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Ayahuasca Preparation and Integration

A talk for the London Psychedelic Society

During this talk I briefly discuss the importance of proper preparation for and integration of the Ayahuasca experience.

Many people these days have heard of Ayahuasca and are curious about it, but much of what can be read online is confusing, contradictory or in some cases based on dangerous practices and ceremonies held by undertrained people who have the best of intentions but can still cause harm.

It is a very serious undertaking and this talk looks at two specific parts of what I call the 'drinking cycle'. The drinking cycle can be broken down into four distinct stages as follows:

1.Making the decision to drink and figure out if it is right for you. Knowing the right questions to ask the people who will be hosting your ceremony and to ensure that you are fit to drink - ayahuasca certainly isn't the right choice for everyone.

2. Preparing for the experience, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

3. The actual ceremony(s). There are many tools that can help one navigate a ceremony and it can be useful to practice them as part of the preparation.

4. Integration - the most important stage according to renowned psychologist Gabor Maté and the one in which the deeper work gets done and if done properly, helps you create lasting changes in your life. It is highly recommended that you work with someone experienced during this stage as there are many predictable pitfalls and traps that come with integration that can cause a lot of disruption in your life and in some cases make people feel worse than they did before, causing an emotional dependence on the drinking cycle, as it is during the retreats that they feel better and the most connected.

This talk touches on the basics of stages 2 and 4. If you are interested in my work with Ayahuasca, I currently coach people through all of these stages based on my 3 years of working in the Amazon with the Indigenous Shipibo tribe and the Ayahuasca Foundation retreat centre.

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