The ancestral Ayahuasca ceremony is a rite of purification, healing and knowledge. It takes place at night and lasts about five to six hours. The participants sit in a circle, in silence, and take the ayahuasca beverage one by one. The effects (dizziness) start 15 to 30 minutes later (depending on each individual). The ceremony is guided through chants (icaros) by the “ayahuasquero”, who must have gained expertise in the channeling of modified states of consciousness produced by the beverage.
Its use only reached the West a few decades ago; yet thousands of individuals have as of today come to the Amazon to undertake a deep process of healing and learning with this ancestral medicine without there being a single report of physical or psychological dependency. Thus, it has been employed in diverse detoxification treatments for drugs as well as other addictions. Overdose is difficult because of the beverage’s uncomfortable physical effects. Nevertheless, when one may experience a “bad trip”, there is no danger of succumbing to lethal consequences under the guidance of an experienced ayahuasquero.
The ayahuasca experience means in the majority of cases going through a spiritual opening that is hard to describe as well as a new vision of life, relationships, and nature. It can reveal a rupture between an unconscious state of being in the world and a new, more responsible and aware one: within ourselves and what we bring to others, in our relationship with Mother Earth and in a more fulfilling way of experiencing life.