Ayahuasca is experiencing a growing popularity. More and more tourists take the time to visit the Peruvian jungle to try Ayahuasca. However, before heading to Amazon to try the vine, you should prepare first and learn about its ritual and ceremony to get the best out of it.
Ayahuasca Ceremony Preparation
Examine yourself first, why do you want to experience Ayahuasca? Ayahuasca is a medicine, it is not a drug that one takes for an escape or altered state. You should make sure that you have the best intentions before trying Ayahuasca because the experience is transforming. Yes, it is life-changing.
After examining yourself, you should release your expectations from Ayahuasca. The Ayahuasca experience is different for every individual. Some see visions, others feel deep compassion and love, some others are terrified. There are Ayahuasca users who testified of experiencing a blissful ceremony while some others just puke all night. This, in itself, is a cleansing and healing in its very own way that will leave one renewed.
Here are some things that you should avoid before you take the Ayahuasca ceremony:
- Avoid recreational drugs like marijuana or some other medications for at least two weeks (see list below)
- Avoid alcohol for at least 48 hours
- Avoid sexual contact for at least 48 hours
- Avoid foods with MAOI inhibitors for at least 24 hours (see the list below)
- Avoid foods that are aged, preserved, dried, fermented, pickled, cured (meats), rancid, old, outdated, overripe, or even slightly spoiled (see the list below)
- Avoid the drugs
A list of meds to be careful of with MAOIs:
- other MAOIs
- SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
- amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine)
- antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
- appetite suppressants (diet pills)
- medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems
- antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz, etc.)
- CNS (central nervous system) depressants
Some specific drugs that should not be combined with MAOIs:
- Amantadine hydrochloride (Symmetrel)
- Amoxapine (Asendin)
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Buspirone (BuSpar)
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol)
- Clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Cyclizine (Marezine)
- Desipramine (Pertofrane)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
- Disopyramide (Norpace)
- Doxepin (Sinequan)
- Flavoxate Hydrochloride (Urispas)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa)
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Nortriptyline (Aventyl)
- Oxybutynin chloride (Ditropan)
- Orphenadrine (Norflex)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Procainamide (Pronestyl)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil)
- Quinidine (Quinidex)
- Selegiline (Eldepryl)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Elavil)
- Trimipramine (Surmontil)
The following foods are recommended to be avoided with MAOIs:
- Meat that is not fresh, especially unfresh liver (fresh meat and fresh liver are safe)
- Smoked, fermented, pickled (herring) and otherwise aged or dried fish, lox; any fish that is not fresh
- Sausage, bologna, pepperoni, salami, corned beef
- Aged cheeses (cottage cheese and cream cheese are safe)
- Protein extracts
- Liquid and powdered protein dietary supplements
- Brewer’s yeast, yeast vitamin supplements, or yeast extracts
- Fermented tofu, fermented bean curd, fermented soybean paste, soy sauce
- Canned soups, or soups made with protein extracts or bouillon
- Miso soup (contains fermented bean curd)
- Shrimp paste
- Fruits that are bruised or even slightly overripe, especially bananas and apples; raisins and other dried fruits, fig newtons, etc (banana peels also should be avoided — as though you’d eat them anyway)
- Avocados, if ripe or overripe (slightly underripe avocados are fine in moderation). Guacamole should be avoided.
- Red wine, especially Chianti; sherry, vermouth, champagne, brandy; beers and ales, including nonalcoholic; whiskey and liqueurs such as Drambuie and Chartreuse
- Dairy products that are close to the expiration date or that have been unrefrigerated (fresh yogurt is safe)
- Aspartame (Nutrasweet)
- Fava beans, especially if overripe
- Peanuts – in large quantities
- Raspberries – in large quantities
- Spinach, New Zealand prickly or hot weather – in large quantities
- Chocolate – in large quantities
- Caffeine in large quantities (note: in a few rare individuals, there may be a severe interaction with even small amounts of caffeine)
It is also recommended that you also avoid the following herbs:
- St. Johns Wort
What to Bring
- Small flashlight or head torch for ceremonies conducted in pitch dark or for walking around at night. Be sure to bring spare batteries.
- Lighter or match
- Any comfortable clothing to keep you covered like long sleeve pants or shirt (wearing something white during the ceremony is suggested but not required)
- Jacket or blankets to keep you warm
- Rubber boots or any waterproof footwear
- Water bottle
- Natural toiletries (Non-plant based toiletries and cosmetics are incompatible with the medicines)
- Creative materials like pens, papers, books or musical instruments where you can channel your healing. Gadgets are okay, but limit it to avoid distractions. For books, any books about spirituality, healing, philosophy, nature or self development are preferred because these materials will help you focus on your purpose.
Ayahuasca Diet Preparations
The list of foods that you should avoid are listed above, in this section you can find the types of food that you should consume to prepare your mind, body and spirit for Ayahuasca. If you are seeking for personal healing and cleansing your diet should only include light seasoning, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables.
Ayahuasca Ritual and Ceremonies
Ayahuasca ceremonies are usually carried more than once. It comes in sessions, it’s not a one-time or overnight experience. So, if you want to experience the full power of Ayahuasca you should consider a longer stay in the Peruvian Amazon.
Also, white clothing is suggested for the Ayahuasca ceremony, but it is not required. Light colors are more conducive to positive spiritual healing because black and dark colors interfere with the shaman’s vision of diagnosing the causes of illnesses.
Ayahuasca ceremonies usually start at night and ends at dawn. Shamans begin the ritual at around eight or nine in the evening and the ceremony may last up to seven hours.
Also, Ayahuasca ceremonies are powerful, it opens traumas and bring healing and strength. It also gives you a new perspective. The experience during the Ayahuasca ceremony can be terrifying, horrible and blissful, but a shaman will be there to help and guide the Ayahuasca users.
A shaman is a person who knows his or her way to alter one’s state of consciousness. Shamans use a combination of psychedelic plants and music or chants to enable the Ayahuasca users to perceive things that they don’t usually see in their ordinary state of consciousness. This is performed for the purpose of healing, divination or communication with the spirit world.
The ritual usually starts with dim lights and the shaman saying a prayer. Some shamans will ask your intentions for joining the ceremony. He will then pour a foul-smelling brown liquid into a series of cups, this is the Ayahuasca medicine that the participants need to drink. One by one the participants will have to take it.Those who already drunk this liquid said that the taste was not that bad, but it was not good either.
There will be a moment of silence for about 40 minutes until the shaman begins to sing and the drink takes effect. Shamans usually sing icaros or power songs to entice the good spirits and perform healing. There are also icaros for protection and for calling the spirit of Ayahuasca to open visions. The different chants have purposes and it affects the environment and the emotional state of the Ayahuasca users.
In the next hour of the Ayahuasca ceremony, there will be crying and shouting while some others puke in their vomit bucket. Puking is good because it removes the spiritual blockages and toxins in the body that accumulate from poor lifestyle and unhealthy eating. It will make you feel empty, clean and ready for healing.
The Ayahuasca experience will open your way for a physical, emotional and spiritual journey. At this time, some take trips into their childhood memories. Others have visions of different lights and shapes, some see fireworks and nature.
Others have the vision of the devil making them feel terrified, but some others feel strong and develop a new perspective on their traumas and problems. Some others feel the magic in a different way, they develop the uncanny ability to perceive what the people in their lives want. Others see how their blood runs through their veins and experience healing. Others develop a deep connection to humanity, nature and the world as a whole.
Some felt apprehensions, anxiety and fears to unknown at the start, but it passes away and they ended up feeling relieved, loved, free and with less baggage. The experience is unique to each participant.
Aside from the songs, tobacco is another important tool during the Ayahuasca ceremony. Tobacco along with chapada a bunch of leaves is part of the traditional ceremony.
Tobacco has several purposes. Tobacco smoke is blown over the Ayahuasca and the patients for the purpose of attracting positive energy. It is also used as protection to clear the energy field of a person who seeks balance and realignment. In some other rituals, tobacco smoke is used to send away the spirits that distract the ceremony.
Aside from tobacco, shamans also use perfumes, incense, rattles, crystal and other power objects.
Participants are welcome to talk before and after the ritual, but during the ceremony, everyone should focus on the works of the shamans and their chants. Physical touching is a no-no during the ritual because it interferes with one’s inner processes, which may be difficult to re-enter. However, touching for re-assurance is okay if it is requested.
One should remember that everything that happens during the Ayahuasca ceremony influenced everyone present in some way. Noise and excessive movements are distracting and affect others personal journey. So to make sure that everyone has equal space, participants should focus on the icaros and remain still.