Ayahuasca, the mother of all entheogens

Reading Time 7 minutes
Image of Ayahuasca in a container
Image of Ayahuasca in a container

 

The usage of Ayahuasca has spread considerably over the last 50 years thanks to numerous publications, but even today there are many questions related to this substance that remain a mystery. When did they begin to use this brew? How did they discover its capacity to alter consciousness? Where did its consumption begin to spread?

These questions may still remain as doubts, but after reading this article I am sure you will understand many things you did not understand about this ancient drink, so make yourself comfortable to start the trip…🚀🚀

 

✨ What is Ayahuasca ?

 

It is a liquid recipe composed of a mixture of several plants boiled for a long time. The word Ayahuasca comes from the Quechua language and means something like “Spirit vine“, and in some areas it is also called Yagé. This drink is prepared by shamans, a kind of wizards or healers who have been teaching the recipe and the preparation method from generation to generation for thousands of years.

For its intake it is essential to be prepared, both physically and mentally, so the shaman is responsible for deciding the place, time, dose and ideal company. Until very few years ago the only way to take Ayahuasca was to travel to South America and find these shamans, but nowadays it can be found in many places around the world.

 

Image of the potion known as Ayahuasca in its preparation recipient*
Image of the potion known as Ayahuasca in its preparation recipient*

 

 

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☕ Body preparation, the Ayahuasca diet

 

Although not everyone strictly follows these recommendations, it is important to prepare the stomach for the intake of this drink. About 3 or 4 days before taking it, it is necessary to stop eating meat, sugar, salt, garlic, pepper, sausages, alcohol, soft drinks, processed foods, etc.

It is highly recommended not to eat anything during the 5 or 6 hours before the intake of Ayahuasca, although many people spend that day directly on an empty stomach. First of all, this is so because the beverage is harsh on the stomach, but mainly because one of the components of the recipe is an MAO inhibitor, which can cause problems when mixed with some foods. The day after intake it is also advisable to eat lightly for this reason.

 

 

📖 Ayahuasca ceremony

 

From our western point of view it is difficult to understand some rituals, but each culture, tribe or religion has its own traditions in this regard. The ceremony that is made for the Ayahuasca intake is a way to prepare the atmosphere and the mind of the users to guide the trip towards its more healing or mystical side.

During the rituals that are still performed in the jungle nowadays, the shaman prepares an environment where the participants of the session can feel safe, far from the possible dangers that could harm the psychonauts during their trip. In the ceremony prior to the intake it is very common the shamanic music, songs to guide the participants until their contact with the Ayahuasca, which there are known as icarus. It is amazing to see how the rhythm of this music connects with the way the visions produced by the DMT appear, the synesthesia is great and it seems to enhance the strength of the visual waves.

In modern Ayahuasca ceremonies, the session is usually divided into two parts. In the first part, the shaman(s) prepare the users collectively for about 2 or 3 hours, giving them psychological support and bringing them to a state of peace and relaxation, which helps them a lot during the taking, purging and the first moments of the trip. In the second part of the ceremony, each participant returns to his or her room to continue the trip in a more introspective way, but always with the assistance of the shaman in case his or her help is needed. In these modern ceremonies the icarus are still a very useful tool to guide the experiences with Ayahuasca, especially in difficult moments.

 

 

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📲 How to make Ayahuasca ?

 

For its preparation at least 2 types of plants that grow in different regions of the Amazon rainforest are cooked, one contains the active principle DMT and the other acts as a MAO inhibitor. Usually the plant used to add the Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is the Jurema Preta, although it is also quite common to substitute this with the Psychotria Viridis, which contains the same active principle. On the other hand, a vine known as Banisteriopsis Caapi is always used as an inhibitor of Monoaminooxidase (MAOI), and its addition to the mixture is essential for the DMT to have its effect.

The shamans heat the water and when it starts to boil they add the different plants so that the active principles are released and remain in the magic potion. They let the mixture boil for many hours, sometimes up to 16, and then the liquid is filtered, which results in a consistency similar to honey, water is added to make it more digestible and it is distributed among the users who want to experience for themselves the effects of Ayahuasca.

 

How to make Ayahuasca*
How to make Ayahuasca*

 

 

🚀 Ayahuasca drink, how to take it ?

 

Once the participants in the Ayahuasca session are prepared both physically and mentally, it is time for the intake of the beverage. The shaman is the one who calculates the doses, which are usually not high, but these depend on the shaman, the religion or the tribe. A regular dose would be from 1.7 fl.oz. (50 ml.) to 3.4 fl.oz. (100 ml.), which is what the followers of the Santa Daime take, but others like the UDL take quantities between 3.4 fl.oz. (100 ml.) and 6.7 fl.oz. (200 ml.), and others like the Shuar usually intake between 0.67 fl.oz. (20 ml.) and 1 fl.oz. (30 ml.).

The taste is sour and really bitter, not very pleasant for many people, although some find it similar to liquorice. It is quite common that the taste of the entheogens taken in their natural state is unpleasant, it is the price you have to pay to be able to enter an unknown dimension.

Many people need to take more than one dose to fully feel the effects of Ayahuasca, and it is also quite common that during a session some participants take 2 or 3 to lengthen or enhance the experience.

 

 

✅ Effects of Ayahuasca

 

The effects start to be noticed after about 30 to 60 minutes of the intake of the beverage. At first you begin to notice body heat and usually some stomach discomfort that often ends in vomiting. This is the purging phase, which you may think is very uncomfortable, but in fact it is a natural process that can be very necessary in an Ayahuasca session, since it symbolizes the expulsion of our inner demons, which are called “Cuchas” by the shamans.

After this phase the visual hallucinations, geometric patterns, highlighted colors and staged memories usually come with great euphoria. It is very important to be well prepared for the session, as fear can also appear in this phase, but do not worry, a good shaman will bring you out of this state and guide you through the trip so that you can fully enjoy it.

From this point on, a period of conciliation and acceptance begins, the memories take you to a deep state of introspection where many banal things become very important and some problems that seemed to be unsolvable are seen from a new perspective in which it is easier to fix things. It is very common to feel part of the whole, with no more or less importance than anything else, just one more, one of the many pieces that make up the landscapes of the planet. In this altered state of the psyche it is also common to feel a great affection for everyone, with the desire to show it and with the need to do it.

The effects of the use of Ayahuasca can last from 3 to 6 hours, although in some users it can be somewhat shorter, as in some cases it can be extended for some more time.

 

 

🔥 Side effects or dangers of using Ayahuasca

 

The negative physical effects that can be seen before are digestive, nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and stomach pains are common, although in many cases quite bearable. But there are other problems associated with the intake of Ayahuasca that can be more serious, and those are the ones that have to be taken into account.

Although fortunately it has not happened many times, there have been some deaths related to the use of this drug. There have also been cases of schizophrenia, supposedly triggered by the substance, and although they were certainly people with a predisposition, this must be taken into account.

Other risks that can happen during the taking of Ayahuasca are those caused by the alteration of the mind itself, since we can fall, hit ourselves, get lost or expose ourselves to unpleasant situations, so it is important to prepare the environment and the company well.

Infographics of the Ayawaska Ceremony
Infographics of the Ayawaska Ceremony

 

 

🎯 Is Ayahuasca legal?

 

DMT is the active ingredient of Ayahuasca, and it is internationally controlled on Schedule 1 of the 1971 United Nations Vienna Convention on Psychotropic Substances. But the plant itself is legal, even if it contains the controlled alkaloid, and even the decoction for the preparation of the famous beverage is allowed.

Apart from this, there are a number of countries that have made their own laws, and even some cities that have legislated on a local level in this regard. France is one of the countries that has banned possession and/or decoction of the plant on its own in 2005. In Spain the sale of the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine to the general public is forbidden. In some South American countries, possession and use in traditional or religious ways is allowed. In Canada only the members of various religions from the Amazon are allowed to consume it. And in the USA there have been recently 2 local resolutions that allow the use of this and other substances in 2 Californian cities, Oakland and Santa Cruz.

 

 

👾 Conclusion

 

Ayahuasca is one of the sacred drugs, a potion taken by humanity from practically the beginning of the species in ceremonies that have the capacity to reset your brain and emotional state to resume life with renewed energy.

But you have to have a lot of respect for this drink, as it happens with other entheogenic substances, well used it can be very useful, healing and transcendental, but if it is not taken as it should be it can make you have a bad time or even worse. Don’t forget to share this article so that it reaches as many people as possible, thank you!😜👍

 

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Fran Quesada Moya
Fran Quesada Moya

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