What Happens During an Ayahuasca Ceremony?
A guest post by Melody Fletcher
I am not someone who experiments with drugs. I’m careful about what I eat and I exercise in a gym rather than running around outdoors. While I’m spontaneous and fearless in many ways, I’ve always been a bit of a wuss when it comes to taking risks with my body. And yet, this past September, I boarded a plane, flew to Iquitos, took a bus and boat to the village of Guinardo Herrera, sat in pitch black ceremony room with a bunch of strangers, and drank a brew containing God knows what, cooked by a shaman I’d never met before and which would affect me in ways I didn’t yet understand. That first night, I was gripped by one thought: “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”
I first read about Ayahuasca about five years ago and I instantly knew that this was something I would experience someday. I wasn’t ready for it at that time, but it was definitely in my future. This past July, I suddenly received the strong impulse to book the trip. I just knew it was time. I’d found Infinite Light Peru, through the internet and instantly resonated with it. This was the place for me.
I participated in a total of ten Ayahuasca ceremonies and I can truly say, this has been a life changing experience for me. I met Captain Bill while resting in Iquitos between ceremony groups; I practically lived at the Dawn while there and he asked me if I’d like to share some of my experience with his readers. I’m quite happy to, however, please keep in mind that no one can really tell you what you’ll experience. It’s a very personal and individual thing and everyone experiences it differently. Therefore, all I can offer is my own perspective.
I’ve always been a person with a deep seated need to understand just how everything works. I wanted to know just what was happening in terms of energy, vibration and quantum physics during the ceremony. What was the shaman actually there for? I asked lots of questions during ceremony and the following is a compilation of the answers I received, with a bit of extra explanation for context.
Everything is energy, vibrating at different frequencies. Our brains are translators that allow us to perceive some of this energy, some of these frequencies, as physical matter. These physical frequencies are generally easy for us to access; we learn to see, hear, taste, touch and smell at a very early age. But there are many other frequencies, which aren’t physical, that we nonetheless have access to. And with a bit of training, we can teach our brains to access and translate these frequencies as well.
What Ayahuasca does is open you up to these frequencies. Which ones you’ll access specifically, is where it gets very personal. We each get exactly what we need in exactly the way we need it. When you get “attuned” to a frequency, you have access to information, which comes to you in the form of energy. Your brain then translates that energy into whatever form is easiest for you to understand. Some people receive messages in the form of words, some see images or visions, others hear sounds and yet others have feelings. Your messages may be rich in symbolism or very direct and clear. It differs for everyone but it’s always perfect for that individual.
Ayahuasca also allows you to easily access any lower vibrations you’re carrying within yourself, i.e. fears and negative beliefs. The downside of that is that when you access a fear, for example, you will completely and totally feel it. While the logical part of your mind knows that you are safe (you stay lucid during the ceremony, you are always aware of where you are), your physical body is experiencing the fear. This can be incredibly uncomfortable. You are quite literally facing your own worst demons and given a chance to release them. If you’re willing to put up with this discomfort, though, it can be incredibly worth it.
What the Shaman does during all of this is hold a very high vibration. Shamans are powerful energy workers, and what they do is learn to hold their own vibration so strongly, that they cannot be affected by others’ vibrations and in fact, will bring others up to meet them. If you’ve ever witnessed someone with a bad mood enter a room and bring everyone down, you’ll have seen how one person can affect the energy of a whole room. We can affect each other’s vibrations positively and negatively. But we can also train ourselves to not be affected by others. Shamans are masters at this.
So, when you use Aya to access these lower vibrations, the Shaman ensures that you cannot get “stuck” there, which could lead to you increasing that vibration, getting depressed, for example, etc. Rather, you’re pulled up to meet his. Now, this is not a gentle process. Your vibration is being yanked up quickly (there are much gentler ways to release negative beliefs), which constitutes a kind of quantum leap. The negative energy has to go somewhere, and it’s at this point that you purge. You may have read that most people vomit during ceremony. This is one way to purge. Another way is going to the bathroom (Aya will also detox you). But breathing deeply is also a way to purge (if you experience fear, for example, breathing deeply will cut the intensity), and if you know how, you can also purge energetically out through your crown chakra. But whichever way it happens, there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s just bad energy coming out, and you will generally know what it is you’re purging.
One thing to remember is that you are in on this. Aya is not a fix all. You don’t just drink it and it does the work. Nothing is being done TO you. You are helping to determine the experience. You can go into therapy and talk about what you had for lunch. You’ve HAD therapy, but you haven’t benefited. Well, you can also go into an Aya ceremony and decide to think about pink elephants. You’ll have DONE Aya, but you won’t have gotten the growth. The point is that it’s always up to you what you get out of it. You absolutely can set the intention. If you want to work on your biggest fears, you can. If you have some difficult ceremonies and want to take it easier in one, you absolutely can do that, as well. This is not some outside force that does what it wants to you. Ayahuasca is a tool, but you (and your inner being) are always, ultimately, in control.
No one can tell you if you should do Ayahusaca. You’ll know it. Keep reading about it, and if the plant is calling you, it’ll just feel really, really right. It’ll still be scary, but you’ll know it’s right for you. Aya is calling a lot of people right now, this medicine wants to be known. If you do decide to go, find a center or Shaman that you really resonate with. Again, you’ll just know that this is the right place for you.
Personally, I have absolutely no regrets. Aya has accelerated my spiritual growth exponentially, as well as allowed me to meet some fantastic people. I absolutely plan on coming back to Peru whenever I feel like the time is right for me. And I’m sure Captain Bill and the girls will have breakfast waiting for me on the terrace when I return.
What Happens During an Ayahuasca Ceremony?
Melody Fletcher writes articles about the Law of Attraction and spirituality. You can read more of her work at, Deliberate Receiving.