Shamanic Use of Psychedelics for Ritual and Ceremonial Use
Psychedelic ceremonies are not just some new-age hipster Silicon Valley-emerging enlightenment trend. One that is incredible and has made its way from repression under the rug into an emerging era of re-discovery for new generations. On the contrary, spiritual ceremonies with psychedelics have been ongoing for many years. Keep reading to learn more about what is a shaman and spiritual practices that use psychedelics.
What is a Shaman and a Brief History on Psychedelic Rituals
Psychedelic use has been practised ritualistically for thousands of years by shamans. According to the Oxford definition, a shaman is a “person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically, such people enter a trance state during a ritual and practice divination and healing.”
This definition fails to mention South and Central America, where shamanic use of psychedelics is prevalent for rituals, ceremonies or healing, and medicinal purposes.
What Are Entheogens?
Entheogens are psychoactive drugs that modify perception, mood, awareness, cognition, or behaviour in sacred settings to promote spiritual growth or other purposes (plant teachers).
Entheogens are employed for religious, magical, shamanic, or spiritual purposes in numerous cultures around the world. They have historically been used as an adjunct to a wide range of activities aimed at achieving transcendence, such as divination, meditation, yoga, sensory deprivation, asceticism, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, and sound imitating, singing hymns like peyote songs, drumming, and ecstatic dance.
Ancient Diets Included Hallucinogenic Plants
Given that psychedelic substances were ineluctably a part of hunter-gatherer diets in the form of diverse kinds of hallucinogenic mushrooms as well as plants, ritualized usage of these compounds is likely to be just as old. Deep in prehistory, shamanism and the ritual use of hallucinogenic plants coevolved, assisting in selecting traits of the human brain and consciousness as well as the development of psychological theories and therapies. Some popular hallucinogens that are used today by shamans for ritualistic use are psilocybin mushrooms (shrooms), mescaline (peyote), and ayahuasca.
What Are Psychedelic Ceremonies Involving Ayahuasca?
What would a shamanic ritual involving entheogens look like, you might ask? Let’s go on a journey into a typical shamanic ritual involving the use of ayahuasca. The Banisteriopsis caapi vine’s stalks and the Psychotria Viridis shrub’s leaves are used to make the brew or “tea” known as ayahuasca.
Both of these plants are indigenous to South America and often thrive in the Amazon rainforest. First, participants are asked to refrain from all pollutants and maintain a vegan diet in order to prepare for an ayahuasca ceremony (although each shaman or healer will conduct a ceremony in their own unique manner, there will be many commonalities).
Ayahuasca rituals entail ingesting the tea or brew while being directed by the shaman through hallucinations. The Shaman sings a ritual song called “icaros” to heighten the ayahuasca brew’s hallucinogenic effects and the experience. The ayahuasca ceremony will take place at a location that is regarded as a sacred site (cleansed of all negative energy and spirits), depending on the setting. Nighttime is also typically when spiritual ceremonies take place. Participants are asked to express their desire and the healing they hope to get through ayahuasca just before the ceremony. They are also asked to express their faith and belief in the plant’s capacity for healing. Ayahuasca rituals frequently include many participants, and each person’s experience while using it will be quite unique to them. The effects of ayahuasca are unpredictable and uncontrollable, even when used at a retreat. Until everyone is prepared to depart, the group will remain together. Ayahuasca ceremonies can go on for a number of hours.
Mescaline Or San Pedro/Peyote Shamanic Ceremonies
Another popular entheogen used in the Americas is Mescaline (peyote). Native American traditions consider and care for the body, the environment, and the soul as one. Consuming the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), which induces an altered state of consciousness, is a part of the peyote ceremony, which originated in Aztec Mesoamerica and has since extended to the US territories. Participants can then use the ritual’s shaman to address their mental and spiritual problems while they are in this altered condition. Peyote is a prominent example of holistic healing in non-Western medicine due to its psychological therapeutic properties as well as the social aspect of participation in ritual.
Understanding the Healing Benefits of Shamanic Psychedelic Therapies
We at Get Magic Mushrooms hope this article helps paint a picture of how shamans around the world use psychedelics to perform rituals for the purposes of healing, medicinal use, connecting to the spirit realms, and consciousness evolution. As our world and consciousness are evolving, it seems we are slowly going back to the ways of our ancient ancestors. Shamans act as a bridge between the two worlds (our physical world and the spirit world) and have deep knowledge of how certain plants like ayahuasca, peyote, and shrooms can be prepared safely and used in rituals to induce the right level of consciousness needed to bring in the necessary healing for that person.