Ayahuasca in the Amazon


Ayahuasca healing retreat in Peru

If you are considering visiting the Amazon rainforest and at the same time looking to heal your soul and your body, this is a great travel option for you. Through the Ayahuasca ceremony, you will get to experience a new and special life, helping you to better understand the spiritual world and connect with your inner consciousness.

Within Peru the use of Ayahuasca has always been legal. Its counterpart, Brazil, has banned its use for many years, this because of the assumptions that due to its hallucinogenic properties it was considered a drug harmful to health. Since 1987 its use was legalized for healing retreats, research and other more popular uses. However, this drink, known and used for centuries for curative purposes, has never been taken seriously, as it is perceived by the native peoples who use it as a preparation with curative and religious connotations.

Going back to the origins of human beings, they have always used plants in their search for higher knowledge, and it was probably this act of exploring their consciousness that gave man the ability to unfold his full potential, giving rise to homo sapiens. Our ancestors used all the resources available in their homelands not only for healing purposes, but also as a way of interacting with the world and their gods.

Nowadays, these substances are called “entheogens”, which means “God within us”, and they are mostly plants that give the possibility of living a full, vital experience with remarkable results in our behavior and in the way we live the world around us, seeking to connect us with the spiritual world.

However, there is a wide variety of “entheogenic” substances and not all of them are easily accessible nor can they be freely used by everyone; these products have to be carefully supervised by professionals or by experts in their use. In many countries, these products must only be prescribed by physicians or are prohibited and punishable by law.

The original word for this drink is “Ayahuasca“, which comes from a Quechua word that refers to “rope that unites the world of the dead with the world of the living”. This is one of the most enduring native languages in a large part of South America: Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, part of the Brazilian Amazon, Bolivia, northern Argentina and northern Chile. That is, the ancient territory that encompassed the Tahuantinsuyo or Inca Empire.

In recent years the name it has adopted is “Santo Daime”, which means “to give sanctity” and is more related to the native communities in Brazil, although both names are correct to call it, it will depend on the place where it is found to be able to find it with one name or another. This drink is produced by the mixture of several plants and where a liana or vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) plays a major role.

Many people think that the drink is obtained by simply boiling this vine and that the resulting juice is Ayahuasca, but this is not true. The liana by itself does not produce any effect. However, it contains a very potent monoxidase inhibitor that combined with other vegetables probably containing DMT (dimethyltryptamine) produces the well-known entheogenic effects.

There are up to 90 different species of plants within the Amazon that contain DMT and some have these effects. Others could be used in combination to produce Ayahuasca. People who experienced a journey with this substance, within healing rituals for spiritual and medical conditions have different reactions; like cold, heat, sweat etc. This has a lot to do with the vegetables used in the preparation. The active synthetic components are prohibited everywhere, but no country in South America prohibits the use of Ayahuasca in its natural state or prepared according to ancient and traditional recipes.

Within these native communities you will find “curanderos” (teachers) who treat illnesses only with Ayahuasca and are known as “ayahuasqueros” due to their skills and experience in the preparation and use of this drink that contributes to physical and spiritual health.

Ayahuasca is considered a sacred and therapeutic drink; an important objective, considering the human being in its context and not as an organism that only responds to external stimuli. The use of this substance has spread from South America to Europe through a variety of religious movements that practice openly and without restrictions the religion known as the Church of Santo Daime. They are known as “daimists”. Also to the north, in California, USA, there are plantations of this vine to produce Ayahuasca.

Its preparation is intended for different uses and is administered according to different ages, objectives, purposes, etc. This means that a “shaman” can take it for clairvoyance, dream interpretations etc. An older person to make his life fuller and more productive. For young people, it serves to make them stronger and prepare their personality so that it does not undermine their future development. That is, Ayahuasca has a diversity of benefits for the human being, its conscious use can help even the most skeptical.

Santo Daime or Ayahuasca is used to catalyze the process of spiritual growth with therapeutic benefits to correct behavior and physical illness resulting from the lack of spirituality in the modern world. Its use can also be considered to unify Eastern beliefs with Christianity. For example, from Eastern currents of thought it adopts the knowledge to unify the individual soul with the universe, karma, reincarnation, meditation, etc. While from Christianity it takes charity, forgiveness, generosity, love and Christian conduct with oneself and one’s fellow men.

The use of Daime is becoming more and more widespread in many parts of the world and has much to do with a change in the evolution of the human being and contemporary culture that is distancing the soul from the body in recent times. If you have some time and money to spend, you can visit the Peruvian Amazon and contact renowned “shamans” and participate in one or more of the organized Ayahuasca Healing retreats. Another alternative is to visit Rio Branco from Puerto Maldonado, where this whole current originates and where a large number of families live who belong to these local groups that have this interesting perception of reality.

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