Updated: Apr 20, 2022
The considerations of sitting in a ceremony or taking one of these medicines are much greater than just getting the medicine, the time to sit with it, and the place to do it. This blog is about what you should fully grasp and prepare for when embarking on an ancestral healing journey.
Firstly, you need to look at intention: The easiest definition of this is my intention: - WHY DO YOU WANT TO HAVE THIS EXPERIENCE? Even if the answer is “I don’t know.” You know. It’s the pit way down deep inside saying just do this, push it, and believe. It is also very much combatted by ego.
Other questions you could ask to generate depth and energy into your intention are:
What is it I really need to work on?
What do I need to change, and what would I change if I wasn’t afraid, and it was physically possible?
If I didn’t feel trapped, what would I do, where would I go and how would my life look?
What is it that I am truly afraid of?
What needs to go in my life even if I am too afraid to say it?
How do I ask for help? How do I begin a new path?
What brings me joy? What inspires me?
When have I felt safe, joyous or complete?
What is it that I am trying to heal?
What does my life look like now that I am healing and more able to participate in it?
If I had all the resources available to me including monetary, physically, spiritually, what is it that I would be doing? How would my days look?
A good idea is to sit with one of these questions each day leading up to your journey or learning time and write a minimum page of a journal entry prompted by these questions. At the end of the time period (1-2 weeks) look back through them all and see which one feels like it still holds the most weight or energy of uneasiness in it.
Then try to focus an intention on that prompt that feels more positive and supportive to your preparation or integration experience.
For example, if the prompt of what makes me feel joyous and complete makes you feel scared and unsafe and like this isn’t true in my life…. I would focus on digging into it the most by getting oneself comfy with entering the unknown and sort of murky waters where it might bring up some thoughts or feelings. Once those feelings come up, I then suggest honoring them. Just thank them for presenting themselves, and for giving the energy to alert you and express its purpose, forgive it for the hurts and misunderstandings, and consequences. Love yourself and pat yourself on the back for how you handled that place/feeling/situation and believe that it was all meant to bringing up growth, time, and ability.
Create a rewarding response to repeat back to your heavier topic.
For example, if you never have felt safe or supported in your life, and this prompt is triggering something… Turn it into; I FEEL SAFE AND SUPPORTED, I have ALWAYS succeeded and achieved my goals. I TRUST in the Universe to deliver me to loving safety. I know its all around me and I choose to receive it. I am open to new growth and welcome change beyond my greatest belief.
These behaviors help us prepare to sit in ceremony by already knowing how it feels when the ego pops up and we feel a new sense of preparedness and grounding when entering the medicine.
It is important to set aside time and space to prepare for what is coming. Preparation is considered all the things (actions, intention, truth, changes) you do to ensure that your best presence is available for sitting in ceremony. That means looking at what might possibly come up during the ceremony. The intentions that you have made for the ceremony often give insight into the feelings that you may even be apprehensive to feel. The belief system and state of mind that you show up with in ceremony makes all the difference in how you can receive the medicine and trust in it to work intuitively within you to help shine light on where you need it most.
Preparation means that you commit to the instructions and requests of the ceremony providers/medicine family and honor yourself by choosing to make this time for healing the biggest priority at hand. When going into what one might call a ‘dieta’ which can be seen as a committed amount of time to sit with a specific plant, routine, ritual, challenge daily and ensure the focus of life is around the lessons taught by that plant/medicine/modality. This sometimes means taking time away from daily hustle and bustle to give oneself time to ground and settle into the quieter being with self upon entering a ceremony/retreat environment. It also means removing yourself away from relationships that don’t support your spiritual development or are critical of your healing goals for ample time before the experience so you are feeling confident. Also, preparing with an after plan if you are feeling this ceremony may lead to a huge change is a good idea. Some people use sitting in these experiences as an insight to support or thwart current life directions and goals and knowing how they can be prepared for all possible outcomes will also allow for a smoother, efficient and more profound transformational experience.
Preparation also means that you do everything possible within your ability to learn, disclose, and clarify anything that has happened in your medical history, family genetics, and if you have a specific healing intention that might require extra attention or time to prepare. This can be the case when people want to sit with medicines in ceremony, but they are still finishing up other treatments such as chemotherapy and want some support to prepare their body to efficiently receive based on its past experiences. When a practitioner knows more, we can do more to help your actual journey more directed and focused and we can do our own preparation in setting intentions from our viewpoint to get spiritual focus.
Preparation is intended to help the journey be easier to experience within the human body, and what we put into our body right before or avoid putting in also gives us many factors to dance with before receiving the medicine. Each practitioner will have a different routine or requests based on many different things. Listen to them. Trust. If you don’t feel comfortable with them or the requests, ask for reasoning, and clarity and then sit with it. If you aren’t still feeling comfortable with that person or group then listen to your heart and consider letting the medicine find you through another connection.
There is one thing that will be guaranteed though if you are sitting with plant and or entheogenic medicines and ancestral ceremony and healing…. NO ALCOHOL, NO RECREATIONAL OR UNAPPROVED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.
Spiritually Now and I as a medicine woman only promote alcohol free work and retreats, ceremony, and lifestyle growth. Alcohol and Ancestral Healing ARE NOT compatible!
TRYING TO HEAL YOURSELF WHILE STILL DRINKING IS LIKE TRYING TO HEAL A BROKEN ANKLE BUT STILL GOING FOR A RUN EVERYDAY. – Rebekah Monzon
NO RED MEAT/ MEAT/ DAIRY is also a common request for preparation. The energy of what we intake is already existing and when we eat that we are carrying that into our ceremonial experience. Meat vibes way lower, it doesn’t digest but it rots within, and is also harboring the fear, panic, disease, sadness, and horror of the current global meat/animal consumption situation. Pigs for example are one of the smartest beings and their anatomy is also very close to our own with their heart valves for example being interchangeable with humans for surgery. If we are trying to bring ourselves to a place that vibes the highest and has the most intense hydration, color, and fast acting energy meat isn’t a good choice. There are also so many chemicals in meat that has been treated and or injected and those can include neurotoxins, and artificial additives and preservatives which can be impactful on the nervous system. Some medicines are meant to purge us deeply and when we have residue in the guts and left over toxins it can make the exit much more difficult.
Some medicines like Cannabis and Tobacco are generally used as a supplementary support for cleansing, integration, sexual reproductive, and shadow work. However, some dietas ask for Cannabis to be flushed from the body for numerous reasons. The use of cannabis with Ayahuasca for example hasn’t been traditionally accepted for many reasons however, there aren’t any specific issues with mixing it other than blending the spirits in a way that isn’t recommended, or not being prepared to handle the intensity of the trip.
If you are committing to one medicine and one dieta that’s the point. It sometimes means cutting out some things that aren’t easy or comfy to feel but it is part of digging into the shadow work of what that break must teach you. Shamanic healers are constantly expanding their knowledge and experience by the world coming together and sharing space and time and it is allowing many hybrid types of experiences.
Tobacco is commonly used in all ancestral medicine, and those who usually smoke commercial tobacco may be asked to refrain and begin smoking only natural tobacco instead as the carcinogens in the prepared “flavored or treated” varieties also cause intensity in the medicine experience. Its poison and it is good to allow the body to have time before to prepare for the changes coming and the cleansing feeling after.
Spicy and intense foods, acidic and carbonated items may also be on the list to avoid. That depends on the medicine.
Remember each medicine has a different need and intention to keep in in alignment with its vibration. Ayahuasca is a water based feminine medicine from the Amazonian jungle. Peyote is a desert medicine from higher altitude with a masculine energy. They have very different preparations and for various reasons.
In very sacred ceremonies of celebration and also at weddings, and feasts of thanks with Peyote I have received meat at the sunrise that was prepared and cooked in offering, and I have also received a little sip of Mezcal and a glass pulque from a Marakame (shaman) during time with him to deepen the power of the mezcaline before preparing a water blessing. There are appropriate times and places for pieces of daily life within the medicine world, but it is upon mastery and understanding the balance and healing within one.
Prescription Drugs and chemical compounds created in a lab or for a use to suppress symptoms, alter mood, hormones, should also not be consumed with plant, entheogenic or psychedelic medicine in ceremony. The reason many people are seeking ancestral healing is to find relief from the continuous and controlling system of owning an individual with pills, and addictive behavior.
Most medicines are not dangerous to mix with these experiences but they alter the healing outcome and possible benefits of the medicine to be absorbed. Some of them are an issue to mix and could cause your experience to go way different than planned.
Tell your transfer practitioner immediately what pills or meds you take so that they can save time determining if this is even an option for them. If you aren't willing to try and get off the pills... Don't waste my time. I am here to help free you of the tied hands and fearing heart that is connected by chemical to ego and inflammation. More than half of the people I work with have either been on an antidepressant, thyroid med, birth control, heart or blood pressure pill, or other pain meds for chronic disease and have used this medicine and modality to kick the addiction to the pills and face up to their lives and make the changes needed to avoid getting the pills in the first place.
Some meds are ok on these experiences, but that is where dosage comes into play. That is also where context and mentality come from also.
These medicines make us look closely through a mirror of our own seeing how we feel about our current life, and where we want to grow from there so entering in the purest and cleanest way possible is best.
Some ways that one can prepare before ceremony while in their preparation dieta are…
Meditation - Individually or within a group. You can join a community group or go online and find many options for guided meditations in which many have options for setting intentions or preparing to journey.
Breathwork – Controlling and expanding the abilities of your lungs, mouth, heart, and circulatory system will allow the ceremony day to be smoother, less intense, and more focused to feeling good things. It can also push out any front and immediate stressors or unhealed emotions that are most present in the moment. They can allow the actual medicine to work intuitively because the breathwork changes your focus from the actual emotion to pushing through the experience by cleansing breathe.
Massage/ Body Work/ Craniosacral Therapy/ Acupuncture, – Any physical, touch, or energetic modality that allows the lymphatic system to engage and flush through toxins and relieve inflammation. Focusing on getting the body balanced and fit to sit with these medicines and the setting will allow you to receive without flinching, resisting, or holding so tight. We hold tons of energy within our bodies and many trapped bits and pieces of emotions also get mixed in within the circulation and if our bodies are the first point of receiving the medicine, its important that you focus on getting the body most conditioned to what’s coming.
Reiki, Card Readings, Tai chi, Yoga and other energy focused modalities can also help align and create space and peace within for what the ceremony is going to feel like but also how to prepare for sitting with those new feelings afterward.
Dosage isn’t generally something that you need to ever think about if you are attended a guided and facilitated healing experience. The amount given can absolutely effect the intensity and duration of the experience and having trust in someone who is aware and in alignment with your goals and intentions will help you determine how deep you are able to venture in the ceremony.
Those who are guided intuitively and from hands on experience have many ways and approaches in their dosage strategy and it depends also on the patient, and intentions or goals previously set.
If you are sitting with a medicine yourself, I am not comfortable with giving any dosage amount, advise or suggestions, but rather to remind you that if you are able to follow your intentions, and do your preparation with clear intentions, some of these experiences can be done as self guided. I wouldn’t recommend it for first time journeyers, but for those who may be doing deeper shadow work or integration healing in smaller bite size pieces, being able to sit with psilocybin for example within your own space can prove very powerful and helpful in releasing and aligning.
Dosage is determined by these following factors
-Condition of physical body
-Level of trauma to clear
-Substances currently within the body
-Past psychedelic experience
-Intention or Goal
-Integration and Aftercare
The mentality that you come into the experience dictates a lot of how the healing will go. When one is feeling something right before the experience it tends to be carried into the ceremonial field as well and can cause the body and emotional sensors to expand and deepen those feelings instead of the ones intended. This means if you are fearful and panicked going into the experience, the medicine will know and be looking to give you more of that instead of focusing on realigning to what your intention is. Some people have a struggle with their intention and actually being able to sit and maintain the mentality needed to relax and surrender into trusting and not controlling the experience.
Ways to improve your mentality before experiencing an ancestral medicine or healing ceremony
-Receive tobacco hapay if offered before all ceremonies or any cleansing ritual offered
-Sit in silence, dark, and allow yourself some quiet time to breath and ground
-Move your body in natural fluid ways and exercise moderately
-Putting boundaries between draining energy and relationship before entering your ceremony space
This refers to space and surroundings that can be both material and energetic and is where the ceremony will take place. Medicines will amplify sounds and sensations so knowing where you will be during the entire duration of your experience is key. Knowing what some other options are if you need to move can also help. Many ceremonies use a couple of zones within the actual ceremonial space or circle which allows for those at various places along their journey to feel supported and able to progress organically as they needed to.
The setting can have many different approaches. Some are to be minimal and clean with very little stimulation other than that of the wind, sky, or natural element surrounding them. Ayahuasca in some settings is in the complete darkness of night without any fire. Others are very detailed and created to enhance creative expansion and psychedelic exploration. They are used with different approaches and ideas again depending on internal and external factors and what is called the context.
The setting can also influence movement or participation of one through actions. Some settings need to allow movement for dance or release, where others you are to sit completely still, harnessing your inner focus. Its about the pairing of the medicine and the setting with the dynamics of the group and the guide.
Music and sounds are a big part of ceremony and healing. Be mindful that the medicine experience you choose to sit with has pairings of sounds that you are prepared for or drawn to healing with. Don’t pick a Celtic harp and flute infused ceremony if you do better with masculine drumming beats or jagged techno. Medicines depend on music as a channel or vehicle to delivery the message for healing and identifying with the sounds being presented in the ceremony allows for intention to be more guided and supported and prepared.
Your body can experience temperature differently through healing journeys so it is important to think about where you will be and how you can prepare yourself for that setting? Always be prepared for dressing in layers and bring what you think you will need. You can always ask if it isn’t already clarified what is expected. Your practitioner can help with breathing support and visualizations to move through the energy clearing of temperature sensations.
Having shawls, scarves, sarongs, and other multifunctional clothing is handy as a scarf can be a blanket and clothing and so on. Some people like to bring a head cover or comfy wrap, beanie, or scarf to keep warm if needed. Bringing a towel can also help as its natural fibers are able to wick more effectively. Socks can also be cozy and help keep one warm on cooler nights where the dampness gets inside your bones. Keeping your feet dry and warm makes all the difference into your mentality as well. Also, if you are hot and feverish, a single wrap can keep you covered and discreetly able to express yourself in comfort. Also, bring your own water vessel. Sometimes you are to be dry in ceremony, but you are needing to have water ready for after. Having a cup you like and feel is safe to drink from as able is super important.
The context refer to the manner or style in which the ceremony or healing experience is being held or delivered. Some experiences may be very spiritual and connected to ancestral medicines and healing but are created as more of an integrational, social, blending or re-immersion environment. Some experiences wouldn’t be suitable for someone who is acutely suffering from addiction to substance or returning from a trauma zone. The ways how we approach and build the framework of those different healing experiences creates the context.
The context can also be seen as how the delivery or intention is generated. Some are more physically based in healing the body, and preventing aging while boosting immunity. The same experience could be shifted and delivered in a different context to a specialized group with a specific goal. For example Someone seeking Kambo to heal Lyme's disease is very different from someone sitting with Kambo to heal ancestral sexual trauma relating to infertility issues. The context comes from dosage, setting, intention, preparation, and mentality in various levels depending on the person.
Integration is the time and space that you spend following the medicine and you take accountability for what you learned and took from the journey. It is a time to face fears or anxieties relating to the shifts that occur following the experience. Feelings and triggers are hand in hand in this area and it’s critical to completely and fully embrace space needed to let any residual clearing or expressions out that may be surfacing and just need patience and time to fade away.
Integration takes planning but it also needs surrender and trust. You need to include the same tools that you used in preparation to finish the integration. The body, mind, spirit and its ability to balance in harmony is the key. One day it is possible to be stuck working in a physical way flushing out an autoimmune response, or stress-based illness and learning from it, and another day it may be sitting and journaling and being quiet for some time. One day it might feel like sharing your experience, and others you may feel doubtful in yourself let alone be confident to start sharing from your pedestal.
Integration looks different and has a timeline that's personal for everyone. When I say it looks different… I mean that we all respond the medicine in our own way, so therefore the way our integration follows will be the just as unique. Some may feel the grief of losing an old way of life, while others may be elated in joy or physical pleasure at the same moment. Some people process things physically also. It is common following a big shift energetically to open the pathways and channels of healing in other body systems.
This sometimes causes an autoimmune response. Often people rush to stop it which is the problem rather than letting it run its course and flow through clearing the path for a new stimulus. People are often trying to stop the healing because they get run down following a journey and western society shuns any sense of discomfort or appearing outside the physically accepted norm.
It happens because it is showing us how important it is to truly follow the dieta and take care of ourselves regularly. It shines a light on the place in our body or the system that perhaps needs validation, or attention. We forget in an easy and convenient world how self care governs how we experience our life with others and ourselves.
Ways to succeed at Integration:
-Book an integration session with your practitioner
-Create a plan in advance together with your family, support network, and practitioner,
-Attend a retreat that includes a plan and follow up sessions to ensure progress and support.
-Connect with community by finding others from your retreat, or nearby town and online groups to share, listen, reflect and hold space.
INTENTION, PREPARATION, DOSAGE, MENTALITY, CONTEXT, SETTING, AND INTEGRATION are all considerations necessary to address before sitting in ceremony, attending a retreat, sitting with a medicine alone, or holding space as a trip sitter for others. There are several resources existing all around the internet about how to prepare for these medicines or shamanic experiences, but the bottom line is that you need to follow a consistent path with that of your practitioner and their requests. Be honest with them and disclose everything so that they have all the advantages up front tp support you.
Certain intentions require specific and detailed considerations that vary significantly from others. Knowing and accepting that we are all the unique and each experience we have with these healing medicines and modalities helps us achieve a better result by letting the medicine and the experience achieve the goals with love.
Please reach out to your practitioner if you are not sure or are feeling uneasy about a preparation or integration situation and communicate effectively. No one is a better advocate for your wellness than you, trust in the process and accept the journey as it unfolds.
Thank you for taking the time to connect and read more. When one commits to this path, please know that the road may be long, winding or even a little foggy but trust, breathe, and an open heart make everything possible.