Spirituality, Healing and Cleansing
Traditional Shamanic Ayahuasca Ceremony
in the classical style of the Peruvian Amazon
don Otorongo Blanco
"Spiritual realization is the core element in the Ayahuasca experience. Ayahuasca is a medicine. Holistic purification and cleansing of body, mind, and spirit in shamanic ceremony with Ayahuasca can initiate a lifelong process of rebirth and transformation. To be successful, this process requires long-term personal commitment, integrity, compassion, and courage. It is not an easy path, but it can be highly beneficial for those who undertake it with sincerity, determination, and an open heart."
recommend that one commence the diet at least three days before the first
Ayahuasca ceremony and continue for two or three days after the last.
Alcohol and pork should be abstained longer since they may have undesirable consequences when combined with Ayahuasca.
Commonly shared characteristics of most vegetalista diets include abstinence from alcohol, sugar, salt, oils, pork, fat, and spices. These substances may interfere with one's sensitivity and uptake of Ayahuasca so they are limited or abstained to heighten one's receptivity to the medicine. Abstinence from sexual orgasm is also an integral part of this diet. This is an important required for two reasons. First sexual abstinence conserves vital energy needed to engage the challenges Ayahuasca sometimes poses. Secondly temporary sexual abstinence from sexual activity and thoughts allows one to focus on the more profoundly spiritual dimensions of one's being.
It is said in the Amazon that Ayahuasca has a jealous spirit. This is a culture-bound concept which often seems strange to the western mind. How could a plant considered sacred also be jealous? One has to step outside the usual human concept of jealousy to understand what is meant by this. It simply means that the conscious spirit of Ayahuasca desires our undivided attention when in Her presence. Temporary sexual abstinence might also be seen as an offering of one's higher intention to the Divine. Human sexuality is a dynamic aspect of the human nature and spiritual experience, and it often blossoms beautifully after work with Ayahuasca. This is especially so if this aspect of the diet is respected. Everything in the diet is a choice, and one answers only to themselves and the medicine in whatever decision they make.
Pork is considered to be impure because of what pigs eat, and is not eaten by diligent Ayahuasca practitioners. Complete abstinence from pork and lard for at least two weeks prior to the first ceremony is strongly recommended and should continue for two weeks after the last ceremony.
In the Peruvian Amazon, the most rigorous shamanic diet consists of small scaly fishes boiled with rice, plantains and yuca (manioc). No salt, sugar, oil, ají (hot chili) or sexual activity is allowed during weeks or months of jungle isolation from the outside world. This is the diet undertaken by apprentices hoping to become shamans. It is difficult even for seasoned jungle people, and few succeed in keeping to it for more than a few weeks. The social and sexual segregation required is the primary reason so few diet for long periods. It is not necessary to enter this demanding dietary regimen to undertake personal cleansing and spiritual transformation with Ayahuasca under the guidance of shamanic healers (curanderos).
In the initiatory diet for those seeking personal cleansing and healing, the diet is not as rigorous and may include light seasoning, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables.
The holistic cleansing benefits and visionary experiences are greatly enriched by a commitment to the diet, for such reflects your personal INTENT, which is the most important personal factor in work with Ayahuasca.
Go here for more detailed information about food and pharmaceutical precautions in preparation for the Ayahuasca experience.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In reviewing this information from the U.S. Poison Control Center, be aware it is written by medical authorities as precautionary measures for those taking pharmaceutical monoamine oxidase inhibitors. These generally pose greater risk from dietary or substance interactions than does Ayahuasca which is considered to be a mild monoamine oxidase and serotonin re-uptake inhibitor.
Ayahuasca and sexuality
Manyh Amazonian curanderos believe the spirit of Ayahuasca to be 'jealous' of human sexuality during communion with her. This simply means that she may withhold her deeper blessings if one does not demonstrate respect and commitment by focusing their whole essential energy on her. They also believe that ethereal spirits are intrigued by corporeal human sexuality and are more attracted to those radiating unspent sexual energy, thus empowering one's connection with the healing spirits.
We urge abstinence from sexual activity for at least three days prior to the first ceremony continuing for three days after the last ceremony. Too quick a return to normal sexual activity can diminish the power and duration of the positive benefits of Ayahuasca. It is a small price to pay for potentially enormous lasting benefits.
Diversion of focus from spiritual cleansing and healing to sexuality is detrimental to personal goals in working with Ayahuasca and may be disturbing to others in attendance.
Successful work with Ayahuasca requires focus, will, and self-control to achieve the desired results.
When the diet ends, one is free to pursue a healthy sex life according to their nature, often with new meaning and vitality.
Menstrual cycle: In the old indigenous traditions, women in the flow of their menstrual cycle were not permitted to drink Ayahuasca. This is an ancient prescription rooted in safety considerations rather than sexism. It is believed that consumption of Ayahuasca by a woman in menses can cause excessive blood flow, though discomforts are rare.
there is a special "sealing" icaro which can be performed to seal and protect
a woman so there is no discomfort or undue risk. If you are coming
from afar to work with Ayahuasca, don't be concerned if your period should
start while you are here. There are mitigative measures that can
be taken to assure your safety and confidence.
The SpiritQuest ceremonial atmosphere is relaxed, congenial, supportive, focused and reverent. The mood is pleasant and positive, not grim or heavy. We cultivate a sense of warm fellowship, shared experience, personal inner exploration, healing, transformation, and renewal.
In the beginning one may experience a little apprehension, anxiety or fear of the unknown, but this will pass. There really is no need for fear. You will feel protected, loved, and cared for within our sacred circle. There is security and comfort in knowing everyone present beforehand and feeling trust and confidence in those who will help guide your inner journeys. We will assure your protection, safety and well-being no matter what circumstances may arise.
White clothing is not required in traditional shamanic practice, but light colors are most conducive to positive spiritual healing and to the diagnostic vision of the curanderos.
Black or very dark colors interfere with the curanderos' ability to visualize and diagnose causes of illness.
Bring a light jacket or blanket, a cushion or pillow, long sleeves and pants, a small flashlight (not to be used in the ceremonial space), and a small bottle of water to rinse your mouth as needed. You will likely feel cold at some time during the ceremonies and warm at other times, so it is good to have a way to respond without too much physical activity.
Quiet conversation and sharing is welcome before and after the ceremony. However when the ceremony commences, conversation should cease and attention be focused on the work of the curanderos and your own focus of intention. Attention in the ceremony should be focused on the icaros and mariris, magical healing songs sung by the curandero as they summon the healing spirits and move the energy in the ceremonial journey.
Never touch another person in ceremony unless invited to do so. Physical touching can interfere with the deep inner processes which may be difficult to re-enter. Touching for reassurance or affection is acceptable only when requested by another.
Keep in mind that everything that happens in an Ayahuasca ceremony influences everyone else present in some way. Talking, excessive movement, and other sounds may be extremely distracting to others present and greatly interfere in their personal work. The best way to assure that everyone has equal space is to tune in to the icaros andwork of the curandero and remain as quiet and still as possible throughout the ceremony. If one needs to leave the ceremonial space to go to the bathroom or to their room, then our ceremonial aides are summoned to lend assistance.
Purgative Cleansing to Visionary Healing
The second ceremony often dwells more in the psychological and emotional levels of Self. One may experience vivid, highly detailed recollections of family, emotions, memories of happy and sad moments, and an emerging comprehension of their place and purpose in life, community, planet, and universe. Flashes of color and light may be witnessed with rapidly changing visual impressions, often trivial, as the mind is cleared of clutter in preparation for the awakening and rebirth which is to follow. The presence of benevolent spirits is evident, and lucid visions are often experienced.
It is in the third and subsequent ceremonies that many people realize the existence of the spiritual realm in a most profound and personal way. The meaning and mission of one's life is often clarified. Incredibly rich and detailed visions may be received, often conveying information and knowledge of great personal significance.
One may experience soul flight through space and time to near or distant places, across town, to another country, or journeying through the cosmos to observe or communicate with life in other galaxies and other dimensions, and on to God and Goddess.
In time, when one is ready, the three shamanic worlds are revealed. Spirit protectors and doctors present themselves and one begins the first step toward becoming a teacher, perhaps even a healer...if they can find ethical purity, strength and determination. Every individual is compelled to their personal connection with Spirit through whatever means they find positive and fulfilling. Personal healing of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual afflictions often is initiated at this level.
It is important to understand that the effects and procession of Ayahuasca are neither fixed nor absolutely predictable, and vary significantly from one person to another and in the same person from one ceremony to another. Some move quickly through the initial stages to the visionary states while others arrive more slowly. Patience is a major virtue in working with Ayahuasca, and demands are virtually never met.
With patience, perseverence, and grace, successful realization of one's personal intention and life goals can always be realized, and we will provide every assistance to help you achieve you personal healing and spiritual quest.
Touch Choque Chinchay to send e-mail with your questions about shamanic cleansing, healing and transformative experiences with Peruvian SpiritQuest.
You can contact us by telephone in Iquitos, Perú at (011-51-065) 600-178
or 600-179 for more information about our offerings. We look forward to hearing from you.
Online Reference Library
for a wealth of articles about Ayahuasca, Huachuma, entheology, ethnobotany,
and traditional shamanism
Magical healing songs, sonics, and chants
from SpiritQuest Ayahuasca healing ceremonies
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April 14, 2008