Ayahuasca Underground and Safety
During one of our recent ceremonies, we were asked what we thought about these underground people and groups who offer Ayahuasca. We really just try to focus on our Church and our Members, so we're not really that familiar with other places except when there is something either dangerous or "not right" going on and a spotlight is shed on it. So, we were given a few places to look and we did and this is what we have to say about it.
FIRST and foremost, let us first say that not all persons and places that work underground are bad or unsafe. It can be hard and yes, scary, to set up your own Church. Now, with that being said, this is what we found.
A lot of these people who are conducting ceremonies have very little ACTUAL personal experience with Ayahuasca. They have looked up recipes, articles, etc., online but as far as actual experience and in depth knowledge they have very little and that makes it dangerous. Anyone can look up a recipe, but without intense and extensive personal experience, they lack the knowledge to safely advise and guide people through an experience, ESPECIALLY if it gets heavy!
A lot of the information they are giving out is not suitable for first time Ayahuasca drinkers. This falls back to their lack of intense and extensive personal experience and reliance solely on the internet. There is some advice that, while beneficial to experienced tea drinkers, can unnecessarily create a heavy experience and/or create confusion for first time drinkers.
A lot of the area's where these underground ceremonies are held are in area's away from help should it be needed and in environments that can be very unsafe and overwhelming for first time tea drinkers. Help being minutes away, SHOULD it be needed, should ALWAYS be a consideration.
The couple of times we saw a screening process it was VERY weak with many loopholes. This is dangerous for a multitude of reasons!
And, while there is nothing posted in the places we looked, we'd be willing to bet that very few of the people leading these underground ceremonies are CPR certified, just in case.
We suggest the following:
1) ALWAYS ask about the experience of the person(s) leading the group, both personal AND professional
2) ALWAYS do your own research into Ayahuasca. Talk to reputable persons or places and ask questions. Then, check and recheck the information you have been given.
3) Does the person or place you are going to come with recommendations from others who have been?
4) Where is your ceremony going to take place? Is it conducive to a positive experience? Is it somewhere where you will feel comfortable? Is it close to help should it be needed?
5) Is the person(s) leading CPR certified?
6) Are they equipped to handle a situation where someone becomes overwhelmed and dangerous to themselves or others in attendance?
7) IF they brew their own tea, what is in it? How long have they been brewing their own tea?
8) If they don't brew their own tea, where do they get it from? What is in it? How can they VERIFY what is in it?
9) What kind of screening process do they use to screen the people who are going to be in attendance?
10) How knowledgeable is the person(s) about how the ingredients of Ayahuasca work within the body and the affects of it?
Obviously, when partaking in an Ayahuasca ceremony, you want it to be as safe and secure as possible. As we advise everyone, no matter where you go to do it, safety should be your number one concern! People don't partake in an Ayahuasca ceremony to get hurt (or worse) or to walk away worse than they were when they came. Please, please PLEASE, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!