Amazonian Medicine

Ayahuasca Ceremony

The drink of Ayahuasca is consumed traditionally as part of a ceremony. The various indigenous communities of Amazonia drink it during a collective ritual. It is a way for these communities to unite and purify as a group with the participation of all adults. The Ayahuasca beverage is commonly cooked early in the morning within the group and under the supervision of the healer maestro. Preparation will continue throughout the day. When finished and it has cooled down, the beverage can be served during the evening ceremony.

Preparation for the Ayahuasca Ceremony

Here are some important recommendations to follow before attending a ceremony. Like the Diet (see the diet of master plant chapter), it is important to follow certain rules in order to prepare for the care process and to ensure everyone’s safety. Like all energetic treatments, it is about preparing the body and mind for deep cleansing including some dietary and behavioral modifications. The work with Ayahusca begins with the implementation of these recommandations. It allows each patient to seriously consider this work and fully invest oneself, to ensure optimum results.

Process of an Ayahuasca Ceremony

Ayahuasca Ceremony

An Ayahuasca ceremony lasts about 4 to 6 hours. It always takes place at night in an enclosed space, traditionally in a maloca (house of spirits). Each participant sits on his mattress and takes time to meditate on his intentions and the work he wants to accomplish during this ceremony. Then begins the distribution. In turn, the participants will come to sit in front of the healing maestro to receive Ayahuasca. Once the shot is drunk, the group waits in silence until the effects begin to be felt after about 40 minutes, sometimes less.

Culturally, only the healer drank Ayahuasca to diagnose and care for his patients. Participants are not required to drink Ayahuasca for treatment. It is a personal choice that must be decided according to its needs and objectives.

Ceremony opening

The healing maestro then begins the icaros, sacred songs to open the effects of Ayahuasca, the energy of his medicine, to allow all participants to enter a space of collective trance. After this step, the healer can work directly on the patients by providing them with specific care and make a diagnosis. This care can also be given in the form of massages. The healer also uses other tools such as chapaka (rattle), tobacco and perfumes, which he blows on the patient accompanied by the energy of his singing (soplada).

During the ceremony

During a ceremony, it is common to feel nauseous and experience vomiting and diarrhea. This process is a normal part of the purge and is often experienced as a release. This cleansing step resolves emotional, energetic, and physical blockages (see the chapter on the effects of Ayahuasca). The combination of the drink and the experience of the healer opens a space of trance punctuated with sensations, visions and introspection. Participants can see and experience all types of phenomena, meet animals, plants, observe geometric shapes, travel through space and time, … They can also receive help in the form of teachings, answers regarding their themes and initial intentions, in a process of healing and spiritual awakening. It would be tempting to summarize the Ayahuasca experience with mere hallucinations. It is only when one enters the world of Ayahuasca that one can really grasp the extent of it and begin to consider the extent of its possibilities.

End of the ceremony

The effects of Ayahuasca can last a good part of the night and sometimes until early morning. It is essential that the participant remains in the maloca or close to it until the effects dissipate. Once the effects are over they can go back to their room or sleep in the maloca. Sometimes the effects happen later. Should this be the case, do not hesitate to ask for help.

Food contraindications related to Ayahuasca

One week before the ceremony please refrain from consuming: 

  • red meat (beef, lamb, veal, …)
  • pork (ham and bacon included)
  • seafood
  • dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, beurre, cream,…)
  • fermented products (tofu, sauerkraut, soy sauce, niokmam, …)
  • smoked products (dried fish, smoked salmon, …)
  • protein extracts (steroids, liquids, …)
  • canned soups, bouillon cubes
  • dietary supplements (vitamins, hydrogenated foods, …)
  • dried fruit (raisins, prunes)
  • candied fruit
  • dill seeds (in large quantities)
  • Kombucha or other liquids from lacto-fermentation (in large quantities)
  • caffeine, chocolate (in large quantities)
  • aspartame
  • hunger suppressant pills
  • sodium glutamate (present in Chinese soups)
  • As the ceremony approaches please reduce your consumption of oil, salt, pepper, condiments (peppers, mustard, vinaigrettes, pickles, Teriyaki sauce, …), sugar (sodas), pastries , biscuits.

Whenever possible, avoid eating industrially prepared meals. Instead, prefer healthy and natural food until the day of the ceremony.

Behavioral contraindications related to Ayahuasca

One week before the ceremony it is imperative to refrain from: 

  • all sexual practices! (masturbation included)
  • We also recommend that you avoid watching pornographic videos or horror movies. The content of these tend to cause interference in the visions and can disrupt the smooth running of the ceremony.

DRUGS: You must refrain from using drugs at least two weeks before the ceremony and two weeks after the ceremony (including alcohol, tobacco may be consumed).

Medical contraindications related to Ayahusca

If you are subject or have been subject to the following pathologies, the consumption of Ayahuasca is not recommended:

  • cardiovascular illnesses
  • hypertension, tachicardia stroke, hypotension
  • stroke
  • diabetes (serious)
  • asthma (serious)
  • Crohn disease, intestinal ulcers
  • psychological disorders resulting in psychiatric treatment
  • schizophrenic state
  • bipolar disorders
  • psychoses
  • psychoses depression during treatment (use of anti-depressant drugs such as IRSS should be stopped at least one month before taking Ayahuasca)
  • Cancer or any other autoimmune disease

If you are pregnant or if you are breastfeeding, it is strongly discouraged to take Ayahuasca.

Please refer to chapter speaking about drugs & active principles contraindicated with the taking of Ayahuasca


Even when in good hands, sometimes the first experiences with Ayahuasca are difficult and even in some cases very unpleasant. These negative effects are in most cases inevitable. They translate the lack of clarity of our heart, our body, our mind, … and have the effect of plunging us into a great confusion. The same confusion that lies inside, we see it as a whole, it can be confusing or even discouraging. This helps us, however, to become aware of the extent of the path we will have to go through, as well as the invaluable help that the healer can give us throughout this process.

On the subject of visions: it is also necessary to take a step back. One can misunderstand the meaning of visions because they are primarily constructed from our own cognitive material. Only time allows us to have an overall vision, and as the process progresses, the understanding that integrates deeply gets rid of the confusion little by little.

Messiah complex: It is tempting to want to identify with symbolic phenomena and to feel as the new prophet with the teachings that we receive during experiences with Ayahuasca. Be careful not to fall into the trap of the ego! Keep your feet on the ground or you may miss out on your experience.

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