The Ayahuasca Ceremonies take place during the night. People sit down and form a semi-circle to both sides of the Shaman. Once everything has been set up he stands up and the ceremony begins, the shaman creates an energetic circle with the smoke of Mapacho (green tobacco cigar), to protect the place from negative forces.


Once this has been done, the Shaman gets the Ayahuasca bottle and his ceremonial tools and puts them on the ground on a small carpet that actually is the Altar. He lights the Mapacho and starts singing Icaros. Then he holds the Ayahuasca bottle, opens it, holds some smoke in his mouth and, putting the bottle close to his chest, he blows the smoke into the bottle and covers it, so it won’t escape. He closes the bottle again and puts it aside.

Now it is time to wait, with the lights off and in silence, for Ayahuasca to work. It usually takes 20 minutes for the natives and 45 for the westerns. These effects are called “Mareación”.

Auka Machasca (Splendid Mareacion) por Pablo Amaringo

The Shaman is not completely active for the first minutes of the mareación, where visions are scarce. As time goes by, the Shaman guides the energy flow of the patients through the powerful Icaros.
The Shaman can increase or decrease the patient’s mareación at will. To do so, he uses different tools:
• Tobacco Smoke.
• Icaros.
• Florida Water.
• Camphor.
• Lemon.
• His Hands.
• The Shacapa (some sort of Rattle)

Some patients vomit during the ritual, other use the toilet, and other need the Shaman’s hands in specific places of their body where the sickness lies. With this, their bodies and emotions heal.
In the end the Shaman will call on the participants, they have to approach to him and he will make a “curación”. Curación means cleanse of the body, eliminating the negative energies in it so we can fill it with clean energy and seal it so it won’t go away.
The ceremony ends when all the participants have been cleansed and healed. The participants will not eat any kind of food up to 12 hours after the session, when they will eat grated onions with salt and lemon.

Shacapa: Bunch of tied leafs that the shaman shakes under a rythmic patter so he can manipúlate energies and set the rithm of the ceremony.
Florida Water: Perfume made of herbs, is used in the Amazon to cleanse the participant’s energy. Pour some of it in your hands and then rub it in your face, inhale the perfume’s essence as deep as you can, this helps with the mareación.
Camphor: Liquid made of Camphor disolved in alcohol. It is used as protection against evil energies and envy. The Shaman rubs the patient’s forehead with it.
Mareación: Ayahuasca increases and decreases the energy flow as waves that hit the shores and drag us to our visions. These waves are called Mareacion.

Author: Jesús L /