SPIRITUAL TERMINOLOGY AND MEANINGS

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Ayahuasca

What is ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a powerful psychoactive sacred plant brew used by shamans in South American indigenous cultures as part of a purification and shamanic journeying ritual.

The spirit of ayahuasca, known as Mama Ayahuasca, is said to work through those who ingest the brew, which is made from a concentrate created by ceremonially boiling the Banisteriopsis caapi vine with the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub. The psychoactive substance in ayahuasca is DMT (dimethyltryptamine).

What happens in an ayahuasca ceremony?

During an ayahuasca ceremony–typically held in the evenings–a properly trained shaman will clear the sacred space and prepare the individuals for their journey. Each participant will ingest the ayahuasca by drinking it, and settle in for a lengthy meditation. An ayahuasca trip may involve strong hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feelings of euphoria or feelings of terror and paranoia, depending on the individual.

The shaman leading the ceremony will offer spiritual guidance to participants throughout the course of the evening. An ayahuasca trip may last up to six hours.

Ayahuasca Tourism

Increasingly, ayahuasca has become a trendy activity for spiritual tourists. High-end wellness centers have begun cropping up in South American countries offering luxury experiences to Western tourists seeking enlightenment. There have also been documented incidents of fake shamans taking advantage of uneducated travelers, leading them out into the jungle for an alleged ceremony, dosing them with psychoactive drugs and then raping, robbing, murdering, or leaving them for dead.

Should you take ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a long and sacred indigenous tradition. It should be approached with the utmost respect and never treated as a vacation getaway or excursion activity. Ayahuasca is not a fun experience. It is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are ready to face the truth of themselves. Mama ayahuasca will not reveal her secrets to those deemed unworthy or unready. Instead, they may only experience fear and misery, or nothing at all.

Will ayahuasca make you enlightened?

Ayahuasca effects everyone in a unique way. It may momentarily reveal insights about yourself or your connection to the universe. It will not do your shadow work for you. Someone who has taken ayahuasca is not automatically enlightened. Many spiritual seekers take ayahuasca as a means of feeding their ego rather than exploring it, and Mama Aya knows which is which. Ayahuasca is a tool for shadow work and personal development, not enlightenment itself.

Take ayahuasca at your own risk.

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