Intentions in an Ayahuasca ceremony help you to focus your on areas to transform in your life and by focussing on them in ceremony we can direct the ceremony to work on a particular aspect that we would like.
Intentions are the topic(s) with which you focus on mentally during an Ayahuasca Ceremony. By focussing on this topic you can make a focal point of it in your mind which, means that your visions and insights gained from talking to Mother Ayahuasca will be related to this topic.
TIP: You can work on intentions at any time but I would suggest the longer you have to think about these the better before you turn up to your Ayahuasca Retreat or ceremony.
How to create your own intentions step by step:
NB: The steps below aren’t necessary to follow in the order given and could even be done in parallel. You could also replace the order as you wish and even preference one or two of the others if they suited you more. The aim is ultimately to get to an ‘essential’ intention or ‘request’ and whichever way you do it amongst the 3 is ok as long as you are spending time working on it.
Step 1: Observation
I recommend taking some time to understand what issues may be of value for you to investigate and focus on via meditation and/or your own life experience.
For example you may have noticed about yourself over the years that,
- you have high anxiety,
- or have picked up bad habits perhaps addictions
- or have experienced trauma of various kinds.
- You may have noticed that you don’t seem to experience joy or love.
These are all fantastic observations to use as a basis for creating intentions for your Ayahuasca ceremony(s). You may have others which are relevant to you and those could be great also.
Step 2: Meditation/Chanting
Once observations have been made it can be useful to meditate on them. By this I mean develop a sitting meditation where you simply breath in and out deliberately for 10-15 minutes a day. Less if you can’t manage this or more if you can. Use this time to get into a meditative state and the issues you have noticed should, if they are very significant for you, be naturally popping up in your meditations as either thoughts or emotions. The dwelling upon these observations can illicit insights which may be helpful to you in developing an intention and hence a more effective ceremony.
Strassman et al. recommend in their book Inner Paths to Outer Space using meditation to give you an idea of issues that may come up for you and therefore what you may want to focus on. They could also be used to further refine. You’ll see why in step 3.
NB: You may also be able to observe and refine the same intentions with a close friend or confidant perhaps a psychologist open to psychedelic therapies also. I would be weary of a psychologist who is not familiar with psychedelic research however as they may not see value in the Ayahuasca process.
Step 3: Write down in detail your intention:
Now we are going to add more detail and explore in detail our intention as well as add to it real world practices to help bring about these changes.
3a The Request
You should make a respectful request (but not in a pleading or bargaining type way) to Madre de Ayahuasca (the spirit who you are in contact with in a good Ayahuasca ceremony) in relation to what you’d like to change or receive help with.
I like to start this with ‘It is my will…” as this is not pleading but also a respectful expressing of desire which allows Madre to accept to help your respectful desire without being told forcefully or commanded. For example,
“It is my will to heal my trauma from battle (or abuse or a difficult childhood as is appropriate)“.
You might also like to use something like “help me to …”.
3b Think in terms of Feelings:
Now add a little more by describing how the ‘healing’ will make you feel focussing on the positive change and emotion this will bring. For example,
“Receiving healing for this trauma will allow me to experience fully the joy in my life, the love of my partner, the bond and great relationship with my kids and the support of a social network of caring friends and family”.
3c: What transformation or Alchemy is requested?
You are often seeking a change when coming to an Ayahuasca ceremony so add in something about what alchemy is required. For example,
“At the moment my trauma creates anxiety which stops me from being able to enjoy my relationships and work and progress in my life. Help me to be less traumatized so that I may transform my experiences from bad and depressing and joyful and full of love and light”.
3d: How will you reciprocate?
Ayahuasca is not a magical ‘poof’ of smoke and suddenly everything is perfect – you must contribute to your success to have longer lasting significant results. Ayahuasca is an opportunity to reprogram your minds neural pathways by creating new ones but these new paths will be new at the point of creation under the influence of Ayahuasca. In this way you will need to reinforce them with real life practices before and after your ceremonies. Ayahuasca will in turn multiply the effects of these practices such that you are more able to keep the benefits in the future. That is why after Ayahuasca your dieta is not over in fact it is just as if not more important than the preparation to drink. If you fail to enforce your requests with real world actions you will not have the lasting effect you desire. The better you prepare and the better you follow suit the better results you will have.
For example, you could tell La Madre that you will reciprocate her help by,
- Changing diet to exclude food and drink (for eg junk food, alcohol, smoking) for at least one month after ceremony and sticking more or less closely to this in future.
- Learning a sitting meditation or chanting practice focussing on joy and love for at least the month after ceremony and continuing this practice.
- Starting to work a little less and find time for socialising in local sports clubs or dating apps or language classes or whatever activities reinforce your goals.
Step 4: Refine to an essence
Now, the above is too lengthy to think about or recite (mentally and internally) in total in an Ayahuasca ceremony so now we will try to refine this into a 1-3 sentences that we can remember easily and focus on in ceremony by repeating to ourselves in our own minds.
Try to summarize step 3 into one sentence for each sub-step eg one sentence for 3a, another for 3b etc.
You will now have 4 sentences. Now summarize this into 2-3 sentences and you have a very well crafted intention that is well thought out but small enough to remember for a ceremony and focus your mental energy on. When combined with the Dieta preparation you have also done for between 2-4 weeks and the strong powerful brew at Santuario Retreat you have a fantastic basis for true healing and or change in your life. Bring it on!
For example the above could be summarised as follows…
“It is my will to heal from my traumatic past. Allow me to transform my life to feel passion, joy and love. I will reinforce the healing you give me with real world practices in the future”.
Going into ceremony without a specific intention:
It is possible to go into an Ayahuasca ceremony without much intention preparation and I have done this before also. I used to recommend that this was perfectly fine to do but these days I believe that having a detailed intention in combination with the Dieta and psychedelic tea that is Ayahuasca to be a better preparation.
I would however, consider avoiding the above steps if I had many ceremonies available to me and hence time to ‘freestyle’ a little so to speak or if you were really struggling to come up with something more specific. In these cases I would just default to an intention along the lines of “In great humility I have come to you for advice and wisdom – show me what I need to know“.
The ceremonies that I had when I used this intention were fine and I got something out of them even if it was exposure to Ayahuasca and its healing neurological properties but I would suggest to try the more planned approach at least for one of your ceremonies. Often in a retreat you will have multiple ceremonies and each one you can choose to work on a different intention. In one/two of these you may wish to freestyle a little and know you know how.