The lists usually discourage or forbid red meat and pork, salt, hot spices, alcohol (that’s a big one), avocados and a few other items.

If you research the “aya diet” you’ll encounter lists of what to eat and some of these differ.

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(I rarely lie down flat except for stretching out my back — the visions just become to overwhelming.) As I can’t easily sit with my legs crossed for a long time, I find it very useful to bring along a yoga chair (there are versions used by hikers) that’s basically a legless item made from two pieces of nylon-encased foam, held together with straps.

I bring a sleeping bag rather than blankets, and usually keep this unzipped like a duvet.

(Now you see why not a lot of young people in South America are apprentice shamans…) Anyway, I practiced abstinence and had powerful visions my first time. I imagine one of the most neglected areas of preparation among people traveling from busy industrial society to ayahuasca retreat centres is the simple act of paying attention, by which I mean noticing () your mood, what’s around you, nature, and so on. You don’t have to think of it in those terms, if you don’t care to.

I’ll never know what would have happened otherwise, but I imagine my experience could have been less. I don’t understand people who finish a work deadline, jump on a plane and drink ayahuasca the next day. Okay, so the big day has arrived and you’re in some ayahuasca retreat having eaten super-healthy vegan food for weeks and weeks, avoided alcohol and had no sex for what seems like forever. I quite like it, but then I like the Lord of the Rings movies, so finding out there really is a spirit world is quite cool in my books.

This site has been blocked by order of the government of Russia.

You can read more about Russia’s internet censorship law here.As the shamans often say, if you bring no intention to the ceremony, you may see a pretty light show and colors and not much else.In truth, the first time I drank I felt it was worth the price of flying to Peru just for what I saw in the first 15 minutes.Sometimes I’ve seen the smoke delivered like a smudge, waved over a person with a large feather.In Peru, participants were allowed to smoke mapachos during ceremony, which on one level I didn’t mind except for the light in my eyes when they lit up, which was almost blinding (your eyes become highly light sensitive on the medicine) and some people seemed to light up out of a sense of boredom and restlessness, which annoyed me (since I was breathing their smoke).An example might be, “I want healing” or “I seek purification” or “I want guidance with the path forward in my life.” If you set your intention as something like, “I wish to clear up the relationship with my mother who makes me so angry sometimes because she keeps comparing me to my brother, and just because he excels academically I know he has a lot of issues she doesn’t know about…” or something like that, you just won’t be able to remember it when you’re in ayahuasca’s thrall. At different ceremonies you may encounter people who surround themselves with stuff: crystals, little vials of different healing potions, favorite objects, shoe options, etc. At a shamanic centre, a mattress will normally be provided and some pillows.