As we perform ceremonies around the world we come across people, who sometimes come with the mind set that ayahuasca is some sort of drug. That it will give them some sort of release or feeling of ecstasy.

I find I have to be careful with participants who have this mind set as it can come from different experiences or thought processes and so to manage this expectation and completely dissolve it can sometimes be like banging your head on a wall, especially if your not coming from the right place inside you to talk to people about it.

Examples I hear you cry!!!… ok here they are…


The traditional: First and foremost… it’s not a tablet with the picture of a rabbit or an alien stamped into it. You’re really not going to take this and head to a club or a race or a festival… and most probably because there’s a large chance you’re going to either shit or puke over your mates/dance floor/ the bouncer/ the bar/ the grass where your tent is/in the tent/in your mates tent… you get my drift.

Not just this, but also because depending on the brew you could find yourself in a very deep thoughtful process or feeling vulnerable or emotional which is not how you want to be when you’re at the club/rave/festival.

The glory hunter: I find I receive a lot of people who have smoked DMT or received an application of it onto their skin and this is what has lead them to this junction of their life to experience Ayahuasca. The problem is there is a tendency to build a huge expectation of similarity between the two and it’s simply not going to end well. You must remove all expectation and understand this as a complete different experience and one that you haven’t tried before, one that will take you through a process of deeper self discovery where you will have to look at yourself. If you come with expectation of chasing a feeling… your simply going to miss the boat, feel disappointed, think that this ‘Ayahuasca is rubbish’ and then want to blame the organisers, the venue, the medicine, the other participants, the noise in the room, or the lack of it on the reason of why you never felt anything… time to grow up and take responsibility of your thoughts… The best way I can ever explain the difference is DMT is looking through the keyhole, it can show you another world, another dimension, one in which you may not exist, one in which other beings will wonder what you are doing there. Whereas drinking Ayahuasca, especially within a ceremony aspect, is like opening the door on to yourself, on to the person you are today and the person you want to be. You can travel to other dimensions, you can meet other beings, you are free if you allow yourself to be, and this is all done under the supervision of a competent shaman, one that can hold the space for you to travel safely and know when to bring you back from where you are.

New Year Flyer

I meet a fair few people who feel that they didn’t get the ‘high’ feeling that they were expecting also, that’s because Ayahuasca is not a drug, it’s not a synthesised chemical extraction, it’s a pure medicine, it’s a plant based medicine with no extractions, it’s two natural plants, cooked, therefore it’s vibration is pure and when you ingest it, you start to resonate on that same frequency and when you do that it creates a conduit for your soul and where your soul came from. It’s purpose, in that respect is to help you to understand the connection and purpose of you in this dimension.

It’s vibration is love, which is what you feel when you connect to it. So I tell people to breathe through their heart to help them connect with the medicine better.

The ego denier: Yes… those people who have experienced Ayahuasca, have felt on some level a difference between who they really are and who they are at the moment… and it’s scared them or left them feeling vulnerable and because of this, they’ve felt unable to connect to their true self, so instead, on a very subconscious level, decided that they have felt nothing through the whole ceremony, have not had any process or journey whatsoever. I feel disappointed for them when they tell me this, I too was at that ceremony and felt what they felt, saw what they saw, realised what they realised. I wish them strength to surpass this part of their ego that raises up and takes control in defiance and due to its insecurity, I pray they are able to stand up and tell their ego to f**k off so they can see who they truly are and who they truly can be.

The interruptor: This one for me tests my ability of ‘I have no control’ whilst still wielding the stick of ‘go back to your place’. I recently encountered a participant who sung through most of the ceremony, came and sat in front of the alter for very long periods of time, wanted to touch and stroke other participants and generally tried to disrupt the whole ceremony.


Now… this can happen for 2 main reasons in my experience… 1: You’ve smoked DMT and been to another dimension where some negative energy has attached itself to you and it’s vibration can not stay hidden when you drink Ayahuasca and so it comes out to play to divert the participant from looking at where this action, feeling or characteristic is coming from. This is not always from smoking DMT, this can be from a wide variety of life experiences such as taking drugs that open up your vibration and energy and being in a compromising environment such as a club. This can also be from a negative thought process that the participant has had over time which has lead to a manifestation of this negative energy which now has control of this person, although the person will feel it is part of them, which I can assure you it’s not. Or 2: You’re trying to pick similar feelings between your DMT experience and Ayahuasca and with that in mind are trying to divert from the full vibration that Ayahuasca is trying to take you to… why? Because simply put, your scared, you feel vulnerable or insecure about what will happen, where you will go from that point onwards into the unknown of your future… and the worries that may bring such as ‘will my mind ever be the same if I go there’, ‘what if my mind is washed of any trace of who I am and I become a zombie’.

Whichever it is, there is a part of you that does not have complete humbleness, respect and gratitude for the ceremony, for the shaman, for the other participants, for the medicine! A part of you that does not want to completely surrender to Ayahuasca. It’s sad to say but we have had to refer participants like this back home and had to curtail their retreat, we always offer participants another time to reconnect with us after they have worked on themselves a bit more to remove certain blocks or mindsets and are willing to be honest about themselves to themselves, we believe that everyone is allowed a second chance.

I hope this helps in explaining some pre-existing ways in which the mind can divert you from your truth… a mindset not to come to a ceremony with.


Maq Umaqe

If this blog interests you in the work we do then please see our webpage and upcoming retreats at

Stay Connected

With our latest Retreats, Newsletter, Blogs & Special Offers

You Are Now Connected to Sumaq Healing