What do indigenous tribal members, backpackers, and suburban moms all have in common? They all take part in ayahuasca ceremonies.
Thanks to the recent psychedelic renaissance, ayahuasca ceremonies are starting to pop up all around the globe. Ayahuasca is being consumed at locations deep in the jungle to apartments somewhere in the middle of New York City.
Now you might be wondering, why has ayahuasca suddenly become so popular, and why are so many people taking it?
Find out all that and more as we explain why a diverse range of people from all walks of life are taking ayahuasca.
What Is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a brew made from two different plants—the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and chacruna leaf (Psychotria viridis). The mixture is powerfully hallucinogenic, thanks to the DMT found within the chacruna leaves.
Once consumed, the DMT causes an altered state of consciousness. That means that one will see and hear things that seem real but don’t exist.
Not only can the DMT alter consciousness, but emotions as well. That means that many people will feel pure euphoria, openness, and other emotional states.
How Do You Take Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is usually taken as part of an ayahuasca ceremony. An ayahuasca ceremony involves a day or multiple days of taking ayahuasca with other people and a shaman.
An ayahuasca ceremony usually starts at night and lasts until the morning or until everyone is done tripping. The shaman prepares the ayahuasca brew before the ceremony and gives everyone a dose.
The shaman then helps people through their ayahuasca trip throughout the night, serving as a supervisor or spiritual guide.
Why Take Ayahuasca?
For some people, taking ayahuasca is an essential part of their culture. For others, ayahuasca may be the way to help their depression or change their way of thinking.
There’s a lot of different reasons to take ayahuasca which is why there’s such a diverse set of users.
One of the main reasons people take ayahuasca is because of cultural usage. What we mean is that indigenous people in the Amazon have been taking ayahuasca for hundreds of years.
In fact, ayahuasca ceremonies come from tribes in the Amazon basin, including countries like Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. Historically, ayahuasca was used for different purposes depending on the tribe.
For some tribes, the shamans used it for shamanistic purposes—getting knowledge from the gods, speaking with the forest, diagnosing medical issues, etc. Other tribes used ayahuasca socially among the group for bonding or fun.
All together, ayahuasca ceremonies were a way to gain some insight, whether it be for medical purposes, spiritual purposes, connecting with others, or for personal experience.
Rite of Passage
Ayahuasca ceremonies have been passed down until the modern-day as the Western world caught on. As international travel increased, so did the number of Westerners taking part in ayahuasca ceremonies.
Backpackers who traveled through South America would go to ayahuasca ceremonies deep within the Amazon jungles. There they would take part in ceremonies that would sometimes last for days.
Many backpackers who took the brew did so out of curiosity or for self-exploration and personal growth. Many backpackers say that taking part in a real ayahuasca ceremony was like a rite of passage.
What that means is that they do it to start a new phase in their life. Some who journeyed into the jungles were at a crossroads in life or wanted to know more about themselves.
They felt that the ayahuasca ceremony was a transformative experience that changed their lives for the better.
As ayahuasca became more popular, trips deep into South America were no longer necessary. Now, there are ayahuasca centers in countries like Costa Rica or even ‘pop up’ ceremonies in various cities in America and Europe.
That’s led to an explosion of interest from those who want to take ayahuasca for a therapeutic reason. Ayahuasca has been used for hundreds of years for healing purposes, and scientists are only starting to realize that ayahuasca has therapeutic potential.
For example, a study showed that just one dose of ayahuasca was enough to help improve depression. Not only that, but ayahuasca also seems like an effective treatment for PTSD and anxiety.
On top of that, ayahuasca may be able to help people with emotional processing, mindfulness, and improve mood.
That’s why many people have been eager to take part in an ayahuasca ceremony. Some of them are trying to treat their depression, while others want to have more balanced emotions.
Like shamans of the past and present, many people take ayahuasca to get more in touch with their spiritual side. Many psychedelics are known to induce feelings of spirituality that can last long after the experience.
Ayahuasca is no different, and many people feel a much greater spirituality after only one dose. Many people seek spirituality because it can help them feel like one part of the greater whole.
That can give people a feeling of ease and satisfaction with their life because they feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves. Being part of something often leads to people feeling like they have a purpose in life, which can cause long-lasting contentment.
An Intense Experience
Unlike some other psychedelics, ayahuasca is very powerful, and most say that it is incredibly uncomfortable. One goes from feeling at pure peace to feeling like they’re dying.
Throughout the entire experience, intense nausea causes vomiting and diarrhea. Although this may sound like a reason not to take it, people must know that the experience is intense.
However, that intensity is perhaps one of the reasons why ayahuasca is so healing. One must be able to fight through the intense experience and come out the other side with new insight and knowledge.
Ayahuasca ceremonies probably aren’t for everyone but for those ready to go on a difficult journey.
If you’re curious about taking part in an ayahuasca ceremony, then do your research carefully. Remember that your safety is in the hands of someone you’ve probably never met before.
Most people who participate in ayahuasca ceremonies have overwhelmingly positive experiences, but just remember to take care.