The 21st Century has seen a rise in spiritual practices, movements, and techniques such as yoga, transcendental meditation, pilates, Buddhism, you name it. Along with the growth in these movements, there has also been an increase in spiritual retreats. In this article, we are going to focus on one practice which has taken the world by storm in recent years. Said practice is an Ayahuasca Ceremony.
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is the name most commonly used to describe a psychedelic tea which has been brewed by the Amazonians for thousands of years. The brew is said to be healing and medicinal.
In terms of etymology, Ayahuasca is derived from two words from the Quechua: one is “Aya,” which means “spirit”, and one is “Huasca”, which means “vine” or “rope”. The South Americans supposedly describe it as ‘the vine of the spirit, or soul’ because once you’ve drunk the herbal concoction, the visions you have are a window of what goes on in your soul, hence the name.
Ayahuasca is made from a combination of Chakruna leaves (a plant rich in DMT) and the Huasca vine. DMT (N, N- Dimethyltryptamine) is a tryptamine molecule which occurs in many plants and animals. Whilst most plants contain naturally occurring doses of DMT, humans don’t trip every time they consume plant matter because our stomachs produce an enzyme called ‘Monoamine Oxidase’, which helps to break down the DMT and stops it from entering the bloodstream.
When Ayahuasca is consumed, we go on a journey because the Ayahuasca vine has a Monamine Oxidase inhibitor which allows our body to absorb the DMT.
5 Ways in which an Ayahuasca Retreat can improve your life
People from all over the world are traveling to South American countries such as Brazil and Peru seeking answers to their quest for spiritual enlightenment and other problems such as spiritual, emotional or mental imbalance. As result Ayahuasca retreats and ceremonies are becoming more popular. These ceremonies are led by a facilitator or shaman, who is said to understand the spiritual dimensions of Ayahuasca. During the ritual, each person is given a bucket as physical purges are common
Through interviews with people who drink Ayahuasca regularly, as well as observations of participants at various Ayahuasca retreats, we have compiled a list of ways in which Ayahuasca can benefit you:
By far the most notable change that people reported was an improved sense of self-confidence and self-worth. It was noted that many people were more accepting, loving, kind and patient with themselves after taking Ayahuasca. On a more spiritual level, people revealed a sense of being ‘flooded with love and a feeling of oneness with everything’. Such experiences often lead to greater self-compassion and self-acceptance.
For people suffering from depression or anxiety issues, some people report a permanent recovery and have cited that Ayahuasca has cured their long-term mental health problems. This is mainly the case for people who have worked with ayahuasca over long periods to understand the source of their problems and to bring about the changes in their life to resolve their situation. Most other people report a gradual healing process where they become more aware, yet objective about their moods. After drinking Ayahuasca, many people say they feel more easy-going, calm and at peace with themselves.
People often report that during ceremonies they relive a traumatic childhood event, sometimes actually being in the scene and other times watching the scene from a distance as if it were a movie. In the former, the person might be recovering a lost memory, gaining access to information that they had blocked. In this case, the person might be experiencing the trauma with full body consciousness in a way they weren’t able to do at the time. They are likely to feel that they’ve regressed to the age they were when the traumatic event happened. In the latter case, the person is able to sustain an objective distance and maintain their adult perspective. Often these people report feeling great compassion for the child they were along with the ability to be more loving toward that child within. In some retreats, there are workshops that teach the participants how to work through such traumas and transform the pattern of behavior that was learned in that event so they can reconnect with their power.
As people felt better about themselves and less vulnerable to negative moods, they became more available in their significant relationships. There was a trend toward increased honest, direct, and open communication with deeper connections.
Many of the younger respondents said their relationships with their parents had improved, partly because they were more patient and tolerant of them.
A number of people reported reconciliations in ruptured relationships. Making amends with ex-spouses or partners have been known to happen successfully following an Ayahuasca experience. Others said they ended “unhealthy relationships” with both romantic partners and friends. It seems that many re-evaluate their relationships after the Ayahuasca experience.
Similar to the findings on depression, a few people reported a sudden transformation when it came to their issues with substance addictions. These people spontaneously began to view alcohol, tobacco or drugs in a negative light. This change in perception and behavior happens when the person goes to the source of their addiction and is ready to let go and make an internal shift during the ayahuasca ceremony.