Return to Innocence
Return to Love
Sacred healing with the masterplant
What is an Aluna retreat?
Why is attending an Aluna retreat important?
What are the benefits of an Aluna retreat?
What is sacred ceremony?
What is plant medicine?
What is the master plant?
What is Ayahuasca?
What is self development?
What is dieta?
What is the August Special?
Why is the combination of Transformational Breath® and plant medicine so effective?
Ayahuasca- a magical tea
The word “ayahuasca” is a Quechua term, an indiginous language primarily used in the Peruvian Andes. It is composed of two words: aya, which means “corpse, dead, dead human body” and waskha,which means “rope, cord, braided or twisted wire.” Thus, it has commonly been translated as “the vine of the dead” or “the rope of the dead.”
Ayahuasca is not a single plant but a brew of two different compounds (contained in either seeds, vine or leaves) that are collected from the jungle of the Amazon, one containing the alkaloid DMT (dimethyltryptamine), the other a MAO- inhibitor (monoamine oxidase). One compound has no effect without the other. This potent mixture offers access to the realm of spirits and an energetic world that we are typically unable to perceive in our ordinary state of consciousness. It is a mystery how the Amazonian shamans learned to combine these two ayahuasca compounds in the vast variety of the jungle.
This mixture circulates through the bloodstream into the brain, where it can trigger powerful visionary experiences and enables us to access otherworldly realms and our hidden, inner subconscious landscapes
The Traditional Use
Ayahuasca was not taken by patients, who would simply come to ceremony to receive the diagnosis and subsequent treatments.Traditionally, the use of Ayahuasca in Amazonian healing practices has been limited to the healers, who use it as diagnostic tool for a variety of tasks that reflect vastly different psychological and cultural values than we are familiar with in the West. By identifying the cause of illness, for example, and resolving the energetic damage, indigenous healers recognize the destructive power of negative human emotions and their impact not just on the individual but the health of the whole community. Ayahuasca is used by the healers for other purposes, too: to help inform important decisions; ask the spirits for advice and solve personal conflicts (e.g. between families and communities).
The Western Approach
Ayahuasca is now being used as a medicine in itself, not only as a diagnostic tool and plant ally for shamans. That in itself is a remarkable evolution. For the last 30 years, many foreigners and Amazonian people have worked with the medicine in ceremonies, led by trained healers and facilitators, in order to experience the cause of their conditions, illnesses and imbalances personally and to take part in the healing equation. Effectively, this means moving healing into a co-creative relationship between the healer, the plant spirit and the participant. This is a more fitting approach in this new paradigm where we become more souvereign of our healing. The drinker is able to uncover and take personal responsibility for issues that have been hidden in their unconscious and have resulted in energetic blockages – often the cause of the dis-ease, or emotional/psycho-spiritual imbalance.
One of the greatest challenges of the movement of ayahuasca culture to the West is how to transfer a tradition rooted in shamanic communities to a culture by and large alienated from nature and with very different psychological issues and thus physical diseases. Through many years of observation and experience Aluna has managed to bridge this discrepancy and translates the healing language of Ayahuasca to their participants.
Health and Risks
Studies in both animals and healthy humans have shown that Ayahuasca is a safe substance both physically and psychologically when its composition is known, and when it is administered in controlled doses, in appropriate environments and with the necessary support.
There are some risks associated with the consumption of Ayahuasca that should be considered in case one is considering using this decoction. Some of these risks are physical, due to the pharmacology of the substance and possible interactions, and others are psychological, due to the nature of the experience that Ayahuasca can induce.
The combination of MAOIs (one of the Ayahuasca compounds) with SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) in antidepressants, some recreational drugs and Tryptophan beforehand, can produce a serotonergic crisis called serotonin syndrome.
The combination of MAO inhibitors with certain foods containing high amounts of Tyramine can produce a hypertensive crisis.
Therefore, the Dieta (please see below for more information), a list of substances, herbs and foods should be followed 7 days prior to the ceremony!
The psychedelic effects of Ayahuasca can be very intense and the experience can be quite immersive, therefore it is not uncommon for reactions of fear and anguish to occur during parts of the experience. These situations are usually transient and resolve themselves during the experience or after the effects of the substance subside. Our guides and team members are well trained and experienced to guide participants through these moments and to help them integrate what happened.
However, people with a (family) history of psychotic episodes, or with diagnosed mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression with psychotic symptoms are at higher risk of suffering such adverse reactions and it is recommended that they refrain from using Ayahuasca.
Summarizing, taking Ayahuasca has no real risks to it, when we prepare for it with care and respect.
Through a process of witnessing, integrating and releasing emotional trauma, Ayahuasca helps to release negative, fear-filled patterns (our so called shadows) that have built up over many years. This facilitates new perspectives on the overall biography of your life. Shadow work is the key to discovering an overall greater sense of purpose, presence and peace in your life. Meanwhile many scientific studies have shown that Ayahuasca can be the answer to healing physical diseases, depressions, feelings of low self worth and self love, addictions and co-dependency issues and ancestral trauma. Healing occurs on all four levels of our being.
Preparing with the Dieta
A very important aspect of working with Ayahuasca is adhering to an honored tradition of following a special diet in order to prepare, not only the body but also the mind and soul, to incorporate the healing energy of Ayahuasca. This so called Dieta is to eliminate potential health risks and cleanse your body from toxins. The initial work of the plant spirit is focused on cleansing and purifying your physical body before it moves on to the next layers.
This purification starts with your Dieta at home: the more you cleanse your physical body, the sooner and easier the plant spirit will move through you to the next stages of your healing during your journey: your emotional and spiritual body.
The Dieta we will send to you prior to the retreat includes both food and other nutritional sustenance that you take into your body. The Dieta prepares not only your body, it prepares your mind and spirit as well to receive the healing energy of the plant medicine.
To give you a rough overview, on a physical level you will be asked to leave behind processed sugars, processed foods, dairy, sex, alcohol, cannabis, and other street drugs the week prior to your ceremony. Your food intake should be organic and fresh to balance and harmonize your body.
On a mental level you are asked to lessen your screen time and mental activities, meditate more and go into nature to calm your mind.
On a spiritual/emotional level you are asked to contemplate on your intentions for the journey. Your emotions can be an important indication. They might tell you what isn‘t flowing in your current life, what is blocking, what is not in alignment, what is painful? What needs letting go off? Or what are you missing in your life?
Working with ayahuasca is very complex, and the medicine will typically work with you in ways you cannot anticipate, and will not respond to impatient demands. Sometimes, when you are in the process of cleansing and purifying your emotions, your mood can become low. Like any cleanse, it is common to feel worse during the healing process before feeling better.
A good thing to remember: You will always receive what you need, which isn’t always what you asked for :). Come with an open mind and an intention and leave your expectations at the door.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to one of our retreats!