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AYAHUASCA

A teacher, a guide, a friend.

Known as the "vine of the spirits", Ayahuasca has been used by at least seventy different indigenous peoples in South and Central America, including Panama, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. It is one of the oldest known healing methods and has been used for over 5000 years by shamans as a way to expand consciousness, heal, and promote personal growth.

Ayahuasca is a traditional plant medicine that has been used for centuries by indigenous people in the Amazon basin for its healing and transformative properties. The Ayahuasca vine and the leaves of the Chacruna plant are used to make this entheogenic tea, which contains the psychoactive compound DMT. Ayahuasca can bring about a range of effects including spiritual insights, emotional healing, and physical detoxification. It has become increasingly popular in recent years as a tool for personal growth, healing, and spiritual exploration.

 

Known as the "vine of the spirits", Ayahuasca has been used by at least seventy different indigenous peoples in South and Central America, including Panama, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. It is one of the oldest known healing methods and has been used for over 5000 years by shamans as a way to expand consciousness, heal, and promote personal growth.

Today, Ayahuasca continues to be used as a powerful tool for healing and personal transformation. We provide personal growth retreats with Ayahuasca and other plant medicines in Iquitos, Peru.

HISTORY & BACKGROUND

Ayahuasca is a powerful and sacred medicine that has been used for thousands of years in indigenous shamanic practices. Its name comes from the Quechua language, with "aya" meaning spirit or ancestor and "huasca" meaning vine or rope. It is often used in traditional healing ceremonies led by experienced shamans who are knowledgeable in the use of the medicine and the spiritual traditions that surround it.

The preparation of Ayahuasca involves intention and prayer, with the brew being cooked over two days before it is ingested. The medicine is known for its properties of physical cleansing of the digestive system and whole body, including removing stored mucus and killing parasites. However, purging, which includes vomiting and diarrhea, is a typical and common side effect.

 

Ayahuasca has been successful in treating a range of issues such as addiction and depression, as well as other internal day-to-day issues that are difficult to resolve. It has been described as experiencing ten years of therapy in just one night, providing access to sub and superconscious wisdom from deep within and outside of ourselves.

The Shipibo indigenous tribes from Peru have been considered to be the spiritual attendants of the jungle and inner healing for over 2000 years. They cultivate many of the traditions of their ancestors, including the ritual use of Ayahuasca. The most important aspect of Shipibo culture is their deeply-rooted spirituality.

In the Shipibo culture, shamans work as plant-based healers of physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Their knowledge is believed to originate from the plants themselves. During the deep Ayahuasca trance, the medicine reveals to the shaman the luminous geometric patterns of energy, which drift towards the shaman's mouth and metamorphose into a healing chant known as an icaro. The icaros, or healing songs, transform the visual code into an audible code, allowing the healing energy to penetrate much deeper into the field of the recipient. The visionary art of the Shipibo brings this paradigm into a physical form, which is represented by their beautiful patterned textiles.

Known as the "vine of the spirits", Ayahuasca has been used by at least seventy different indigenous peoples in South and Central America, including Panama, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. It is one of the oldest known healing methods and has been used for over 5000 years by shamans as a way to expand consciousness, heal, and promote personal growth.
Shamana Isabel with Modern Ancient Co-founder Ama-ra Sen at Modern Ancien Sanctuary in Iquitos, Peu, South America.

BENEFITS OF AYAHUASCA

Ayahuasca has been used for centuries by indigenous people in the Amazon for its potential physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. Here are some of the commonly reported benefits of taking ayahuasca:

 

  • Increased self-awareness: Ayahuasca can bring up deep-seated emotions, memories, and patterns of behavior that are often difficult to access in ordinary consciousness. This increased self-awareness can help individuals identify and address issues that may be holding them back in their lives.

  • Spiritual growth: Many people report profound spiritual experiences during ayahuasca ceremonies, including a sense of connection to the divine, a feeling of oneness with the universe, and a heightened sense of compassion and empathy for others.

  • Emotional healing: Ayahuasca can help individuals process and release emotions that may be stuck or repressed, such as grief, anger, or trauma. This can lead to a greater sense of emotional balance and well-being.

  • Addiction treatment: Ayahuasca has shown promise as a treatment for addiction, particularly to substances like alcohol and opioids. Some studies suggest that it may help individuals break free from the cycle of addiction by helping them address underlying psychological issues and gain a new perspective on their lives.

  • Physical healing: Ayahuasca contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may have potential health benefits. Some people report improvements in physical ailments such as chronic pain, digestive issues, and autoimmune disorders.

It's important to note that these benefits are based on anecdotal reports and preliminary research, and more rigorous scientific studies are needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of ayahuasca. It's also important to approach ayahuasca with caution and respect, as it is a powerful medicine that can have unpredictable effects.

Shamana Isabel at Modern Ancien Sanctuary in Iquitos, Peru

CEREMONY PREPARATION 

Preparing for an ayahuasca ceremony is an important part of the process, as it can help you to set intentions, clear your mind, and ensure that your body is in a healthy state to receive the medicine. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for an ayahuasca ceremony:

 

  • Set intentions: Before the ceremony, take some time to reflect on why you are seeking to work with ayahuasca and what you hope to gain from the experience. Setting clear intentions can help you to focus your mind and guide your experience.

  • Avoid certain foods: In the days leading up to the ceremony, it's important to avoid certain foods and substances that can interfere with the effects of ayahuasca or cause physical discomfort. These may include alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, and spicy or fatty foods. Some traditions also recommend avoiding sex, drugs, and alcohol for several days before the ceremony.

  • Follow dietary requirements: Ayahuasca ceremonies often involve specific dietary requirements that may vary depending on the tradition or facilitator. For example, some traditions require a strict vegetarian or vegan diet for several days before and after the ceremony, while others may allow some animal products. It's important to follow these dietary requirements to ensure that your body is in the best possible state to receive the medicine.

  • Hydrate and rest: It's important to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest in the days leading up to the ceremony, as dehydration and exhaustion can make the experience more challenging.

  • Practice mindfulness: In the days leading up to the ceremony, it can be helpful to practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. This can help to calm your mind and prepare you for the experience

While it is necessary to prepare as best as you can, it is equally as important to surrender to the experience and trust that the medicine gives you exactly what you need (and not always what you want!) for where you are in your journey right now.

Ayahuasca embroided cloth at Modern Ancient Sanctuary in Iquitos, Peru
Suya Devi, Co-founder of Modern Ancient Sanctuary in Iquitos, Peru

MEDICINE ART

Deep in the heart of the Amazon

A sacred vine grows tall and strong
Its name is Ayahuasca

And its power echoes on and on.

The shamans of the jungle know

Its secrets and its ancient lore
A potion to expand the mind

And heal the soul at its core.

The tea is brewed with care and love

From the vine and leaves that bind
And those who drink its bitter taste

Unlock a door to the divine.

Visions come, both bright and dark

As the spirit takes its flight
Through the realms of time and space

And into the mystic light.

The medicine reveals to us

What we need to see and know
Our fears, our hopes, our deepest truths

In a powerful, healing flow.

For Ayahuasca is not just a plant

But a teacher, a guide, a friend
Leading us to the depths of our being

And back to the world again.

Now let's celebrate this sacred vine

And the wisdom it bestows
For in its gentle embrace we find

A path to healing and growth.

- My Teacher and Friend by Suya Devi

RECOMMENDED MATERIALS

Ayahuasca is a powerful plant medicine that has been used by indigenous people in South America for centuries. If you're interested in learning more about ayahuasca below are some suggested materials. 

Reading

 

  • "The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook: The Essential Guide to Ayahuasca Journeying" by Chris Kilham.

  • "The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge" by Jeremy Narby 

  • "Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon's Sacred Vine" edited by Luis Eduardo Luna and Steven F. White.

  • "Ayahuasca: Soul Medicine of the Amazon Jungle" by Javier Regueiro 

  • "The Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience" by Robert Tindall 

  • "Ayahuasca in My Blood" by Peter Gorman

Documentaries/ Videos

  • "The Sacred Science" - This documentary follows eight people with various health issues work with indigenous healers and Ayahuasca. It provides an intimate look at the healing potential of the medicine and the culture surrounding it.

  • "Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul" - This documentary explores the cultural and spiritual significance of Ayahuasca and features interviews with indigenous healers, scientists, and Westerners who have worked with the medicine. 

  • "Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines" - While not solely focused on Ayahuasca, this documentary examines the use of various psychedelic medicines for healing and spiritual exploration. 

  • "Ayahuasca and the Shamanic Awakening" - This video features a conversation between Dr. Gabor Maté and indigenous shaman Guillermo Arévalo. They discuss the use of Ayahuasca in shamanic healing practices and the potential benefits and risks of the medicine.

  • "The Jungle Prescription" - This short documentary follows the story of a man who turns to Ayahuasca to help him overcome addiction and depression.

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