The evening of ceremony you will not eat dinner. The ceremony begins around nightfall. We gather together in the ceremonial maloka, or hut, and sit in a circle along the perimeter. Each guest has their own mat, pillow and waste bucket. The shaman will begin in the center of the maloka and prepare for ceremony by praying and smoking mapacho, or jungle tobacco, to protect and cleanse the space. Once everyone is settled, you are called one by one to receive your portion of the brew. For the initial ceremony everyone will begin with the same small dose.
Ayahuasca dosing is very much based on the individual. Height and weight are not factors and having a larger dose does not necessarily mean you will have a more intense ceremony. Many people find that smaller doses are more effective. After the initial starter cup, you can ask for seconds if you require more medicine. In the following ceremonies you can choose the cup size (small, medium or large) that you wish. You are always free to ask the maestros for their recommendations on how much you should drink.
After everyone has drank and returned to their mat, the candles are blown out. The shaman begins singing when he feels it is time, usually after about 20-45 min and will go to everyone to give each person individual icaros. From there, the experience is unique to every individual.
We require all guests to remain in the maloka until ceremony is over. Your facilitators will be in the maloka if you need any assistance, as well as staff on hand to help those who need assistance in getting to the bathroom. Along with it being dark, being with the medicine can be disorienting. Space and time can become distorted so for your safety you are asked to stay in the maloka and only go to the designated bathrooms where staff will be with flashlights, ready to assist you should you need aid.
It is true that Ayahuasca ceremonies can be challenging at times. Vomiting can follow Ayahuasca ingestion; but this purging is considered by many shamans and experienced users of Ayahuasca to be an essential part of the experience, as it represents the release of negative energy and emotions built up over the course of one’s life.