Q: Why should I go to Macas Ecuador and not Iquitos Peru?
A: Iquitos is considered by many to be the Ayahuasca capitol of the world. There are dozens of retreats from moderate to expensive in costs. Ayahuasca is sold on the street and it seems everyone has a deal for you with a shaman. The truth is Iquitos has a high crime rate and you can be an easy target. There have been reports of women being molested by bad "shamans" and taken advantage of while under the influence.
Many of the large retreats offer ceremonies that may include as many as forty people at a time. Once the ceremony is over everyone is given a mat to lie on and a bucket to vomit in and told where the toilet is. This can be a disturbing environment at best.
Here in Macas:
- We offer ceremonies for two to eight people at a time.
- You have individual attention and guidance with Shaman Alberto. The ceremony is in the rainforest where Alberto lives with his family.
- No fancy retreat with floral baths, yoga, or aroma therapy. There is no electricity, indoor plumbing or internet.
- Accommodations are comfortable, clean and safe. I personally provide you with guidance into the rainforest and complete translations from Spanish and Shuar to English so that you are informed and able to customize your time with the shaman.
- I will make sure you are safe at all times and attend to any special needs to assure your comfort with the ceremony and the surroundings at all times.
- Most retreats will not do a ceremony for one or two people. We do. Our goal is to make your experience the best it can be.
- On the days you are not having a ceremony, I can offer you lodging and delicious Ayahuasca diet meals and an opportunity to see this most beautiful part of Ecuador. Spectacular waterfalls, rivers, rainforest and the majestic Sangay Volcano and much more await you in Macas.
Q: What should I expect as this is my first time?
A: It is perfectly normal to have some apprehensions about your first time. After the ceremony you will experience a strong body cleansing or purging. This includes vomiting, sweating, urination and bowel movements. This is the purifying of your blood and the body ridding itself of toxins and impurities that contaminate the body from diets, environmental pollution, and self induced chemicals compounds. You may feel the earth move and experience hallucinations or visions. This usually happens after the purge, but may come earlier to some people.
The Shaman will watch over you, put you through and provide any assistance you need. I am also there in case you need help and translations so that you understand everything. After awhile, you will be assisted if needed to the sleeping area to lie down and continue your journey. Shaman Danielle and myself are there if you need help during the night. We will walk out of the Rainforest the next morning and then ride back home for healthy food, rest, meditation and reflection on your experience as you prepare for the next day's ceremony.
Q: What clothing we can wear for the ceremonies?
A: we encourage visitors to come with loose clothing that is comfortable. We also advise you to bring slip on shoes or flip-flops as it would be easier to put on or remove especially for bathroom breaks. Ayahuasca causes fluctuations in body temperature, so we strongly recommend that you bring layers of warm clothing that you can wear and remove at your leisure.
Q: What if I am having my period during the retreat, can I still participate?
A: the fact is there are many views on this matter from Different shamans and different traditions. In a situation where you start menstruating at the beginning of the diet, you are not to be involved in the ceremony. We would allow you a little portion of the Ayahuasca if it begins towards the end of the ceremony. Kindly note that this varies across cases.
Women on their period are open to several energies because they are already “purging;”and combining that with Ayahuasca would only intensify this experience.
Q: Can Ayahuasca be taken by pregnant women?
A: Although that is encouraged in certain communities we do not support it. We believe that the drinking of Ayahuasca would increase the chances of inducing "purging " especially if the person is a first timer. Let us know of your condition so we can discuss it with the shaman
Q: What’s a master plant diet?
A: “master plants” or “teacher plants” are Jungle plants that are used in shamanic diets. This is a special food diet that consist of the restriction of some type of foods such as alcohol, salt, sugar, and spices..
Q: Is the diet required or optional?
A: these restrictions are part of the Ayahuasca integration process and they serve in providing the most optimal results. It makes no sense starting what you cannot finish. Harnessing your sexual energy, and avoiding alcohol intake, enhances productivity and facility of your integration.
How to prepare for an Ayahuasca ceremony
There are numerous advice from different Ayahuasca treatment centers on your before and after diet.
Do not forget to bring;
- Towel, soap, toothbrush etc
- Umbrella / rain jacket
- Flashlight with new batteries
- Head protection against sun
- Long-sleeved clothing, including socks
- Fleece jacket / light sweater / poncho
- Pencil and paper
- Backup clothing
What diet should I follow in preparation for my ceremony?
We encourage guests to reduce their salt intake and increase their intake of healthy foods, especially vegetables and fruits.
Please abstain from alcohol, taking any mind-altering plants or substances, eating pork and drinking Three days prior to the ceremony.
Abstain from sexual intercourse for at least 3 days before the ritual (with or without a partner)
NO red/heavy meats (pork, beef, sheep, tuna etc.) – a week before and after
NO strong alcohol, beer, wine – 3 days before and after
NO hot food, red pepper, etc. – 2 days before
NO fermented food, pickles, herring, anchovy’s, old cheese, etc. – 1 day before and after
Moderate consumption of salt and sugar/honey – 3 days before and after. Avoid coffee, black or green teas (no caffeine), eggs, dairy and sweets. The day of your ceremony a light breakfast early and nothing else to eat the rest of the day.
Diet after the treatment
Do not consume hot peppers, sparkling water , pork, soft drinks, alcohol, drugs or seafood For the 12 days after the ceremony.
Abstain from coffee, diary and chocolate for only 7 days after the ceremony
For 12 days after the ceremony, abstain from sexual intercourse, with or without your partner
Health conditions and risks
If you suffer from weak heart a mental illness and certain other illnesses, please kindly inform us as some prescribed medicines can be contraindicated with the sacred plant medicine which is dangerous or even life-threatening to you. You should kindly inform us before making reservations.
Due to potential health risks, people with the following health conditions will not be able to drink sacred plant medicine in the ceremony but can still partake in the healing ritual without drinking. Our events are held in places which are not medical facilities and we are not equipped to handle a serious medical emergency.
Sensitivity to Tobacco: inform us before booking if you are hyper sensitivity to tobacco smoke, Tobacco is an important part of Amazonian shamanism, all the shamans frequently make use of it during the ceremony
Mental illness: guests who are suffering from mental illness should stop taking any anti-depressants or mood altering medications at least 3 weeks prior to the trip, after consulting with their doctors regarding the advisability of using Ayahuasca and if approved must cease
Medications and supplements; Only anti-malarial medication and birth control that will be permitted to be taken, any other medicines or supplements even if natural would not be allowed for the duration of the event. Consult your physician or doctor about weaning you off the prescribed pills and drugs in time so as to cleanse your system completely before your visit.
Drug addictions: the smoking of mind altering drugs are highly prohibited during our events. People who are taking drugs do not partake in our events, you can contact us to arrange different individual type of work.
What drugs should be avoided before consuming Ayahuasca?
A list of meds to be careful of with MAOIs:
- Amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine)
- Antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz, etc.)
- Antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
- Appetite suppressants (diet pills)
- CNS (central nervous system) depressants
- Medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems
- Other MAOIs
- SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
A detailed explanation can be found at this link http://ayahuascasafety.org/?page_id=13