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(Now you see why not a lot of young people in South America are apprentice shamans…) Anyway, I practiced abstinence and had powerful visions my first time. I imagine one of the most neglected areas of preparation among people traveling from busy industrial society to ayahuasca retreat centres is the simple act of paying attention, by which I mean noticing () your mood, what’s around you, nature, and so on. You don’t have to think of it in those terms, if you don’t care to.I’ll never know what would have happened otherwise, but I imagine my experience could have been less. I don’t understand people who finish a work deadline, jump on a plane and drink ayahuasca the next day. Okay, so the big day has arrived and you’re in some ayahuasca retreat having eaten super-healthy vegan food for weeks and weeks, avoided alcohol and had no sex for what seems like forever. I quite like it, but then I like the Lord of the Rings movies, so finding out there really is a spirit world is quite cool in my books.(Note: Don’t place your bucket where people may accidentally kick it over in the night.) 8. Of course what to wear for ceremony is a highly personal decision, and there are no hard rules. I mean, when I think of the profundity of what I might experience, it seems like a copout to not “dress for occasion.” I wear white Shipibo clothing with beautiful embroidery because of the pleasure it gives me wearing it and for the statement it makes via which I honor the whole experience.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.(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.

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Beginners are advised to keep their intention simple the first time.

The fact is, the medicine meets you half way: You must make an effort to ask questions and interpret the lessons.

This is work, and you’ll find out quickly why no one would ever drink ayahuasca as a recreational drug (one reason why it’s so ridiculous that it’s illegal in North America and many other places).

As the shamans often say, if you bring no intention to the ceremony, you may see a pretty light show and colors and not much else.

In truth, the first time I drank I felt it was worth the price of flying to Peru just for what I saw in the first 15 minutes.

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