AYAHUASCA - THE VINE OF THE SOUL

 Ayahuasca is the combination of the quechua words “aya” meaning “soul” and “huasca” meaning “vine,” thus the name ayahuasca can be interpreted as “the vine of the soul.”

The sacred Ayahuasca is a healing brew from the Amazon that is believed to have been used for thousands of years by indigenous healers (curanderos) across the upper Amazon throughout Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. There are over 40 other names known for this sacred medicine, including caapi, natema, mihi and yage. 

​Unlike all other sacred plant medicines, ayahuasca is made from two plants – the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) – a woody liana with high alkaloid concentrations – and the leaf of the chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis). Both plants are collected from the jungle to create a potent mixture that offers access to the realm of spirits and an energetic world that that we are typically unable to perceive in our ordinary state of consciousness.

​Traditionally, it was only the shamans in the community drinking the ayahuasca brew themselves and then diagnosing the “sober” patient with the guidance of the plant spirit that would direct the shaman to the right plants to use as medicine and the treatment for healing. In the past, Ayahuasca has also been consumed to locate lost items, find the best hunting or fishing grounds, or resolve personal disputes . In recent decades, ayahuasca has been adopted by contemporary syncretic religious movements such as the Uni’ do Vegetal (UDV), Barquena, and Santo Daime sects in Brasil for enhanced spiritual connection and is being more and more sought out by open-minded truth-seekers from all over the world for its visionary properties as well as for healing.

​Known as “Abuelita” (Grandmother in Spanish) and feminine spirit of the Amazon, Ayahuasca offers healing, introspection, and a deep connection to our inner selves. Huachuma, on the other hand, is the masculine plant teacher of the Andes mountains and is rather expansive and macro-cosmic. 

While the specific effects are completely unique for each person and for every ceremony, 

in most cases, Ayahuasca takes you on a journey of profound reflection, opening your perception to a deep and transforming understanding of yourself, your life, your existence, your worldview, and your inner conditioning.

This visionary plant medicine can therefore provide a powerful emotional and cognitive liberation and a strong mystical connection with the energies of the universe. Ayahuasca expands your consciousness and grants the vision of the present, past, future. As she works on opening all chakras, many users report having experienced the feeling of unconditional divine love and a state of peace and harmony. 

It is not unusual for people to feel like they are going to die when they are in an Ayahuasca experience. If you feel that you are dying, it’s really the death of the ego you are experiencing as there is a part of you that is trying to resist and afraid to go into the places where you are egoless, eternal, and where the divine lives in you. 

​Often also called “la Purga” or “the Purge”, Ayahuasca has strong purification effects. She cleanses of heavy physical and emotional energies and healing deep wounds and scars of your heart, mind and spirit through a powerful purgative process. The purging process can take various forms, such as vomiting, diarrheas, shaking, strong emotions, tears, yawning etc. 

Ayahuasca relieves stress and depression, transforms anger and suffering, and anything that is holding you back from evolving in love, compassion, happiness, balance, peace and wisdom.

As Ayahuasca works on all levels of our being, this medicine has proven to be very powerful in curing various diseases of unknown origin.

Ayahuasca is a traditional combination of Chacruna (DMT) and the Caapi vine (MAOI). Over time, people started experimenting with the ingredients and found that Mimosa (DMT) and Harmala (MAOI) is the most potent and smooth trip if used correctly.

 

The highly psychoactive substance DMT is the only entheogen that is also naturally produced in small amounts in the human body. It is a neurotransmitter produced in our brain from the pineal gland which is responsible for dreams in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase. DMT also exists in the majority of green leafy vegetables.

Taken by itself, it does not have any psychedelic effects since the Monoamino oxidase (MAO) enzymes in our gut naturally break down the DMT before it has the chance to get into our bloodstream. The caapi vine in the Ayahuasca brew contains a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which allows the dimethyltriptamine (DMT) containing chakruna to be released into the blood stream and to cross the blood-brain barrier. By combining DMT with MAO inhibitors, ayahuasca interferes with the function of these enzymes, preventing them from breaking down any DMT for a certain period of time. This gives the DMT within ayahuasca sufficient time to remain active and to make its way to the receptors in the brain, triggering the offset of neurons. The drink typically begins to take effect within a half an hour of consumption, and wears off after ca. six hours.  

With the Ayahuasca unfolding its effects, various areas of the brain are triggered, such as the amygdala, where emotional memories are stored, including stressful and traumatic ones. The neo-cortex – responsible for our sensory perception, generation of motor commands, reasoning, conscious thought, and language -, as well as the insular cortex – playing a key role in consciousness, compassion and empathy – are also activated. The interplay of all of this, combined with the sense of being hyper-aware, allows us to do deep work on past issues and emotions and to experience life from a new perspective with enhanced mindfulness and compassion.

It is not unusual for people to feel like they are going to die when they are in an Ayahuasca experience. If you feel that you are dying, it’s really the death of the ego you are experiencing as there is a part of you that is trying to resist and afraid to go into the places where you are egoless, eternal, and where the divine lives in you.

This has great implications for the use of DMT and Ayahuasca in the treatment of substance abuse (drugs and alcoholism) and any other addiction, psychological illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as physical manifestations such as cancer and auto-immune disorders.

Our ayahuasca ceremonies last about five to eight hours and take place at night in a beautiful purpose-built ceremonial building (maloca) or ceremonial retreat room.

Our ceremonies are facilitated by Paco, who will start the journey with a group conversation, giving an introduction about the process with Abuela Ayahuasca, explaining and answering questions about the tradition, benefits of the ceremony and how to integrate these processes, Intentions, get to know each other better, explore our inner world, our purpose in life, to live better, in harmony, peace, love, wisdom, connection with ourselves and mother earth.

He also conducts a private conversation with each participant to find out how he can help each one in his process, give clarity and confidence.

 

Participants are offered a small cup of the brew, and a second cup later in the night (if more effect is sought). While effects vary from person to person, typically it takes 30 to 40 minutes for them to unfold. At some point you may vomit (purification). Clean buckets are provided for this. It doesn’t happen for everyone and purging can happen in many ways, not just vomiting. Sometimes purging is through tears, release of obsessive thoughts and emotions, laughing, yawning, breathing, etc. as there are many ways the body can purge “old” energy.

During the vomit, negative emotions, fears, anxiety, depression, bitterness, traumas and other energetic blocks are released.

During the ceremony the participants´ journey is guided by sacred songs (icaros) sung by the Ayahuasquero. These have specific healing intentions and serve to connect with the spirit world and literally sing the other dimension into existence,  call upon peace, love, wisdom and flowering in all aspects of life.

Most people experience visions during Ayahuasca ceremonies and follow how the audial music transforms into visual forms, entering a complex landscape of geometric patterns that can be explored with our consciousness.

At the end of the ceremony, the Ayahuasquero formally closes the event with a prayer or incantation and everyone is invited to either go to sleep, or sit around talking, play some soft music, or have some snacks.

 

After waking up in the morning each person is invited to reflect upon and briefly share their experience with the group and the Ayahuasquero. Counseling sessions will be conducted in the next morning to smoothly integrate the Ayahuasca experience into your life. On the day after the ceremony, we encourage everyone to rest, relax, and contemplate on the new insights gained during the experience.

As with our Huachuma ceremonies, we recommend you to mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically prepare for the Ayahuasca ceremony to get the maximum benefits.

We encourage you to arrive prepared with an intention and purpose for the ceremony, but to remain open and without expectations at the same time. Sometimes Ayahuasca has something different to show you than what you had originally intended to work on. Try to fully surrender to whatever experience Ayahuasca gives you, letting down your ego defenses and your fears as they might block your entry into the full experience. Trust that the medicine always knows best what you need at the respective time. Take a deep breath, let go, and let Ayahuasca take you for the journey of your life by showing you the wonders of the universe within you! Remember that you are in a safe space throughout the ceremony!

Dietary preparation is required before, during, and after partaking of Ayahuasca. The traditional dieta cleanses and clears the senses and heighten one’s sensitivity to the more subtle consciousness of the spirit plant medicines.

Consumption of the products below should be suspended at least three days before the first ceremony and continuing for at least two days following the final ceremony. The more days of dieta, the better. On the day of ceremony, you want to have a light lunch and avoid eating anything less than 5 hours before the start of the ceremony.

Since Ayahuasca (banisteriopsis caapi) contains a MAO-inhibitor, which is essential to process the amino acid tyramine, it’s particularly important to refrain from eating foods high in this amino acid, otherwise your body won’t be able to process it. This may lead to headaches, hypertension, and increased nausea where you feel like vomiting, but can’t.

Foods that contain large amounts of tyramine and must be avoided include:

  • Pork (refrain from pork products at least 15 days prior and after the ceremony)
  • Red meat and sausages
  • Aged/ moldy cheeses (cream cheese and cottage cheese have no detectable level of tyramine)
  • Any fermented foods like soy sauce, fermented tofu, sauerkraut, miso soup, spoiled food, etc.
  • Aged, pickled or smoked fish; Shrimp paste
  • Broad fava bean pods
  • Yeast
  • Alcohol
  • Nutritional supplements like protein powders
  • Ginseng
  • Aspartame

Foods to be consumed with caution and only in small quantities include:

  • Avocados (contain tyramine, particularly overripe ones)
  • Eggplants
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh yoghurt and dairy products
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach

Besides the tyramine containing animal products, we recommend avoiding animal products in general as part of your Ayahuasca diet. Animal products are not only loaded with chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones but most animals are raised and slaughtered in extremely cruel ways. We do not only consume the substance of our food, but the energy of it. If you consume an animal that was pumped full of chemicals, spent the entirety of its life miserably crammed in a pen, only to finally be slaughtered in a cruel and mechanized way, you also ingest the energy of that animal’s experience.

From a shamanic healing perspective, intensely salty, sugary and spicy food creates the cutipado effect that interferes with the energy of the plant medicine. From a physical perspective, spicy foods are more offensive during the purging process as they come out. Salt and sugar tend to come back out in a more concentrated way appearing as a less comfortable syrupy purge.

Abstinence from any form of sexual activity a few days before until a few days after the ceremony is recommended by all traditions in order to preserve one´s distilled sexual energy. Sex involves a powerful energetic exchange and if you are sexually engaged with someone in the days leading up to ceremony, there is a high probability that you will sense their energy in your own energetic field very strongly during ceremony, interfering with your own personal process. Furthermore, sexual activity, including masturbation, can deplete your reservoir of energy that’s available to you during the ceremony, potentially limiting the depth of your spiritual journey and healing. It’s recommended to keep your energy as clear, contained, and free of other people as possible.

Your safety and well-being during our retreats and your Ayahuasca experience is our priority at all times. While Ayahuasca can have amazing healing benefits, this medicine can also implicate certain health risks depending on your health situation and consumption of certain substances which are incompatible with Ayahuasca.

 

During the booking process you will be kindly requested to fill out a medical questionnaire and it´s important that you fill the form as accurately as possible. If there are any potential medical contraindications, we will inquire further to ensure your safety. The responsibility of disclosure of any current medical condition (such as heart, liver, kidney, pancreatic, or other serious medical condition) and/or use of any medication and supplements at the time of booking remains entirely with you. We also require you to take accurate health precautions including medical advice.

People with the following conditions cannot be accepted to our Ayahuasca ceremonies:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cancer (advanced stages)
  • Chronic high blood pressure (and users of anti-hypertensive agents)
  • Diabetes I
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart issues (tachycardia, murmur, pacemaker, surgery or others)
  • Intestinal ulcers or any other damage to internal organs
  • Mental psychosis, such schizophrenia or bipolar disorders
  • Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • People who underwent brain surgery
  • Pregnancy

 Although ayahuasca itself is not known to cause psychosis or other psychiatric disturbances, it can be risky to those with a history of psychological conditions. It is essential that you inform us of any history of mental health issues and that you suspend any kind of psycho-pharmaceutical and depression treatments 14 to 35 days before taking ayahuasca.

Besides psycho-pharmaceutical and depression medication, several other drugs are not compatible with ayahuasca. It is necessary to stop taking the substances listed below and give your body sufficient time to remove them from your system before you come to our ceremonies. Please feel free to contact us for advice during the booking process and consult your doctor if you are in any doubt. We advise you not to stop taking prescribed medications without approval by your doctor.

Please note that the following lists are not complete. Please let us know about any medications or supplements you are taking before your booking can be confirmed.

  • Alcohol dependency (up to 90 days prior ceremony)
  • Amphetamines 
  • Analgesics like Meperidine, anti-Parkinson drugs
  • Antibiotic Therapy
  • Anti-depressant drugs (like Prozac, Seroxat, Zoloft, Effexor, Paxil, Welbutrin/ Bupropion/ Zyban) – usage must have ended for at least three months prior to Ayahuasca consumption
  • Antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
  • Antihistamines, phenylalanines, systemic vase-constrictors or decongestant – both natural and synthetic formulations (normally used in case of cold, flu, allergies or sinus issues) and any drug with DM, DX or -tuss in its name.
  • Antipsychotics
  • Appetite suppressants (diet pills)
  • Asthma inhalers and medication for bronchitis or other breathing problems
  • Barbiturates
  • CNS (central nervous system) depressants
  • Cocaine – usage must have ended for at least three months prior to Ayahuasca consumption
  • Contraceptives
  • Heroine and crack
  • Lariam (Doxycycline and Mefloquine-based anti-malaria drug)
  • (Other) MAO-Is
  • Medications used to treat heart conditions
  • Medications containing Methylphenidate
  • Medications with high amount of caffeine (to be discontinued until one week before and one week after ceremony)
  • Mescaline (any phenethylamine)
  • Opiates
  • Sympathomimetic amines like Amphetamine and Tyrosine (including pseudo ephedrine and ephedrine)
  • Thyroid prescription
  • Tranquilizers
  • Sedatives

Herbal medicines and supplements can also interfere with Ayahuasca. The consumption of the products below must be interrupted at least two weeks prior to encountering ayahuasca.

 Please note that the following list is not exhaustive:

  • Boswellia
  • Cannabis
  • Ephedra
  • Ginseng
  • Kanna
  • Kava
  • Kratom
  • Licorice Root
  • Marihuana
  • Nutmeg
  • Rhodiola
  • Rosea
  • Scotch Broom
  • Sinicuichi
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Yerba Mate
  • Yohimbe

We kindly request you to please indicate to us any herbal or natural medicines you are taking, before we confirm your booking.