Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 44

Journey Into Light

Discovering La Familia Medicina

by Zach Poitra

Copyright 2011

Table of Contents:

My Story !

3

Ceremony- What to Expect!

14

Ceremony Etiquette !

17

The Shamanic Dieta !

20

Preparation for Ayahuasca Ceremonies !

25

Drinking Ayahuasca Alone !

29

Why Ayahuasca is Not a Drug !

29

Long Term Benefits of Ayahuasca !

31

Ayahuascero vs. Curandero !

36

Health Risks and Medications !

40

Introduction:

My Story

My journey with ayahuasca and amazonian shamanism started back in August of 2009. Now that I look back on how it all started I am amazed at the synchronicities that put me on this path. At the time everything seemed like a random event, rather than a call. In reality it was a call, a call by the spirit of ayahuasca.

Before I was even aware of ayahuasca, I was on a path that was going in the complete opposite direction of the medicine. I was an institutional stock broker working with hedge funds on Wall St.

My life on Wall St. looked great on the outside. I lived what looked like a fantasy for most guys in their mid 30s. I was single, making exceptionally good money, traveling to luxurious exotic places several times a year, partying like a rock star 4-5 nights a week and dating beautiful women.

I had totally bought into the idea that accumulation of things, people, and

experiences that I could brag about was the path to happiness. This ideology

worked

....

for

awhile. Then I started to feel like shit

...

all

the time.

In the last few years of my life as a stock broker I started to notice something was off. Nothing seemed to be satisfying or fulfilling. I was bored. I wondered why my life was not more like an adventure, why it seemed to have no purpose. I wondered where all the interesting people went. I questioned why I was not

happy. I kept beating myself up, “You have everyTHING you ever wanted, BE HAPPY!”

So I started to take steps to change my life. I started with yoga and then became involved in several short term self improvement workshops. I had money so it was easy for me to slip into somewhat of a weekend self help workshop addict. Some of these workshops were better than others, but they all seemed to produce what many people call a “workshop high”. A workshop high is when you feel great at the end of the workshop and that feeling holds for about a week after. Then your life goes right back to the way it was before the workshop. Even though I noticed this, I kept going back for more workshops. I kept thinking that maybe the next one would be the one to change my life. They were also providing the best natural “high” feeling in my life.

Then late in 2007 through a series of events that I can not recall, I came across the National Geographic article about the ayahuasca center Blue Morpho. I was intrigued and thrilled that National Geographic allowed the author to actually participate in several ayahuasca ceremonies and write about her experiences in ceremony. The moment I finished the article I knew I wanted to drink ayahuasca,

and I knew at that time I did not want to go down to Peru alone.

So I called up

my best friend from college to see if he was game. He wasnʼt, and I wasnʼt willing to go down by myself, so I dropped the whole thing. I quickly returned to my cycle of working, partying and workshops. I was hoping that the next workshop was the answer to that nagging problem that I could not identify nor articulate.

This cycle continued for about a year and a half. I have to say, some things had improved as I was a regular practitioner of yoga and I had found a very solid meditation practice. These practices seemed to help a bit, but I was still largely unhappy and I was also doing a fair amount of partying in spite of my practices. I was still bored, I was waiting for something to happen in my life, a sign. Then out of the blue I woke up one morning thinking, “I have to drink ayahuasca”. Within 24 hours I had my airplane ticket booked and a spot in Blue Morphoʼs 9 day, 5 ceremony ayahuasca tour.

My first tour was absolutely amazing. It was the beginning of my long journey with ayahuasca. A journey that led me to write this book. During the tour I had realizations that help me get over an ex-girlfriend, resolve issues surrounding my step-father, and my heart felt like it was busted open like never before. Most importantly I finally felt connected to the universe and the divine. A huge realization I had was that we as a society tend to forget how to live in relation to others and the rest of the universe. Ayahuasca teaches us how to live again.

Yes, the tour was amazing, but the big test was re-entry into society. Were the lessons learned going to stick, or was it just another “workshop high”? I discovered that not only did the lessons stick, but I continued to learn new lessons for several months. I saw change after change in my life and again these changes were permanent.

Life just seemed more interesting. Colors were brighter, food tasted better, I found people to be nicer and easier to connect with. I felt happier in general. My motivation and discipline increased significantly. Suddenly mundane, boring tasks did not seem all that bad anymore.

My relationship to going out and partying changed significantly. In fact alcohol was just not that interesting to me anymore. I realized that it just dulled me down and made me feel like crap the next morning. I had learned how to drink one or two and then stop. I learned that I could have a good time without excess. I seemed to have found the perfect middle path.

After that first tour I did not think I would be heading back to Peru for some time

as things were just fine in my life.

It was also a fair chunk of change to do an all

inclusive tour . Then one of my close friends called me up early the next year to

tell me he was heading down for his very first ayahuasca tour. Suddenly it hit me

that I was going down to Peru again as I wanted to be by my friends side for his first ceremonies. The problem was that my work and life schedule seemed too

hectic to make it happen. Especially work

....

Wall

St. is not fond of vacations. My

boss surprised me and everything else just fell into place. I was able to re- arrange my life schedule in less than 24 hours to make it happen. It is amazing how when ayahuasca calls, life opens up doors that make it possible to connect with her.

Tour number two was equally amazing as the first. The second round of ceremonies proved to me that there is ALWAYS more work to do. Ayahuasca continued to teach lessons at deeper and deeper levels. It was the proverbial peeling back layers of the onion process. As I finished up my time in Peru I started to think about how I could make ayahuasca more a part of my life ... without moving to Peru.

Returning home the second time was actually more interesting than the first time. I never thought that my life could feel better, but it did. All of the things I noticed before were at a new level and seemed to hold there. I also had what could only be described as a kundalini awakening experience about a month after my return to the states. I was driving my car home from a mantra class (I am imagine the mantras combined with my recent ayahuasca ceremonies to set the perfect stage for this) and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of joy. I started crying, hyperventilating and I could feel energy moving up my spine and out of my heart center. It was so overwhelming that I had to pull over for several minutes to gather myself, blow my nose and figure out where I was. I often chuckle and

wonder if passing drivers noticed

if

they did I am sure it was quite the scene

It was

... from the outside, but nothing compared to my internal experience.

awesome.

Over the next several months my personal life was great on a relative basis, but work was really starting to grind on me. I was much more interested in spiritual pursuits than work. I was interested in learning about healing and health. Work was the exact opposite of my new interests. I worked in finance. This was an environment where many people were completely consumed with money. I tried to rationalize that my job was helping people in some way, but I knew that was all BS and I was just helping rich people get richer.

It is not that ayahuasca had changed me. Ayahuasca was not affecting how much I enjoyed my work. Ayahuasca was teaching me that my career path was not for me. While I had been successful over the years in finance, I was never really happy. It had always bothered me how the whole finance industry touts integrity while being up to their ears in conflicts of interest and the fact that the

guy sitting next to me would have no problem, in fact be very excited to take my

accounts if given the opportunity.

I also realized that I was using money like a

drug, to offset the slime I felt inside at work. I was self medicating with “retail

therapy”. Ayahuasca was waking me up and showing me the slime.

I started to tentatively talk to my friends about going down to Peru to study ayahuasca more. I asked them if they thought I was crazy. All of them said that I was not in the least bit crazy, they all encouraged me as they seemed to see something in me that I hadnʼt come to terms with yet. They also pointed out that shamans are always viewed as being on the edge of society a.k.a kind of crazy.

Even with this encouragement from my friends I was very hesitant to take the

leap and head to Peru.

One thing I knew for sure, I wanted out of my job as it

was eating away at my soul. So I concocted a ridiculous plan designed to appease the illusion I had in my head about how my family would react to a forty year old man quitting a great job to run off into the Peruvian jungle to study ayahuasca with shamans.

So I quit my job claiming that I was burnt out and would head off to asia and teach english, a job I held once in my early twenties and a job I actually enjoyed. But first I was going to Peru for one last round of ceremonies. Looking back, it was ridiculous and I was totally lying to myself. I was heading in the right direction though.

Almost immediately my plans changed. Once again I woke up with a

revelation

....

I

finally came clean with myself

...

kind

of. It finally occurred to me

that it may be possible and quite viable to spend six to seven months in Peru just

working with ayahuasca. I told myself that I was not going down in search of an apprenticeship. I knew that the shamanʼs path is totally different from a guestʼs path and it could be extremely difficult and sometimes scary. I was avoiding that commitment as best I could.

I am not going to lie to you. Leaving the country and a career of ten years had many frightening moments during the days leading up to my departure. That said, I never questioned my decision. I did wonder what lay ahead. I was returning to a world that I had only known for short periods of time. Now I was

going all in. I had jumped off the cliff and was diving head first

the water. Was it going to be cold? currents?

....

Was it going to sting?

...

waiting to hit

.... What about the

For the first few months I worked with several maestros in Peru. They were all amazing teachers and every ceremony took me to deeper places, cleansed my body, brought amazing realizations, and opened my heart more and more. I started in Iquitos, moved to Jenaro Herrera, Cusco, and finally back to Jenaro Herrera. At the beginning of those first few months I told myself that I wanted to experience and learn from as many high integrity and high quality teachers as possible. I soon discovered two things: 1) Just like other spiritual paths, finding high quality, high integrity teachers is not like finding a Starbucks. I was lucky in that all of my teachers met this criteria, but going beyond this circle of teachers did not seem necessary nor prudent. 2) I was searching for my teacher. I was looking for a teacher that I truly trusted and connected with.

I finally realized that I had found something very special in Jenaro Herrera. I decided to stay in Jenaro Herrera to do some longer term work with a group of maestros nicknamed “La Familia Medicina”.

La Familia Medicina is the nickname of our group (mesa) of three maestros in Jenaro Herrera that have known each other for over thirty years. Everyone in the mesa practices “pura medicina” that is simply a focus on curing, teaching about love, acting with love, and teaching about light. The amount of trust, love, and friendship within this mesa is incredible. The two older maestros Don Alberto Torres and Don Roldan Galindo are “compadres” as they both studied under Don Julio LIerena when he was alive. Maestro Gumercindo Galindo is Don Roldanʼs son and he studied under Don Alberto. Maestro Gumercindo is essentially Don Albertoʼs “right hand man” in the ceremonies they hold together on a regular basis in the village.

At this point in my journey I still was telling myself that I did not want to follow the path of a shaman. I was simply working in the medicine, cleaning myself, and learning. In spite of this, Maestro Gumercindo would do things like putting a chakapa next to my chair before ceremony and taking time to talk about the medicine with me. When Gume gave me the chakapa I felt extremely honored, but when I picked up the chakapa it did not feel right. I actually felt fear when I picked up the chakapa. I worried about keeping the rythym. I worried that I was not “doing it right” and my arm would get tired after about five minutes of using the chakapa. I put the chakapa down, and eventually Gume stopped giving them to me.

Over the next several months I continued to work with the medicine without any solid goal in mind other than to work on myself. I was not lost, but I had no viable plan as to what would happen after my time in Peru was up. I simply put trust in the medicine.

During this time I became very close to the Galindo family. I found their love and acceptance to be like a warm blanket. I was and continue to be amazed to see a family express such love and trust amongst themselves and towards others. Maestro Gumercindo and I became close friends both in and outside of ceremony. He was always happy to help me understand the medicine. His philosophy is that ayahausca and other plant medicines are gifts from God and they are gifts for EVERYONE. If someone shows up on their doorstep looking for healing or wants to learn about the medicine, they are welcome. There are no secrets to hold back. Healing and teaching with pura medicina is a gift to the world.

My big shift came early 2011 as I was in a jungle camp with Maestro Gumercindo doing a 10 day retreat with other guests from the states. One morning Gume pulled me aside to tell me about a dream he had the night before. He said, “In my dream we were both in a place like this, not this place, but similar. In this place you and I were serving thousands of westerners medicine. It was a great dream.” I stopped in my tracks and did not know what to say. Was he asking me to be his apprentice!?!? I mumbled some sort of reply like, “Oh, that sounds like a nice dream.” Needless to say this question looped over and over in my head for the rest of the day. The other question that kept looping was whether I should accept this invitation.

Later that night we had ceremony. As I drunk my cup of ayahuasca I specifically asked the spirit of ayahuasca to help me determine if following the shamanic path was for me and I asked if Maestro Gumercindo was the teacher I should learn from.

Ayahuasca was crystal clear with her answers. About mid way through

ceremony the vision came. “Yes.”, she said, “Follow the shamanic path and yes Maestro Gumercindo is your teacher.” There was absolutely no ambiguity in

Ayahuascaʼs answer. I was floored

....

in a good way.

After ceremony and after the guests had left the ceremony house Gumercindo, his father Don Roldan, and I talked about me studying with Maestro Gumercindo. They both smiled and said, “Esta bien”. We were to work together going forward.

I felt great. For the first time in my life I had clear direction and purpose. quickly found that I absolutely loved working closely with guests serving them

I

and helping them every way possible. I also seemed to learn my role as assistant very quickly. In the next ceremony the spirit of the chakapa came to me

and taught me how to work with it. The spirit actually melded with my hand and

told me, “Do it like this.”

I no longer hesitated with the chakapa

...

it felt like it was

a part of me.

It was like an energy was guiding me. I did not need to exert any

effort to work with the chakapa. WOW, Thank you Ayahuasca!

Once Gumercindo and I decided to work together we quickly realized that we wanted to build our own ayahuasca camp in the jungle. It was incredible how we seemed to agree on everything as we planned the camp out. It appeared as if we were perfect compliments to each other.

The retreat center would include the work of the entire Galindo family: his father Don Roldan, his mother Gertrudes, his brother Marci, and his sister Sarita. Given the involvement of the entire family we decided to borrow the name La Familia Medicina.

Now the camp is finished and we are starting a new journey and answering a new calling. Our vision and goal is to teach visitors about ayahuasca and pura medicina. We want our guests to experience and feel the the love of the entire Galindo family while working with ayahuasca. La Familia Medicina is truly a special place with an amazing family holding the space.

The rest of this book is more practical in nature. It is to help you learn more about ayahuasca. It is not a complete guide to ayahuasca. I can only relay my personal knowledge and experience. With that said I want to be clear about what this book is and is not.

What this book is:

My personal experiences and information that I pulled together to help westerners new to ayahuasca understand more about the medicine.

This e-book has some practical insight as to what to expect in Peru as it relates to ayahuasca shamans and ceremonies.

It provides some tips on how to prepare for traveling to Peru and some ideas on how to prepare for ceremony.

What this book is not :

I will not go into the chemical breakdown and a brew ingredient list for ayahuasca. There is plenty of information on this subject on sites like erowid.com and ayahuasca.com.

I will not share my visual or ceremony experiences in a “trip report” type of fashion. Again, there are plenty of these reports around and I think that reading too many of these reports can overly influence your expectations. (I do delve a bit into this sort of thing on my blog at LaFamiliaMedicina.com)

This is not the encyclopedia of ayahuasca. I am only relaying what I know and what I have experienced. I am also relaying my opinions. In some instances I am sure others will disagree with what I write.

**Disclaimer- I am not a doctor. I am not giving any medical advice and this book is not intended to be used as medical or therapeutic advice in any way.

Ceremony- What to Expect

Ceremony starts when it gets dark (6:30-7:00PM) if you are in a jungle camp like La Familia Medicina. If you are in a city or town it will most likely start much later when the street noise is reduced. Ceremony will last between 4-6 hours.

As ceremony starts, the maestro will sit directly in front of the mesa facing east and the rest of the guests will form a circle around the maestro. The maestro and more experienced guests will be in chairs, while many of the guests will opt for mats about the size of a yoga mat.

At the beginning of ceremony the maestros will sing icaros into the container holding the ayahuasca. The icaros are used to call to the spirits and set the intent for the ceremony. Then the maestro that is leading ceremony will pour and pass out doses to the guests. For each cup he will sing individual icaros. At La Familia Medicina each guest goes up one by one to receive their dose from the maestro. Before a guest drinks their dose, they say “Salud!” and the other participants reply with “Salud!” to show appreciation to the maestro, other guests, and the medicine.

Once everyone has drunk, the lights are turned off or candles blown out so that there is complete darkness. (Make sure you know where your flashlight is before this happens.) When the lights go out is when chakapas start to shake and the maestros begin to sing icaros.

The chakapas are essentially a rattle like instruments made out of the leaves of a jungle plant and they make a shh, shh, shh like sound. They are used to bring on the mariacion, or visions, as they are soothing and trance inducing. The maestros also use chakapas to manage the maestrosʼ energy within the ceremony space and to direct energy for healing.

Icaros are sacred medicine songs that are given to the maestros by the plant spirits and by their own maestros. Icaros are used to call in spirits, call in the

mariacion (visions), to heal, and to protect. There is no “play list” for the icaros. The spirits tell the maestros which icaros to sing and when.

Icaros carry the maestrosʼ energy in a very profound way. In my personal experience icaros seem to “paint” or guide my experience in ceremony. It is a good idea to focus on the icaros during ceremony. The icaros are there to help you if you are working through some difficult issues and again, they are the maestrosʼ energy. Listen to the icaros and open up to them.

In ceremony at La Familia Medicina it is common for the maestros to take breaks from singing. These breaks are to check in with the guests to see if they need anything, to check in with each other and the assistants, to feel the silence, to listen to the beautiful night sounds of the jungle and sometimes it is a time for the maestros to chat and joke a bit amongst themselves.

If you do not understand spanish I suggest you just listen, “feel” the energy of the conversation and the “feel” the energy of the jokes. It can be quite amusing. In addition to checking in with everyone this time and chatting can be used with the intention of lightening up the energy in ceremony.

If you speak some spanish, but you are not fluent it is very important that you understand that the stories and jokes being told are NEVER about you. When you are in mariacion and speak a little spanish your mind can misconstrue what is being said. Please remember this. The maestros are about love and maintain the utmost respect for our guests.

At times the maestros will be compelled to perform a ventiada for a guest. This is when a maestro stands directly in front of or over a guest shakes his chakapa and sings icaros specifically for that guest. A ventiada is used to focus the maestroʼs energy on one person for healing, cleaning, and/or protection. When the maestro comes to you for a ventiada sit with your palms up in a receiving manner to receive this wonderful gift he is giving you. At the end of the ventiada the maestro will perform a supla. This is when the maestro blows tobacco smoke on various parts of your body starting with the crown of your head. A supla is to clean your energies and provide protection.

After four to six hours, ceremony will wind down. At this point a candle will be lit or a light turned on. Immediately after ceremony you are free to chat with other guests, drink water, and ask the maestros questions about the medicine or anything else for that matter. Of course you are free to head directly to bed if that is what you need. Conversely, you are also free to stay and even sleep in the ceremony house all night.

Post ceremony is one of my favorite times. I notice that I feel extremely open and connected to everything in the universe. The conversations, and realizations I have had after ceremony have always been wonderful.

Ceremony Etiquette

Every maestro/shaman is different and will have different rules about what is acceptable during ceremony. If you are drinking with someone besides La Familia Medicina, make sure to ask what the rules are before going into ceremony. Here is a list of what to expect at La Familia Medicina.

As you are about to drink or as someone else is about to drink, say “salud”.

No talking. Some maestros are more strict about this than others. Generally linear conversations should be avoided. Linear conversations tend to be very distracting to others during ceremony as it pulls them out of their experience. If there is something you need like a new puke bucket, help to the bathroom, a

lighter, a mapacho/cigarette, or help in general it is ok to talk. In fact it is very important to speak up if there is something you need. Often after ceremony there is a period of time where people hang out around the ceremony house to

chat about their experiences etc

It is not unusual for people to make various

.. noises or cry out during ceremony. This is fine as it is just the medicine doing

itsʼ work and this is also form of purging.

No singing. In our mesa it is ok to sing along with the icaros that the maestro is singing as long as you are not singing over the maestro. To start singing a different icaro is generally not acceptable. The idea is that sound is energy. Therefore, if someone who has not been trained and is not energetically clean starts singing they are spreading their energy to other people in ceremony. This energy may not be clean and can actually negatively affect the other guests. When this happens the maestro will have to use his/her energy to cap yours in order to protect the others. The exception to this rule is if the maestro leading ceremony gives you permission to sing.

Flashlights. You will need some sort of flashlight (headlamp or a small LED

flashlight works best) to help you get to and from the bathroom, to find your

lighter or cigarettes etc

...

during ceremony as it will be pitch dark. That said,

light removes visions and is distracting to others. So the trick is to minimize the light you use when you have to do these things. There are a couple of techniques- 1) keep your light in your pocket when it is on- this will mute the light enough to reduce the distraction, yet allow you to see what you need. 2) use your hand to cover the light so that you can get enough light for what is needed, but not so much that it is distracting.

Taking care of your friend, family or partner during ceremony. At La Familia Medicina we usually have friends, family, and partners sit in different places during ceremony. This is because if one person seems to be having a hard time or is purging a lot, the other will want to help and take care of that person. We understand that these actions have good intentions behind them, but doing this actually takes away from both parties experiences and healing. An ayahuasca ceremony is an individual experience and everyone has their own process to work through. We all need to focus on our own experience not on taking care of someone else. The maestro and his assistants know when and how it is appropriate to step in and assist a guest. Trust the maestros and assistants on this point. Just remember, we are in ceremony to serve and protect you.

Always face the mesa. The mesa sits on the floor in front of the maestro. It is often a cloth tapestry with stones and other sacred objects placed on the tapestry. The mesa is a symbolic and energetic focus point for the maestro and the guests. If you are a first time guest you will most likely start out spending your time in ceremony on a mat and it is important to face the mesa or keep your head pointing towards the mesa during ceremony. If you start out sitting in

a chair and decide to move to a mat later on in ceremony the same idea applies.

The Shamanic Dieta

Personally I am a big fan of the Dieta. I view it as an opportunity to really clean my body and energies in a way that is not possible by just drinking ayahuasca. The Dieta creates the environment to form a closer relationship with ayahuasca and the other plant spirits.

In my experience I have found that the first few ayahuasca ceremonies combined with the Dieta are the most difficult from a purging and cleaning standpoint as the body is working hard to remove all the stuck/crossed energies. This initial struggle can manifest inside and/or out of ceremony as issues and energies that need to be worked on come up. That said, there is a point in the Dieta where my body becomes cleaner and more open. Once this happens I feel an amazing sense of freedom, calm, and connectedness that words do a poor job of describing. Blissful amazement is as close as I can get with words.

From a physical standpoint, I find that around the third day energy levels start to drop due to the fact that all the salt has left my body. Salt helps the body hold onto water and provides electrolytes that help us with energy. On this point, I also find that when I do a Dieta I really need lay off of the physical activity during the 7-8 days. Conversely, when I take salt on the morning of the last day, my energy level returns quite quickly. In fact I have found my energy levels increase above the levels prior to the diet.

If you want to do serious work with ayahuasca, the shamanic Dieta is almost a requirement as it allows the medicine to go deeper and work longer (not from a mariacion, or vision, standpoint) than it otherwise would. That said while the Dieta is recommended, it is not absolutely necessary.

The Dieta is essentially removing the influence of toxins and energies that can cause blockages in the physical and energetic body. This opens up your entire body to receive. This is making your body a hospitable place for plants and tree spirits to live. While you are doing your part to make your body a nice place for plants and trees to live, the plant and tree spirits are also cleaning out there new house in preparation to settle in. This means the Dieta is much more cleansing than just drinking ayahuasca alone.

Every mesa/lineage has their own traditions as to what are the correct foods and restrictions are for the Dieta. If you do a Dieta with one shaman, then another Dieta with a different shaman the rules will probably change. Both shamans will insist that their Dieta is the correct one. If you are drinking and dieting with multiple shamans it really does not serve anyone to argue or compare Dietas between shamans. This will just piss both parties off. If you have a problem with the rules changing between shamans, just stick with one shaman and save yourself the frustration.

I have only dieted with Hamilton Souther, Maestro Don Alberto, and Maestro Gumercindo. All of these maestros are part of the same mesa, or group of maestros connected by a lineage, headed by Don Alberto which means the Dietas are very similar. Our mesa consists of maestros who are curanderos and paleros, so the Dietas use cortezas de palos or tree barks made into a tea. This

tea is in addition to ayahuasca ceremonies. Our standard ayahuasca Dieta consists of the following:

7-8 days in length if combined with ayahuasca ceremonies.

The first 4 evenings we drink medicinal tree bark tea in the evenings. These tree spirits will literally be introduced to you in ceremony visions or in your dreams during the Dieta. The tree spirits will be your new friends and they known to bring you strength.

3-6 ayahuasca ceremonies within the 7-8 days.

No salt, sugar, spices, pork or oil are allowed in cooking.

Pork is heavy

energetically and pigs have a diet that makes them unclean from an energetic

standpoint. It is also worth noting that other spiritual practices have a similar restriction.

Only the following foods are allowed: chicken, bocachico fish, fresh water sardine fish, rice, yucca, plantains, cucumber, and coconut. Notice that all of the foods listed are natural to the jungle and are white or almost white in color.

No use of toiletries like soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc

..

Bathing

often is strongly encouraged as it washes away energies that are being purged during the Dieta and will smooth out the energy swings that often occur on the Dieta. Simply put, bathing will often make you feel much better during the Dieta. You can brush your teeth with a clean (no toothpaste residue) toothbrush and you can floss with a non-flavored floss. I have also discovered

that you can use Agua Florida, a local cologne used for energetic cleaning, to freshen up. Washing hands with soap is allowed.

No touching of other people during the Dieta. Touching other people can cause an energy transfer and you do not want to risk picking up negative/dark energies while you are energetically vulnerable on the Dieta. Touching can also transfer salt found in sweat etc ..

No mingling with the general public during the Dieta. During the Dieta your energetic body is particularly open and therefore vulnerable. You do not want to come in contact with people who have negative/dark energies, have been drinking alcohol/using drugs, and/or have had sex recently. If you pick some of this energy up because you are out mingling in public, you will just have that much more to clean out i.e. more work in ceremony.

On the last morning of your stay at 5:30-6:00 A.M. the maestro gives you a small teaspoon of salt to re-introduce salt back into the body. This is the breaking of the Dieta. Almost immediately you will feel a surge of energy come back as your body has been without salt for such a long period of time.

The restrictions after the Dieta is finished are as follows:

No refined sugar, fruit juices and sweet fruits for 3 or more days. Eating or drinking sugars too quickly after the Dieta can cause mariacion or confusion. Ease into eating sugars and fruits slowly.

No acid fruits like lime, lemon, oranges, pineapple, etc

...

for 1 week.

No alcohol or street drugs for 30 days.

No sex or masturbation for 30 days. No exchange of bodily fluids (this includes french kissing) for 30 days. This is always the restriction that gets the most attention, and the question is always a dumfounded and a little stressed, “But, why??” When you do a Dieta with ayahuasca it you are forming a very close

relationship with ayahuasca and the other plants medicines. So not having sex for this period is an act of respect for those plant spirits that are new to your body. Another reason for the restriction is that sex is the closest you can come to another person, and it is an act that allows for a significant energy exchange. After a Dieta your energetic body is still somewhat vulnerable and you want to be careful about exchanging energies during this time. In my experience this is a wonderful restriction. First, we live in a society that is highly if not overly sexualized. Taking a break from this influence can teach us a lot and be quite helpful. Personally I have noticed that if I am single this restriction forces me to get to know potential partners much better than I normally would before sex. If I am in a relationship this restriction pushes us to learn and relate to each other

on new and deeper levels.

I am not going to lie to you, it is not easy as

ayahuasca will ramp up your sex drive, but the benefits are great.

No pork, alligator, or venison for 6 months. Your body simply will not react well to these items being eaten after the Dieta.

In my personal experience it is also good to avoid duck for 3-6 months.

The Dieta is not easy, but as I said before if you are drinking ayahuasca in order to serious work, it is highly recommended. That said, If you enter the Dieta you are taking a serious step with ayahuasca. If you disagree with any of the rules or restrictions, simply do not enter the Dieta.

The Dieta provides significantly more cleaning of the body and energies than just drinking ayahuasca. It also allows the medicine to go deeper and work longer than it would without the Dieta.

Preparation for Ayahuasca Ceremonies

As far as practices and things to avoid prior to your trip go, these are things that will make your ceremonies go smoother. I will divide the list into three groups:

Required, Highly Suggested and Bonus Points.

Required-

Avoid street drugs for at least 2 weeks prior to your first ceremony. Longer is better.

Avoid alcohol for a minimum of 3 days prior.

Avoid sexual contact 3 days prior.

Many medications and supplements, including but not limited to MAO inhibiting medications, SSRIs, and/or anti-depressants (including St John's Wort), and other medications do not mix well with ayahuasca and pose a serious

health risk or even fatal if taking in conjunction with ayahuasca. Talk with your doctor about weening yourself off of any medications. 2-4 weeks without medications or supplements is required before attending your first ceremony. If you are coming to La Familia Medicina we will talk directly with you about your medications and advise exactly how much time is needed to ween off of your medications. Note: these discussions about your current or past medical history are completely confidential.

Foods with MAOI inhibitors should be avoided at least 24 hours prior. These foods include: fermented or non-fresh foods, as they may contain tyramine, which may cause negative health effects, if combined with MAOi . Cheese, miso – fermented soya beans, sauerkraut, pickled foods, soy sauce or tamari, ginseng, protein extracts (avoid liquid and powdered Dietary supplements), nonfresh meat or fish, smoked meat, shrimp paste, yeast/brewers yeast and Dietary supplements containing yeast (yeast used in baking is safe), and dried fruit.

Highly Suggested-

In the weeks prior to your ceremonies or retreat eat a healthy diet. This means avoiding fried or processed foods, sweets, pork, and heavy oils.

Bonus Points-

A physical and or spiritual practice such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. These practices focus the mind and straighten energies which can be helpful during ceremony. That said, these practices are by no means required- there are not a lot of local people with this sort of practice in the Peruvian jungle.

Things to bring specifically for ceremony-

Flashlight. A headlamp works fine in ceremony and is a great multi-use tool. Keep in mind that you will probably not want to wear a headlamp during the entire ceremony. I prefer having a small LED flashlight that fits easily in my pocket for ceremony.

Long sleeve shirt, pants and socks. Even though it is hot in the Amazonian jungle, the nights can get cool and during ceremony your body can go through significant temperature swings.

A blanket or shawl for the same reasons above.

A roll of toilet paper to wipe your mouth after purging or obviously to blow your nose. At La Familia Medicina we will provide this for you next to your chair, and there will be toilet paper in the bathrooms too. (If you are drinking someplace other than La Familia Medicina ask about the TP situation)

Water bottle. You should avoid drinking water during ceremony. That said, you can take a gulp of water, swish it around and spit it out into your bucket. This is something you may want to do immediately after you drink ayahuasca to remove the taste, or later in ceremony if you find you have a dry mouth. After ceremony finishes you are free to drink water or herbal tea.

It is always good to take a few minutes prior to ceremony to make sure you have everything you need around your spot. Make sure you know where these things are before the lights are turned off.

General Packing List of Items to Bring for the Trip-

A blanket or shawl Comfortable pants Long-sleeve shirt Boots for hiking Hat Swimsuit T-shirts Shorts Sandals Toiletries Sunscreen Flashlight + spare batteries Water bottle Daypack Yoga mat Bug repellent

Drinking Ayahuasca Alone

This section is very important and it will be short and to the point.

Do not drink ayahuasca alone. I strongly suggest that you only drink ayahuasca with a qualified shaman. Drinking with a “sitter” or someone else that is more experienced does not count. It doesnʼt even come close. Ayahuasca is just too unpredictable to drink alone safely. A qualified shaman is needed to hold the space, protect you, and work with any negative/dark energies that may arise.

At the time of this writing I have attended around seventy ceremonies (I stopped counting at 50) and I am studying the medicine with Maestro Gumercindo Galindo. Even with this experience, which is really mice nuts, I refuse to lead any ceremonies for my friends or family. I also donʼt feel comfortable drinking on my own yet. I am only drinking with the maestros of our mesa.

I have come across several people who have drunk alone or with friends at home in their countries. In almost every case they had issues that needed to be worked out as a result of drinking by themselves. The interesting thing is that they were not aware of these issues after drinking alone, only after they attended ceremony with a shaman. Just donʼt do it, is my advice.

Why Ayahuasca is Not a Drug

Most people reading this book understand that ayahuasca is not a recreational

drug.

The reason I am bringing this up is that for a very long time I had a hard

time articulating why ayahuasca is not a drug to other people who were not familiar with ayahuasca. I would try to explain itsʼ medicinal benefits. I would tell them to look at all the research online etc… The response after these explanations was usually a blank stare and a response like, “So it is like mushrooms then.” After being frustrated for a long time with this, I think I have come up with a relatively articulate way of explaining away the “drug” issue.

Recreational drugs intoxicate, and technically so does ayahuasca. This is where the similarity ends.

Recreational drugs are taken to escape daily life, pain, heartbreak, loneliness, depression, etc…

Ayahuasca is drunk to heal. It is taken to confront, deal with, accept and/or if appropriate let go of these issues.

Recreational drugs provide a temporary escape. Recreational drugs just mask the symptoms of a problem (pharmaceuticals act in a similar manner). As soon as the high is over, the problems return with the added bonus of a hangover, a stone-over, or withdrawal. In fact, after the effects of a recreational drug have worn off, the problem that the person was trying to avoid may have gotten worse due to the drug usage.

Solutions and healing with ayahuasca are permanent. Ayahuasca goes to the source of the problem and straightens it out. Realizations and healing that happen during and after an ayahuasca ceremony stick. In fact with ayahuasca realizations, learning, and healing continues for some time after ceremony as the medicine continues to do itʼs work for days, weeks or even months (without mariacion/intoxication).

Recreational drugs are detrimental to your health. No one will argue that recreational drugs affect your physical and/or mental health in a negative way.

Ayahuasca is good for your health. The best source to site is the UDV (Uniao De Vegital Church) Study started back in 1993. Essentially the ayahuasca drinkers tested equal to or better than the control group on ALL markers- physical and psychological. In fact, participants tested much better than the control group in terms of depression, addiction, and psychosis.

In Jenaro Herrera I have seen men and women in their sixties and seventies who were regular ayahuasca drinkers show up at ceremonies that start around 10 P.M., drink ayahuasca, do ceremony until 3-4 A.M., then get up at 5 A.M. to work in the fields swinging a machette all day. This would be done several days in a row. These elders say that ayahuasca makes them strong and healthy. They feel that ayahuasca keeps their body, mind, and spirit clean so that everything functions smoothly and efficiently. I have yet to see evidence that contradicts these statements.

Long Term Benefits of Ayahuasca

Based on My Personal Experience

When I decided to move down to Peru for an extended stay back in October of 2010 I was committed to participate in as many ceremonies as possible. I wanted to work seriously with the medicine and learn as much as I could. When I went down with this idea I was not sure about what such intense work would do to my body, my spirit, and my energy. I intuitively knew that the medicine would treat me well and that I really had nothing to worry about. There was still a bit of fear about the unknown though. Now that time has passed and I am happy to report the following results after 7 months in peru and approximately 70 ceremonies.

Heart opening-

Maria (Masha), Don Albertoʼs apprentice says, “There is no limit to how much the heart can open.”

I am finding this to be a true statement. Every ceremony seems to bust my heart open more and more. This is most noticeable in my interactions with other people.

In the past there were times that I would get a tight knot in my stomach when I met someone new. Pre-ayahuasca I tried to figure them out, figure out what they were up to, whether they liked me and whether they wanted to get something

from me

and

sometimes if I could get something from them. Now, when I meet

If the person is not

.... someone, I do so with an open heart. I have no anxiety.

talkative or is not responsive to my inquiries I have no problem with this, I just sit

relaxed in the silence noticing the vibe. This usually leads to them relaxing an opening up more themselves. If they are talkative, I am able to get into the flow and enjoy rich interactions that were not accessible before…especially if I was not interested in what was being said. Now I am able to notice beauty in new places and interesting ways.

When I come across someone I feel has negative intentions, I notice right away and I am able to handle the situation with a calm knowing and clarity that I had never experienced before. Surprisingly, when these situations arise I donʼt get caught up in my emotions and judge the person. I simply notice what is going on and act accordingly. On the rare occasions that I have been “taken” I simply note what happened and quietly thank the person (to myself) for teaching me a lesson.

Most of the time I am able to avoid emotional loops. That is, running the scenario in my head over and over again amping the negative emotion and imagining what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done.- not a very helpful strategy as it is based totally on illusion, something that did not and will not happen.

This is not to say that I am walking around on a cloud all day every day.

I still

have issues come up between myself and others and I still have “bad days”. It is

just that I can take a step back, focus on my heart and look at what is really going

on.

I feel for what is ego in action and what is true at the heart level.

After this examination I can approach the person that I have an issue with and discuss it calmly and with vulnerability. It is shocking how receptive people are when you approach them about a problem with an open heart. They can feel it. It is totally counterintuitive for us to do this. We want to protect ourselves and shut down. Our minds are saying “run away, protect yourself, this person is bad, they are out to get us!!”.

In reality people have a hard time attacking when they are facing someone who is coming from a place of vulnerability and openness. If they do attack, those attacks are easily defended against. An open heart provides clarity. The heart knows what to do….every time. The mind does not. The mind makes mistakes as it is trying to think ahead and predict the future. The mind tries to predict the reactions of the other. We are terrible predictors of the future.

Closing down and thinking is a function of fear and defensiveness. These qualities muddle the mind and cause poor action…every time. Some people will say that they are good predictors of how the other will react in a given situation. These people are lying to themselves about using the mind to predict outcomes. These are actually people who are good with their “instincts”. They have unconsciously figured out how to feel their heart. They are going by “gut instinct”. They are giving undue credit to their mind as the mind and ego are tightly connected. Thinking is ego food.

Ego Awareness-

Ayahuasca increases awareness across the board. With increased awareness I have been able to notice more and more when the ego is starting to take action. This can happen in real time…more and more (not always) the ego is noticed before the outward action is taken. With this newfound awareness I have more choice.

Sometimes the ego is acting in alignment with my heart- pushing that heart directed action forward. This is a good thing and I let it proceed. When the ego

is in alignment with the heart, it is actually helpful. It can be a driver for positive

outcomes…like this e-book.

The ego is not always bad.

Then there are the instances that the ego/mind starts going down a path that is incongruent with the heart. Once again, the heart knows. When the ego starts taking over, I notice the heart and body tightening up….”hello ego”….then if it is heading in the opposite direction of my heart, I simply let it go.

When I am not able to notice the ego until after the outward action is taken I am much easier on myself. I just note what happened. If a corrective action is required I take it. If no corrective action is required, I forgive myself. I realize that in most cases no one really cares nor remembers that outward action. The ego likes to cause funky emotional loops and illusions. The ego can trap us in the idea that other people actually care as much as the ego does. They donʼt. Guess what they care about?….Their own egos.

Focus and Accelerated Learning-

I first noticed the potential for increased focus and accelerated learning with Ayahuasca when I spent time with Malcolm at Blue Morpho back in October 2010. When our conversations turned to business or important information Mal would shift into what felt like a tractor beam- soaking up every piece of information possible. This was so noticeable that I brought it up with him. I asked about the long term affects of Ayahuasca on learning and focus. He responded that it is like the movie “The Matrix”- learning for him now is like having information downloaded directly into the brain.

It is particularly helpful to bring a subject that you want to learn or understand into ceremony- asking Aya to help learn about it. Ayahuasca will help open up those neuro-pathways to make learning easier. Effort to learn is still required. Ayahuasca lubricates the mental machine…a lot. When I found this out I was like “woah!….bring on more aya please.”

Since I had that conversation with Mal I have asked Ayahuasca to help me with my Spanish skills, my writing skills, and to help plan out my longer term business plans. I have been absolutely amazed with the results. I feel so strongly about this, that I have told one close friend that has yet to drink ayahuasca, “Drinking ayahuasca will be the best business decision you ever make.”

Physical Benefits-

The general physical benefits from Ayahuasca are pretty amazing. One of Ayahuascaʼs core functions is cleaning out the body and straightening crossed energies. This means that both at physical and energetic level, the body starts to operate with fewer and fewer impediments or blockages. Everything is moves more efficiently. This means either less energy is needed to maintain the status quo or more benefits are reaped from the same input.

First there is the increased energy levels and less need for sleep. During a series of ceremonies or during a Dieta energy levels are all over the place. Sleep is often hard to do after ceremony due to the lingering mariacion so patterns are interrupted at first as the body is cleaning out. This is especially true on a Dieta- one moment I will feel great and ready for anything. Then the next moment I could just curl up anywhere on the ground for a nap. All that said, a day or two after a Dieta or series of ceremonies my energy goes through the roof. The Dietas do get easier- I just wrapped up my 4 th Dieta in six months and I found that my energy levels were quite stable during the entire Dieta.

Now I can operate on 4-5 hours of sleep without noticing any negative effects. In

fact, I now find that sleeping more than six hours is just not necessary (I used to be an 8 hour minimum guy). Don Alberto, Don Roldan, Maestro Gumercindo and the rest of the “Familia Medicina” routinely conduct ceremony, sleep 1-4 hours

and get up at 5 AM for a full dayʼs work on the farm.

When I say a full dayʼs work

  • I am talking swinging machetes all day in the Amazonian sun.

Many of my friends will remember that for 9 months prior to my leaving the states

  • I was on a vegan raw diet.

I lost about 30 lbs and had to buy a whole new

wardrobe because my pants were literally falling down all the time. I knew that I would not be able to maintain a raw nor vegan diet in Peru. I fully expected to put on the pounds again as the diet is REALLY starch heavy- white rice, yucca,

plantains etc

There is also a tendency to use a lot of oil etc

Shockingly I

... have not put on any weight. I will refer back to the statement that Ayahuasca

..

clears all the pathways in the body. My body handles everything perfectly- I canʼt

put on weight no matter what I am eating.

It is like I am 16 again.

Am I slowly turning into Gumby?? As with my diet, my friends know that I have been a regular yoga practitioner for eleven years now. Even after those eleven years, when I left the states my hamstrings were still really tight and I needed a pretty hefty meditation pillow to sit cross legged comfortably for any length of time. For the first several months of my last trip to PeruI had not kept a regular yoga practice at all. To my surprise, about a month into my trip I discovered I could sit in half lotus comfortably for long periods of time! Now that my practice is back on I am finding everything has loosened up. This plays right into what yoga teachers say about our bodies holding on to past traumas and manifesting those traumas as tightness in the muscles. Ayahuasca is peeling away these traumas and I am seeing the effects at a physical level.

All of the above benefits are what I have noticed thus far. There are even more subtleties. I still have years of training ahead of me. The onion is continuously being peeled. I canʼt wait to discover what happens next.

As far as negative effects after long term use I really have nothing to report on

this front.

I feel better than I ever have in my adult life.

Ayahuascero vs. Curandero

I have noticed that in general westerners are misinformed about the different types of Amazonian shamans. This is especially true in regards to ayahuasca shamans. It is unfortunate that this is the case because westerners who come to Peru to drink ayahuasca often do so with some expectations that may not be met if they drink with the wrong type of shaman. In fact, in some situations, drinking with the wrong shaman can be dangerous.

This confusion is largely around the difference between “”ayahuasquero” and “curandero”. For many westerners they are just looking for a shaman that works with ayahuasca and therefore end up drinking with an ayahuasquero. After all, the name fits….right? The answer is yes….and no.

An ayahuasquero is simply someone who has the ability to prepare the ayahuasca brew, set up the space for an ayahuasca ceremony, and conduct the ceremony. Sounds good right? Maybe… ..

A major problem is that if there is healing to be done, it is largely out of the hands of the ayahuasquero shaman. An ayahuasquero is generally not a healer, or they are a healer still in training. (Note: when I use the words “healer” or “healing”, I am talking about healing on all levels- physical, mental, and energetic/spiritual as ayahuasca is a truly holistic medicine.) Ayahuasqueros are relying on the medicine to provide the insights and healing. Ayahuasqueros are not actively working with the guests energies or the medicine to maximize healing and insights. They may notice that there is something “off” in the guestʼs body or energetic body, but usually an ayahuasquero does not have the training to do anything about it. In fact a good ayahuasquero that sees something is amiss in a guest will refer that guest to a curandero for actual healing. Now, if you are considering drinking ayahuasca you may be thinking, “I donʼt need any

healing”.

This may be true….or not.

Sometimes people go to an ayahuasquero “just for the experience”, not for healing. Then they go into ceremony to discover they have some very significant energies/spirits that they were unaware of and those energies need to be dealt with. Again, if the ayahuasquero is of high integrity, he/she will refer the guest to a quality curandero. There is a bit of a catch though. If the energy that manifests is too powerful or overwhelming for the ayahuasquero it can be a problem. I have heard stories of this happening. An ayahuasquero comes across a very strong energy or spirit in a guest, they canʼt deal with it, and they end up running scared out of the ceremony. Not good for the guest in question nor the other guests in attendance.

To summarize, an ayahuascero is essentially someone that can run a ceremony. They can cook the brew, set up the space, serve the ayahuasca, sing icaros, and run the ceremony. They generally are NOT healers.

A curandero, as the name implies, cures people. A curandero has a large toolbox to draw from as the training for a curandero is much more extensive and varied.

Curanderos do a large number of plant and tree bark Dietas. These Dietas form a strong bond between the curandero and the plants dieted. Those plants become allies, and the plants teach the curandero how to work with them during ceremony and in healing. A curandero can call on one of his plant/tree allies to protect the guest, to bring in the medicine, and help cure a guest.

A curandero has learned to work with energies/spirits that may be in the guest. If the spirit or energy is not useful or harmful, the curandero helps the patient learn to control that energy/spirit so that it does not cause further negative manifestations in ceremony nor in life. It is also possible that an outside spirit may try to get into a guest during ceremony. A curandero protects the guest from these outside spirits. This skill of managing energies/spirits is particularly important in an ayahuasca ceremony as a personʼs own energy field opens up significantly during ceremony and is actually quite vulnerable.

Finally, curanderos often have the ability to make remedies for various ailments like candida, arthritis, herpes, and in some cases cancer. These plant remedies are administered alone or in conjunction with ayahuasca. The idea behind the remedies is to cure the root cause of an illness vs. the western model of just treating the symptoms.

As you can see there is a significant difference between an ayahuasquero and curandero. Personally I think working with a curandero is a safer and better way to go. A good curandero has much more training and a large toolbox to draw from. Of course I am biased as the maestros I work with at La Familia Medicina are all curanderos/ayahuasquero /vegetalistas/paleros/sanangueros. Note: a curandero can also be an ayahuasquero, vegetalista,and/or palero, but not necessarily visa versa.

Below are some brief descriptions of some other types of Amazonian shamans:

Vegetalista- a shaman that works with various plant medicines. This can be done alone or in conjunction with ayahuasca.

Palero- a shaman that works with tree barks. These tree barks are used in Dietas alone (Puro Palo Dietas), or with ayahuasca. The trees are also another source of remedies.

Tobaquero- a shaman that works with tobacco. Tobacco is a strong medicine , a strong purgative that cleans the body out. It can be drunk, snorted on itsʼ own or mixed with a brew such as ayahuasca.

Sananguero- a sananguero specializes in the use of the root of the Sanango tree. There are different types of sanango. Most shamans use Uchoo or Chiric Sanango. Sanago is usually used during a Dieta. A tea of the root bark and water is drunk late at night- around 3 AM. Sanango is considered a very powerful and potent medicine. It is known for its deep cleanse and purge. Sanango is not for the faint of heart and it is suggested that people get some experience with ayahuasca before drinking sanango. It is extremely important that the shaman administering the sanango is truly a sananguero.

The above is by no means complete. My main intention is to educate westerners about the difference between curanderos and ayahuasqueros.

Health Risks and Medications

First, I am not a doctor and we do not have any doctors or nurses on staff at La Familia Medicina. We are not a medical facility. No one at La Familia Medicina is qualified to give medical advice.

While ayahuasca is generally safe for healthy adults there are some medical and medications that do not mix well with ayahuasca.

Medications and Supplements-

Several medications and supplements, including but not limited to MAO inhibiting medications, SSRIs, and/or anti-depressants (including St John's Wort), and other medications do not mix well with ayahuasca. They can be quite dangerous to mix with ayahuasca and can even be fatal.

At La Familia Medicina guests are not allowed to take any sort of medications, vitamins, or supplements while at the camp. Because of this, if you cannot safely stop taking any sort of medication for the duration of the trip you will not be allowed to participate in any tours or stays. If you are taking something prescribed by a doctor, you will need to talk with your doctor about weaning you off of your medications in time for your visit. Depending on the medication, we require 2-4 weeks of no medications in your system.

We do allow anti-malarial medication, birth control, and occasionally over the counter pain killer, anti-diarrhea and antacid.

It is possible for us to make exceptions for medications (such as thyroid medication). For this you must get approval from your doctor. When you talk with your doctor, make sure it is not counter-indicated with MAOI. Communicate with us about any prescriptions that you are weening off of. All communication regarding your health and medical history are completely confidential.

For your safety, people with the following health conditions will not be able to visit La Familia Medicina and should not drink ayahuasca:

high blood pressure

diabetes

schizophrenic disorder

heart disease, or any current or past issues regarding heart problems.

epilepsy and other seizure related conditions

infectious or contagious disease

suicidal ideation

someone taking MAO inhibitors or anti psychotic medication

Mental Illness: If you are being treated for mental illness, you must talk with

your doctor as to the use of ayahuasca.

If your doctor approves, you must

stop taking any anti depressants or mood altering medications at least 2-4 weeks prior to visiting La Familia Medicina. Again, contact us to discuss your medications so that we can advise you how long it will take for these medications to clear out of your system.

Tobacco Sensitivity: Tobacco is an important part of Amazonian shamanism and it is frequently used by the maestros during ceremony. If you have a hyper sensitivity to tobacco smoke, let us know prior to booking your trip.

It is important that you let us know if you are on any medication, have any serious health problems, infectious or contagious disease prior to booking your visit with La Familia Medicina.

Please contact us with questions regarding our health and medication policies. All conversations about your health are completely confidential.

Appendix: Reading list and information sources. !

42

Appendix: Reading list and information sources.

Websites:

www.realitysandwich.com

Books:

“Ayahuasca in My Blood” by Peter Goreman

“Singing to the Plants” by Stephan V. Beyer

“Breaking Open the Head” by Daniel Pinchbeck

“DMT the Spirit Molecule” by Dr. Rick Strassman

“Yaje, the New Purgatory” by Jimmy Weiskopf