Ayahuasca is becoming more and more popular throughout western cultures and over the last decade we have seen the rise of the Ayahuasca enthusiast. Ayahuasca or yage is a psychoactive plant medicine made from a potent brew of the Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) with the leaves of the Chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis). Their commingling creates a powerful drinkable medicine that is similar in structure to the body’s own serotonin. In the early 90’s ethno-pharmacologist Dennis McKenna at the University of British Columbia, discovered that Psychotria, when taken alone, is entirely inactivated in the human gut by the monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzyme system, but when brewed together with Banisteriopsis caapi-containing monoamine oxidase inhibiting harmala alkaloids, a profound psychoactive experience results.
Ayahuasca, well known by its Quechua name translates as “vine of the soul” or “vine of the spirits.”
Though first scientifically catalogued and classified by Western science in the mid nineteenth century, Ayahuasca has been used by the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon for healing and divine ritual since long before the arrival of the first Europeans in the 1600’s.
Sadly, when the Jesuit missionaries conquered and enslaved the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon in the seventeenth century, forcing them to convert to Christianity and abandon many of their ancient rituals, the Jesuits also prohibited the use of sacred plant medicines including Ayahuasca. These so called “diabolical potions” were naively believed to put the people in communication with the devil and deprive them of all reason.
Despite the destruction of these ancient cultures by the early Europeans that sought to destroy thousands of years of ritual and sacred tradition, the healing power and sacred ceremony of Ayahuasca remains alive and thriving today deep in the Amazon rainforest.
Western medicine has traditionally sought to cure illness and dysfunction of the body by controlling or making changes to the external environment at the level of the cells. This approach to healing may help the physical cells making up the human body to heal, but it fails to promote growth and healing at the level of the mind, soul and spirit.
Ayahuasca can take us on a challenging and revelatory journey through to our heart and soul, enabling us to unblock long held trauma, fear, hostility, anger, hatred and pain.
Ayahuasca works at the level of the physical body by directly cleansing and eliminating toxins and unwanted parasites. It is common when purging these entities for us to vomit, defecate, cry, yawn and laugh. Everyone will respond differently to Ayahuasca depending on what their body is needing to release.
Ayahuasca also works at the level of the psyche and emotions, allowing the negative aspects of one’s personality to be purged and released. Ayahuasca will help us to determine which wounds we are needing to heal and give us the strength and courage to purge all that is stifling our growth and human potential.
The sacred medicine Ayahuasca also works at the level of the spirit.
It is common for us to experience visions and to receive direct guidance from non-physical spiritual teachers after drinking the Ayahuasca brew. Ayahuasca can create a clear passage between our waking reality and a non-physical plane, allowing us to access wisdom from deep within and outside of ourselves. This wisdom can then be used to transform our everyday reality into one where we are more courageous, authentic, loving, powerful, intuitive and creative.
Ayahuasca fills the void that Western medicine has created. Ayahuasca is a medicine, “the great medicine” and “magical intoxicant.” When taken under the supervision of an authentic curandero who comes from a long lineage and a life-time of guidance under traditional elders, Ayahuasca can have a life changing effect on us. We are fortunate to have respected curandero, Don Miguel who hails from a long lineage of traditional Shipibo healers facilitating our Ayahuasca ceremonies. At our Ayahuasca retreats in Peru, Don Miguel brings his gentle, genuine, fun-loving sense of humour to the supervision of all members of the group in the collection, cooking and replanting of the sacred Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis.
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