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.
These two plants grow in close proximity in the amazonian region. Where there is an ayahuasca vine, you will find a chacruna plant near by. But, there are a massive amount of plants which also grow in this same region near ayahuasca vines that do not combine to bring about a hallucinatory experience. Every plant in the region has a use and the tribes people grow up learning the medicinal properties of plants before they ever learn to read and write. This is an essential part of their survival and often implemented into the language they speak. Because of this we can deduct that the knowledge was passed down verbally in songs, like icaros. Anthropologists have estimated they began taking ayahuasca some 5,000 years ago. It is possible, but not likely, an accident of the brewer. So then how did these, so called, primitive people know?
Let us imagine they were not primitive people, they held a knowledge vastly different from our own. They could feel plant energy. For those of us who have closer relationships with plants and entheogens, this is easier to understand. If you lived in not just a jungle, but the amazon jungle, reading plant energy is part of your survival toolkit. There are plants in the amazon that can easily kill a human, there are plants that can save your life. If other animals can sense what plants are beneficial to them, why not humans? The tribes believe the plants have spirits and that you can hear the plants, they are living things just like anything else. By listening to the plants on a profound level, it is believed they were able to speak with the spirits. The spirits came to them and told them how to use the plants to heal.
Then there is the theory where humans are not insightful to their surroundings and the idea to mix chacruna leaf and ayahuasca together came from an outside source. Depending on who you speak to this could mean gods or aliens told the people to mix the plants. Who it was depends on the perspective of the storyteller. It is fun to speculate how such an important life saver in amazonian medicine came to be.
It is an important teaching in letting things be as they are. We may never know how exactly ayahuasca tea came to fruition, but we do know we are grateful for it, that is most important. This medicine saves lives and brings forth great positive personal change. It is fair to say there is no other entheogen like it.
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.
We ask if you are interested in giving back that you do by being conscientious when you return to your country. This we believe whole heartedly is more important than putting money into any organization or charity. What the world needs is good people doing good deeds. Find something that can help make a difference in your community or one closeby, change starts at home with you. Continue on a path to serve others in any way you can. It is as simple as maybe seeing trash on the ground and picking it up or helping your elderly neighbors.
Be conscientious in consuming. Mother earth is essential to our survival and the survival of earth’s creatures. Try to minimize your consumption in every way you can. True happiness does not come from new clothes, cars or homes. The light is inside you and the more you practice a spiritual discipline the more you will understand the difference between need and want.
Eat a healthy diet for your body and mind. Support local organic. If you eat meat, eat quality and be sure to give your gratitude to the animal who gave you its life. A small positive gesture can go a long way with your intention.
Grow spiritually and intellectually. Never stop learning. Spread knowledge where you can, but do not be forceful. Take the time to listen to others. Do not rush your life. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy life for its simple pleasures.
You can tell people whom you think may benefit from an entheogenic experience, about the retreat, but try and leave out specific details of your experience. This tends to generate an expectation and it is better for everyone to go into their retreat ceremonies with a clear mind, free of expectations.
Each participant has an experience as unique as the life they have lived before taking ayahuasca. In the many ceremonies you will take part in, it is difficult to say which one will be your “breakthrough” ceremony. What we can tell you are a couple of positive possibilities, which in the moment are entirely introspective.
Ayahuasca unlike other entheogens is an inward encounter with yourself, the positive and the negative. Seeing the negative allows you to understand and liberate yourself. Imagine you had been carrying a heavy metal backpack with guilt, sadness, anger, etc and it was suddenly lifted off your shoulders. Many who take ayahuasca find a deep level of understanding and forgiveness, sometimes for others, sometimes for themselves. Liberation is a common experience among participants.
Once you have the opportunity to see yourself, you will feel empowered. You may find the courage to change. This could mean, for example, moving past relationships which no longer serve you. Depression is often lifted away in an ayahuasca ceremony and you may find yourself evolved and balanced. Trusting your natural intuition and operating from inner guidance may come without a second thought. You may acquire the knowledge your body is a temple for your spirit, the medicine may show you to begin to care for it as such. It may interest you to try new methods in order to continue heightening your spiritual connection after your ceremonies. There are a myriad of positive benefits which may occur after taking ayahuasca.
While these prospects are alluring it is important to remember ayahuasca is a strong, sometimes difficult process that takes inner courage and extraordinary effort to work on yourself before you can arrive at a grand life change. It may be your first ceremony or your 7th, but it is essential to have patience and work with the spirit of the plant. If you are ready to meet your spirit and connect with mother ayahuasca, you will in time. It has been said once you decide to take ayahuasca, it begins working on you. When you feel called, you can begin a new chapter in a new direction with your intention fueling your spiritual and personal development.