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That may sound bat-shit crazy (hey, a lot of this stuff sounds bat-shit crazy) but the medicine takes you to meet universal consciousness and the funny thing about “U. So (big surprise), when you make your decision, she starts communicating with you. But be reassured it’s not “your dad’s tobacco.” Instead, it’s mapacho tobacco that has a rich, sweet smell that’s quite unlike the chemically adulterated stuff in commercial cigarettes.Tobacco is used to “seal the container” — meaning it’s blown in places around the (sacred meeting place) whether this is a purpose built round building or any kind of space adapted for the purpose. This is sometimes done by the shaman lighting a cigarette made from hand-rolled mapacho tobacco and inhaling it and blowing it on you (e.g., on your head/crown chakra and chest/heart chakra). The lists usually discourage or forbid red meat and pork, salt, hot spices, alcohol (that’s a big one), avocados and a few other items. If you research the “aya diet” you’ll encounter lists of what to eat and some of these differ.But I get far more out of the experience when I set an intention.Beginners are advised to keep their intention simple the first time.(Now you see why not a lot of young people in South America are apprentice shamans…) Anyway, I practiced abstinence and had powerful visions my first time. I imagine one of the most neglected areas of preparation among people traveling from busy industrial society to ayahuasca retreat centres is the simple act of paying attention, by which I mean noticing () your mood, what’s around you, nature, and so on. You don’t have to think of it in those terms, if you don’t care to.I’ll never know what would have happened otherwise, but I imagine my experience could have been less. I don’t understand people who finish a work deadline, jump on a plane and drink ayahuasca the next day. Okay, so the big day has arrived and you’re in some ayahuasca retreat having eaten super-healthy vegan food for weeks and weeks, avoided alcohol and had no sex for what seems like forever. I quite like it, but then I like the Lord of the Rings movies, so finding out there really is a spirit world is quite cool in my books.
Note that I only sip the water as needed, and the tea is more for the latest part of the ceremony when the medicine is dissipating. I also bring a small flashlight with a fresh battery the end of which I cover with transparent red tape (so I don’t blind my fellow seekers in the dark).It’s common for newbies to be nervous before an ayahuasca ceremony. (You know, the type that allows the Kung Fu masters to break stacks of concrete blocks with a single hand chop.) In the Upper Amazon, Mother Ayahuasca is described as a jealous lover. If you’re seeking a super-duper big-ass experience, try being abstinent for, like, six weeks or longer, if you can manage. Remember, you’re not having a “drug experience” — this is a (something not emphasized enough in descriptions, I feel) and certain things are done that seem odd to a person raised in a non-shamanic culture. In the Amazon, this would be thought of in terms of guarding against evil spirits, dark energies, and so on. Pity the fool who finds herself backpacking in Peru and decides to drink ayahuasca on a whim after a week of hamburgers and mohitos. Spicy food may not offend the gods so much as your butt and mouth if you vomit or get diarrhea… In Asia they call this preserving one’s — one’s life force — and it’s all about cultivating energy.As the shamans often say, if you bring no intention to the ceremony, you may see a pretty light show and colors and not much else.
In truth, the first time I drank I felt it was worth the price of flying to Peru just for what I saw in the first 15 minutes.
(Note: Don’t place your bucket where people may accidentally kick it over in the night.) 8. Of course what to wear for ceremony is a highly personal decision, and there are no hard rules. I mean, when I think of the profundity of what I might experience, it seems like a copout to not “dress for occasion.” I wear white Shipibo clothing with beautiful embroidery because of the pleasure it gives me wearing it and for the statement it makes via which I honor the whole experience.