What is Ayahuasca? What are medicinal ceremonies?
In Peru, there are still various kinds of traditional medicine practiced by different indigenous groups, among which, those practiced in the Amazon are the best preserved due to their relative isolation. In the Amazon, the traditional doctor or shaman uses medicinal herbs to heal with good results in cases in which other treatments have not been effective.
The function of the Ayahuasca is to sensitize and amplify emotions. The use of Ayahuasca has been fostering deep self-awareness for 5000 years. During the ceremonies there is a clear and lucid consciousness about the emotional dynamic, personal issues, tendencies, and primal causes of social or personal problems, which presents opportunities to resolve those conflicts. Thus, the Ayahausca and the altered state of consciousness attained with it have been fundamental for the ethnic groups in the Amazon as this determines their cosmic vision, which includes a way of making choices, creating art, dealing with health issues, and maintaining a value system. It is a practice that has survived their acculturation process.
The combination of medicinal Ayahuasca ceremonies with modern psychotherapy techniques enhances the basic components of the first. The ayahuasca ceremonies awaken certain basic faculties necessary for comprehension and inner understanding of life, which facilitate the reactivation and clarification of psychic conflict, as well as, the amplification of awareness, the development of potentialities, and the loss of fear and basic insecurities. These ceremonies help to face one’s self, one’s place in the past, present, and in one’s individual purpose or mission in future life.
Since Modern times, Western medical science has developed without considering and even disregarding the existence of traditional or alternative medicine. From the western approach, diseases are basically considered physical disturbances to be treated analytically, and are understood from a linear causality model; disease is purely an individual and technical phenomenon. From the perspective of traditional medicine, a disease is seen as a state of inner imbalance that can be healed through reintegration and self-reconciliation with oneself and the environment, which involves several other elements such as cultural identity, ancestral memory and spirituality. For this reason, the ceremonies shed light on the most important factors that need to be understood individually for each patient and integrated into the conscious mind.