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 [...]

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 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, [...]

Ayahuasca gifts us with wisdom beyond the ego; understandings bigger and deeper than we come to on our own. The intelligence of the medicine shows us exactly what we need to see, when we need to see it. It’s important to remember that ayahuasca gives nothing from the outside. Rather, it uncovers our unique inner [...]

Embracing the Emotions

How to Work with Painful, Disturbing, Horrible Feelings and Be Okay We enter now into an exploration of what Daniel Goleman calls “the last great uncharted territory of the mind”—our own emotions. Rather surprisingly, given how fundamental they are to our lives, there is no scientific consensus on what emotions actually are. Do they result [...]

At a certain point following your return from an ayahuasca retreat, you may begin wondering how to maintain your relationship with the plant. In the peace of the jungle, everything may have seemed crystal-clear. Back at home, inertia and doubt can creep in. Old patterns may be pulling you back to behaviors not in your [...]

Shadow Work and Ayahuasca Integration

Ayahuasca has an uncanny ability to dive directly into the depths of the psyche and unearth exactly what we need to see at a particular moment. Foremost among the things it brings to light is the part of our unconscious known as the shadow—the feelings, thoughts, instincts, and memories we dare not acknowledge; the parts [...]

Meditation As an Integrative Practice

Perhaps the single most important practice in your integration toolkit is some form of regular meditation. The ability to meet your experience honestly, compassionately, and fully, without resistance or grasping—this ¬is crucial to integration work, and it is cultivated in meditation. There are many different methods: observing body sensation, repeating a mantra, releasing thoughts as [...]