Ayahuasca and San Pedro a personal journey in Plant Shamanism
Plants and their healing properties have been a huge interest in my life for as long as I can remember. As a healer, therapist and teacher of the healing arts with over 30 years’ experience in these fields and 12 years as a shamanic practitioner the magic of Peru was an obvious pull for me. I had worked shamanically with many healing plants in the UK studying plant spirit shamanism and was lucky enough to experience Ayahuasca here prior to its subsequent illegal status which made me realise that I need to travel to the jungles of Peru to work more closely with this extraordinary plant.
My first visit to Peru in 2007 opened my eyes to a country still celebrating its rich shamanic traditions and ceremonies by immersing them in everyday life. I surrendered the daily trappings of western life, phones, pc’s, TV and news for weeks slowing down and becoming sensitised to the heartbeat of the amazon. I undertook many ayahuasca ceremonies during this visit as well as working with other plants to glimpse the work of the ayahuasqueros and their continuous dialogue with the plant spirits all around them. I witnessed so many people undergoing deep personal cleansing and healings from this plant work as well as experiencing dramatic healing and insight into my own life that it opened my eyes to the power of transformation that these plants could bring. I have gone back each year since to continue and deepen the connection to these plants, the jungle and my healing path.
I have been lucky to co facilitate on healing retreats with large groups of westerners from all backgrounds and countries to know that once the decision to experience sacred healing plant teachers in this way is made that unbelievable change is about to happen. Ayahuasca is not a trendy drug type experience but the chance to work on a cellular level to heal the past and find direction in the future.
My personal experiences with ayahuasca have varied greatly from physical healing on a body level to energy healing on a spirit level to giving me clear messages of what my future decisions should be. I have had blockages removed some self-imposed restrictions on my life and some negative energies sent by others. I have healed past traumas from relationships with the guidance and information given and experienced the energy matrix that is the fabric of life itself. Healing can take many bizarre forms that do not just affect you, as with one of the ceremonies in 2007.
It is important to have clear intentions when working with ayahuasca as the information can be as clear as the intention or general information downloads if you are not too specific. My eldest daughter suffers with quite severe PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome) and was told at the age of 15 that she would not be able to conceive without medical help. In 2007 she was 22 years old and in a committed relationship although not considering a family for a few years to come. My intention during this ceremony was to ask the plant intelligence whether she would ever be a mum which was her greatest wish. I expected some profound symbol or confirmation but instead on drinking the brew a clear detailed vision began just as real as watching a play or film in front of my eyes where I watched my daughter give birth to my grandson. I re-emerged from the ceremony ecstatic yet confused as my daughter seemed the age she was at the time and my son in law was by her side no older either. On returning home to England I shared my vision with my partner and a month later got a call from my daughter that she was pregnant, not only without any medical intervention but whilst on the contraceptive pill. Her doctors thought there must have been a mistake and retested her several times. My grandson was born the following year as I had seen during my vision. The baby had been conceived after I had been in ceremony so was it a case of the vine allowing me to glimpse the future or had healing taken place on my daughter through my intension with the plant? She has had a further son since then conceived naturally and on my last visit to Peru in November 2011 I was informed that she was pregnant once more which on my return she said was not as she had tested herself a few days earlier. With the past experiences I knew that the plant couldn’t be wrong so she tested herself again and the pregnancy was confirmed. Once again the plant had informed me a month before the medical profession could even test it as positive. The baby is due in August and she has asked that I try not to think of her during ceremonies in the future as 3 children although a blessing is more than enough.
Working with Ayahuasca in Peru has led me to explore the country as a whole and in the Andes opened up more unique shamanic traditions and to work with another fantastic healing plant San Pedro. I have incorporated this work into each sacred journey to Peru since 2008. The plant works once again as a powerful healer and teacher with the combination of both the jungle plant work and those of the mountains being synergistic in providing not only an inner narrative of your life but how to walk on from the experiences and be in the world.
I have been blessed to meet and work with some gifted shamans and drink some powerful brews over the years as well as witness healing on a soul level to so many people. I have seen that some people struggle with bridging the gap between the healing experiences of the ceremonies and the grounding, understanding and nurturing needed to return back into your life. It is vital that you have a safe experience with people knowledgeable and trained to hold your re-emergence into the world. There are also obvious language and cultural barriers that need to be bridged when entering into such an unfamiliar landscape. These are some of the reasons why how, when and with whom you work with sacred plants is so important and why I would never describe myself as an ayahuasquero or hold ceremonies without using a reputable shaman. I would not run any ceremonies in the UK unless the legislation changes as the energy of working illegally (although this is bueracratic nonsense classifying a healing plant a drug) with a healing plant would feel incorrect. I do however fully recommend these ayahuasca and San Pedro retreats to Peru and take a group along with my partner Andy Wood who is also a trained and experienced shamanic healer and teacher. The healing experienced using these plants in the environment and landscapes in which they grow, with the expertise of specialist shamans at centres with integrity is a unique life changing and transformational experience.
Flight of the Dragonfly – Ayahuasca retreat Peru
21st August - 2nd September 2012
Keys to your Soul – San Pedro retreat Peru
5th - 11th September 2012
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