Preparing to Face Your Shadow
Ayahuasca can be best described as a very big, very shiny mirror. It’s power and knowledge come from its ability to strip away the layers of avoidance, reluctance, and lies that have covered up our darkness – our traumas, deeply-rooted fears, and negative thought patterns. This process may bring us face-to-face with our “shadow self” – those parts of us that we have buried deeply in our subconscious; emotional and energetic blockages that we may have covered up with alcohol, drugs, unhealthy food, prescription medication, external validation and materialism, etc. While Western medication attempts to solve this problem by treating the symptoms, that only further separates us from the root cause, and acts as another tactic to avoid healing the real issue. The only way to get through it is to go through it. Ayahuasca shows us the true path to healing is facing our shadow, resolving the inner conflict and turmoil that has caused us to bury and suppress our pain (often reaching all the way back to childhood), and releasing the energy that has been trapped there for so long, freeing us up to feel the full experience of love.
As you begin to prepare yourself for the Ayahuasca experience (typically 1-2 months in advance of your retreat), starting to cut out the parts of your life that have helped to keep these emotions buried, you may find them start to come bubbling to the surface. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is to have as much compassion for yourself as you can muster. Treat yourself with kindness, and allow yourself the space to feel and observe the emotions from a place of non-judgement. Ayahuasca is showing you what you will be dealing with, and it’s important to trust in the process and that the medicines are working on you and will help you through it. We highly recommend starting a meditation and/or yoga practice to help with this, and avoiding environments that serve to feed the fear and anxiety that may try to deter you from seeing your journey through. And of course, feel free to reach out to us at any time if you need support, advice, or just an ear to listen. Having worked with the medicine extensively, our staff understands the potential challenges of the healing process, and are here for you in whatever capacity you need.
Preparing your Body
There is a lot of information one can find on the web regarding the dietary rules and restrictions to follow, in order to have a fulfilling experience with Ayahuasca. However, a lot of this information can be contradictory and you might get a little confused as per how to proceed best, and, either not follow much of a diet at all, or, follow it to an extremely strict and harsh extent. If you are choosing the second option, there is nothing wrong with that. However, we believe that there is a Golden Middle and it’s not necessary to go with either of the extremes (no diet at all vs. very strict one).
For at least 2 weeks before your retreat, based on our own experience and observations, we believe it to be helpful to exclude harmful and unhealthy things from your diet and start eating plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, avoiding highly processed foods, refined sugar in excess, spicy foods, too much caffeine, as well as red meat, and especially pork. As well, we recommend avoiding alcohol, synthetic, as well as other natural drugs, such as marijuana, and most importantly, any kind of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication (SSRI’s, SNRI’s, DRI’s etc…). For at least 1 week before your retreat, we recommend abstaining from sex of any kind, including masturbation. If you are taking psychoactive medications, their use should be discontinued COMPLETELY for at least four weeks prior to arriving in Peru. If you have any questions about specific medications, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to look into them for you.
Remember that you don’t have to be too harsh on yourself with the diet, because if you are, it depletes the entire purpose of it. While we recommend some discipline, you should still feel good about the sacrifice you are making to Mother Ayahuasca. Enjoy it and have some fun with it! Be kind to yourself. If you slip and eat something which you said you wouldn’t – forgive yourself, but try to accomplish your goal, nevertheless. Often times, it’s not about what you eat or don’t eat, but the intention you have and the sacrifice you are making to Mother Ayahuasca and your healing process by keeping your body as clean as you can. A clean body invites a clean spirit, and sets the stage for deeply healing work.
Preparing your Spirit
We highly recommend taking the time to prepare your mental and spiritual bodies, in addition to your physical. This may include meditation, yoga, art or dance classes before your retreat. Anything that connects you with your own self, so that you get a deeper understanding of what you truly wish to accomplish during your stay with us. A close friend of ours once said that many people come to do Ayahuasca thinking they know what their intentions are… However, upon meditating on the subject, they often realize that their intentions are a bit superficial and what they truly need to work on lies on more of a spiritual/soul level. Ayahuasca works with your subconscious mind and will help you see what truly matters.
Finally, we recommend focusing on things which raise your energetic vibrations. You can find a great article on what that means and how to do it by clicking here.