It’s been at least ten years since I started my journey healing with plant medicine; I got introduced to them through a friend who is no longer in my life. When she first told me about the retreat that she went to I completely resonated with everything, I did not hesitate to join her the next time.
The retreat was held in Temecula by a couple who owned a multilevel marketing company; it was a 3-day retreat that required a week’s preparation by going on a vegetarian diet and 24hr fasting before the event. The tea that was served was a psychedelic form of sage, before this experience I hadn’t ever tried any form of psychedelics whatsoever-not even marijuana. The setting was outdoors and everything was held to ceremonial (traditional indigenous) standards which made the experience sacred. In other words, I was introduced to the psychedelic world through a very intentional and holy manner; it wasn’t to escape anything nor was it abusive of the plants that were being used, in fact the plants were non-habit forming (not addictive).
My experience was very positive and it helped me heal and release many negative emotions, it was a spiritual cleanse. After a couple of years that same friend then told me about another ceremony, except this time it was with a different plant- ayahuasca. I hadn’t ever heard of ayahuasca so I gladly accepted thinking that it was just another tea ceremony. Without doing any research whatsoever I went into one of the most soul-shaking ceremonies I had ever had. This medicine was not as gentle as the sage tea that I was used to, it was so intense that I didn’t ever want to do it again. The only reason why I went back and did another ayahuasca ceremony was because one of the facilitators told me that it was medicine and that I needed to come back again, so I hesitantly did so. The following ceremonies after the first one helped me release more pain and heal, they eventually led to feelings of euphoria.
Although the ceremonies helped me in many ways they were not a cure-all, there were things that I needed to do outside of ceremony in order to help me heal, painful things, things that would keep me stuck until I finally became conscious of them and released them. This is what is now termed as ‘integration,’ or what they would call ‘doing the work,’ because without applying in the real world what is learned through ceremony nothing changes, we must use our will to free ourselves.
The group in Temecual eventually closed due to some issues they had with negative people who threatened their business since what they were doing was technically illegal. I was then invited to a place in Riverside where I participated in mushroom (psychedelic mushrooms) ceremonies, it was my first time trying this plant medicine and I worked with it just as deeply as with the ayahuasca plant. After about a year with this group I then had a very traumatizing event happen with the facilitator so I stopped going.
Eventually I found myself going back to the woman who served me my first cup of ayahuasca whose center is in North California. It was a long drive from Los Angeles but it was the only place I knew of so I went. Although I invited friends to go with me no one ever committed so I would do these trips with myself.
These plants, if held with the intention of healing, can be a portal of transformation. Presently I see people abuse them and use them like toys without respect or intention; it’s like another form of escape or even worse use them to make their egos larger. What I don’t think people understand is that these plants have a spirit so abusing them is similar to abusing another person, where is the love in that? We must learn to take these plants sacredly, with respect and intention just as we would a holy person.
Speaking from experience and testimonies from other people I know that these plants aren’t for everyone, I know first-hand the risks that one can incur if ill-prepared for these ceremonies. There are many factors to take into consideration that are beyond the material world. If you are called to these plants please do your research and find a heart-centered ceremony and always, always, always, follow your intuition.