plant medicine

ayahuasca ceremony with don enriqueAyahuasca Ceremony for Healing

An Ayahuasca Ceremony is an opportunity to receive treatment for the spirit and take part in your own healing. Ayahuasca ceremony participants arrive in the early evening, as ceremonies are held at night. Participants arrive before the ceremony begins to show respect for the healer, or curanderos, leading the ceremony. The Maestro curanderos first prepares for the ceremony, after introductions, if necessary.  Preparation includes cleaning of the space and implements with mapacho tobacco, prayers, and other blessings. The ceremony begins after preparation of the space and ceremonial tools.

Beginning the Ayahuasca Ceremony

The ceremony begins in silence as the curanderos calls each participant up to take a cup of ayahuasca. The curandero may also speak to each participant about intention, dosage, or other recommendations. The curandero then drinks a cup as well, after each participant has received a cup of ayahuasca. The ceremony continues with lights extinguished, and after a brief time as the ayahuasca medicine begins working, the curandero starts to sing.

Healing Songs and Methods

Songs are an important part of healing experience, and curanderos use healing songs called “icaros”. These songs help curanderos to communicate with spirits and ask for help in healing treatments for the patients. Each icaro has a specific purpose in the healing process. Curanderos sing to open every ceremony, inviting spirits to be present in the ceremony in order to perform healings. The curandero sings throughout the ceremony as the patients navigate their own experiences. The curanderos also use the icaros to raise and lower the intensity of the experience.

The beginning of a ceremony can be an unsettling time as the consciousness and awareness of each participant expands. Physical purging, or vomiting, often happens early in the ceremony, but not always. Purging is a cleansing process helping to create an environment more suited to the healing process.

Curandero will often engage in individual healings for the patients. There are many different styles of healings done in the ceremonies. The most common healing style involves singing an icaro specific to that patient and his/her affliction, and some people experience pain at that time.  The curanderos may also remove negative energy by blowing smoke or scented liquid on the patient. The tools of curanderos include breath, hands, tobacco and aqua florida as common tools used in a ceremony. Plant spirits guide the flow of the energies and personal experiences of the group in every ceremony.

Ayahuasca ceremonies include use of a special tobacco known as “mapacho”, as curanderos direct smoke with breath, or “soplay”, to cleanse the spirit and body of the patient. Mapacho soplay is also used to cleanse the space, the drinking cup, and the brew itself. Curanderos use mapacho plant smoke because it is a powerful healer that helps in communication with other plant spirits.

Closing the Ayahuasca Ceremony

The ceremony ends with an icaro to close the healing circle. The curandero also provide patients with protection from spiritual vulnerability before they leave the ceremony. After the end of the ceremony, lights are lit and brief discussion takes place before people leave to go to sleep.

The Ayahuasca Foundation offers more than one ayahuasca ceremony in a series, for a powerful healing experience.  You can find more information about our ayahuasca retreat programs or initiation courses.

Ayahuasca Retreat Programs at Ayahuasca Foundation

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Check out an Article on the Retreat Guru blog:

What Happens in an Ayahuasca Ceremony

written by Carlos Tanner

Ayahuasca Retreat Programs at Ayahuasca Foundation