Ayahuasca: Knowing When It’s Enough

It’s one thing to know when you’re called to start working with ayahuasca. It’s an entirely different matter to know when to stop. When is it time to take a break, or halt, at least for the foreseeable future—and how do you know when you actually need to go back and drink more? Here I’ll [...]

Synchronicity: Magic, and Shadow

You think of a long-lost friend, and she gets in touch that very night. Glancing at the clock, you continually get repeating numbers—11:11, 5:55, 2:22. An overheard conversation oddly, unbelievably, but precisely parallels your line of thought [...]

It may seem farfetched to suggest that ayahuasca can work like a somatically-based trauma therapist, but I’ve noted intriguing parallels between ayahuasca experiences and the process I’ve witnessed with trauma healing methods like EMDR and Somatic Experiencing. In this article, I’ll offer some empirical observations on how ayahuasca works with trauma, drawing on my background [...]

Are Spirits Real?

Sooner or later, everyone working with ayahuasca has to come to terms with this issue. Who, or what, are those beings we’re seeing in ceremony? What do ayahuasqueros mean when they talk about spirits; the spirit of ayahuasca, for example, or los genios of the plants? What does Santo Daime mean when it speaks of [...]

Delphi. Eleusis. Kailas. Mecca. From ancient times, people have traveled to sacred places to be initiated into the mysteries. Power places like these connect humans with the Divine, bringing the earthly plane into alignment with higher worlds. Now the initiatory substance is coming to us. In living rooms across North America and Europe, people are [...]

Here are some details I might have wanted to know before my first cup of ayahuasca five years ago. (Despite the not-knowing, it’s all worked out perfectly okay.) 1. It can change your life, big time. And for the better, which is why a lot of people are turning to it. But the scale and [...]

The Vanishing Vine?

At the 2017 Psychedelic Science Conference in Oakland, I heard more than a few attendees speaking in grim tones about the depletion of ayahuasca in the Amazon. In the Ayahuasca Community Forum, some suggested that the plant was on the verge of extinction due to overharvesting. One woman announced that concern for the preservation of [...]

What to Bring to Ceremony

Along with bucket, blanket, red-light flashlight, and something white to leave on your mat so you can find it when you’re coming back from the bathroom in the dark: Intention: This serves as focal point and compass needle for your session. It can be specific and complex (“Help me release my anger at my ex-wife; [...]

Dreamwork and Ayahuasca

Dreamwork—the daytime practice of recording and seeking to understand your nighttime dreams – is a gateway to your subconscious depths. Ayahuasca activates the psyche in a way that parallels the dream state: the DMT in ayahuasca is similar to the neurotransmitter naturally produced from our pineal gland which is responsible for the dreams that arise [...]

The integrative work that takes place in the sleep state following an ayahuasca ceremony is deep, subtle, and not always conscious. As a depth psychotherapist, I view sleep as an absolutely necessary element in ayahuasca integration, as well as in daily life. Sleep recalibrates our relationship with the subconscious and unconscious: in some mysterious fashion, [...]

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