Ayahuasca can be a life-changing journey, but how do you know if you are ready? It’s possible to experience fundamental shifts after drinking ayahuasca, providing you stay loyal to the integration period and you have prepared your mind, body, and soul for the journey. So if you’re considering the experience for yourself, what are the five things you should ask yourself before drinking ayahuasca to know whether you are ready or not?
5 things to ask yourself before drinking ayahuasca
Ready to show commitment to the healing process?
Knowing what you’re getting into before choosing to take part in an ayahuasca ceremony is paramount. Drinking ayahuasca is only the beginning of your journey. Once you open the door to healing with ayahuasca, you must be ready to embark on a really deep journey into yourself which can last for months, years, or even the rest of your life.
To get the most out of your experience, you must be committed to the journey before, during and after your ceremonies. That includes the ayahuasca diet, completely surrendering to the medicine during the ceremony and paying close attention to how you feel and what you need during the integration period. The more attention you give to these elements, the more prepared you will be and the richer your overall experience will turn out.
Full of deep respect for ayahuasca and shamanic ceremonies?
When you take part in an ayahuasca ceremony, make no mistake: you are engaging in an incredibly sacred healing practice that has existed for thousands of years. It is by no means an easy and casual psychedelic trip, like LSD, mushrooms, or truffles that offers fun visuals, pockets of introspection, and lots of laughter. Although this can occur, drinking ayahuasca is a commitment to venture deeper into your soul to realise your truest self. Many people have described it as hard, deep work that is to be explored with a clear awareness of what to expect.
It is strongly advised to avoid drinking ayahuasca outside of a sacred and shamanic ceremony setting, for both spiritual and health reasons. Shamanic principles during a ceremony are there to guide, facilitate and protect you on your journey. Without respect for this important ingredient, you put yourself at risk of being unsupported and neglected. It is of the highest importance to feel safe and secure, and respecting the ancient shamanic traditions will help you to feel that when in ceremony.
Willing to surrender to the process and let go of control?
Having resistance to something that – in its purest form – is a powerful medicine designed to heal you, may seem counterintuitive. However, it’s very common to experience resistance towards letting go. Knowing that you may experience this during a ceremony is really important to be aware of and understand.
Knowing how to decipher whether you are unwilling to let go, or if it’s your ego, is an important distinction to establish. Quite often, the ego – by its definition – will desperately try to survive when faced with a situation that threatens its existence. Being able to read between the lines, surrender, and transcend egoic structures in search of something less restrictive and more all-encompassing will make a big difference to your experience. The more you surrender, the more you connect.
Aware the journey can be hard but extremely rewarding in the end?
It is said that bad trips don’t exist, only difficult ones. There is no hiding the fact that ayahuasca can elicit very hard and very raw suffering. Equally, many ayahuasca experiences can leave people astonished by the sheer beauty they encounter and lead them to have an outpouring of love for everything around them. It’s also not uncommon for some people to have these kinds of dramatically contrasting experiences during the same night.
There’s no telling what you will encounter. Everyone’s story is different, and that is one of the many beautiful characteristics of ayahuasca. Simply knowing you may face uncomfortable demons on your path to lasting healing is a very good awareness to have before drinking ayahuasca. Knowing that pain is the touchstone of learning will prepare you for any eventuality you may encounter.
Able to let go of all expectations?
‘Expectation is the root of all heartache’, a wise soul once said. To be ready to drink ayahuasca is to know that you may feel as though you:
- Experience everything you’ve heard people can encounter (and more)
- Have a mildly intense but manageable experience
- Experience seemingly nothing at all
- Something completely different
Sometimes, you can leave the ceremony room feeling as though you haven’t connected with ayahuasca. If that’s the case, remember that is very normal and absolutely nothing to feel let down by. To avoid this situation from occurring entirely, we recommend relinquishing your expectations completely and trusting the medicine will give you what you need, not what you want.
Whether your experience is a full-blown transcendental and divine encounter, or a seemingly underwhelming one that leaves you feeling confused, ayahuasca will have worked her magic in some form or another. Sometimes, even if you can’t feel much of a difference, others may be able to tell. In the presence of trained shamans and perceptive ceremony guardians, they will often be able to see the work that has been done – something Julian experienced when he visited one of our retreats.
The act of opening up to ayahuasca in a safe environment will never be in vain. By taking an incredibly brave step towards healing and deep exploration, you invite the wisdom of this ancient plant medicine to work in unexpected and magical ways.
How do you feel about ayahuasca now? If you answered yes to each question and you feel the calling, then you may well be ready.
Feel free to dive deeper into your reflection with these important points you should consider before drinking ayahuasca.
If you are looking for a safe, holistic, and transformative ayahuasca retreat in Europe, Spain, or Barcelona where you can experience the full potential of this ancient plant medicine in a ceremonial setting, we welcome you to book your spot on one of our next retreats and join us.
All our ceremonies are guided by experienced shamans, with trained psychologists, coaches, and therapists close by during and after the entire retreat to help you at every step of your ayahuasca journey.