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So you want to experience Ayahuasca?
Four Safety Basics from The Ayahuasca Test Pilots
1: Who pours?
If you want to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony, and if you wish to have a positive experience, then ONLY drink in the company of a highly trained maestro ayahuasca shaman who has dedicated many years (5 - 15) to learning the necessary skills to officiate at a ceremony. People who "have meditated for a long time," or "have drunk ayahuasca many times," or "are really successful entrepreneurs," have absolutely no business conducting ayahuasca ceremonies, and can cause great harm. Drink with a trained maestro shaman, or forget about it. An improperly trained ceremonial leader can cause incalculable harm. This has happened.
2: Who made the brew?
The shaman who officiates over the ceremony should make the ayahuasca personally, or should supervise EVERY aspect of its preparation, from start to finish. Do NOT drink ayahuasca that the ceremonial leader has not made. Do NOT accept "I know the guy..." or "It comes from a good source." If the shaman has not made the ayahuasca himself/herself, they do not know what they are pouring, and participants do not know what they are drinking.
3: Thorough screening required.
Make absolutely certain that the officiating shaman screens potential participants. Those who are taking anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, sleep aids, many types of cardiovascular drugs, diet drugs and others can actually DIE when they drink ayahuasca. This is not theoretical. This has happened several times.
4: Obey the law.
Don't let the shaman or pseudo-shaman convince you that drinking ayahuasca where it is illegal is okay. It is not. What happens if somebody has to go to a hospital emergency room? This can happen and it has happened. You could wind up arrested or even in prison. Drink ayahuasca ONLY where it is legal, like Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia.
The ayahuasca journey is a sacred and ceremonial experience. If you are going to engage in such a ceremony, do it right, or do not do it at all.
By Chris Kilham, 2012