Ayahuasca – Sacred Plant Medicine of the Amazon Jungle

Ayahuasca – Sacred Plant Medicine of the Amazon Jungle

Ayahuasca is one of the sacred plant medicines that the Curanderos at Mai Niti work with. In an ayahuasca ceremony, we can journey deep within ourselves and access parts of the mind and soul which are ordinarily hidden from our perception. Some of these hidden parts of ourselves being fears and traumas which are buried below the level of our conscious awareness. This opens up profound potential for healing our body, mind and spirit (which are all deeply connected) by coming face to face with these wounded parts of ourselves and embracing them with loving kindness.

A single ceremony may be all it takes to experience profound healing and shift in consciousness but healing and awakening with ayahuasca is a journey which happens over time. Of equal importance to the ceremony itself is the integration period which follows. An ayahuasca retreat can be profoundly beneficial in ones healing journey as it involves a number of ceremonies over a certain time period and integration periods between ceremonies. This creates an opening for a deeper level of healing and integration to occur. Often a ceremony involves picking up from where you left in the previous first ceremony.

What is Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a sacred plant medicine which has been used for centuries in the Amazon jungle for healing many forms of ailments, physical, mental and spiritual. Traditionally, ayahuasca is made by boiling the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and chacruna (Psychotria viridis) for many hours, producing a concentrated ayahuasca brew but there are numerous plants which may be used in the preparation of ayahuasca and the method used to prepare it may vary considerably depending on the shaman who prepares it.

The chacruna is the visionary plant which provides DMT. The ayahuasca vine provides the MAO inhibitor which enables the DMT to be absorbed and taken into the body. These plants work together synergistically to produce a powerful visionary brew with the ability to take one deep into the unconscious mind and opens the doors to the spirit world. Other DMT containing plants which are sometimes used to brew ayahuasca include chaliponga and mimosa hostilis. Other plants are sometimes added to the brew for specific purposes, such as bobinsana, toe, chiric sanango, mucura etc.

Preparing Ayahuasca

At Mai Niti, plenty of time and knowledge is dedicated to producing a powerful brew consisting purely of the vine and the chacruna.

Preparing the Vine
Adding the chacruna

The vine and chacruna used to prepare ayahuasca are carefully chosen and gathered from the jungle. This is important as the energy of anyone who handles the plants used to prepare the medicine can be absorbed by the plants and thus the medicine itself. Additionally, there are many factors which influence the strength and healing power of the resulting brew, such as the age of the ayahuasca and chacruna and the location they are found in.

Ayahuasca Ceremony

In Shipibo tradition, ayahuasca ceremonies are held by one or more maestros (master shaman), whose role it is to guide the ceremony in order to create the conditions necessary to bring about the most beneficial outcome possible for all those participating in the ceremony. In order to achieve this, the maestros provide protection, guidance, and support to each participant in the ceremony as they undergo their journey of healing, transformation, and awakening.

Ceremonies are held during the night in the Maloka, a special building in which the maestros create a sacred space to hold the ayahuasca ceremony. The maestros energetically protect and hold the ceremony space by cleansing and removing negative energies and spirits, and preventing any harmful energies and spirits from entering the space, while calling in beneficial energies and spirits into the space for support and guidance. The maestros drink ayahuasca with you during the ceremony, this enables them to see and energetically guide the ceremony most effectively.

The maestros have a wide range of tools that they use to guide and protect the ceremony, among these is the Icaro. An Icaro is a magical song that is taught to the maestros by the plants themselves, these songs have spiritual power which enables them to energetically guide the ceremony. The maestros will sing various Icaros throughout the ceremony. These Icaros are used to heal, protect, guide and support the participants and the ceremony space itself.