Finding a way to heal past pain and lingering trauma is something that weighs heavy on the mind for many. The experience of embarking on an ayahuasca retreat can be life-changing in both mind and spirit, a new journey that confronts past trauma and forms a new bridge to spiritual enlightenment. However, you need to do your own research and consider what you are signing up for when attending an ayahuasca retreat. The experience is different for everyone, and both the setting and your spirit guide play a crucial role in making the most of a potentially transformative experience.
Ayahuasca is a concentrated liquid with psychoactive properties, typically made from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and leaves from the Psychotria Viridis shrub. Healers and shamans have long used ayahuasca in religious rituals and in therapeutic use in Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, and Peru, amongst other places in more recent history.
Because of its healing properties, ayahuasca retreats are popular, especially in Europe. If you plan to attend a recommended ayahuasca retreat, you should first spend some time learning about ayahuasca and the common myths surrounding its use. Below we list some of the common misinformation you might come across online in an attempt to cut out the white noise and keep you informed on your journey.
Myth #1: Ayahuasca is Just a Psychedelic Drug
Ayahuasca does contain dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic compound and an MAO inhibitor, but the plant mixture is much more than a drug to consume for the sake of a trip. It is part of a spiritual and healing experience for the indigenous peoples who regularly consume the brew as a part of their culture and lifestyle. Drinking the concentrated liquid is only one part of the experience, as there is usually a spiritual guide or shaman leading the ceremony along with chanting, drums, and music.
Myth #2: Ayahuasca is Addictive
There’s no evidence to suggest that ayahuasca is addictive. Even though DMT, the primary drug contained in ayahuasca, is illegal in many countries, it is not considered to be a significant drug of abuse. Hallucinogens are not typically addictive, and though the effects are sometimes sought out, ayahuasca is rarely the first choice due to the purge effects on the body. In fact, there are a number of studies that suggest ayahuasca might be beneficial in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction disorders.
Myth #3: Ayahuasca is a New Age Trend
Physical evidence of Ayahuasca use dates back at least 1,000 years in South America, and many indigenous people still practice its use now. Initially, few western people sought out spiritual ceremonies, but research from ethnobotanists caused it to become more well-known in more recent history. Today, you’ll find a diverse array of people at holistic retreats such as teachers, business professionals, students and many others from all walks of life looking for spiritual guidance.
Myth #4: You’ll Have a Wild Hallucinogenic Trip
Ayahuasca is not recommended for recreational use and usually does not induce the stereotypically presented hallucinogenic trip. Your mindset while consuming the brew is important, as is the setting. Ayahuasca opens your mind to clarity to allow you to do the spiritual work you need to do to work through the challenges you are facing. It may help you to feel more spiritually aware, more of a part of nature and the world as a whole.
After ayahuasca consumption, the body goes through a purge, where vomiting and diarrhea is common and expected. The purge is seen as part of the ceremony where the body is getting rid of built-up toxins. Hallucinations are also a part of the effects of consuming ayahuasca, and each person has a different experience. Hallucinations lead people to a greater spiritual understanding of themselves and their circumstances. It can be a frightening experience for some, but the shaman is there to help participants through their experiences.
Myth #5: Ayahuasca is a Cure-All
Some proponents of ayahuasca use consider it as being a cure-all for any malady, which simply isn’t true. Ayahuasca does not heal or treat any physical medical conditions, but it does have some significant antidepressant properties that researchers have been exploring for years as a possible therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Ayahuasca is also a tool used for some people to help them overcome some types of addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it simply will not do the work itself— ayahuasca simply opens the door, but those who seek help must walk through it.
Ayahuasca healing centers pair the ayahuasca spiritual ceremony with therapy, mindful activities, and nature. Reputable centers have therapists on site along with a trained shaman and often other types of trained spiritual support staff. Some retreats even have their own chef on-site to provide a cleansing diet ahead of the purge experienced during the ceremony.
Myth #6: You’ll Become a Different Person
Being a part of an ayahuasca ceremony will not change who you are, nor will it change your habits or mindset— only you can do that. Ayahuasca allows you to see a different perspective of yourself, and if you want to bring change, it can help show you the way. You must do the spiritual and mental work to benefit the most from attending a retreat center.
Book Your Ayahuasca Retreat With Avalon Today
When attending one of our Avalon Ayahuasca retreats, our goal is to help you on your path of self-discovery and deep healing. We combine the ancient wisdom of the sacred plant known as Ayahuasca with an integrated program that includes personalised care.
If you would like to book one of our plant medicine retreats, please visit our website for a list of upcoming dates. If all listed retreats are fully booked, please feel free to join our waiting list so you will be updated when a new retreat date is added.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you in the future and helping you to experience the healing potential of the Ayahuasca plant.