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I was fortunate because my trip with Pulse Tours gave me four days hanging out and trekking in the Amazon to really s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and absorb that unrushed living-with-nature vibe. Anyway, I was instructed to take a flower bath (or what I prefer to call a “flower shower” for the alliteration) before ceremony in which I sponged water over myself filled with flower petals.
I’d flown into Iquitos a day early, too, so I’d had more time to shift gears. I believe the moment you decide to participate in ayahuasca ceremony the medicine starts working on you. This is to make oneself more appealing to the plant energies. (Some practitioners simply spray some floral water on you that smells a bit like the stuff they use in old-fashioned men’s barber shops.) 5. I don’t smoke and personally hate the smell of cigarettes, but tobacco is a sacred plant in shamanic practice so you need to get used to it.
I can’t prove it, but I noticed in my last ceremony that the people wearing white clothing had gentler, positive experiences, but who knows?
I bring sandals or flip-flops because these tuck in nicely beside my mattress and are easy to put on or off in the dark.
(I rarely lie down flat except for stretching out my back — the visions just become to overwhelming.) As I can’t easily sit with my legs crossed for a long time, I find it very useful to bring along a yoga chair (there are versions used by hikers) that’s basically a legless item made from two pieces of nylon-encased foam, held together with straps.
I bring a sleeping bag rather than blankets, and usually keep this unzipped like a duvet.
That may sound bat-shit crazy (hey, a lot of this stuff sounds bat-shit crazy) but the medicine takes you to meet universal consciousness and the funny thing about “U. So (big surprise), when you make your decision, she starts communicating with you. But be reassured it’s not “your dad’s tobacco.” Instead, it’s mapacho tobacco that has a rich, sweet smell that’s quite unlike the chemically adulterated stuff in commercial cigarettes.
I’ve seen people wearing everything from full-on Shipibo costumes to jeans and Metallica T-shirts. At a minimum I’d lean toward wearing white, light, breathable loose cotton shirt and pants.
It’s common for newbies to be nervous before an ayahuasca ceremony. (You know, the type that allows the Kung Fu masters to break stacks of concrete blocks with a single hand chop.) In the Upper Amazon, Mother Ayahuasca is described as a jealous lover. If you’re seeking a super-duper big-ass experience, try being abstinent for, like, six weeks or longer, if you can manage. Remember, you’re not having a “drug experience” — this is a (something not emphasized enough in descriptions, I feel) and certain things are done that seem odd to a person raised in a non-shamanic culture. In the Amazon, this would be thought of in terms of guarding against evil spirits, dark energies, and so on.
Pity the fool who finds herself backpacking in Peru and decides to drink ayahuasca on a whim after a week of hamburgers and mohitos. Spicy food may not offend the gods so much as your butt and mouth if you vomit or get diarrhea… In Asia they call this preserving one’s — one’s life force — and it’s all about cultivating energy.
There’s a school of thought that wearing white attracts light energy and bright spirits.
By extension, it may be that dark clothes attract dark energies.