Ayahuasca is an amazing purifying and cleansing plant medicine derived from a special Amazonian vine with a history of use dating back over 2,500 years. Ayahuasca is derived from its Quechua origins – ayawaskha, which literally translates to “corpse rope”, but in essence means “the vine of the soul.” It is consumed in the form of a tea, or brew, that has been distilled over time.
For a more in-depth exploration of Ayahuasca, including what it is, how it works and whether it’s safe to use, please visit the Ayahuasca & You section of this site.
Unlike in many other parts of the world, Ayahuasca use in Peru is completely legal and at Source Peru we aim to provide you an exceptional experience with this wonderful plant medicine.
The two main ingredients in the medicinal tea are the Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and Chacruna leaves (Psychotria viridis), which are both native to the tropical regions of South America. The Ayahuasca vine acts as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) while the Chacruna leaves provide a high concentration of DMT. These two plants mixed together are what we typically call Ayahuasca, a powerful blend which can bring about visions, energetic sensations, purging effects, emotional release, healing effects and much more. Taken separately, neither plant would have the effects that they produce together. They are indeed a magical combination.
Our particular Ayahuasca brew is a very powerful one and depending on the inspiration for the recipe, we may include in it tobacco, coca, Huachuma and/or other plants in addition to the Ayahuasca vine and Chacruna leaves. The medicine is lovingly prepared using Ayahuasca vine and Chacruna leaves grown and harvested in the jungle according to sustainable practices.
How Ceremonies Unfold at Source Peru
Ayahuasca ceremonies are held in the evening in our incredible temple situated in a mystical location beneath a cascading 100ft waterfall and at the foot of a highly revered Andean mountain. The temple contains more than 1000lbs of imported crystals of varying descriptions embedded in the floor, walls and ceiling and boasts a massive skylight to the blanket of stars and shimmering moonlight in the sky above.
The ceremonies are facilitated by our shaman and are supported by at least two additional assistants from start to finish. We prefer to keep our group numbers smaller than average, so there are always fewer than 24 participants in the space.
Our intent is for you to feel safe and as comfortable possible throughout your time with us, and especially in ceremony. Your “bed” in the ceremony space is a nest of thick padding, wool blankets, a pillow and a bolster. The temple space has radiant heating to ensure that the wooden floor is warm underfoot.
Ceremonies begin with each person receiving his or her initial dose of medicine for the night. The dosage is based on the shaman’s intuitive sense of where you are in your process and the amount of medicine your body requires. Of course, you have the ultimate say as to how much you wish to drink. You may consume the dose offered to you, you may consume (or request) less, or you may request to be offered more or ask for a repeat dose later on in the evening. Listen to your body and trust that you will know what is right for you.
Once everyone has consumed the medicine, the lights go out and the group waits in silence for the initial effects to come on. This can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes on average. When the group has moved into the effects of the medicine, the shamans will start to play music and the ceremony unfolds on two levels: for each individual, according to his/her process; and for the energy of the group as whole. You may hear the shamans and assistants sing or play the gong, various types of flutes, singing bowls, crystal bowls, drums, rattles, and more. The music is not there to distract you from your experience; instead, it’s meant to assist the medicine in doing its work and may provide you with an anchor to maintain your inward focus.
Some of the effects of Ayahuasca can include colorful visions, physical sensations, auditory experiences, and various forms of release or purging including yawning, sighing, sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. These purges are a natural part of the Ayahuasca process and should be neither forced nor withheld. This medicine is known in Spanish as “la purga” or “the purgative.” Any form of purging is the medicine working to clear out whatever is no longer necessary in your body. A helpful practice is to remain grateful for whatever happens during your ceremony process. There is no good or bad…each experience that comes along is a gift from Ayahuasca.
Everything that happens in the ceremony space and during your retreat is honored and held in complete confidentiality. And every single person is treated with the utmost respect and care.
The ceremony is not complete until the shaman determines that each person has finished working through the bulk of his or her process with the medicine. At that point, a candle will be lit to indicate the end of the ceremony. If you feel well, you are welcome to leave the temple and relocate to where you feel comfortable, whether that’s in your bedroom or cozied up to the fire in the main lodge. And if you wish to remain in the temple, you are more than welcome to do so. Even after the ceremony ends, one of our team will be in the ceremony space until the last participant leaves, whether that’s right away or not until after sunrise.
At Source Peru you are supported and cared for every step of the way.
Before You Arrive – Limiting Expectations
If this will be your first time working with Ayahuasca, we strongly recommend that you limit your research on the plant medicine and others’ experiences with it. Because Ayahuasca works on each individual’s specific needs, no two people will have the same experience. In fact, the same person will not have the same experience twice. The more you read about other people’s journeys with Ayahuasca, the more you will build an expectation of your future experience and this may inhibit you from being fully present and allowing YOUR experience to unfold. When it comes to this process, the less you know to begin with, the better off you are.
While You’re Here – Holding Intentions
Rather than invest your time in researching other people’s Ayahuasca “trip reports”, your time could be better spent sitting quietly and pondering your reasons for coming to Peru to take Ayahuasca. What do you hope to achieve? What would you like the plant medicine to show you? By exploring these concepts you can begin to carefully craft your intention for your time with us in medicine at Source Peru. Hold your intention clearly in your mind and heart and bring it with you into the ceremony space. Be aware, however, that you don’t get too attached to an intention. You may ask for something specific from Ayahuasca, but know that these intuitive plant medicines may acknowledge your request and instead give you what you need, in that moment. Sometimes what you need is necessary to clear the path to give you what you’ve asked for. Be patient and be grateful for whatever comes along.
Use & Long-Term Effects
People choose Ayahuasca for a variety of reasons, including treatment of depression or addiction, for spiritual reasons, physical ailments, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological issues. We have seen people from all walks of life experience this incredible plant medicine and come away with significant change in their lives, whether it was health-related, spiritual, or general outlook. With the right attitude and open-minded approach to Ayahuasca, shift happens.
A number of scientific studies have shown that Ayahuasca is both safe and extremely effective, leaving no lasting negative effects on any biological system.