Hypnotic Ayahuasca: Healer and Conscious Awakener
True healing and conscious awakening puts into order the mind, body and spirit with the past, present and future... So what kind of agent, method, formula or treatment can qualify such a sweeping statement?
...I offer for your consideration; Ayahuasca, a psychoactive potion indigenous to the Amazon rainforest with a history of use spanning over thousands of years. Ayahuasca, traditionally administered in special healing ceremonies by highly trained shamans known as Ayahuasqueros, also referred to as a hallucinogen. But in my view it goes beyond this. Whilst a hallucinogen produces visual phenomena rooted in the individuals psyche, Ayahuasca opens up channels to a deeper world - the spirit world, and the ‘drinker’ bears witness to that landscape. This is why Ayahuasca is referred to as a ‘Sacred Plant Medicine’ (Planta Sagrada Medicina).
When one consumes Ayahuasca, a bond between mind, body and nature is formed. Senses are heightened and perception of the world, outside and inside, is changed. In regular waking consciousness it often seems that we are moving about in our daily routine with a focus on changing our external environment: transporting ourselves from place to place, selling and buying things and changing the world in general; but with Ayahuasca the locus of change is refocused within. All the plants and elements around us come alive and, even if for just a few hours, we have the sensitivity to listen to the subtle rhythms in nature and ponder on what they may be telling us about the world and about ourselves. There is great healing and learning in this listening process.
Ayahuasca Expands Consciousness Similar to Hypnosis
Through the activation of the subconscious, Ayahuasca expands consciousness to encompass other realities by heightening the state between sleep and wakefulness - the so called ‘hypnogogic state’ where metaphorically speaking a ‘magnifying glass’ is placed on the subconscious mind. A similar process happens during hypnosis.
Under the influence of Ayahuasca, you are able to access your own subconscious without interference from the analytical mind and its critical voice, which is pacified for a time - in Hypnotherapy we call this the ‘Critical Factor,’ but during the intake of Ayahuasca you are your own hypnotist and therapist and the intensity of the healing is condensed and heightened.
You receive new and profound insights into old thinking and behavioural patterns, access old traumatic memories and suppressed emotions, and learn to integrate former unconscious material on a higher level of conscious awareness enabling a healing and integrating effect on the personality, thus allowing universal energy (Reiki) to flow more freely in the body.
Ayahuasca and Brain Waves
In a 2001 research study conducted on an Ayahuasca ceremony in Brazil, researchers found that volunteers experienced significant increases in alpha and theta wave activity after they ingested Ayahuasca. Alpha waves are associated with awake, alert states of consciousness while theta waves are associated with semi-awake, drowsy states of consciousness. This means that Ayahuasca has dual effect on people; it puts us into a state of relaxed awareness where the body is somewhat relaxed and immobile yet it also heightens our awake state of consciousness, enabling us to perceive things that we normally would not. The increase in alpha waves allows us to focus our attention inward on the processes that are happening within us. While this is happening other compounds in the plant mixture are unlocking memories stored in our subconscious mind. We can process thoughts and memories that we would not normally have access to while our bodies remain in a relaxed, mobility-compromised state due to the increase in theta wave activity. This increase in alpha and theta wave activity is similar to what we feel when going into hypnosis or doing deep breathwork to relax the mind and body.
This combination has significant potential for use as a therapeutic tool with the added bonus that the Ayahuasca allows us to immediately access memories that might often take years of psychotherapy to access.
Visiting the Amazon
This I experienced during my trip to the Peruvian Amazon. My trip was not one of merely my own healing but to gain experiential insight with a view to deepening my own practices and abilities as a therapist and healer whilst expanding my understanding and awareness so as to apply to my own life and purpose – be it work, home or play.
During my five Ayahuasca ceremonies, the plant medicine opened my heart and parts of my subconscious mind where memories and patterns were buried deeply. In five alternate evenings of intense work and visions and five alternate days of processing and integrating, I was plugged into the enormity of nature and of my own existence. All the while memories and conditioning being released at cellular levels as the plant wove its way through my veins. It was as if a divine intelligence opened up within me and shut off my ego so it could show me the parts of my existence that I needed to see.
During the ceremonies, I was captivated by the traditional songs, known as Icaro’s, sung by the Shamans. They are an essential, intricate part of the ceremonies used to call in the spirit of the plants, ancestors, and of the Great Spirit, facilitating the healing process and help move the ceremony through its different stages. These Icaro’s had the power to help me refocus, calm my mind and soothe my heart when I was beginning to drift or lose control. In my altered state of consciousness, I remember the shaman saying to a drifting friend “listen to the Icaros brother...They heal. They teach”. Such a powerful reminder at the time for many of us as we explored our own inner worlds.
Which leads me on to the 29 other wonderful souls that shared this profound experience. With the intensity of the work that was being done, deep connections were being made not only within ourselves but between each other as we peeled away the layers and connected. Intuitive love, strength, compassion and support bonded us beyond words - bonds of the sisterhood united with the bonds of brotherhood creating a union between the divine feminine and masculine and giving us the protection of a unified power which stayed with us throughout our journey together. Was this the formation of a soul family or the reuniting of a soul group?
Ayahuasca helped me to experience myself as being part of a larger ecosystem that requires attention, attunement and alignment in order to stay in balance as a whole. It opened doors inside of me. It opened the channels to a higher knowing. It helped me to reconnect to my heart.
Our modern way of living has disconnected us greatly from the profound wisdom that our ancestors were guided by. There is a body-heart awareness and divine guidance that has been laying dormant in us, awaiting the opportunity to be awakened and be heard. This awareness holds within it the answers that many of us have been unsuccessfully seeking outside of ourselves. Working with Ayahuasca offers a gateway to return to this inherent wisdom in a way that one must experience to really understand. Ayahuasca can help us to open new doors in ourselves, enabling us to resolve painful wounds, spark creativity and new ideas, and gain profound awareness into the essence of reality and consciousness. The awareness gained is not just esoteric in nature. The wisdom gleaned often has very practical applications for work, relationships and life paths. While Ayahuasca is a powerful tool, she will not do this work for you. You must be willing to face yourself, your deepest fears, and participate with the shamans and 'The Medicine' in your own healing and awakening.
Ayahuasca is not for everybody. The experience is typically intense, and can be terrifying. The spirit landscape is beautiful, but can also be overwhelming. Still, Ayahuasca helps to put into order the mind, body and spirit with the past, present and future. This potent Amazonian brew has the power not only to heal, but to transform your understanding and experience of reality.