Healing with Ayahuasca
The cornerstone of ayahuasca healing is shadow work; healing deep seated emotional and psychological issues clearing your subconscious mind, body and energetic system of negative energies. Ayahuasca also helps to release negative, fear filled patterns that have built up over many years through a process of witnessing, integrating and releasing emotional traumas, and seeing new perspectives on the overall biography of your life. You will often gain more understanding of the reasons why you have been through the various phases, difficulties and painful experiences in your life. This shadow work is the key to discovering an overall greater sense of purpose, presence and peace in your life.
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 with considerable vomiting and/or diarrhea – hence ayahuasca being referring to as ‘La Purga’ in many parts of the Amazon.
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, but should not be your primary goal. If you see no visions in your first ceremonies, this is not unusual. Your persistence, patience and determination will often, yet not always, lead you to the more visionary states after you have carried out considerably essential physical and emotional healing. It is important to understand that an ayahuasca retreat at the Temple is focused on deep healing and not ‘tripping’. Although visions are a common component of the ayahuasca healing journey, they are not necessarily the primary reasons why we drink the medicine.
However, it is common to see a proliferation of colors, 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 insights and understandings about the world and universe around you will typically arise from within, not outside of yourself. 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 ayahuasca drinker 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.
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 (Meraya) may reveal themselves to you. Depending on your attention, concentration, 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 arduous and highly intensive apprenticeships with master healers of the Amazon.
It is important to not set your expectations too high. You will always receive what you need, which isn’t always what you want. Working with ayahuasca is very complex, and each and every ceremony will be very different. The medicine will typically work with you in ways you cannot expect, and will not respond to impatient demands. Sometimes, when you are in the process of cleansing and purifying your emotions, your mood can become low. Like any cleanse, it is common to feel worse during the healing process, before your feel better. If you can understand that true healing isn’t about ‘feeling better, but better feeling’. One of the keys to liberation of our shadow material is in taking the unfamiliar path of facing our shadow and allowing difficult feelings and emotions to surface, accepting them, integrating them and then releasing them. It is important to understand this is all part of the healing process.