Integration, I am you and you are me

Everyone has a different reason for coming to Peru to experience Ayahuasca, San Pedro and other sacred plant medicines. Some of us need to overcome trauma, free ourselves from bad habits, go deeper spiritually, heal diseases and ailments or find new inspiration. Our practice is in using the plants mother nature intended for our use to heal mind, body and spirit.

Participants want to know how to integrate the medicines, because what it is the point in coming all the way and such a huge undertaking if you go return to your old ways?

This is a common question we receive from our retreat goers here at Shamanic Vida. With Ayahuasca, any imbalances conscious or unconscious rest assured will be brought up for examination by the medicine. This tends to confront our ego and leave it feeling uncomfortable sometimes, no matter how life-changing the experience was.

Here is where the San Pedro comes in. It highlights and restores our truths for us, brings a halo of gratefulness into our lives. We remember to be with our friends and families, the ancestors and parents from which we were created, be grateful for the meals we easily eat, the house we live in and more. The teachings of San Pedro integrate themselves naturally over a long period of time. By doing San Pedro with your ayahuasca retreat in Cusco, the ayahuasca teachings become more concreted into your consciousness. 

These two plants together lock-in your ability to carry the momentum forward and make the changes you were encouraged to make.

Transmit the understanding the you in Peru and the you in your home country, are the same person. Respect yourself and your body throughout the process, just like we do here at our retreat center, this helps keep the glow and makes integration far easier.

Trust the unknown, discover, be humble, forgive, celebrate, and love. The medicine shows us the universe and we are all one, so treat life this way.

“Lak’ech Ala K’in” – Mayan: I am you and you are me.

What shamans do!

Chances are you have taken part in or observed through television a shamanic practice at some point in your life. Depending if it was a documentary or cartoon your original viewpoints on shamanism will be varied. As it resurfaces in our modern times, we must reiterate what it is shamans do. This practice known all over the world is said to have begun in Asia over 40,000 years ago, however there is evidence of shamanism in paleolithic sites throughout Europe, Africa and Australia. This means even though there is not a specfic point of origin in shamanic practices, the common themes we see are not cultural, but practical. Shamanic practice has some to do with traits and more so is founded throughout cultures on the healing practices of psychobiology and the immunological system.

Make it to the end and see the list of common ailments treated by shamanism!

ayahuasca ceremony protection
Tobacco protection used by peruvian shaman for ayahuasca ceremony.

Illness in shamanic belief is linked to your psycology. This means you have the power along with a shaman to restore your health through finding equlibrium in your body, mind and spirit. At all of our ayahuasca retreats and the san pedro retreats, this is the most important factor, your extraordinary effort to let the shamans be your guides and help restore your health. In Peru, shamans are always relating the importance of intention, your intention along with the intention of the shaman in any ceremony is key. Whether the shamanic ceremony be in Peru, Bali, Mongolia or India.

When you participate in a ceremony you are bringing energy to the shaman and asking them to help heal through this holistic medicine. It takes a certain level of faith or spiritual interest. By using life force energy and a few key tools, the shaman helps resurface repressed memories, feelings of depression, anxiety, compulsive disorders and more. In ceremonies shamans have instruments to heighten your senses and activate chemicals in your brain, through taste, smell and touch. Shamans in Peru use plants, feathers, tobacco smoke, song, music and perfumes as their tools. It can be summed up as a performance art, but anyone who has experienced a true shamanic healing session knows it goes much further than this. In other posts, we will talk about spirit realms, animal guides, cosmological beliefs and the 8th chakra, the shamans chakra.

Do not forget, there is science behind the chants of shamans! The rattles and drumming used to bring about a state of trance and elict these repressed memories create endorphins. Endorphins are released in the human brain during these sessions. These chemicals activated naturally in your brain decrease pain and anxiety, and increase joy, with long lasting effects. They are noted by pharmacologists to be as effective as valium in their tranquilizing effects. It has been said, and you can quote me on this, that a shamans client who reinacts their repressed memory through a healing session, 80% will be healed. In a psychiatrists office, through art, talk, draw, or paint therapy, success rates are only 30%. – Raymond Price The Endorphins

The following are types of significant issues often healed by shamanic journeying. Ayahuasca retreats are relevant to all of these and San Pedro (Huachuma) will be marked for the ailments it best treats.

  • Depression (San Pedro)
  • Loss and grief (San Pedro)
  • Trauma and shock
  • Addiction
  • Abuse (sexual, physical and emotional)
  • Anxieties (San Pedro is especially helpful here.)
  • Compulsive disorders
  • Important life transitions and decisions (San Pedro)
  • Connecting with loved ones and ancestors
  • Clarification of your life purpose (San Pedro)

Suffering severe anxiety and paranoia and how ayahuasca can help.

Anxiety is a paralysing disease. It affects our minds, bodies and hearts in a way no other subjective problem can. Being stricken by paranoia on top of anxiety is a debilitated life. People who get lost in this pattern can feel hopeless, depressed and sometimes suicidal. It is important to take swift action to liberate yourself and begin to live with calm energy.

Ayahuasca works on three levels your mind, body and spirit. First, it begins by cleansing your system, the body, of toxins built up from years of not eating right and putting a strong master plant such as cannabis in your system for recreational use. Once it has finished there, it moves onto your mind. It finds the roots which cause this anxiety and paranoia, and at that point it reassociates your minds triggers. The roots are rewired to activate a different part of your brain, a new calm understanding.

From there ayahuasca will work on your spirit giving you what you need to liberate yourself from the endless cycle you were in and the courage you need to change. Ayahuasca is a strong master plant and will help wash away the negative effects caused by cannabis use. Intention is key, the ayahuasca will do hard work on your body, but you will have to put in effort on your part as well. Wanting to learn to love and respect the plants we have been given by mother earth is important in this particular recovery. A plant is not just a plant, plants have spirits, if we misuse them we suffer.

This is not a problem to be ashamed of as it is becoming quite common. Not all plants pair well with all types of people. The sooner you can come to an ayahuasca retreat the better. You will find your center again and begin living peacefully with your spirit and all spirits around you, free from the clutches of anxiety and paranoia.

*We recommend a ceremony of San Pedro along with ayahuasca in these particular cases.

I need more ayahuasca sessions…

Needing to continue your therapy is the basis of needing more sessions. If it was physical therapy or emotional therapy it would not be such a surprise to hear, but when it comes to ayahuasca it feels disheartening. Even though ayahuasca is an emotional, physical and mental therapy. In these cases it is important to remember to work patiently with the ayahuasca and know it is still working in your spirit, only in a different way than you expected.

Coming from the hustle and bustle of western societies it is easy to generate an expectation of wanting the medicine to work in one session. Some centers make grandiose promises; in one session you can cure all your problems. This is not always the case and certainly not the safest manner to go about an ayahuasca therapy. The spirit of the medicine is strong, but sometimes it needs to break down emotional and mental barriers built up over years. Then it can begin the work you think you need. As well, sometimes there is pertinent work you were unaware you needed.

It is a process of trusting in the medicine and gratitude for any experience you have. It is not a common occurrence, but sometimes it may be because of a calcified pineal gland, different psychological medicines taken over a long period of time have long term effects on our neurological systems and the ways they are triggered, or the ayahuasca could be doing purely physical and emotional work. Do not give up hope, we will guide you in how to continue preparing yourself to take ayahuasca again.

People have come to us from other centers because the ayahuasca medicine did not work for them there and with careful planning before their trip to our center, including many in depth conversations about their lifestyle and stricter diet, we have been able to help them have the breakthrough ceremony they were looking to have.

Sometimes the lesson may be as simple as patience.

Why is it important to follow the ayahuasca diet?

The ayahuasca diet you follow beforehand becomes a reflection of how you will consider and absorb the teachings of ayahuasca. It is important to have a clean vessel to receive the ayahuasca. Many of the foods we have listed off the diet are because they are harsh on your system. In fact ayahuasca is a harsh plant for your system and for this reason used in special ceremonies, not everyday. It is important it does not have to compete with other strong plants, foods or medicines to absorb in your system.

When this competition occurs the ayahuasca has to do extra work on your physical body. This may cause more nausea than normal, diarrhea, extreme heat or cold. It depends on the person. The emotional, mental or physical work the ayahuasca is going towards needs for your system to be clean first. For this reason we give an herbal cleanse on the first day, but it is in your best interest to follow the diet beforehand.

Following the diet is easier than it may sound at first and you will reap the benefits without knowing what you are avoiding. It is respect for the plant as well and beginning to work with the plant before you arrive is entirely in your benefit.