Will ayahuasca help me? Is it safe?

By June 18, 2019

Ayahuasca plant medicine can serve as a powerful tool for healing, as well as spiritual and emotional growth. It can be described in simple terms as a very big, very shiny mirror, and with the right set and setting, this can allow us to understand the true roots of the fear, trauma, and other emotional sources that manifest in various ways in our life. From a place of compassion and love, this can offer us deep insight into our own psyche and provide us with the tools and understanding to let go of the patterns that are no longer supporting us. However, it’s important to have the right time, space, and highly skilled healers and facilitators to help you make sense of what comes up and surrender to the process fully.

With the proper screening, preparation, container, and integration support, it is very rare that negative psychological effects result from partaking in ayahuasca ceremony. However, there are certain medical conditions that are contraindicated with plant medicine, including (but not limited to) schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and psychosis. Additionally, certain medications are contraindicated and should be discussed with your doctor to determine if an ayahuasca retreat is right for you and if it is possible to change or taper any medications. Beyond medical contraindications, an ayahuasca experience can be considered unsafe due to inexperienced healers who are unable to hold the energetic space during ceremony; admixtures to the ayahuasca brew that can negatively react with the guest; lack of support or an unsafe container throughout the process; or ‘medicine stacking’, wherein numerous different plant medicines are taken within a short period of time which can overload the system and potentially cause someone to become ungrounded.

At Soltara, safety, well-being, and healing is of utmost importance to us, and our main goal is to ensure each person gets the most out of an experience with us. Our aim is to create a safe and supportive environment encompassing all aspects of the healing process.

We only work with highly experienced indigenous Shipibo healers from the Amazon region of Peru. We are connected with several powerful family lineages who have generations and decades of experience working and training with this medicine, such that they are able to safely and effectively hold space for our guests during ceremony. Our facilitation team also has combined decades of experience working with ayahuasca and facilitating ceremony for thousands of guests. Our ayahuasca brew is made with only the two main ingredients, ayahuasca vine and chacruna leaf, and is cooked in the village of one of our healers in Peru. We also create a strong container to work specifically with ayahuasca only, as we believe it is important to create the space for this medicine and tradition to do its best work.

Beyond our on-site team of highly skilled healers and facilitators, we consult with qualified professionals during the screening and preparation for your journey, and our stringent medical protocol and intake process (including a detailed medical questionnaire during registration) ensures each guest a safe and fulfilling experience, mitigating any risk of potential contraindications with our medicines. In addition, we have a facilitator trained in Wilderness First Response (WFR) and a fully stocked medical kit on-site. During your stay, our safety protocols allow you to rest easy and comfortably, while our staff provides a sanctuary for your emotional and spiritual well-being.

In line with this, our focus on integration takes the same approach of a strong and supportive container. We understand that while a powerful experience and initial cleansing are crucial catalysts towards healing, really that’s just the first step in the much longer (truly lifelong) process. In order to create lasting healing, we feel it’s necessary to empower the person with the tools needed to enact the benefits of such a catalyst into their day-to-day life. And beyond that, provide a supportive container over the long-term to help inspire lasting change. Much of our team has come from working at previous plant medicine retreat centers, and within our communities we saw the need people had for a longer-term relationship with their process, whatever form that may take. You can read more about our integration program here and our safety protocols here.

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