Ayahuasca Ceremony Guidelines
At the Avatar Centre it is our goal and priority to provide for all of our guests, a safe and sacred space for each person to heal, learn and grow. Holding this space for all of our guests requires a great respect for and commitment to the sacred process that is this style of healing and medicine work.
Throughout the process, our team of compassionate and experienced facilitators act as your link and bridge to both the healers and the wisdom of the Amazon, offering a daily presence and support both in and out of ceremony. Our facilitators are highly trained in the world of Ayahuasca, and various healing traditions, being able to offer balanced counsel, translation services when communications need to be made between participants and our Spanish speaking healers/Curanderos, and encouragement throughout your healing process. Ayahuasca has a way of evoking and activating a higher state of awareness and a powerful intelligence, which has the power to reach deep into the psyche, drawing out with it a host of emotions, feelings, personal memories and even karmic and genetic memories(those passed down from previous generations or from past incarnations), as part of an important process which allows an individual to work through dysfunction, trauma and imbalance. Knowing how to face ones shadow side when it emerges is integral to ones process of transformation, both in ceremony and out. This is because the shadow resides deep within the subconscious, in a place most avoid going, which is exactly why this work is so important. Most taking the path of least resistance, will resist the places which store emotions like guilt, pain, shame and disappointment. Facilitators savvy in this terrain, are able to compassionately encourage guests to not avoid these potentially difficult experiences, but rather to face them, explore them more deeply, or sometimes just to bare witness and observe the cycles of ones own experience and how it may be affecting ones behavior and ability to attract that which they want to attract into their life.
Discussion On Ayahuasca
As part of all of our retreats, before the first ceremony, we hold an in depth discussion on the topic of ayahuasca, typically facilitated by Brown, Avatar Centre co-founder & trained Ayahuasca Healer. During this discussion we will be explaining clearly the ceremonial process, and teaching tips on how to get the most out of your experience with Ayahuasca, & other plant medicines. During the discussion you will also learn more about the traditional use of Ayahuasca, and be able to develop an understanding of how the native people of the Amazon Basin have used this plant medicine concoction as both a healer, a teacher and an informant. All of this information is provided to help support you in developing a strong understanding, which we believe is sure to assist you greatly in your healing journey.
Tools & Tips
Before each retreat's second ceremony, we take time to teach a series of helpful tips and tools for navigating the terrain of the Ayahuasca experience. We do this after the first ceremony, and before the second, as it is prime time for people to absorb the information, and have some foundation of experience to understand each tool's relevance and purpose. The goal of offering these simple yet powerful tools is to help all of our participants to get the most out of their journey with Ayahuasca. An example of one of these tools may be so simple as a question that can be asked to the spirit of the medicine like..."What is this here to teach me?" Often people experiencing Ayahuasca for the first time, don't realize that they can ask a question to Ayahuasca and receive an answer, and can sometimes feel like they need to use their mind to interpret the many messages and metaphors which can be projected for us to see and experience through our visions. Often the mind is not the tool which is best fit for this task, and asking the right questions, allows each person to let go more fully into the Ayahuasca experience, learning the great gift of surrender.
The Ceremony Space Itself will be held safe and protected by our team of healers, the rituals they practice, and the power of their healing and protective Icaros (healing songs from the plants). Always present, is at least one assistant who will be in ceremony for every 5 participants, to assist guests should any personal needs need to be addressed during the duration of ceremony, such as escorting guests to and from the bathroom, or communicating something of importance to our healers throughout the duration of the ceremony. For all of our guests, we provide a highly experienced team, there to meet any of your ceremony needs with patience, skill and compassion.
Ayahuasca Ceremonies will start in our large ceremonial maloka, which overlooks our spring-fed pool at 7pm, and the medicine will begin to be served between 7:30-8pm after a period of prayer and preparatory space cleansing by our healers. We encourage all retreat participants to take time before each ceremony to calm their minds, relax, meditate, pray or take part in any personal practice which helps you to connect to your soul, reflect on your internal process and integrate the work of the medicine to date.
The Avatar Centre offers the opportunity to receive ceremonies in intimate group sizes, providing adequate attention to each of our guests. Ceremonies typically range from 8 to 10 participants, but those who add on an extra ceremony at the end of a retreat, may have the opportunity of being one of just a few. Private Ceremonies may be recommended in unique situations, in which case an additional charge will be required.
Participants are served the medicine individually, in front of one of our healers, the same healer who will serve each night, and before being served, a ritual will be done using the smoke of Mapacho(jungle tobacco) to understand what each persons optimum dosage will be. Typically if the ceremony is part of a larger retreat, the dose received through the ritual, will be something to work up to. With respect for the power of the medicine, we start all of our guests off on a lower dose the first night(lower for each person will be a little different depending on sensitivity levels and body mass and metabolic rates). This practice is to preserve the safety of all of our guests, allowing us to see how the medicine is working in each person’s body. In addition, this practice of starting with a lower dose, also helps guests to develop relationship to the medicine, whether for the first time or after some time away. This assures that no one gets thrown in too deep too fast, and that each guests has the opportunity to build or rebuild trust with the medicine. Trust is a key factor in being able to surrender to the experience that Ayahuasca presents. The second ceremony, after our healers have had a chance to diagnose and make a clear energetic assessment of each participant, we will increase the dose for those who feel ready. An increased dose for many, has the ability to push the mind and the ego aside to allow one to work on subtler levels of the subconscious mind, in addition to the expansion of ones conscious awareness through connection to spirit. By the third ceremony, we will be working with the optimum dosage for each individual, allowing each participant to go as deep as they would like. After serving the medicine, our healers will also drink the medicine, and blow out the candles, leaving the maloka in darness. Typically after everyone has taken the medicine, the healers will sit in silence for a period of 45 minutes, until their Mariacion(the effect of the Ayahuasca) begins.
When the healers begin to feel the presence of the Ayahuasca, and their mariacion takes hold, they slowly enter into the world of the medicine. Crossing the veil from a three dimmensional reality into a four dimmensional reality, allowing them to open a direct line of communication to their spiritual allies, many of which are associated with specific plant spirits, affectionately referred to as doctorcitos. When the healers begin to sing, they are singing to call in the plant spirits, their spiritual allies, and to maintain a forcefield of protective energy around the maloka, working to clean the space of negative energies, and maintain the space at a high vibration.
Ayahuasca ceremonies are always held at night in the ceremonial maloka, unless a daytime ceremony is specifically requested by a whole group in advance, at time of booking.
There are a few items we suggest bringing to ceremony:
Flashlight/torch with a red-light setting
Jacket or sweatshirt and a blanket
Bottle of water
Any small sacred objects which you like to use for your connection
Comfortable, loose fitting, white clothes for wearing in ceremony(optional)
The Maloka is a sacred space, and in respect for everyone's individual internal process, we ask that the Maloka be kept as a silent space for one hour before and one hour after ceremony.
Here are a few things to review before attending your first ceremony:
No video recording during ceremony
No audio recording during ceremony without first receiving permission from our healers
Remain inside the protected space of the maloka until the facilitators have announced the close of ceremony.
No talking, singing or clapping during ceremony.
No physical contact with other guests during ceremony.