasca quotes’’, accessed January 18, 2019, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/ayahuasca
Ellen Greenlaw, How Your Depression Medicine Can Affect Your Life, accessed January 18, 2019 https://www.webmd.com/depression/how-different-antidepressants-work#1