Shamanic Plant Healing
Shamanic Plant Healing Ceremonies
Shamanic healing is done from the very core of one’s being (the spirit), this healing practice differs quite greatly from a typical healing session as the client goes on a spiritual journey.
With much relaxation and deep meditative techniques, non-ordinary realms can be accessed organically using the same trance-inducing methods as shamans. In this way, one can be completely present and in control.
However, there is another route one can take to achieve this healing and access these non-ordinary states: plant medicines. The difference is that the plant is the vehicle in which one is riding around in, and each plant has it’s own unique way of touring these worlds.
In recent years, the curiosity of many people in the Western world about indigenous cultures and their plant medicines have peaked. This recent attention, however, has been accompanied by the misperception of the medicine, the experience provided, and its immense healing properties.
In shamanic culture, these plants, although entheogenic, are not considered a drug; rather, they are considered highly respected and sacred medicines. Shamans believe that these plant medicines are deeply connected to the Spirit, or Source, and can easily show us to these non-ordinary realms where great knowledge can be attained, growth can be accelerated, and true healing can take place.
That being so, these plant medicines are to be ingested and experienced in a ceremonial context, and with a trained shaman. The shaman’s job during one of these ceremonies is to join the client in his or her journey, hold a safe space, guide, protect, and intervene if needed. The Shaman also helps the client to later interpret, understand, and integrate their experience.
Called to a Plant Medicine Ceremony
One must feel called, not pressured, to participate in a plant medicine ceremony. They must be ready to make a change in their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual lives by applying what they have learned during their ceremony, meaning that these plant medicines are to be taken seriously, with great intention, and not dosed recreationally. One must also be ready to completely surrender to the plant and let it take them where they need to go; the plant spirit always knows exactly what one most needs to see, feel, hear, experience, and learn.
Since these plants are so powerful, they are oftentimes looked at by shamanic cultures as spiritual entities or Gods and Goddesses. Many common shamanic plant medicines include, but are certainly not limited to: Ayahuasca, Iboga, San Pedro cactus, psychedelic mushrooms (though not exactly a plant), Salvia, and Peyote cactus. The most popular of the plant medicines is Ayahuasca.
Unlike any other sacred plant medicine, Ayahuasca is comprised of two separate plants: the chacruna leaf (Psychotria viridis) and the Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi). Alone, neither of these plants produce medicinal nor entheogenic properties. However, when combined, they work together and become a very powerful and sacred medicine.
Both of these plants are found in the Amazon rainforest in South America. Astonishingly, in this particular rainforest, there are over 80,000 cataloged leafy plant species. Yet, somehow, the psychopharmacologists of the Amazon (the shamanic healers) knew exactly which two unsuspecting plant species would create such a magical and psychoactive medicine when combined.
The history of Ayahuasca use dates so far back that anthropologists and researchers have yet been able to trace its origins..
The plants are collected from the jungle and brewed into a sacred tea. The tea, when taken ceremonially, throws open the gates to the spirit realm and reveals mystical, non-ordinary worlds that are unperceivable in ordinary consciousness.
Traditionally, it was only the shaman who would drink the Ayahuasca brew; they would do this in order to induce their shamanic journeys during a healing session and bring wisdom and guidance back in order to assist in healing individuals and the community.
Currently, the use of this brew has positively evolved to reach more and more people; now, any interested person (not just an experienced shaman) can experience the extraordinary healing power of Ayahuasca.
Unfortunately, many Western cultures have yet been able to fully understand the healing and medicinal properties of this unique plant substance. For that, it is illegal in many countries. Yet, it is not only legal but highly praised in it’s birthplace: the Amazonian countries of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, and Brazil. In these countries, foreigners have the opportunity to partake in an Ayahuasca ceremony with a respected shaman.
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. - Unknown
Calling to a Plant Medicine Ceremony
One must feel called, not pressured, to participate in a plant medicine ceremony. They must be ready to make a change in their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual lives by applying what they have learned during their ceremony, meaning that these plant medicines are to be taken seriously, with great intention, and not dosed recreationally.
One must also be ready to completely surrender to the plant and let it take them where they need to go; the plant spirit always knows exactly what one most needs to see, feel, hear, experience, and learn.
It is during these ceremonies that participants are able to face the root causes of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual illnesses head-on and delve deep into the healing process by allowing the spirit of Ayahuasca to take them on a journey to these realms of non-ordinary consciousness. Within these realms, deep-seeded issues that have long been hidden within one’s subconscious mind are revealed to them.
Mother Ayahuasca, as the plant spirit is often referred to (due to it’s feminine and mother-like qualities), will always teach the participant precisely what they most need to learn in order to fully, truly heal themselves.