Shamanic ceremonies of Ayahuasca, Peyote, and Mushrooms. Journeys to the shamans of Peru and Mexico and the path of understanding the shamanism of Indigenous tribes.

Hello, my name is Aleksei. For over 6 years, I have been studying the authentic shamanic traditions of indigenous tribes in Peru and Mexico. During this time, I have participated in approximately 130 shamanic ceremonies. Mostly, these were Ayahuasca1 ceremonies in Peru, within the Shipibo tribe’s tradition. I combined these with shamanic diets2 with other potent plants from the Amazon. Additionally, in Mexico, I experienced peyote ceremonies3 in the tradition of the Wixárika (Huichol) people, several mushroom ceremonies4 in the Mazatec tribe’s tradition, and the indigenous sweat lodge, Temazcal5. Moreover, I participated in some rituals of Siberian shamanism with people who are trying to revive these traditions.

At a certain point, I realized it was time to share my knowledge and experience with others, so I wrote this article. I will explain what Ayahuasca is and how it works, what shamanism is, who shamans are, and why it’s important to undergo Ayahuasca ceremonies only with authentic shamans. I’ll share what I personally encountered on shamanic journeys and how it has affected my life. One of my motives is to warn about the serious risks for those interested in shamanic ceremonies with Ayahuasca, Peyote, San Pedro, Iboga, and some other plants and mushrooms. Perhaps, my knowledge will help someone understand this topic better, navigate it, and find their Path.

Furthermore, people often ask me why I do all this, why I need so many ceremonies, and this text will also answer that question 🙂.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this text has been translated from Russian, my native language, into English. Therefore, it may contain inaccuracies, and some terms and concepts might not have been conveyed accurately. In the future, I plan to seek a higher quality translation from a professional translator. In this article, I present my personal viewpoint.

Brief Definitions. What is Ayahuasca, Shamanic Diets, Peyote, Sacred Mushrooms, and Temaskal?

Ayahuasca1 (also known as ayauasca, ayahuaska, ayawaska, ayavasko, aya, yage, uni, vine of the dead, vine of death, vine of spirits, wine of the dead, medicine, ayahuasca, ayawaska, hoasca, purga, remedio, and many other names) is a beverage made from the decoction of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine (Latin: Banisteriopsis caapi) and Chacruna (Latin: Psychotria viridis) or Chaliponga (Latin: Diplopterys cabrerana). It is used in shamanic ceremonies of the Shipibo-Conibo, Ashaninka, and other Amazonian tribes.

Shamanic diet2 is a practice of working with medicinal plants, used for gaining knowledge of shamanic medicine and training in shamanism, developing awareness and sensitivity, as well as for treating serious illnesses and overall for the health of the body and mind. It includes the intake of herbal decoctions and infusions, and an ascetic lifestyle with specific dietary restrictions, solitude, and sexual abstinence.

Peyote3 (Latin: Lophophora williamsii, also known as Lophophora Williamsii, peyotl, hikuri, peyotito, and many other names) is a cactus used in shamanic ceremonies by some Native American tribes in North America. It is considered a sacred plant by these Indians.

Sacred mushrooms4 refer to several species of mushrooms capable of inducing a deep trance state. In Mexico, some Indigenous tribes have preserved authentic shamanic traditions in which these mushrooms are used.

Temazcal5 (also known as a steam house) is an ancient shamanic ritual, a sweat lodge of the Native Americans of North America. It is used for purification and healing of the body and spirit. A genuine Temazcal conducted by a shaman is a full ceremony where one can reach a state of deep shamanic trance.

How I Came to This and What Shamanic Practices Gave Me.

To begin with, I’ll share how I came to shamanism. There were two main motives.

  • Firstly, since childhood, I have felt an interest in knowledge and self-development. I wanted to understand myself, the meaning of my existence, and the world around me. I had many questions, the answers to which I sought in various sources. I read different scientific, psychological, and even esoteric literature, tried various psychological, spiritual, and mystical practices that I found in books and on the internet. However, these searches did not provide the answers I was looking for. I would become fascinated with an idea or practice for a while, but it never led me to the desired result. And so, I continued searching…
  • Secondly, I had a number of psychological problems and life difficulties that significantly clouded my life, and I was looking for ways to deal with them. I aimed to improve my life.
Man and Ocean. Ayahuasca Ceremonies with the Shamans of Peru
Man and Ocean.

I read about shamans living in South America and conducting sacred Ayahuasca ceremonies in a book. I don’t remember its title or what it was about, but the brief mention of Indigenous tribal shamanism stuck with me. Over the next few years, I learned a bit more about these traditions and even participated in some Siberian shamanism rites. Of course, I wanted to attend a real Ayahuasca ceremony. But for a long time, I wasn’t ready for such a distant journey (here, I mean both the physical travel from my country to Peru and the shamanic expedition into my inner world).

After some time, a serious crisis occurred in my life. I had accumulated many problems that I couldn’t solve with the methods available to me. My psychological state was very depressive and gloomy. I felt hopelessness and didn’t know which direction to move in. And this challenging life stage became the decisive push for me to seek out shamans and journey across the ocean to the distant country of Peru. I strongly wanted to change my life and believed that Ayahuasca and shamans could help me. And they did.

After my first Ayahuasca ceremony, I felt that I had finally found what I had been searching for. In my travels to the shamans of Peru and Mexico, I received very deep, concrete, and understandable answers to all my questions. I experienced firsthand what had so intrigued me. I didn’t just read about it somewhere or hear it from someone; I saw it all myself. I understood the true reasons for my life crisis, my problems, and emotional struggles. Why everything in my life turned out the way it did, and how it could be fixed.

Together with the shamans, I did a great deal of work on myself. As a result, in my further life, I achieved a much more conscious, clear, and emotionally stable state, and I learned how to maintain and support it. A number of serious psychological problems that I could not solve with other, more traditional methods (such as psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, regressive hypnosis, and others) were resolved. My physical health improved, and I learned how to strengthen and support it. My relationships with people improved, and my social circle changed and significantly expanded. I clearly defined my life goals and priorities. I understood what I truly wanted, felt my real desires, not those imposed by other people and society as a whole. I realized what is truly important and valuable in life for me and what is not. I chose new life guidelines and a new life Path for myself.

I became a happier and freer person, learned to enjoy life much more, to savor its moments, its beauty, to appreciate my loved ones and my time. Shamanic ceremonies taught me to see the world and people differently, to think more clearly, and opened my eyes to many things in life. I started to travel more and even moved to another country. I realized that the country where I was born and spent most of my life no longer suits me for a peaceful and free existence. And the process of change continues to this day. With each new trip to the shamans, something new opens up to me. I never cease to be amazed by the power of authentic shamanic ceremonies. They help me find answers to new questions and deal with new challenges and trials that inevitably arise in the course of life.

I also want to mention how important and valuable it has been for me to interact with people who also come to the shamans. I met many interesting people there. Each of them showed me something and taught me something, for which I am grateful. I also really enjoy the conversations after joint ceremonies; this communication often turns out to be truly heartfelt, sincere, and profound. I especially want to mention and thank my close friend Sasha, with whom I have gone through a lot and taught each other many things… And to thank the people who helped me move to another country (I also met them there).

Overall, during this time, my worldview has significantly changed. Trips to the shamans have become an invaluable experience for me, fantastically beautiful and fateful events in my life. And the more ceremonies I undergo, the more I realize that I want to continue studying this further.

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism is ancient practices of entering special trance states of consciousness, in which a person is able to see and understand much more than in their everyday life. To perceive the world as it truly is and to influence one’s own life, the lives of others, and the surrounding world with the power of one’s consciousness. Shamanism can be described as a system of practical knowledge about the essence of our consciousness, the nature of humans and human society, about the structure of our world, other worlds, and the universe as a whole. Furthermore, it involves the ability to establish a special connection with living nature, pure natural spirits, and one’s Ancestry.

True tribal shamanism has always been practically oriented, helped solve complex tasks and problems, taught prudence and mindfulness, changed people’s lives for the better, and provided the ability to see reality as it truly is. Its emergence and development were driven by natural human needs to understand oneself and the world, and in the desire to solve various practical tasks:

  • to successfully survive and reproduce,
  • to have a healthy body and live long,
  • to heal illness and alleviate pain,
  • to conduct successful hunting and grow a good harvest,
  • to protect oneself, one’s loved ones, and one’s property,
  • to find what is lost,
  • to improve relationships between people and resolve conflicts.

Ancient shamanic traditions, the direct transmission of which has not been interrupted and which have reached us in their pure original form, are called authentic. They were formed in deep antiquity, by many generations of people. A colossal volume of human knowledge and experience was accumulated, what people discovered and understood over very many human lives, and passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years, from teachers to students.

Shamanism existed among many peoples of the Earth. Unfortunately, by the present time, most peoples have forgotten their shamanic traditions, lost these invaluable knowledge on their path. What is called “shamanism” in our world hardly relates to genuine authentic shamanism. Most often, it is just an imitation, lacking real power. But in some regions of our planet, the real thing is still preserved. And I am very glad that I had the chance to encounter it.

What I will be describing in this article primarily concerns Amazonian shamanism and Ayahuasca shamanic ceremonies, because I have become quite closely and deeply acquainted with these traditions. The situation in Mexican shamanism is similar, but with its own significant differences. I have not seriously studied the shamanic traditions of other regions, such as Siberian shamanism.

An Indian maloka where Ayahuasca shamanic ceremonies are performed.
An Indian maloka where Ayahuasca shamanic ceremonies are performed.

The Work of Shamans and Guides. The Sad Situation of Ayahuasca Shamanic Ceremonies, Charlatans, and Imitators.

I feel a certain responsibility when I tell people about shamanism. Therefore, before I go into a detailed description of my personal experience participating in shamanic ceremonies, I will talk about the role of Shamans and Guides. I will try to explain the key difference in the use of power plants in authentic shamanism, and in all other forms of their use – in playing at shamanism and its imitations, in psychedelia, in independent experiments. I am absolutely convinced that it is dangerous to use such plants without a real shaman. And people often don’t know about this danger, treating it extremely lightly. They do not realize how serious it all is and what they are coming into contact with.

Especially in recent years, Ayahuasca has become increasingly popular. A large number of people are interested in ceremonies, and it has become a fashionable type of psychedelic tourism. “Shamanic ceremonies” are being conducted by thousands of people in different countries, and the internet is teeming with an abundance of offers and websites of shamanic healing centers. However, the tragedy of the whole situation is that only a real shaman can conduct a safe and complete shamanic ceremony. Out of the thousands of people organizing “ceremonies” with plants and mushrooms, only a handful have undergone comprehensive multi-year training and can perform this work at a professional level. Unfortunately, most people claiming to be shamans are not trained at all, are not real shamans, and do not possess the knowledge and extensive experience necessary to perform this complex work.

Moreover, authentic shamanism by its nature is always connected to specific places. Ayahuasca is connected to the land on which it grows, to the spirits of the local jungles, and only in its natural habitat does it possess true power. It is impossible to take and export it from the Amazon to another region. However, in almost every country, you can find offers to participate in ceremonies and retreats – Ayahuasca in the USA, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Ayahuasca in Bali. And the offer to undergo a ceremony in one of these countries is a sure and unmistakable sign that these ceremonies will not be authentic. Nor are the “shamans” who conduct them. Authentic shamans do not travel around the world offering to try this to everyone interested. This is done by entirely different people with entirely different motives, far from the topic of shamanism.

I was personally very fortunate with both the shamans and the guides into the world of shamanism. But from the beginning, I approached this with utmost seriousness, purposefully searching for the genuine, for people with pure and bright intentions. The search took quite some time, but I was able to find what I was looking for.

Who is a Shaman (Curandero), and their Role in a Shamanic Ceremony.

A shaman is a professional healer (in Peru they are called curanderos), a person who has mastered the ancient art of shamanism, possesses deep knowledge of shamanic medicine, knows how to heal people, and conduct complete shamanic ceremonies. Shamans can work with medicinal plants, maintain a deep connection with Nature, and know how to communicate and work with its spirits (I will write more about this later). And it’s very important that shamanic work is not just a belief in some supernatural forces but a real and tangible interaction with the intelligent energy of the world around us, the ability to receive knowledge, help, and support from it. And for me, a real shaman is one whose work results are clearly visible and tangible.

Leading a ceremony is a very complex and responsible task. It requires strong sensitivity, concentration, and dedication, and special skills that are developed over years and decades through specific practices, shamanic diets, and various kinds of trials. Shamans know how to properly and safely open the space of the ceremony, protect this space and each participant in it, correctly induce people into a state of shamanic trance, show them the path in this space and lead them along this path, perform deep healing work, and at the end of the ceremony, return people to the familiar world. A curandero at every moment sees and deeply feels each participant, leads, and assists. All people are in a common field and under the protection of the shaman.

A genuine shamanic ceremony is a complex and ancient technology, not merely the use of the psychoactive properties of plants for narcotic trips, as many people mistakenly believe.

Shamans know how to assist people in a variety of life situations, see the life story of each person and their Ancestry, deeply understand the cause-and-effect relationships occurring in people’s lives. They see and know what needs to be healed and corrected for a person to understand and feel better about themselves, and how to show them the best path in life. Through the performance of beautiful shamanic songs (icaros), shamans work with people, opening their consciousness and accompanying them in a state of shamanic trance (at the end of the article, I will leave a link to a Telegram channel where I will post several recordings). Curanderos transmit a pure intention to help people, so that all negativity leaves, pain and sadness go away, and people experience deep physical and emotional healing.

It’s important to understand that the work of the shaman, not the consumption of sacred plants or mushrooms, is of primary importance. In Amazonian shamanism, the Ayahuasca brew is used to immerse participants in trance, but it is the shaman who conducts the healing work with people. If one looks deeper into the process, it can be seen that the plants themselves also do a great deal of work, but their power is unlocked by the shaman. Plants (like people and other living beings) have both a body and a spirit. The Ayahuasca drink can be considered the body of the plants, their physical embodiment, prepared from vines and leaves. But the spirits of Ayahuasca and Chacruna (both plants are part of the brew) need to be properly and respectfully called, invited to the ceremony, so they come and work with people. If one simply drinks the brew without the spiritual component, without the work of a shaman, it just won’t work correctly; it will be an uncontrolled and dangerous journey through the unconscious. Moreover, besides Ayahuasca and Chacruna, a curandero knows and uses many other plants and calls upon various spirits who also participate in the ceremony.

Excerpt from a recording of one of my Ayahuasca ceremonies:
The shaman sat next to me and began to sing. Life could be felt in him; he sang sincerely and with love. I felt the ancient power and the deep wisdom of the Shaman and his people, indescribable by human speech. I did not understand the words, but I felt and knew that the Shaman sang to me about life, healing, well-being, about the connection of all living things on Earth. I felt his sincere desire and intention to help me, to heal me. I saw how he extracted some heavy energy from me, it left, and I was filled with light, joy, and peace. What worried me, what made me ill, the madness of the world I was born into and accustomed to living in, all of it left. I remembered who I really am, recalled my true nature, and learned anew how to live, to live differently.

A tropical garden where I was rethinking my life after strong Ayahuasca ceremonies.
A tropical garden where I was rethinking my life after strong Ayahuasca ceremonies.

Warning About the Danger. On Psychedelia, Charlatans, and Brujos. A Few Words on Psychedelic Therapy.

Only a well-trained shaman can conduct a real, and most importantly – beneficial and safe ceremony with Ayahuasca (as well as with Peyote, and a number of other plants and mushrooms). The use of power plants is a very serious intervention into a person’s inner world, their psychological processes, their life path, and destiny.

Unfortunately, most people wanting to undergo ceremonies do not end up with real shamans and never will. There’s an incredible amount of false information and incompetent people around this topic, many frauds, charlatans, and impersonators, a lot of absolute nonsense. And on the surface, all this activity might look quite exotic, beautiful, and harmless (much of it is built on creating an external impression), all these retreats in many countries of the world, Indigenous “shamans” and “shamanic” centers. But if you look deeper – in most cases, it does not have healing power, confuses people and diverts them from the better Path, and in some cases, drives them insane and leads to the saddest consequences.

What is the reason for this? There are several reasons, for now, I will name two of them:

  • Firstly, the visible aspect of shamanic practices (use of mushrooms and plants, singing shamanic songs, using shamanic paraphernalia and clothing, drumming, etc.) is very easy to reproduce and imitate, creating an illusion of knowledge. But in shamanism, it’s not the external form that is important, but the internal essence of shamanic work. Much of it is invisible to an external observer, as it takes place… in the spiritual world, on a subtle energetic level. And people, who do not see and understand such work, who do not have benchmarks for what it looks like, are easily impressed and misled. The majority of seekers have no understanding of who a real shaman is and what their work actually looks like.
  • Secondly, these plants and mushrooms greatly alter the state of consciousness when consumed. If a person drinks Ayahuasca, eats Peyote or San Pedro cactus, or psilocybin mushrooms, it is quite likely that they will have an intense mystical and psychedelic experience. During the process, vivid visions, unusual sensations may occur, the person will see and realize something, and this will make a big impression on them. Actually, many people get into psychedelia, that is, the use of plant-based and synthetic psychedelics, for this reason. Some do it for entertainment, others under the guise of shamanic ceremonies. But this has nothing to do with authentic shamanism.

Shamans do not spend many years learning to work with plants and manage the ceremony for no reason. It’s a responsible job that requires serious preparation. Participating in ceremonies with charlatans, engaging in psychedelia, and conducting independent experiments often lead to negative consequences. If lucky, it might become a positive experience from which some useful conclusions can be drawn. However, often people, under the strong impression, make false conclusions and are unable to trace the real consequences. In more negative scenarios, one can have an extremely traumatic experience and damage their life path (much depends on the dosage and some other factors). Without a shaman, the trance process is unmanageable, and it’s easy to disrupt the normal course of one’s internal psychological processes in such states. Mental disorders, hallucinations, panic attacks, health problems, and the destruction of the usual way of life are not an exhaustive list of negative consequences. In some cases, this leads to a person’s life path ending as a result of suicide or an accident. I know many sad stories.

Furthermore, from my observations, many people who use psychedelics tend to detach from reality and immerse themselves in an illusory world of their own making, which can seem absolutely real to them. For example, a person can sincerely start to consider themselves a shaman and a guide of the Ayahuasca spirit, learning from angels, fighting demons, and healing people. However, in reality, these are just fantasies and all this happens only in the person’s imagination. On the contrary, genuine ceremonies bring a person back to reality and help them learn more about this world if they are ready and willing.

People come to shamanism with various motives, and not always with pure intentions. Some enter it just to make money on a “trendy” topic. Naturally, it is absolutely normal to receive compensation for one’s work if the person is skilled at it. But charlatans simply mislead people, taking advantage of their indiscriminateness and exposing them to great danger. However, not in all cases, this happens intentionally and consciously. There are people who are sincerely interested in shamanism, want to learn and help others but do not find authentic masters and fall in with charlatans, and then themselves become charlatans. And I hope that my article will help find the right path for some of these people.

Over time, more and more people call themselves shamans, even though they have never even seen a real shaman. These people simply lack the necessary skills and experience to work with plants, to make the process safe, not to mention achieving the real healing effect that can be obtained in a genuine ceremony. Furthermore, many people calling themselves shamans, healers, guides, or otherwise, can make an impression of being bright, kind, knowledgeable, and sincere people, be pleasant in communication, endearing, and demonstrate confidence. But this says nothing about their real level of knowledge and abilities. And often, they just use quite primitive manipulations.

Another danger on the path of seekers of shamanic experience is brujos (as they are called in Latin America), who may use Ayahuasca and other plants, not for healing but to deceive people, manipulate them for their own interests, and take their life force and resources. Sometimes this is referred to as “black magic,” and it is very cunning and dangerous. The existence of this magic can be explained by the ability to affect psychological processes in people’s consciousness. Both shamans and brujos possess the knowledge of how to do this. But how it is used depends on the individual. Healing shamans use this knowledge to help and heal, to free from pain, fears, and experiences. Brujos use it for their dark deeds. I know several stories where contacts with brujos and the ensuing chain of grim events simply destroyed a person’s life.

And it turns out that distinguishing who is a shaman, who is merely a charlatan, and who is a brujo – without special knowledge and accurate guidelines is a difficult task. I’ve observed people who were very frightened even in ceremonies with real shamans (I myself have gone through many scary experiences), they thought that the shaman wanted to harm them, take something from them, affect them negatively. But people were just confronting what lies within them, their fears and anxieties, their inner content, not what was actually happening. There are also reverse cases, where people go to charlatans for a long time, sincerely thinking that they are being helped. Thus falling into a trap from which it is hard to escape. There are also some well-known, promoted “shamans” who are actually brujos. Often, these are people capable of exerting a strong influence on others and possessing a developed gift of suggestion, using this gift for enrichment, gaining power, and various criminal activities.

I’ll repeat – people who decide to try Ayahuasca (or other powerful plants) often do not realize how seriously it can affect their lives. I’ve spoken with several hundred people on this subject and concluded – most people are extremely indiscriminate. And in my opinion, it’s better not to participate in such practices at all than to end up with a charlatan or a brujo. But every person chooses their own Path and bears responsibility for their life.

I’ve also decided to write a few words about modern psychedelic therapy. I respect researchers who are looking for new methods of treatment and helping people. But these studies have been conducted for only a few decades, essentially still in their infancy. Meanwhile, authentic shamanism encompasses many thousands of years of human experience and the development of special practices. And I know that these are completely incomparable things. People who prescribe and conduct such therapies do not know how to manage a person’s state, do not see what happens with consciousness in altered states, and do not possess techniques for working with plants, techniques for purification and healing. Perhaps it can bring its benefits, but long-term changes in the psyche and overall impact on people’s lives are unpredictable. In terms of exploring such issues, our science and medicine are still only at the very beginning of the Path…

About the Organizers of Ceremonies and Guides into the World of Shamanism.

In journeys to shamans, besides the shamans themselves, guides-organizers play a significant role. And just like with shamans – true professional guides, researchers who have dedicated many years to studying the tradition, who can properly organize shamanic ceremonies (adhering to all the rules and principles accepted in the shamanic tradition) and genuinely help people – are rare. And in my story, it’s important to talk about them as well.

I consider the work of guides (as well as the work of shamans) to be very significant, and only at first glance might it seem simple. One of the main aspects (if we’re talking about shamans from Indigenous tribes) is to properly organize the meeting of shamans and the people who come to them. Indigenous shamans were born in a different world, much simpler than ours. They were shaped in a completely different living environment than we, people from civilization, were. And working with us, people from the modern world, shamans gradually weaken and lose their shamanic power. Therefore, it is important to create the right conditions and a protected space for shamanic work, so that shamans can work at full strength and preserve their abilities longer, and ceremony participants receive valuable experience and solve their issues and problems. This requires great effort.

Another important aspect is shamanic and psychological work with people before, during, and after ceremonies. Shamanism is primarily about help and healing, and people come to ceremonies with their problems, pain, and diseases, their inner heaviness. And it’s important that each person receives help and support. For this, organizing just accommodation, food, and the ceremonies themselves is not enough. Real help involves engaging in people’s internal processes, their questions, problems, and illnesses. A single powerful ceremony, let alone a cycle of ceremonies, can change a person’s worldview and their perception of life. And to competently accompany people in the process of this transformation is a special task and a very big responsibility.

Shamanic ceremonies greatly develop sensitivity to people, the ability to see and feel subtly. They provide knowledge of how to truly help people overcome their problems. And guides actively apply this knowledge and abilities in their work. They undergo ceremonies together with the participants, watch over everyone, and assist the shamans. Outside of ceremonies – they psychologically help people through conversation. Words, if they are right and said at the right time, have great power. They can support and help a person in their life situation, can help make important decisions.

Furthermore, what happens in shamanic trance is interpreted through the prism of one’s past experience and worldview, one’s thoughts and ideas, hopes, and fantasies. This often leads to erroneous conclusions. And an experienced guide, who speaks the same language, helps to understand what happened during the ceremony, helps to correctly understand the experience gained and apply it in life. Only with practice comes the ability to distinguish what you really see in the ceremony and where it comes from, what is reality, and what is just a thought, desire, imagination, or incorrect interpretation. Besides communication, trips to nature, to beautiful natural places, greatly help in the process of internal transformation. There, deep work continues. Nature, especially after a strong shamanic experience, can show us a lot and fill us with its power.

A river and hot springs in the jungles of Peru
A river and hot springs in the jungles of Peru.

It is also worth understanding that in the current situation, there is practically no chance of finding a real authentic shaman on one’s own. And shamans are, first and foremost, ordinary people, each with their character and peculiarities, light and dark sides. Like any other person, a shaman can be sick or experience some life tragedies. For various reasons, even an experienced and strong shaman in the past can decrease the quality of their work and even completely lose their shamanic power. And an experienced guide knows and feels which shamans can organize shamanic ceremonies and conduct quality work.

As I’ve already written, I was incredibly lucky with the guides into the world of shamanism. These people have vast experience working with shamans and healing plants and are sincerely committed to preserving shamanism and helping people. They protect and support the remaining shamans and their families. They showed me shamanism, helped me greatly, taught me a lot, became my friends, and for all this, I am very grateful.

I understand that my story might be perceived as advertising “real shamans and guides” and intentionally branding many other people in this field as incompetent. Unfortunately, the situation is indeed extremely grim. Of course, I would very much like there to be more genuine shamans, people who work honestly and purely, but the reality is what it is. There are few of them left, and their numbers are dwindling. Whether to trust my words or not is up to the reader to decide. Perhaps my words will save someone from misfortune or help them be more discerning. If so, then I did not tell all this in vain.

What Happens at Authentic Ayahuasca, Peyote, and Mushroom Ceremonies? The Practical Value of This Experience.

First and foremost, a genuine shamanic ceremony with power plants is a journey into one’s inner world, a meeting with oneself and one’s inner content, including both good and bad deeds. It’s a very deep understanding of oneself, one’s personal history, goals, desires, strengths, and weaknesses.

Ayahuasca shows a person very honestly and openly who they really are, revealing the truth about them, all their dark and light sides. After all, each of us has an entire universe inside, and if you look deeply enough into yourself, you can discover many new things. Moreover, people often hide what’s inside them, even from themselves…

I can also describe these ceremonies as a plunge into the spiritual and energetic reality of our world, usually hidden from us but accessible in a state of deep meditation or shamanic trance. And as someone who works in IT in everyday life, I’ve often compared shamanic practices to the internet. I see it as a kind of “biological internet,” a special connection with all living things. It’s amazing when the ceremony opens a space in which, like in Google, you can pose any search query and receive a detailed answer. In this state, a vast amount of information becomes accessible about oneself and one’s family, about other people, nature, and the world, the history of humanity, and the structure of the universe. But it’s important to learn how to navigate this stream of information, ask the right questions, and interpret the answers correctly. This is a skill that comes with practice. And sometimes, the answers received are such that their meaning is only understood years later…

The range of states, sensations, emotions, and what one can see, hear, experience, and learn in authentic shamanic ceremonies is incredibly diverse. What this becomes for a person, what useful and valuable things they take away from this experience, depends on the individual, their intentions and requests, personality and character, worldview, psychological and cognitive features, life experience, and readiness for such a journey. The ceremonies reveal to a person what is truly important for them to know. And each new shamanic journey reveals something new and can be completely different from all previous ones. Moreover, the same things can be seen from very different perspectives, even within the same ceremony, at different stages of shamanic trance.

  • States can be pure and incredibly beautiful, when you deeply feel yourself and understand your life, its meaning, and significance, clearly comprehend ongoing events and the world around, feel a unity with the entire world, connect with true power and wisdom, happiness and love, and experience complete freedom. This can be described as an awakening and a remembrance of one’s true nature, when Ayahuasca completely disassembles and reassembles, leading on a journey through the labyrinths of the subconscious and deep layers of memory, bringing to light and uncovering the infinity of Being.
  • But there are also very harsh states, physically demanding with psychological and informational overloads. Especially when dealing with particularly difficult life experiences. Of course, in a genuine shamanic ceremony, the shaman sees everything and controls, manages the process, and regulates the intensity of the experience for participants, but still, it can be very challenging to go through. I remember, after the second Ayahuasca ceremony of my life, I wanted to pack my bags, buy a return flight ticket from Peru, and never return there again. That ceremony frightened me greatly, I encountered my fears and experienced death. But I managed to overcome the desire to flee and decided to continue on this path, which I am very glad about, as it changed my life for the better, and I found what I had long been searching for.

I spent a long time thinking about how to describe my personal experience of the ceremonies and my reflections, how to structure all this. And I wrote several stories. About what I saw and understood, both from my personal experience and from observing various people with whom we went through shamanic ceremonies with Ayahuasca, Peyote, and sacred mushrooms. I will start with simpler themes and gradually move on to more global ones.

It’s important to note that I am primarily describing my own personal experience and my shamanic visions. However, the experience of each person at a ceremony is unique and incomparable, and you may see something of your own, something completely different. I am describing my personal moments that seemed particularly significant to me, and this is only a part; there is much I have not yet written about.

Healing the Physical Body and Working with Addictions. A Bit About Medicinal Plants.

The main goal of authentic shamanism is the physical and spiritual healing of a person. Traditional Indigenous medicine is very effective and offers the possibility to cure many diseases and understand their true causes.

I have seen how it works and was impressed by the abilities of the shamans. During the ceremonies, I closely observed how various diseases originate and develop in the human body. Each has its own causes and roots. Usually, these are complex and severe events in a person’s life, various kinds of negative experiences and psychological issues, negative emotions, and suppressed feelings, which over time turn into diseases. Sometimes, diseases are hereditary, resulting from tragedies and pain experienced by our ancestors. And naturally, a person’s lifestyle, poor diet, various harmful habits, and addictions often lead to diseases.

Shamans are good at feeling and seeing diseases and their causes. In ceremonies, they use different healing techniques related to cleansing both soul and body, and most of their work is done on a spiritual level. They seem to pull the disease out of the body, stop self-destructive processes, and initiate healing and restoration processes. In some cases, they work physically, for instance, adjusting organs, bones, and joints. Meanwhile, Ayahuasca deeply cleanses a person, including on a physical level, which is sometimes accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea (as natural cleansing mechanisms). But at the same time, true healing is always serious self-work. It’s important to see the real roots of problems, to correct and reconsider something in one’s life.

In my case, I didn’t have any serious diseases (I am still quite young). But there were several health issues that greatly troubled me. During the ceremonies, I clearly saw the causes of these issues and worked seriously on them. The shamans treated me and prepared medicinal plants for me to take. As a result of this treatment, some of my problems went away, and in others, I felt an improvement. But the most significant thing that the ceremonies showed me is how much the health of my body depends on myself, how much it is my responsibility. They showed me what destroys my body and negatively affects it, and what strengthens and makes it stronger. I received many recommendations on what I could change in my lifestyle, diet, movement, environment, even in thoughts and feelings, to be healthier, feel better, and live longer. But one of my serious mistakes was that later, in ordinary life, I often did not follow these recommendations, forgetting about them. And only over time did I truly understand the value of many of them…

In addition to Ayahuasca ceremonies, an important part of traditional Amazonian medicine involves the use of many other medicinal plants (and there are thousands of species in Peru!). I have tried some of these and particularly enjoy undergoing shamanic diets with these plants. One of my two favorites is Planta de la Vida (Planta de la Vida, which translates from Spanish as Plant of Life). It fills me with a special kind of soft life energy, calms me down, greatly assists in ceremonies, and makes me more open to people and the world.

Planta de la Vida - shamanic diets with the plant of life
Planta de la Vida (Plant of Life). My favorite plant, with which I underwent several shamanic diets.

Another plant I really like is Chiric Sanango (Latin: Brunfelsia grandiflora, in Shipibo language – Mukapari). This is a very powerful medicinal plant; it heals the nervous system and joints, reduces inflammation, and deeply revitalizes the body. And during the diet, these plants reveal a lot on the spiritual level, tune into a different perception, help to see and feel more. They assist in clearly feeling how the external world affects the internal state, and how the internal state affects the external world and the events occurring in it.

But I strongly advise against taking the plants I write about on your own. Each of them has its own character, its rules of work, and its own field of application. It’s very important to know how to work with them correctly; otherwise, you can do serious harm to yourself. I can provide a vivid example that everyone knows – Tobacco. Among many Indigenous tribes, it is considered one of the most sacred plants. Tobacco (specifically, one of its types called Mapacho in Peru) possesses special qualities that shamans use in their work. However, when used improperly, it acts destructively, subjugates the person, causes strong addiction, and inflicts tremendous harm to health.

In addiction treatment, shamanic practices can also help. Theoretically, everyone knows about the harm of drug use, alcohol abuse, the harm of sugar, etc. But people often underestimate the negative impact of various kinds of addictions on their lives, not recognizing their harmful habits (until they face serious consequences). The ceremonies show these very vividly, demonstrating how exactly they destroy a person, how they take away their energy, health, and time. They reveal the reasons why these addictions arose. And in shamanic trance, it’s possible to get rid of many addictions and correct their negative consequences. But the outcome of this work always depends on the person and their desire. Ayahuasca and the shaman will show the best path and help to heal, but the choice always remains with the person, whether to continue the process of self-destruction or to work on themselves and choose a better life for themselves.

Speaking generally about the results of shamanic healing work, I have observed improvements in the condition of many people. This was confirmed by medical examinations. Especially noticeable is how, after a cycle of ceremonies, the eyes change – the gaze becomes clear and pure. However, despite this, shamanism is not a panacea for all diseases. A lot depends on the person themselves, their desire to heal, their lifestyle, how serious and advanced the disease is, and whether the person is ready to undertake serious self-work. And in principle, not everything can be cured, because, ultimately, the human body is mortal. For example, there is practically no chance of curing severe oncological diseases at advanced stages. In such situations, it is possible only to prolong life for some time, alleviate the condition, soothe and relax, ease the transition to another world, and make this transition bright for the person.

And in some cases, the modern medicine of our civilization works faster and more effectively. Therefore, in matters of health, I see a good and correct approach as being the combination of ancient shamanism and modern medicine.

Chiric Sanango - an Amazon plant that effectively heals the nervous system and has many other beneficial properties.
Chiric Sanango – an Amazon plant that effectively heals the nervous system and has many other beneficial properties.

Shamanic Psychotherapy and Mental Healing. The Impact of Past Experiences on a Person’s Life and Revising That Experience.

I believe that in terms of psychological assistance and improving mental health, shamanic ceremonies are highly effective. Just as with physical illnesses, one can deeply delve into the essence of existing psychological problems, understand their true causes, and correct them. It’s possible to seriously reconsider one’s life experience, heal psychological traumas, cure depressions, remove various fears and anxieties, correct distorted self-perception and perception of the world around, eliminate muscle tension and tightness in the body. You can truly understand yourself, your feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Deal with what bothers you and see effective ways to solve problems.

Let me try to describe how this happens. If we look from a psychological perspective, people are shaped by their life experience. A person is designed so that from the moment they come into this world, their body, brain, and psyche adapt to this world, learning to survive in it. This process happens especially intensively in childhood when a little person explores the surrounding world and learns the rules of the game. A child absorbs the atmosphere around them, developing strategies of thinking and behavior, laying the foundation of the human personality. In childhood, a person forms an understanding of who they are, about the world that surrounds them, and with this knowledge, they move forward in life. This largely determines their fate.

It’s crucial for a child to receive love from both parents, grow up in an atmosphere of love, respect, care, and safety. It’s important that parents do not suppress the child or impose their worldview but help them adapt to life, helping to unfold what the individual came into this world with. If a child did not receive love or received it insufficiently, was raised in an aggressive and negative atmosphere, felt pressure from those around them, was subjected to mental and physical violence, received a large number of various psychological traumas, it leads to serious problems later in life, directly affecting its quality and duration.

Certainly, the influence of past experience is not limited to childhood. The process of learning and adaptation continues throughout life. At any point, events can occur that become traumatic and leave a significant mark. However, many psychological problems that hinder people from living confidently, enjoying life, and feeling good and calm often originate from childhood. These issues are often harder to correct and frequently accompany a person throughout their life. Individuals severely traumatized in childhood often don’t even recognize their problems and live their entire lives in very grim states of mind, harboring resentment towards the world and constantly battling against it.

As I mentioned at the beginning, one of my motivations was the desire to find a tool that would help me deal with my inner problems that were preventing me from living. And shamanic ceremonies turned out to be the best of everything I tried. I haven’t encountered anything more powerful. An analogy even arose that psychology, psychoanalysis, various psychotherapy approaches are like slowly digging through the layers of our psyche and past experiences with a child’s shovel. Sometimes it works and helps, but quite slowly. A shamanic ceremony with Ayahuasca or Peyote is like when an excavator with a big bucket arrives, and we can intensely work through large volumes of our inner content at a very high speed. Especially assuming that we have a serious intention for such work and genuinely want to solve our problems.

And it helped me a lot. I won’t delve into my personal history or describe specific events. I’ll write as briefly and generally as possible, just to show how it worked in my case. I have good parents, and they gave me everything they could under the circumstances of life, for which I am sincerely grateful. But still, my childhood and youth were very challenging. I grew up and formed in a not-so-wealthy family, in the conditions of the Russian hinterland, in a rather aggressive atmosphere. As a result, I had a lot of fears, worries, doubts, self-doubt, depressive states, and mood swings. And the biggest problem for me was that I had many difficulties in relationships with other people. Often, interacting with people, especially strangers, caused me anxiety and tension. This bothered me a lot, and I wanted to fix it.

And in shamanic ceremonies, I largely solved these problems. It became much more comfortable for me to communicate and meet people. I became more open and sincere in communication, the inner aggression went away. At times, I started to clearly feel and understand people, what drives them, their inner motivation. At the same time, I retained a tendency for solitude and some introversion; I don’t like a lot of communication. But now it doesn’t bother me; I feel much more confident and calm than in my “previous life,” before getting acquainted with shamanism. My psychological state has changed for the better.

This effect became possible because shamans possess incredibly deep knowledge about the structure of the human psyche and are capable of healing it on a profound level. In shamanic trance, psychological defenses are removed, and there is a complete unveiling of memory, recalling long-forgotten events and the true history of one’s life. I clearly saw the cause-and-effect relationships of my past experiences and subsequent events in my life, my inner state, my perception of myself, the people around me, and the surrounding world. I learned how my human personality formed from the moment I came into this world and how I became who I am.

I revisited various events of my personal history and relived them. These were events from both my adult life and my earliest childhood, even from the period of prenatal development. Incidentally, even at this, the earliest stage of life, a person is capable of feeling what happens around them, sensing the fears and anxieties of their mother, and all this also influences later life. And in the ceremony, delving into the past is often accompanied by an external perspective, from the position of a neutral observer, when all the reasons and consequences, the motivations of the participants in the events, the influence of the past on the future become understandable. And there is a re-evaluation, a correction of everything that was disrupted, and liberation from the burden of the past. All this work is valuable because by revisiting the past, one can greatly improve their present and future. And also, ceremonies teach how to unlock inner strength and how, regardless of external circumstances, to remain in a state of calm and balance.

To conclude this story, I want to share two insights. First, no matter how complex and difficult life experiences may be, one has the power to revisit, correct the negative consequences, and choose a better path for themselves. Our consciousness and our intention have great power, which we can harness. The question is only in finding effective tools and the amount of work that needs to be done. Secondly, negative life experiences can be perceived as a resource that makes one wiser and stronger, teaches overcoming obstacles, and in a more global perspective, contributes to the development and evolution of both the individual and humanity. At least, in my personal story, this is 100% true. The desire to overcome what hinders me has become a stimulus for my development and forward movement.

Ayauma - a strong plant for shamanic diets
Ayauma – one of the strong Amazonian teacher plants, with which very strict shamanic diets are conducted for learning shamanism. I have not yet undergone such a diet, but perhaps, I will in the future.

Confronting Fears and Overcoming Them. The Fear of Death.

The most terrifying thing I encountered in my shamanic journeys were my fears. In everyday life, fears operate somewhat in the background, becoming more perceptible when one senses the approach of the object of their fear, and less so when it’s far away. Ayahuasca, especially during the purification stage of the ceremony, can significantly amplify fears and fully immerse one in them. In some cases, intense fear and panic can fill a person’s entire consciousness at those moments.

And working with fears is an important part of shamanic work. There are many different fears: death, illness, pain, loss of loved ones, poverty, madness, war, natural disasters, flying, heights, the unknown, and many-many others. Fears are natural and useful, they help living beings survive and avoid danger. Everyone has fears. But some of our fears can severely poison existence, negatively affect the quality of life, hinder a person’s development and living a full life. Like my fears, which I wrote about in the previous story.

Thus, in a shamanic ceremony, all fears become visible and tangible, one immerses in them and experiences them. But this happens not so that a person becomes frightened and runs away. In this state, when a person clearly sees that this is inside them, when the fear is distinctly palpable, it’s possible to fully recognize it and see its causes. Because every fear has its source and its own history of origin. These can be psychological traumas and negative experiences. They can be ancient fears, like the fear of death, the basic and fundamental fear of humanity, which helped people survive throughout human history. And seeing, knowing the reason, clearly realizing one’s fear, a person is able to learn to overcome it, to free themselves from this fear, or significantly reduce its intensity.

When strong fears came to me in ceremonies, I wanted to run away from them, find a way to stop it all. Especially in the beginning of my path, when I didn’t yet understand how it works. There were even moments when I went outside the ceremonial space, sat there surrounded by flashlights, peered into the light to maintain contact with this reality, started a stopwatch on my phone and watched the numbers, really wanting it to release me and this horror to end. But relief came when I began to work with it, to realize what was happening to me and why I was seeing all this. As the guides often said, it’s important to relax and calm down, allow it to happen, and look closely to see what it really is. In this state, I had many revelations, understanding who I really am, a deep reassessment of my relationship with myself, people, and the world. After such an unusual experience, calmness and relief came in life. And I am sure that this encounter with my fears made me psychologically stronger and braver, and taught me to overcome them.

A particularly significant event for me was experiencing death and the fear of death. And as a consequence, a very vivid and realistic realization of my mortality and its acceptance. Understanding death as part of the life process, because I clearly felt that after the death of the physical body, consciousness continues to live. But I will write more about “Life after Death” in a separate story closer to the end of the article.

And as I have already written, it is very important to go through such experiences with a real curandero, who makes the journey safe and fully controls the process. It’s a very delicate and responsible task. The support and help of the shaman, constant telepathic contact with him during the ceremony, are invaluable at such moments. In an uncontrolled shamanic trance, a person can encounter such a volume of their fears and their inner negative energy that they simply go mad. This sometimes happens at charlatan “ceremonies”.

Delving into Ancestral Memory, the Memory of Ancestors. The Impact of History on Human Lives. About War.

As I’ve already mentioned, ceremonies with Ayahuasca and other plants open up memories, enabling one to recall long-forgotten events and their true life story. But beyond personal memory, there are much deeper levels of memory that open up in shamanic trance.

This is the memory of lineage, the memory of Ancestors. I can describe it as a vast database containing the life story of every person, every lineage, nation, and all human history in general. And the most amazing thing is that we carry this memory within us, and in special states of consciousness, we can connect to it. I vividly saw the life stories of different people, how they lived in various times, what they felt and thought, what they experienced internally, what they aspired to, and the paths they took. And even lived through their experiences, which gives a lot of understanding about people and develops empathy.

Delving into deep layers of memory has significant practical value, as the life experience, choices and actions, desires and dreams, thoughts and words of our ancestors continue to live in us, and in our lineage, genetic memory. We accumulate the experiences of previous generations of people. And their experience largely determines our life path and fate. Many of our behavior strategies come from our distant ancestors, passed down from generation to generation (when we reproduce the behavior of our parents, our parents reproduce the behavior of their parents, and so on). I found very deep cause-and-effect relationships of events in my life with the lives of my ancestors, and it was astonishing! And shamans deeply feel their lineage, their ancestors and descendants, know well the history of their lineage and people.

And since I wanted to improve my condition and my life, first of all, I saw precisely the heavy historical experience of my ancestors negatively affecting me. I am from Russia, and in shamanic ceremonies, the grim sides of the history of the Russian people were revealed to me. There is a lot of pain, tragedies, grief, injustice, violence, and crimes. This includes:

  • the era of serfdom, extreme social inequality, when some people had all rights and privileges, while others were slaves;
  • tyranny, terror, and repression of the population by the authorities, shootings and labor camps;
  • dekulakization, when people’s property was taken away;
  • forced resettlement of peoples, forced immigration;
  • revolutions and civil wars;
  • World War I and World War II with many millions of victims.

These events are associated with an immense amount of violence, hunger, and poverty, the need to survive in extremely harsh conditions, a huge number of broken fates. And of course, all these historical events have their deep causes, at the very foundation of which lie human errors, weaknesses, and follies. I had interesting visions about how seemingly small and insignificant events give rise to huge conflicts and wars.

Before the ceremonies and such contact with the life experience, pain, and suffering of people affected by these events, I could not imagine how deeply it influenced many people and their families, the nation, and humanity as a whole. How significant an impact it had and continues to have on the society in which I was born and raised, and how it defined the inner self-perception of people and their lifestyle for many generations.

The weight, pain, fears, and humiliations from those events are deeply ingrained in people. Many of our problems and hereditary diseases stem from there; there lie the roots of many diseases of our society. I am convinced that the current difficult situation in Russia and the grim mental state of its inhabitants are a direct consequence of those events. Therefore, it’s important for people to know and remember their true history, acknowledge it, understand what mistakes led to the dark events of the past, to prevent their repetition. Otherwise, history tends to repeat itself until the lesson is learned.

Of course, various peoples, both large and small, participated in the events I mentioned. And in general, throughout human history, there have been many wars and dark moments, many nations have gone through or are going through this now. But it seemed like a good idea to write about these processes specifically using the example of the Russian people, as I am part of it and feel very deeply everything I write about. And in shamanic ceremonies with Ayahuasca, Peyote, and mushrooms, one can see and understand this historical experience, realize its causes, re-evaluate and correct the negative consequences. To become free from the burden of the past, remove fears and pain, and choose a better life path. As one shaman in Mexico said during a large night ceremony with the Peyote cactus, through this work, we heal our entire Lineage. All changes that change the world start with ourselves.

A small but important digression. I wrote this article before February 24, 2022. The day when the Russian army, by Putin’s order, attacked Ukraine. This war is a crime against the Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, and many other peoples, a crime against humanity, a great tragedy for millions (millions…!) of people. Unfortunately, history really does repeat itself, and its unlearned lessons make themselves known. In the ceremonies, I saw the war long before it began, but hoped that in reality, it would not come to such horror. And each time returning to Russia after a cycle of ceremonies, I began to feel the weight of being there, the gloomy and aggressive atmosphere around. I aspired to move to another country, and I am very glad that I managed to do so before the war. Perhaps, I will write about this separately. I have something to say about what is happening in Russia… I left the country, but some bright part of my people, my country, the real, free, and fair part, is always with me.

And I am confident that the Ukrainian people will defend their freedom and independence, and I hope this will lead to significant changes in Russia. But this war will have many grim consequences for a long time. Violence begets violence… I express my sincere support to all the people who have faced problems and losses because of all this madness!

Of course, the dark and gloomy past is only one aspect of human experience. There are many others. In shamanic ceremonies, I was opened to a vast amount of bright and positive experience, the personal power of people who lived before us. In all times, there were people who aspired to something better, to knowledge and development, helped others, and manifested the brightest and best human qualities, overcame their weaknesses, and corrected mistakes. And despite all trials and wars, our ancestors survived, reproduced, and gave us our lives. And from them to us comes their wisdom and strength, their abilities and talents. And it seems to me, even my interest in shamanism has its roots in the past. I saw people in my lineage who were involved in healing and shamanism. Of course, there’s no way to verify the accuracy of these visions, as these are events of the distant past. But I believe it was so.

And in a global perspective – our history largely defines our life. The human world in which we live was created by people who lived before us, and continues to be created by us…

Looking into the Future. The Path and Choice of Humanity. The Birth and Death of Civilizations. Life on Other Planets.

In ceremonies, it’s possible to work not only with the past and present but also with the future. Seeing its possible variations and trends, forecasting events, choosing the best path for oneself. Of course, this can and should be done without ceremonies as well, but in shamanic trance, the abilities for this are significantly enhanced, allowing one to see far ahead. This helped me find new opportunities and make some important decisions, including about business and immigrating to another country. And part of my visions came true with surprising accuracy. But there were also many that did not come true.

And if we talk about the future, I believe it’s impossible to predict it accurately. All living beings have free will, and no one knows which choices will be made and what consequences they will lead to. And what I really like about the ceremonies is that you can explore questions from a relatively small scale, concerning the life of an individual, to global questions about humanity, the world, and the Universe. Continuing the theme of humanity’s past, I want to write a few words about its future.

I saw that humanity is on a destructive path. I saw many serious mistakes and negative trends. Off the top of my head: the devastating attitude towards nature and catastrophic pollution of the planet; the concentration of too much power in the hands of individual people, abuse of power, waging wars; propaganda and manipulation of society on one hand, and illiteracy, disunity, and indifference on the other; restriction of rights and freedoms in various countries, limitation of freedom of speech; unwise use of modern technologies and artificial intelligence. Many of these and other aspects, which together significantly slow down the development of humanity, and in the long term can lead to irreparable consequences, to major wars and global ecological disasters, to a significant decrease in the quality and level of people’s lives, to their degradation, and as a final result – to the decline of humanity. To the point where it may perish if it does not mature in time, become more rational and conscious.

But I still have faith in humanity. Its path can be seen as one of development and evolution, where humanity learns from its mistakes, passes through darkness on the way to light, and comes to create a thriving, healthy, rational, and free society, living in harmony with itself and nature… And there are signs that people are evolving, becoming more humane and rational.

At the same time, I think that our human civilization is not the first on Earth. There were likely even more advanced civilizations, the possibility of whose existence is indicated by ancient structures preserved in some parts of our planet. It’s interesting to wonder what path they took and what became of them?

Saksaywaman (Saksaywaman) – ancient structures near Cusco in Peru
Saksaywaman (Saksaywaman) – ancient structures near Cusco in Peru. It is officially believed to have been built by the Incas, but it is unclear what technologies they used to process and fit the massive stones so precisely.

Every civilization (just as every person, lineage, nation, each country, and even every planet, star, star system, galaxy, and so on) has its own life cycle; it is born and dies, has periods of rise and decline. And just like the birth and death of a person, so the birth and death of a civilization is a natural process. How much further our specific human civilization will go and how long it will last depends on the choice of every individual. Because the choices of all people collectively form the choice of humanity as a whole. Everyone contributes to the development or destruction of this world, bearing their share of responsibility for what happens on our planet. People are given the freedom to choose, and every person makes their contribution to this world, to our common future.

If we look beyond our planet, I had fascinating visions that life in the Universe manifests in an infinite variety of forms and developmental paths of living beings. After the ceremonies, I sometimes looked at the stars in the sky, and understood that there is life out there. In this state, it’s a very beautiful and mystical experience, feeling how incredibly vast the world around us is. And even the entire planet Earth, which is our home and seems very large to us, is just a drop in the ocean of the universe. And star systems are so far apart from each other to ensure the possibility of free development of life in different worlds.

Joke about aliens
Joke about aliens (found on the internet).

Of course, there is currently no way to practically verify the existence of extraterrestrial life. Though people are making attempts. But they will probably only find out for sure when they build interstellar spaceships and embark on distant journeys. And I hope that humanity will choose the path of developing constructive technologies and use them wisely. Because overall, with technological progress, humanity, unfortunately, gains more and more ways to destroy itself. The most obvious example is a nuclear war, because great power is in the wrong hands. Or due to continued experiments on creating modified viruses, the consequences of which humanity recently felt.

The Spiritual Reality of Our World and Deep Connection with Nature. Tatewari, Grandfather Fire.

Let me share my experience of communicating with the spiritual world and spirits, and how I personally see and perceive it.

Certainly, there’s a materialistic viewpoint according to which there are no spirits or higher powers at all. On the other hand, people have always had and still maintain various beliefs in supernatural forces that actually do not exist in reality. Often, these beliefs are just someone’s fantasy, imagination, a simple way to explain the complex workings of the world. Yet, at the same time, I saw and felt very clearly those spiritual forces that truly exist in our world. And these are the forces of Nature, from which we all originated. It too is sentient. And in special states of consciousness (deep meditation or shamanic trance), we can communicate with it.

In essence, ancient shamanism is the ability to interact with the spiritual foundation of our world, the ability to establish a deep connection with Nature and its pure natural spirits. True shamans know how to negotiate with them, how to call them, and organize shamanic work together with them. These sentient forces can give a lot to humans, can heal diseases, can make people happier and freer, can provide clear answers to the most complex questions. Because nature, of which humans are originally a small part, is much wiser than people. It can teach and heal us. And in shamanic trance, I often feel a sense of complete unity with the surrounding nature and a feeling of strong support from it, love and care, strength, and wisdom.

At first, it even scared me when I drank Ayahuasca, spirits came to me, and I realized I could fully communicate with them. Because I was used to the idea that you can only talk to people. But here I am in contact with a living sentient force, which also knows everything about me, knows my entire life story, knows why and for what purpose I came to it. And this sentient force responded to all my questions in a very simple and understandable form for me, including those I had pondered all my conscious life…

Thus, the spiritual reality of our world, astonishingly beautiful and alive, was revealed to me. I perceive these forces as a sort of collective consciousness, an ancient intelligence, yet at the same time, I see and feel its various components:

  • Firstly, there are the spirits of plants. Plants are living beings with their own consciousness (I was very surprised when I realized this). In shamanic tradition, they are called teacher plants because they can teach. Each species has its own spirit carrying specific knowledge and energies. It is from them that shamans learned how to heal with these plants and how to work with them correctly. They can show this themselves. When I underwent shamanic diets with plants, I clearly saw what each of them does and received specific and detailed recommendations for working with them.
  • Secondly, there are the spirits of animals that come in shamanic trance. In Ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru, I see many Snakes, and the Ayahuasca vine itself often appears in the form of a Snake. In Mexican ceremonies with Peyote, the spirit of the Deer often comes. I often see the Eagle and the Jaguar, feeling my connection with them. I see other animals less frequently. Each of them carries its own strength and energy, which can be well felt and understood. And with this strength, one can connect and identify. I was an Eagle, soaring over the jungles and seeing everything from a great height. I was a Jaguar, a strong and swift hunter roaming the jungles. Apparently, this type of experience is associated with different peoples’ notions of totem animals and myths about the possibility of humans transforming into various beasts. This transformation is possible, but not physically, rather on the level of consciousness. And this too became an astonishing experience for me when I felt and understood what it’s like to be a beast.
  • Thirdly, not only plants and animals but also natural phenomena have their own spiritual essence, everything that surrounds us. I believe it’s possible to communicate with the spirits of rivers and lakes, seas and oceans, mountains and forests. And of course, with the spirit of the planet Earth itself, which gives us life and is also perceived as a living being with its own consciousness in shamanic trance.
  • Fourthly, there are spirits that exist beyond our earthly world. I have encountered powerful cosmic forces, seen how they are connected to our planet. Yet, I have not been able to come up with a meaningful description for these visions. I saw how these forces create worlds and populate them with life… And I see that it’s possible to even communicate with stars because our consciousness is essentially boundless.

Certainly, in general, people see a multitude of different visual images during shamanic ceremonies. These can be anything and anyone, from plants, people, and animals to monsters and extraterrestrials, angels, and demons. But this doesn’t mean that everything seen exists in reality. Most often, these images come from the inner world of a person, from their memories, their unconscious, their imagination. Sometimes, this can be a sort of visual language through which something important is shown and told to the person. At the same time, I also feel a real contact with intelligent forces that have their own consciousness. This is markedly different from simply seeing images. Yet, I still don’t know how to articulate this difference. With practice comes the ability to navigate the spiritual world, to understand what you see and what is happening.

I want to write separately about the spirit of Fire 🔥. For me, getting to know it was one of the most valuable and powerful experiences. I became acquainted with Fire at Peyote ceremonies in Mexico, which are conducted with a bonfire. Fire has great power and wisdom; it transforms everything heavy and negative within us, teaching us not to fear or judge. Essentially, Fire is sacred to humans, as the connection between humans and Fire dates back to ancient times. With its help, people were saved from the cold, protected from wild animals, prepared food, created tools and pottery. Fire illuminated humanity’s path in the darkness of this world, helping to not get lost in the gloom.

The Huichol tribe calls it Grandfather Tatewari. He showed me much about humans and their evolutionary path.

A bonfire in Mexico, where stones are heated for conducting the sacred Temazcal ceremony.
A bonfire in Mexico, where stones are heated for conducting the sacred Temazcal ceremony.

In everyday life, I sometimes perform meditations with Fire. At times, I can strongly feel its power, feel how it supports me. And there have been several instances where, being in a difficult life situation, I received very clear answers from it. Not all of them were to my liking. But they were truthful… I believe that anyone, if they wish, can try such a meditation. To do this, simply light a Fire and mentally reach out to it, ask for help, intend to accept this help and connect with this force. Relax and calmly observe the thoughts and images that come to mind, watch yourself and what happens.

Overall, shamanic ceremonies with Ayahuasca, Peyote, and mushrooms show people their true natural and spiritual essence, revealing their connection to the Earth and nature. Modern humans have forgotten their roots, forgotten who they truly are. And it’s crucial for them to learn to value Nature, to protect and preserve it. To learn to cherish and respect Life, plants and animals, rivers and seas, forests and jungles. To preserve this also for future generations… While there’s still a chance to do so… While there still is.

Immortality and Higher States of Consciousness. About Life After Death and the Grand Game We All Play.

Continuing the discussion on the spiritual essence of our world, I’ll write about human consciousness. Probably, what I’m about to share became the most significant discovery for me during shamanic ceremonies.

I believe everyone has pondered whether life exists after death. Where does one go, and what happens? Or is there simply nothingness? I first questioned this in my early childhood, after the death of a relative. It seemed strange and incomprehensible to me that I exist, I live, and then suddenly I will die and cease to exist. What’s the purpose of it all? The shamanic ceremonies showed me how it’s all arranged.

In shamanic trance, I experienced death and saw what follows it. There were terrifying experiences for me (especially at the beginning), where I died very realistically and thought I was dead, completely separating from my body and my usual identity. And there were very calm and serene moments when I looked at my body, hands, feet, and understood that all this was temporarily mine. Time will pass, this body will die, then only bones will remain, and then nothing at all. Although this is inevitable and how this world is structured, I saw nothing tragic or dramatic in it. “I” clearly felt, “I” will continue to exist, my consciousness won’t die, and all living beings are in an endless stream of life. Death is part of the life process, one of the transformations that our consciousness goes through in the process of understanding the Universe. “I” in quotes because, in deep shamanic trance, the perception of oneself is… different.

I see our consciousness (which can be called spirit or soul) as light, a self-aware energy, a force that makes humans and other beings alive. Our human body, our brain, are merely conductors of this force in the physical world. And when a person’s body dies, the consciousness detaches and transitions to another level of existence. By its nature, it is immortal; it cannot die. But at the same time, this consciousness does not belong to our human personality. It’s part of the universal cosmic consciousness, and like drops in the ocean, human souls are part of this vast ocean. The most powerful experiences for me were precisely those moments of dissolving in this ocean of life, merging with this universal cosmic consciousness.

I experienced these states in various forms. But all of them were very majestic and beautiful for me. It’s an indescribable feeling of complete freedom and pure consciousness. I felt a direct connection with the source of life, the place where life originated and from where it came, and the waves of life-giving and healing energy emanating from there. Human life there is seen from a very high point, just a very small fragment in this vast world and stream of life, understanding the lives of different people, both living and departed, and the entire human history in general. The energy that makes up our world is visible, and how our intention creates reality. Life is perceived as a grand game, a virtual reality, into which our consciousness plunges for a short time to gain experience. It opens up a deep understanding of the meaning of life, its infinity, understanding what the Universe is and how it is structured.

There were moments when I felt so good and peaceful in these states, and I felt truly at home there, that I did not want to return to the physical body and this reality. But I remembered the people close to me, my affairs and goals in this world, how much I still had not done and how many opportunities this world gives. And I returned, with the understanding that human life is finite and actually passes quickly, and when my body dies, I will return to where I came from. But while I’m here, I will live, move forward, deal with all the difficulties, make myself and my life better, help people, and enjoy the beauty of this world.

However, I can’t say that I fully understand the path of human consciousness after physical death. This can be viewed from the perspective of understanding that, after all, the familiar human personality dies. The memory of it remains recorded in the memory of the Universe, but human consciousness undergoes serious transformations. A person encounters all their inner content, all their human experience, and reevaluates their life path. And what this process will be like for a person—peaceful and bright, or torturous and difficult—depends on who the person was, how they lived, the choices they made, and the actions they took. The idea of heaven and hell is a very simplified religious representation of this. And people who have caused pain and suffering to others will, in any case, answer for their actions, if not in life, then after death. Karma exists, and ultimately everything comes into balance. It just sometimes takes more time…

But I have not yet been able to fully grasp and describe the further path of consciousness. And for me, it remains a great mystery: what part of my human experience will I take there with me? And in general, will I take anything, or will death be a complete merging with eternity? After all, by our nature, we are all parts of a single whole. Yet, at the same time, I understand the importance of recognizing my individuality. And I do not yet know how it will be, but I am confident that I will solve this mystery when the time comes. Death is always near us, and we will all meet it. But there is nothing to fear in this. And while we are alive, we can accomplish a great deal… And sometimes it is useful to remember that our time is limited, so as not to waste it.

And this description is my personal perception of life and death. Indeed, the shamanic visions I described are how I personally see these things now. Another person, based on their own experience, may see it differently and describe it in another way. The great value of shamanic ceremonies lies in the fact that at certain stages of the shamanic trance, a state of direct perception of reality opens up, where you see and understand the world as it truly is. But any subsequent description through thoughts and words is an interpretation. I believe it cannot be precise because the human brain describes reality with familiar images and tends to fill in what it does not precisely know. Therefore, one’s own experience of discovery is so valuable and important. And the experience of each person in a shamanic ceremony is unique and irreplaceable.

Epilogue. I Believe It’s Important to Preserve This Priceless Knowledge.

I would like to talk about many more things, but I still do not know how to describe them in words. And the text has turned out to be much longer than I initially planned. I wonder, has anyone read it in its entirety? You can leave your comment (the form will be below), this is the first time I’ve written about this, and I’m interested in feedback. 🙂

The dawn in the Virikuta desert after a big overnight peyote ceremony. This Mexican desert is a sacred place for the Huichol tribe, a place of power. There, the Peyote cactus grows.
The dawn in the Virikuta desert after a big overnight peyote ceremony. This Mexican desert is a sacred place for the Huichol tribe, a place of power. There, the Peyote cactus grows.

As a result, after getting closely acquainted with shamanism, I could no longer live as I did before. Many things in life began to change, and magically, some things changed on their own. But in a normal state, much of what is seen is forgotten, and it takes certain efforts to apply this knowledge in practice. My notes from each ceremony help me with this. I try to follow the path I chose for myself in shamanic journeys. But so far, not everything has been realized in reality. There is always something to work on and to improve, something to learn, life continues, presenting new life stories and challenges, new mistakes occur, and old ones are repeated. The process of learning and gaining life experience is endless; it never concludes and has no final point. And I am very grateful to the Shamans for the new world they showed me ✨.

I see authentic shamanism as an incredible value for the world of humanity, sadly almost forgotten and lost. True shamanic traditions are dying, and there are very few living carriers left; this knowledge will be forgotten when the last authentic masters, the Peruvian Ayahuasca shamans, the Mexican Peyote and mushroom shamans, pass away.

And I see my path in trying to preserve some part of their priceless knowledge. I intend to continue studying shamanism seriously. I don’t know how far I can go, it’s all very challenging… But I want these knowledges and traditions to be preserved in the world of humanity, to continue living, and to be passed on further.

Opportunity to Support My Project. About Recommendations for Choosing Shamans and Guides.

Organizing trips to Peru and Mexico, ceremonies, and diets, as well as supporting the remaining authentic shamans, requires a lot of time and money. If you wish to support me and my activities, you can provide financial assistance. Information on how to do this can be found on the Support the Shamanic Visions Project page.

Additionally, you can follow my channels on Telegram and Instagram, and share a link to my project on your social networks and websites. This also makes a difference.

🦋 My Telegram channel: @ayaua_com
📸 My Instagram: @ayaua_com

Regarding recommendations for choosing shamans and guides, I can provide them upon request in private correspondence. If you make such a request, please share your intentions and why you need my recommendations.

Contact email: [email protected]
Contact on Telegram: @aleksei_ayaua

Thank you for your attention!

This page is also available in another language: Russian French

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Aleksei Ayaua
Aleksei Ayaua

My name is Aleksei. I love to travel. I am the author of this website.

Shamanic Visions
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