Artwork by Peruvian Visionary, Luis Tamani Amasifuen.

Today I begin my diet to prepare my body for my trip to Peru to engage in ayahuasca ceremony in the Shipibo peoples tradition. I will be undergoing six ceremonies in ten days. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular plant medicine, retreat center Caya Shobo provides this explanation:

The Shipibo people say that Ayahuasca reflects to us the reality of ourselves – she is a powerful master spirit that brings up all the bad and all the good within us – within our bodies, our minds and our spirits. The Maestros, with their advanced knowledge, then help us clean away the bad and clarify and enhance the good. The experience of the Ayahuasca Ceremony…is a mysterious and personal adventure that no-one can fully predict.

Healing with plants takes longer than Western medicine because it aims to understand the root cause of the symptom, instead of simply attempting to banish it. Working with medicinal plants opens us up for a more complete synthesis of our cellular and energetic aspects. Modern society has divided the needs of our mind, body, and spirit, to the offices of doctor, therapist and priest, respectively. These three aspects of our being would be better served by collaboration between them.

Caya Shobo’s site says:

When we drink Ayahuasca we experience a deep relationship with our essential states – spirit, mind and body – and of their relationship as an inseparable totality.  And we come to an understanding of the connections between these aspects and how they are affected by positive and negative experiences.

In preparation for this experience, I was asked to eliminate certain things from my diet as they could interfere with my healing. Among these are pork, red meat, salt, dairy, sugar, citrus and other acids, fermented foods, spicy food, fried foods, and caffeine. For many years I followed a raw food vegan diet, so I am accustomed to eating simply. I don’t drink alcohol, and the only caffeine I have is the occasional Starbucks chai. I don’t eat red meat either. However, I have always relied on citrus and salt in all of my food prep. And I do enjoy a lot of kombucha, tofu and raw sauerkraut, items that are restricted. The Southern boy in me loves to fry up some food too. I know I can let go of these aspects without any difficulty. I’ve done it before. It’s the salt that is the hardest omission for me. That’s new. 

So far, I’m making a lot of nut and seed butters, and adding herbs like mint, basil and cilantro. I’m making large salads with raw spaghetti squash, pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, red cabbage, and zucchini. I’m seasoning with Italian blended herbs. I’m going to have to delve deep into my old raw food “cook” books and see what else I can relearn. 

I also had to quit smoking marijuana. Granted, I am not a heavy user. The most I would do recently is vape a little after a long week or before I go out dancing. Unlike most folks, smoking weed makes me hyper, so I’d use it to push through a physically demanding day, clean the house, or get to the club. Now, without that little crutch, I just take a nap, allow my body to rejuvenate and get back to it without the stimulant. It’s been interesting to see how much more alert I am and how much nicer I am to my body overall. I still think it’s a great medicine with amazing benefits and it’ll be interesting to see what my relationship is to that plant after taking a two month break from it. Of course, I feel that way about all the restrictions.

Another restriction revolves around social behavior and private relationships. It’s typical to abstain from sexual relations in preparation and during the plant therapies. This makes sense to me as I already feel like I’m on the journey in some ways, and I’m feeling more introspective than usual (and tbh I’ve really been internally focused lately). I am feeling more sexually empowered lately, yet not in a space to want to share that as readily with another. Therefore, I’m on a hiatus from taking Truvada and will go back to it once I’m open to sexual intimacy again (It’s helpful to not be taking any pharmaceutical drugs during ceremony as well). I’m also told that silence and meditation and lots of alone time is all in my near future too. This all feels good to me. It’s as if I’m choosing to date me for a while. I’m eager to see what I learn about myself in solitude. 

I leave in two weeks, so if you want to get a Heroic Tarot reading with me before I jaunt, make an appointment with me. Having a reading is a wonderful way to support yourself on your journey and help me fund mine. I’d love to see you!

I didn’t expect to start writing about this journey so soon, but I’m glad that Spirit nudged me in this direction. It feels good to know that I can share this with you, dear reader. Feel free to leave comments below if you feel led to do so. I’d love to hear from you!

And since today is Beltane, I want to share this Gaelic prayer from folklorist Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica:

Am Beannachadh Bealltain (The Beltane Blessing)

Bless, O threefold true and bountiful,
Myself, my spouse, my children.
Bless everything within my dwelling and in my possession,
Bless the kine and crops, the flocks and corn,
From Samhain Eve to Beltane Eve,
With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
From sea to sea, and every river mouth,
From wave to wave, and base of waterfall.

Be the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,
Taking possession of all to me belonging.
Be the Horned God, the Wild Spirit of the Forest,
Protecting me in truth and honor.
Satisfy my soul and shield my loved ones,
Blessing every thing and every one,
All my land and my surroundings.
Great gods who create and bring life to all,
I ask for your blessings on this day of fire.

Happy Beltane, everyone! I wish you bountiful blessings on this day of creative power!  ~Storm Arcana