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Plant medicine is growing exponentially in popularity, as more and more research is drawing the same conclusions. The conclusive remark is that plant medicine is one of the ultimate tools for healing and self development. Many people have tried a variety of tools for self improvement such as yoga, acupuncture, massage, meditation, but the process is lengthy.
After years of spiritualized practices, many people try plant medicine because it works beyond the confines of the body and the complexity of the rational mind. Not only does plant medicine work with the subconscious, it provides direct access to the fundamentals of living, occurring often through mystical states in which oneness or universal love can be viscerally felt.
All plant medicines have a similar function, but the method to get you to a higher state of consciousness varies, as does the intensity and duration of the ceremony. Some ceremonies are great to do in small groups, whereas others are best for individual journeys.
Some medicines are highly taxing on the physical body and involve purging, whereas others are light and subtle on the physical form. Some plant medicines require quite a strict diet, and others require nourishment through a vegetarian meal plan.
The medicine you choose will be based on your specific needs, how much time you have to commit to the process, what your intentions are, and how much your body and mind can handle.
Below are the top three medicines that Behold Retreats serves, and the differences between each of them. Our hope is that this information will guide you in making an informed decision while also following your intuition.
5 MeO DMT is derived from the venom of the Sonoran Desert Toad also known as Bufo Alvarius. This is a psychedelic of the tryptamine class. It is commonly referred to as ‘the God Molecule’ for a fitting reason, as it brings you straight to source, to the divinity within. It is both stronger and more intense than DMT and psilocybin, about four times as potent as magic mushrooms.
Before the ceremony there is preparation that includes a vegetarian diet, abstaining from alcohol & caffeine, and not taking other medications. The body should be a fairly clean vessel to allow the medicine in. Though 5 MeO DMT is not as physically taxing as ayahuasca (no purging), it is still necessary to do these preparations with care to respect the medicine and pay homage to your body and health.
An intention is set and carried through the ceremony, as an anchor into the moment and to get through any difficulties. During the ceremony, Bufo is inhaled and held in for about ten seconds. As you exhale you lie down and surrender to the wisdom of the medicine. The whole trip in reality usually lasts no more than thirty minutes, though in altered states of consciousness it can seem much longer. There are very few accounts of any pain or physical discomfort.
Bufo can be done in small groups or alone. At Behold Retreats we recommend the private experience for the most depth and ability to explore your inner wonders. Because 5 MeO DMT is so intense, having a private ceremony allows the guide to put all of his/her undivided focus and attention onto you. If any suppressed memories or emotions arise, you can release them knowing you are in a safe container.
The private retreats focus on your specific needs, meaning, you choose the exact dosage you want, the activities you do, even the time of day for the ceremony. A group retreat is about the collective, but the private retreat is totally tailored to you.
When doing Bufo it is important not to cling to this reality, and be in a calm centered state of mind, without the panic and fear of the ego. This is why preparation work such as speaking to a coach about emotional blockages, and doing healing practices such as meditation to stay in alignment is so crucial.
In small doses there are feelings of euphoria and visuals of cosmic happenings, similar to a regular DMT trip. But in larger doses, there is an otherworldly strength that brings you out of the body mind complex. Once the ego is let go of, you can float into the abyssal void that contains both nothing and everything. The shackles of the space time continuum break, and there is a clear view of life. For many people, this clear view of life is the naturally loving state of universal law, where everything is accepted with neutrality.
For other people, there is a feeling of non dualism, and they are no longer separate from the whole. This means that you see that you are not so different from other fellow human beings or even a tree or a flower. This loving essence is in everything, no matter the form. Boundaries collapse and there is the sensation of oneness.
For many, this non dualistic feeling is life changing, it allows for forgiveness and compassion. We see humanness in others actions, no matter how harsh or cruel they were to us. We see that everyone is a part of us, and we are part of them.
Psilocybin, often referred to as magic mushrooms, is a natural psychedelic that is contained in over 200 species of fungi. Known for its hallucinogenic effects, it is very popular in places such as The Netherlands and Portugal where it is decriminalized and used in psychedelic therapy. Most psilocybin is found in South, Central, and North America.
The process is deep and spiritualized, but much lighter than entering the void with Bufo. Psilocybin can be taken in capsules or drank in a tea blend.
Retreats such as Behold, allow for micro dosing before becoming familiar and acquainted with the medicine. Once a level of comfort has been reached, there are two ceremonies with a group of people with the longing to reach spirit.
The medicine journey lasts three to six hours. Psilocybin induces light visual hallucinations and feelings of goodness. In the beginning you may feel a bit nauseous which is completely normal. Overall, the body begins to relax into the sensation and thus euphoria occurs. There may be an opening of emotions, which are regularly not felt in daily life.
Many people do psilocybin with friends or recreationally, but for depth and healing it is best in a ceremonial container with ritual and a guide. Often there are small intimate groups of spiritual seekers that come together to learn through the wisdom of the fungi. Because psilocybin is about four times less intense/potent than 5 Meo DMT, group settings are a beautiful way to take the medicine. After the ceremony, there are usually sharing circles to learn from one another and support each other on the journey to wholeness.
By activating the serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, psilocybin greatly impacts mood increase and allows joy to become our default setting. From studies done by John Hopkins University, it has been proven that the increase in mood is substantial, lasting weeks after ceremony.
For those suffering from depression or anxiety, this feeling of genuine goodness is the breakthrough. There is an acute awareness of the fact that life does not have to be suffering. The integration work is used to keep this loving awareness, the present moment attentiveness. Psilocybin simplifies the human predicament, allows us to see beyond our self indulgent pains and enter wholeness.
Ayahuasca is a brew made from boiling the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub, which is commonly found in South America, from Peru to Colombia. These plants have psychoactive properties that are Native to the Amazon and considered sacred to many tribes. There are many various lineages that refer to this hallucinogenic brew as yajé, or yagé.
Many people decide to do ayahuasca in a traditional setting, trekking off into the Amazon and partaking with a tribe. This is beautiful for understanding a different culture, but for many people with Western conditioning, it can be difficult. Oftentimes, the guide does not speak English and they hold big groups.
Taking a retreat with a guide who speaks your language and is committed to holding space in smaller groups to give proper care, can be very important especially if it is your first ceremony.
Ayahuasca is intense physically and mentally, and is safest done in small intimate groups. The process is often over six hours, and involves purging and sometimes defecating. The brew helps you to release stored negative emotions and blockages, which is why the body vomits up the toxins.
Before the ceremony a proper dieta should be followed which involves clean nutritious vegetarian foods, no sugar, no caffeine or medications. After the ceremony should be integration tools for understanding what occurred in the ceremony and extracting the lessons from it to bring into daily life.
Because ayahuasca has been so popular, there are many people trying to make a quick cash in. There are retreat centers that will host retreats of over 20 people in a single ceremony, which is both dangerous and irresponsible.
Other retreat centers will have volunteer staff who are not professionals in holding space. It is important to use discretion. Beware of centers that do retreats of one or two days, as it is not enough time for preparation or integration work. Ask the centers if they are volunteer run and what their retreat process entails.
Ayahuasca is a powerful brew that must be taken with a guide you fully trust. When done with a knowledgeable guide and in a small intimate group of people, the healing effects are boundless.
For most people, this medicine is completely life altering, especially if you can surrender. It works with the subconscious mind, navigating our innermost fears and desires. Because it unearths some of the deepest parts of us, and it goes to the roots, we can see our childhoods and even beyond that to our ancestral lineage.
Traumas come up and are dealt with not through the rational mind, but a spiritualized view of life from a higher plane. When entering these planes, we may see things we have never seen before, and emotions are felt in their grandiosity and fullness. In this way there is a healing of ancestral trauma and transgenerational grief, because we can see the karmic runoff.
The visions, beings, and states of consciousness that ayahuasca can reach are part of its great appeal. The plant medicine itself is very femninine and nurturing, like a divine mother archetype. Ayahuasca is truly illuminating and can help many people work through energetic blocks as it clears the channel of the body and mind. Clinical studies have shown that ayahuasca helps combat depression, PTSD, and even addiction.
For others, it may connect them to their higher purpose, as they are able to see their subconscious programming. The conditioning of the culture, of parents, and the mainstream narratives are seen and there is a return back to inner truth, what the soul came to do.
When making a choice in plant medicine it is important to self inquire before speaking to a retreat center. Trust that whatever you choose on your journey will be the right choice in this particular moment of your life. The medicine has an intelligence that is ancient and wise, and will give you what you need. Below is a list of questions to ask yourself and get your own answers.
We would be honored to guide you in choosing the best retreat for your needs. Behold Retreats coordinates expertly guided retreats with highly experienced facilitators.
Reach out to us to set up a complimentary discovery call and we can point you in the right direction.
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