Working with Ayahuasca
The initial work is focused on cleansing and purifying your physical body to prepare you for the next stages. One quite reasonable expectation is that you will nearly always go through a strong purge (hence the name given to Ayahuasca in some quarters – La Purga) – with considerable vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Some people have unrealistically high expectations of their first ceremonies: to see breathtaking visions at an early stage is rare, although each person is different. If you see no visions in your first ceremonies, this is not unusual. Your persistence, patience and determination will lead you to the more visionary states after you have carried out considerably essential physical and emotional healing.
You may then move to more profound emotional and psychological work: clearing your mind and body of negative energy that has built up over the years, often seeing various emotional traumas and crises in a different light, and from a different angle. You will often gain more understanding of the reasons why you have been through the various phases (or issues) in your life, both good and bad. Many people discover a greater sense of purpose and destiny in their life through working with Ayahuasca.
You may also see a proliferation of colours, lights, geometric patterns, animals, etc. These are actually somewhat peripheral to the Work: the more profound healing work is taking place on deeper levels, and in your own mind you will gain insights and understandings about the world and universe around you.
That said, it is impossible to outline exactly what will happen to you on your own personal inner journeys. Everyone is different and will go through their own deeply personal experiences. No ceremony is ever the same as another, and even the most experienced voyager cannot predict what direction their visions will take, although there often seems to be a sense of a “course” (in the educational sense!) being followed, when one looks back over a series of ceremonies. (Shanon, 2002)
Eventually, incredibly vivid visions may come to you – often revealing profound knowledge to you about your place in the universe, the plant and animal kingdoms, and perhaps even revealing life in other dimensions and galaxies. After considerable work, the spirits of the plants – the ibo in Shipibo – or sometimes ancient shamans in their spirit-form – will reveal themselves to you, and, depending on your intent and level of commitment, may want to work with you to help others. Please note this level will not normally be achieved on a workshop! These levels of learning in the world of Ayahuasca are the province of more intensive apprenticeships with a Maestra. .
It is important to not set your expectations too high. Working with Ayahusca is very complicated, and each and every ceremony will be very different. She will work with you in ways you could never have dreamed of, but will never respond to demands. Sometimes, when you are in the process of cleansing and purifying your emotions, your mood can become low. You must understand this is all part of the healing process.
It is also very important to understand what the Maestra’s role is. Quite simply, they are people from the Peruvian Amazon who are healers. Some participants will attend a workshop with an expectation that Maestras are spiritual gurus which they aren’t. Although they straddle different worlds, and possess the knowledge and wisdom of plant spirits and medicines, they are still normal people, simply carrying out their role, which although it to Westerners may seem highly unusual, is an accepted one within the context of the Amazon rainforest peoples.
They enjoy what they do, and are very happy to be working with you in the workshops. Their motivation is to heal and teach, transmitting knowledge wherever possible. They are all kind, warm and compassionate people – but please do not expect to obtain the answers akin to Buddha’s or Yogananda Paramahansa’s – that is not their role!
The plants may be able to lead you to your own metaphysical conclusions: they can certainly help you transform spiritually and reach better physical health. But the results are ultimately down to you, and your intent.