Also known as “Yage,” “Daime,” “Spirit Vine,” “Vegetal,” “Caapi,” “Uni,” “Caapi,” “Natema,” “Hoasca,” and “Vine of the Dead.”
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a medicinal brew made from the combination of two plants. The first ingredient is the Amazonian Psychotria, also known as Chakruna, which contains the psychoactive drug dimethyltrypatmine (DMT). The second ingredient is the banisteriopsis caapi vine, which contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors that allow the release of DMT to the brain. DMT is naturally produced and remains suppressed within the body until death. It is released to the brain in trace amount during sleep, which is the cause of dreams. Shamans have been using this combination in healing rituals for over five thousand years.
How is it administered?
The consumption of ayahuasca is considered legal in certain parts of South America under laws of religious freedom and the medicine is to be used only during supervised spiritual ceremonies, which typically take place in a candle-lit hut, although some shaman tribes conduct ceremonies outdoor surrounding a fire. The shaman typically intuits the dosage needed for each patient and makes a prayer before pouring the liquid into a small ceremonial cup. Each individual takes a turn drinking the brew upon stating an intention and ideal outcome for the experience.
What Happens in the Ceremony?
Approximately 30 minutes after consumption, the brew induces a psychedelic, dreamlike state which hyper-activates the neocortex and stimulates the amygdala. During this altered state of consciousness the user revisits significant life events responsible for deeply rooted psychological patterns of thought and behavior. Shaman doctors serve as guides throughout the experience, helping users resolve repressed emotional trauma and guarding them against lower vibrational entities. One heroin addict reported seeing his veins crying throughout the ceremony; a scene so powerful that he never touched heroin again.
Healing & Shamanism
Shamans believe that the ego, known in contemporary psychology as the “self,” is the root of our disconnection from the divine. When the ego is broken down, the user is able to receive precisely what he/she needs at the time, be it knowledge, love, or inspiration. The plant is believed to have its own consciousness which works through the user to present the remedy, however scientists have examined the use of ayahuasca in MRI studies to find a great portion of the brain actively stimulated causing neurons to synapse between regions of the brain that typically do not communicate.
Users typically encounter death at some point on their journey. As a natural defense mechanism, the ego attempts to wrestle for its survival, at which point users feel overpowered and experience a great deal of unease. The suffering ensues however until the point of utter surrender, when the individual confronts and accepts death; the root of all fear. At this precise moment the patient is able to let go of accumulated psychic energy previously repressed out of awareness, and this manifests as an outward purge, which is why every mattress is accompanied with a small bucket by its side. Users typically report a great deal of comfort and ease upon experiencing the purging process; as though a thousand pounds of weight had been lifted off the chest. To the regular onlooker, the patient is merely purging into a bucket, but in the patient’s eyes, he has rid himself from accumulated fear, toxins, and karmic debt; a nightmarish healing indeed.