How to Prepare for First Ayahuasca Ceremony?
A lot of information has been written concerning “preparation for first Ayahuasca ceremony” and to tell you the truth it has grown into a rather complex assortment of half-truths, half science, and half superstition.
The reason why I say this is because we have applied much of our western ways of thinking to the detriment and the benefit of this process. So, I would like to go through a series of steps to clarify and question some of the beliefs that have given been birthed as truth. And out of this gain some perspective in the path of your orientation.
Importance of a Shaman in Ayahuasca Ceremony
First the difference between a path of a shaman and the path of the participant/ patient. Originally in the jungle the shaman gained his credentials through a combination of practical experience and cultural traditions, mixed with various degrees of natural capacity with the medicine. This is observable in ceremony, that is some people have more capacity to orientate themselves. It is a vast sliding scale between screaming and not knowing or remembering what happened, to being able to extend your capacity to playing instruments in ceremonies, which requires greater feats of coherence and attention.
As a patient or let’s say novice, the world of the “medicine “is unmapped. So, orientation in the field requires some exploration. The shaman on one side has spent a considerable time mapping these worlds within worlds. And once again there are various degrees of shaman pending on the maps, capacity and above all their sense of purity and humility (an almost impossible task to define these days).
Is it ok to attend Ayahuasca ceremony for a day or two?
This is the most common question often asked. I would also say that if you are to invest in yourself - an ayahuasca retreat with a 3-night minimum sitting is best. This is because it gives you the perspective over the three nights. It creates a story and embeds this work into you. In many ways it is like tasting three different national cuisines, it educates your palette.
Likewise, I would stray away from places that combine Ayahuasca with mushrooms, bufo, yopo etc. keep your journey clean and clear. Stray away from what I call the psychedelic Disneyland experience, the key element should be personal transformation. Lay a good foundation.
So, the rest of this article shall be concerned with the patient side as it exists for a prepared journey taken from a western perspective.
First in ayahuasca preparation is to realize there is a physical, emotional, and mental as well as spiritual component to this preparation. So, I shall group some insights and guidelines according to the above, and then do some cross referencing.
These are guidelines to be explored as an overall view to encourage a broad spectrum understanding. Before, during and after should be seen as sections of a continuum for ayahuasca integration. The key is the quality of the question asked determines the quality of the answer received, this is the fundamental axiom of “intentions”.
Ayahuasca Tips to Follow Before Your First Ayahuasca Ceremony
How to prepare your body/health/eating habits before first ayahuasca ceremony
· A week or two before your first ayahuasca ceremony refrain from any form of stimulants, such as coffee, caffeine-based teas. Just to allow your body time to withdraw for these daily substances.
· If you wish to give up smoking or other physically addictive habit, make the effort to reduce and maybe go cold turkey a week before.
· It is generally easy to keep one’s enthusiasm for the first couple of weeks before your first ceremony, to apply restrictions for longer often leads to disappointment.
· If you are on antidepressants or medications, provide the names of the medications you are on and their dosages to retreat organizer.
· Discuss and agree with the team on a suitable plan to reduce medications prior to ayahuasca ceremony that is safe for You.
· Clearly reveal your daily consumption and concerns for addictions. Daily consumption of marijuana is not a medicine, the same as alcohol, even though we have woven it into the fabric of our lives.
· At least a week before the first ayahuasca ceremony - drop back to a plant-based diet, this just alleviates the stagnancy of the digestive track a bit and allows ayahuasca and ayahuasca diet a smoother cleanse so to say. Equals less work for you to experience the more comfortable journey.
More find here: ayahuasca diet
How to prepare yourself emotionally before first ayahuasca ceremony experience
· Look at the emotional cleansing you may need to preform to have a footing on your life.
· The first is ancestral or parental. Free ourselves from our collective and genetic history. This is not an in-depth psychological report in yourself just an awareness of negativity and shadows that may hinder your growth.
· Ayahuasca is incredibly good at undoing knots that you and others have tied during your life / conditioning. There is a great deal to be learnt in trusting the intelligence as it unravels your worlds and presents a story to you. It is a very personal story she writes.
· Encourage and experience the search for the emotional mystical answers, rather than a chore of “over-coming an emotional problem”, prepare yourself for work of childlike wonder.
· This medicine wants you to play, learn to play with it rather than struggle. To learn to play is an” ART “ learn to translate this art into life..
· A ceremony is an arena where you learn to move in new directions by simply learning not to identify with process, simply breath and move through it is the fast door to the “you”.
· Each ayahuasca ceremony is an emotional stripping and cleansing, have patience. You are like a Tarzan you have to let go of one vine to travel on to the next.
· Whilst emotions are often like volcanoes, they contain much energy used in the process of transformation, ayahuasca is very good at recycling the energy from old systems to prepare for the new.
· Allow yourself to freely share with others your humanness and vulnerability. We share the same structure, see that no one exists in isolation it is just the path of a human. Learn from others sharing and grow some compassion in your garden of delights.
· Learn that it is ok not to have stimulation, experience and engage in the stillness of your own presence, nature... Cultivate it, learn to dissolve your agitation prior to your first ayahuasca retreat.
· Share your life as a story that way you view it as a common experience of all.
How to prepare your mind before first ayahuasca ceremony experience
· Write down important ideas, as an exercise in clarity, ideas are just mental grids, learn to replace them when they get upgraded.
· Play with the concept of intention - intention comes with clarity.
· Be clear about what holds you back first, do not ask for a library of wonder when you cannot read.
· Ayahuasca wants to refine your understanding, understanding is not more knowledge, more weight to hold but to be able to stand under universal laws of consciousness, yes they exist....
· This journey will continue for a very long time. Be patient with yourself in expectations you ask of yourself.
· Working things out can be tiresome, learn to play and explore in a new way whilst you are preparing. It will help a lot during ayahuasca integration.
· Find something that expresses beauty, many people find this expression as a revived interest in artistic side of life: lose yourself in drawing, singing etc. As opposed to cluttering your life with unnecessary interactions or TV.
· Learn the difference between just following random thoughts and having a clear focus of mind, much of our conflict and troubles comes from following the monkey mind.
· Allow events in the world to find you, do not make plans straight after the ceremonies, create space. Your first ayahuasca experience wants you to start noticing life in the “moment “and to step off the merry go round of our maze of mental entrapment.
· Ask “What is balance in my life”?
· What do I give up that no longer serves me and what do I replace it with, we have to find something to fill the hole of our wants. Excellent point of enquire with others during your first ayahuasca retreat.
· Ask “What is reciprocity?”
· Bring an object to the retreat that holds value for your inner world. Pictures of those that have been significant to you, whether alive or dead. Spiritual beings or places that inspire you, objects that reflect bonded relationship. These can be powerful tools to hold, physically and mentally during first ayahuasca ceremony.
· Meditation - a finding of peace and focus through concentration of the mind so that we do not fall prey to the wandering of our associative monkey mind. It helps us to sit in presence during ceremony, it acts as a container to mix our ayahuasca experiences within.
Chance favors a prepared mind
To conclude, preparation is everything, as it is said “chance favors a prepared mind”. There is no such thing as to be over prepared in an event. Do as much as you can in order to broaden your experience and to make use of the time as your own personal investment. In many ways the enthusiasm of preparation takes you like the zest of energy when starting a new relationship - let it physically, intellectually and emotionally move you.
If you want to know more about ayahuasca experiences then read our special blog on life after ayahuasca