How you prepare for an out of this world psychedelic journey plays a crucial role in you getting the maximum beneficial impact from the experience.
In the world of plant medicine and psychedelic ceremonies, the term ‘set and setting’ is used frequently to explain the process involved in creating a safe and sacred container that will allow for safe, deep and transformative experiences.
This refers to the intention you’re bringing to the experience or ceremony, it’s your focus, what do you want help with? What questions would you like answered? Intentions set the trajectory of the experience, although you don’t always get what you want, but always get what you need.
It also speaks to what you consume with your eyes, ears, nose and mouth leading up to an experience.
There are many different recommendations in terms of diet before drinking Ayahuasca but generally they involve a predominantly plant-based diet, clean usually with no salt and spices, some schools of thought allow chicken and fish but beef and pork are definitely off the menu.
Although I’m no longer vegan I do prefer to eat a plant-based diet with a few eggs. I feel cleaner and lighter energetically ready to welcome and absorb the plant medicine into my body.
Cutting out alcohol, drugs, marijuana and other medication that may have contraindications is also an absolute must, along with sugar and other processed food and drink.
What you consume with your eyes and ears is just as important in the lead up to a ceremony. So try and avoid violent movies, fear based news and media programs that may take your thought process away from your own intentions. You should be aiming to cultivate a state of inner peace and presence in the days leading up to a ceremony.
Meditation and journalling is also encouraged to help bring thoughts and ideas to the surface so that they maybe looked at during your ceremony and to help direct the experience.
This refers to the physical environment in which the ceremony or journey will take place. It should feel safe, comfortable and allow for the contraction and expansion that will ultimately unfold.
It should be away from the public, noise and promote a feeling of safety and peace at the very least. In nature wherever possible as the natural environment will support your journey.
Depending on the tradition surrounding the plant medicine you’re drinking there may also be live music, recorded music or shamanic songs such as the icaros (songs of the plants) that are sung traditionally during ceremonies, especially in Peru by the Shamans.
These songs or music are there to help guide the experience. The Shamans sing specific icaros at different times to move energy and can initiate deeper journeys and healing, along with purging during Ayahuasca ceremonies.
Purging is not the same as being sick on a Saturday night after drinking too much alcohol, it has a physical, spiritual and energetic cleansing effect on the body, and helps you to release blocked energies that may come from past trauma or that have been stirred up during the ceremonial process.
Purging may also come in the form of yawning, laughing, crying, shivers, and sweating etc it is your bodies way of releasing stored energy. More on purging in Part 2 of this series, where I will speak about navigating your experience.
Do your research before travelling across the world to experience deep plant medicine work especially with the stronger medicines such as Ayahuasca and Iboga. You want to be in a safe, well held space with experienced practitioners.
When I went to Peru in 2016, I took part in a retreat with Blue Morpho Tours, I had seen them on documentaries and listened to the founder Hamilton Southern on various podcasts, so I knew they had a professional setup and reputation.
One of the most beautiful parts of this experience for the whole group was in taking part in the ‘brewing’ of the Ayahuasca at the start of the week, that we would be drinking throughout.
This year for my trip to Wanay Community in Colombia I started the research process with a recommendation by a good friend and then had a series of 2-3 different zoom meetings to meet them and to discuss my intentions and their background and history, that helped me make my decision to come out here.
At Wanay they get everyone to plant a new Ayahuasca plant as soon as they arrive and before they drink medicine, so give back to the plant and to help with conservation efforts, I wrote about this on a previous blog Planting Ayahuasca.
For the call. The medicine may start calling you at some point many months or years before a potential ceremony. You’ll find that it will start cropping up in conversations regularly and it will start to appear on your radar in the form of posts, videos, books and articles etc just like this one.
Look out for the synchronicities in people, places and events, follow the breadcrumbs.
I highly recommend the book ‘The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook’ if you are new to all this and want to know more, it will give you a good basic underpinning of the science, history and methodologies surrounding the Ayahuasca experience.
I am also now offering 1-2-1 Psychedelic Integration support either in the lead up to an experience or for the integration post experience, using spiritual guidance and energy balancing as tools to help you make the most out of your experience.
For more information visit http://adamstansbury.com/coaching