Going to South America several years ago to participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. While working in the field of psychiatry for most of my career, I've learned about and been exposed to many different healing modalities. None of them can quite hold a candle to what can happen using psychedelics as a catalyst. I’ve witnessed it transform countless others’ lives just like it did my own.
Just when we thought the state of our mental health couldn't get any worse, the world was blindsided by Covid-19. People are more desperate now than ever to find healing, connection, and community. Most people will never have the opportunity to go to South America and sit with a traditional Shaman. How can we make this more accessible for more people here in our community in New Orleans? Can we share plant medicines that have been used for thousands of years in South America right here in New Orleans? How do we modify or make these ancient rituals and ceremonies apropos for people living here in this city in this time period?
I recently returned from Ecuador where I spent time learning with a Shaman from the Quechua tribe. Although Ayahuasca and other plant medicines are indigenous to his culture, he has gained insights from the medicine that it is time to bridge the gap between cultures and find the love and acceptance humanity will need to start showing each other and the planet if we want to thrive. It’s time to embrace our cultural differences and celebrate what each can bring to the whole. We are all in this together and it is possible to respect and honor each others’ beliefs even if they are different from our own. These ancient plants are able to show us this and teach us in such an experiential way that it can’t be denied.
Participants in Ayahuasca ceremonies report a wide range of experiences with a common theme of healing - however that may occur for each individual. Some report emotional catharsis or thoughts and feelings that provide insight into one’s tendencies and relationships. It is possible to make new mental connections and glimpse ways we can improve our life, respecting the natural world and the lives of other beings. Often people are motivated to find ways to serve others and become passionate about important causes. Sometimes people realize how they can best deal with a certain situation, how to be with pain and sadness, how to improve the relationships in their lives. Ayahuasca has often led to healing in people where Western medicine has failed. It is a nature-given means of expanding one’s consciousness and notion of self, opening our hearts and minds and helping us get in touch with unlimited possibilities and potential.
Shamanic experiences are available to all of us, especially once we realize everything is spirit. We all have the capacity to tune in to visions, dreams, synchronicities, and messages from nature. Tragic and challenging circumstances often open doors to new perspectives and knowledge, but opening the mind is the first and important step. Anyone can engage and transform the self; we all have the wisdom within us and a capacity to tap into our own inner healer and intuition.
If you have questions about this type of healing please reach out to me. I am passionate about sharing education and information on this important topic. Thanks for your interest!
I write about human behavior, meditation, body awareness, and a variety of other things that pique my interest.