Kentucky Ayahuasca : Basic questions answered

Steve Pupp (Shaman) from Kentucky Ayahuasca, a vice documentary series.
Steve Pupp (Shaman) from Kentucky Ayahuasca, a vice documentary series.

I noticed this show trending and thought I would add some value to the people searching by doing some extra research on some key questions which seem to be being asked on the internet.

NOTE: I am not affiliated with Aya Quest or Vice or any other organization mentioned in this post. Drinking Ayahuasca may indeed be illegal in the country where you are and as such you should do your own research to understand exactly what the legal status of it is for you. I would also say that this post is not a recommendation to take Ayahuasca with Aya Quest or any other particular organization.

Is Ayahuasca Illegal in Kentucky?

There are several parts to this answer, but the short answer is that yes it is generally illegal in Kentucky and other States in America.

There are some exceptions, however

  1. Ayahuasca is the name given to the brew which is drunk in an Ayahuasca Ceremony but is also the name of one of its ingredients. That being the Ayahuasca Vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) which is not illegal. When you use it to brew an Ayahuasca drink then you are possibly breaking the law. I say usually because there are exceptions.
  2. Drinking Ayahuasca is perhaps not considered illegal when consumed as part of a Native America Religious activity. This is controversial, but the Aya Quest Website has some information on this which leads me to believe it is possible that drinking with them is not illegal. Note, it isn’t exactly conclusive from the info on their site.
  3. There are other churches, mostly in New Mexico, not Kentucky, which are allowed to drink Ayahuasca (theirs is not called this, but is very close to it according to this site) as part of their religious ceremonies because it is a sacrament. One example of a religion who has this as a sacrament is the Santo Daime church, which has its origins in Brazil but is also present int he US.

How much does Kentucky Ayahuasca cost?

An Ayahuasca weekend with Aya Quest is $395 USD. This is a multi-day event comprising 2 ceremonies however, you need to be a member in order to participate A membership fee of $150 USD applies. This appears to be a lifetime membership and they also offer a discount for Military and Ex-Military which is $75 USD.

What is Kentucky Ayahuasca made of?

Only Steve (the Shaman) at Aya Quest would be aware of exactly what goes into it as each Shaman brews Ayahuasca according to their own recipe. However, generally, a very basic recipe would include,

  1. The Ayahuasca Vine (Banisteriopsis caapi),
  2. The Charcruna Plant
  3. and water.

This would then be boiled over several hours to produce a dark brown Ayahuasca Brew that you would drink as part of the ceremony.

Is there anything I should do to prepare for the ceremonies?

Their membership form has many questions about the medical and psychological issues you may have. I consider this a great start for any retreat center. Full knowledge of who is attending and any possible complications with the medicine should be something every retreat asks.

I would also like to see some questions here related to diet, but as I have not gone through with a ceremony with Aya Quest perhaps this is something that they discuss at another time. Diet is an important aspect of doing a retreat in South America and I would hope they are following a similar diet for those looking to take Ayahuasca with them. You can read more about what an Ayahuasca diet might look like here. More or less there are levels to which you can apply a diet. The strictest is basically rice and plantains however for those (i.e. me) who want a little more flavor then an Alkaline Diet can also be used.

How can I take Ayahuasca with Steve and his team at Kentucky Ayahuasca?

You can sign up to be a member and a ceremony on their website here.

Note, I am not affiliated with Aya Quest and I am not completely sure of its legal status so you may indeed be doing something illegal by signing up for a ceremony. Something to best investigate further yourself.

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