I would like to share with you now how to up your chances of having the journeys you want with Mother Ayahuasca (assuming you want intense, visual, eye-opening and life-changing experiences).
Ayahuasca ceremonies (I call them journeys) are conducted at night. The energy of the moon is a feminine energy and works well in the background with the spirit of Ayahuasca. Each night that you work with Ayahuasca, the experience can last about 4-8 hours, sometimes more depending on how much of the medicine you drink and plenty of other factors. You usually start about 8pm sitting around in a circle, typically by candle-light, on your mat or light mattress, with a pillow, blanket, bucket and some toilet paper (to wipe your mouth after spitting/ purging as required).
How it Starts
Generally how it happens is the facilitators or shamans open the ceremony, use sage for cleansing, the shamans sing to the Ayahuasca spirit – to the bottle of the medicine infront of them and drink a little right after too.
The medicine is then passed around to each person in the ceremony via shot-glasses. Sometimes a mupacho (pure rolled tobacco) is passed around too and also sometimes a little piece of fruit or peppermint oil is given out too to help with the taste. I have found that Ayahuasca does not taste delicious in any way at all in my opinion, though I have encountered some people who don’t mind the taste too much. You then drink your dose of medicine, usually a half-filled to full small shot glass worth.
You then sit and wait and often about 30 or so minutes later, the shamans start to sing their Icaros (Ayahuasca songs) and your journey begins. You might feel the effects right after you drink the medicine or it might take you a few hours before you feel her with you.
Setting an intention
Some people choose to do it before working with Ayahuasca, some not. Personally I did find it extremely helpful to have intentions at the start. I have found that for others this works really well too. It allows you to “meet the medicine half way” The shamans often say that if you don’t bring any intention to your journey, you might see some pretty colours but that’s about it. So, if you’re serious about your healing, think intentions!
Personally I like to write my intentions for the ceremony in my journal and also keep it next to me throughout the ceremony. So far I haven’t looked at it during the night, but I do like the idea of having it physically next to me. Also when the morning comes and I want to jot down some learnings and ideas I discovered during my ceremony the night before, I can write these down right away.
Keep your intentions short too. Something like “Healing around my past relationship” or “I want to know who I am and why I am here” are some examples. Keep them short so that when the time comes you can easily remember them. It’s kind of like a mantra to keep you in track during your journey.
After you work with Ayahuasca for quite some time, you may choose to try saying simply “Show me what you need to” And you will feel when the time is right for this. It may also happen that you feel that setting intentions is right for you for every journey you undertake too. You will find your own way in due time.
As your mind journeys, your body will still need to be looked after. Keep a water bottle next to you with plenty of water and bring a blanket, pillow, journal, pen and a change of clothes in case you get too hot/too cold. I would advise against bringing crystals or other sharp objects. It will be dark and I doubt you want to step on these. Keep the purge bucket you will be given at the session close to you and away from the way of others as they may move around you.
Sitting up in meditation pose is a common way to journey and it’s also what I would recommended when a shaman is infront of you singing his Icaros songs (this is often something that shamans do during the Ayahuasca ceremonies, sing songs which have a multi-dimensional healing element, filled with visions)
You can also lie down on your mat, but know that by doing this, your visions will most likely intensify, so if it all gets too much – sit back up.
What to wear
Definitely dress comfy and I recommend you also wear white. Wearing white is said to allow for the shamans to work with you better and also to help you to attract positive spirits. Some people see a difference in their journeys based on what they wear (white coloured vs dark coloured clothing). I wear white when I journey. The colour also makes me feel clean, open and ready to receive. Usually there is no have-to’s when it comes to colours and the type of attire though, so you can be flexible.
How much to drink
You will know. 1-3 little cups (shot glass size) is the usual dose. Usually the more medicine you drink, the more intense your journey will be, although, sometimes this is not the case at all. There are times I see people that I take to our retreat centre that have just one cup and have the wildest journeys or may take three and it was a medium intensity experience. Sometimes a little will be all that’s needed – a little dose and mother Ayahuasca is ready to work with you and gives you a big one – it was what you needed!
Over many ceremonies of journeying, you may also find that you require less and less medicine each time you drink.
With most retreat centers, if during the ceremony you want more medicine, you simply ask (by knocking on the floor or something of the sort). Generally if you can barely move and are having crazy visions, you’re ok for now. If you’re communicating with mother Ayahuasca in the experience and she suggests it or you ask and you get a thumbs up or something of the sort from her go for it (you will find your own way to tell), drink more.
I remember one time when I was outside journeying with her and she suddenly asked me if I wanted to continue. I said yes and she told me to go inside the Maloca (big round hut where Ayahuasca ceremonies are typically conducted) I went in and at that very moment they started serving more Ayahuasca! At this ceremony the medicine was served at certain points in time for everybody who wanted it. And it was perfect timing for me to come in just as this happened. You will find when you’re in the experience, that everything is interlinked and you will probably be able to connect with anyone and everything easily and at any moment. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to experience. Just trust yourself, be open and enjoy the ride.
Be Humble and be Brave
Come into the journey with an openness to learn and have courage.
Come with a sense of respect, and definitely don’t do it just as something to tick off the bucket list or because “why not” or because your friends are. She has showed me some amazing amazing things (I share many of these lessons in my book as don’t quite have the space here to share the experiences here and now, find it here
When you work with her, have faith, be like an open-minded student, be willing to see, be willing to go into what makes you feel uncomfortable and face whatever you need to face. And you will be rewarded.
You will know what I am mean when the time comes, so be brave and enjoy the journey!
a. GOING CRAZY
You might think you’re going crazy and will never get back to sanity. This has happened to me and a number of people I have taken on our journeys. But what happens is you will come back to sanity. You will be ok 🙂
Just remember to make sure you are fully honest when applying for a retreat about any present mental disorders ok? Some of these are counter-indicated for work with Ayahuasca.
b. MEETING YOUR BODY’S PRIMARY NEEDS
You may be wondering if you will be able to make it to the toilet on time and capable to go when the time comes. What we tend to typically see is when you are journeying, you could be caught up in a whole other world – but if someone asks you something or you need to do something in this world (like drink some water, go to the bathroom, answer or ask something) you can quickly switch back and do what you need to, and when the time is right, continue journeying. Working with Kambo medicine before doing Ayahuasca is also something you could do to develop more self-guidance while in the medicine. This is what I found from personal experience. Find more about Kambo medicine here.
c. DEATH INSIDE AYAHUASCA
During your experience you might feel like you’re dying. If you feel like you’re dying, consider that it may be the death of the ego. Sounds a little crazy, but during the experience judge for yourself for what to do. Trust yourself.
When I felt I was dying inside my Ayahuasca journey, I went with it and I died, though I found my body was still safe and ok. And I was reborn and it was a death of my ego. Actually, I have felt on many occasions that I was dying. And I went through with the process and I lost my judgements of myself, I got my playfulness back and on one occasion I was reborn into what felt like a baby dragon (it was an amazing experience, truly and there were so many powerful lessons to learn!) When I came out of the Ayahuasca experience I was human, I was ok, and in the following few ceremonies, the story continued in a crazy twist, in a different way. A difficult but powerful healing was to follow.. Anyhow I was glad I went through the process as I watched parts of myself that didn’t serve me die over the ceremonies.
I was bewildered by how fast I was healing.
By the way, I share the lessons I have learnt from mother Ayahuasca in my book. I have written it to help people to heal themselves, understand what the journeys are like and better prepare themselves for Ayahuasca.
You can get your free copy just here.
What’s next for you?
I hope that this article has acted as a useful guide for Journeying with Mother Ayahuasca.
For more assistance, check out related articles here
I would also love to share with you my latest book: “Lessons from the Spirit World: Your Guide to Journeying with Ayahuasca” You can grab a free downloadable version of it here
In my experience, working with Ayahausca has been one of the most, if not the most profound experiences of my life. I would love to share more with you to help you in your Ayahuasca journeys, share lessons I have learnt from her during my experiences and help you out in your healing journey as a whole.
Feel free to stay in touch with us and can also check out our next Ayahuasca retreat here
Lots of Love!