Generally there are two types of people who attend our ceremonies: spiritual seekers and those who need to heal as aspect of their lives. People often come to our events because they have searched and tried everything else out, now they want to look on the other side to see what they have not yet been able to see. We offer a wide range of shamanic tools to facilitate altered state journeying and healing not just plant medicine. It will only work is for you if you are willing to open your mind and heart and venture into the unknown. The medicine and tools we offer will not instantaneously fix or heal you, they will give you an access to see and feel what you have not been able to before. From there you need to do the work to change the relevant patterns of your life.
We have no specific demographic or age group. We have people as young as sixteen to those in their seventies attending our work. We welcome people come from all walks of life and all religious backgrounds due to the neutrality of our sacred circle. The majority of people attending tend to be local South Africans and Africans, we also attract a number of visitors Europe and the United States who fly in specifically to attend our events.
Each beautiful facilitator in Wake Circle has developed their own medicine practice through a cross-pollination of teachings and influences drawing on various shamanic lineages, religious and healing practices from around the world. Our team consists of facilitators both highly experienced in years as well as young, passionate and gifted. What unites these various skills in our ceremony facilitation process is the unique and sacred practice of circling and holding space that we have diligently crafted over almost a decade of running ceremonies.
Our main facilitators have around a decade of experience in serving medicine.
We do not have one indigenous tribal affiliation or linaege in our work. Our facilitators come from many backgrounds and draw wisdom from many schools of thought. We identify as an inclusive contemporary shamanic community utilising universal shamanic tools to meet the maladies and challenges of our age. The shamanic craft we have developed and practice is the art of holding space in sacred circle. Our mission is specifically to encourage the coming together of diverse backgrounds, orientations and cultures around the theme of earth-centered humanity to create a new awakened sense of community. We honour the plant-medicines that we use and their indigenous origins.
Ayahuasca is a medicine that has been used traditionally by indigenous tribes in the Amazon for likely thousands of years. Ayahuasca is traditionally made from two plants — the ayahuasca vine (banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaf of the chakruna plant (psychotria viridis). Both plants are collected from the jungle to create a potent mixture that offers access to the realm of spirits and an energetic world that that we are typically unable to perceive in our ordinary state of consciousness.
In chemical terms, the leafy chacruna plant contains the powerful psychoactive dimethyletryptamine (DMT), which, by itself, is not orally active because it is metabolized by the stomach enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO). However, certain chemicals within the ayahuasca vine contain MAO inhibitors in the form of harmine compounds that result in a psychoactive compound with an identical chemical makeup to the organic tryptamines in our brains. This mixture circulates through the bloodstream into the brain, where it triggers powerful visionary experiences and enables us to access otherworldly realms and our hidden, inner subconscious landscapes.
It is important to note that the brew of Ayahuasca can be made in other variations using different plants with the same alkaloids that activate the same mystical experience. This powerful sacrament therefore has different names depending on the context and setting in which it is used. In Wake Circle we regularly use the Mimosa bark in our brews instead of Chacruna as our DMT source which in medicine circles is known as the Jurema or Yurema mix.
The are understandably a small number of people who are interested in doing plant medicine that might be concerned about the legal implications. Despite the worldwide renaissance of psychedelics as an extraordinary healing tool and entheogen it still technically remains illegal in South Africa. Majority of these medicines are classified as “undesirable dependence-producing substance” despite complete lack of evidence to support this classification. There is currently a national campaign by the various plant medicine communities to overturn these erroneous laws with more and more documented scientific research emerging that ratifies these medicines as powerful and essential healing tools. That being said it is only psilocybin or magic mushrooms that has a record of being prosecuted mainly because it is often used for recreational purposes and sold in conjunction with other recreational drugs. To date the use and possession of sacred medicines such as Ayahuasca and San Pedro has never been prosecuted by South African authorities and probably never will as they are almost exclusively used for healing and spiritual purposes by shamans and traditional healers. At Wake Circle we have chosen to be open and public about our ceremony practices and events. We view and administer these medicines only as sacred sacraments in contained and well facilitated environments. Our facilitators have been interviewed on national radio and a documentary of one of our retreats was filmed and aired on SABC, our national broadcaster. We have even had lawyers and judges participate in our medicine ceremonies. In due course it is our intention to register Wake Circle as a church to protect the sanctity of our work and the sacraments that we work with. There is no doubt that it is just a matter of time before these laws are overturned. We do however have participants who, for the purposes of their careers and reputations, choose to keep their participation in our ceremonies private. You are most welcome to register your participation under a pseudonym if this is the case. If you do experience anxiety about staying on the right side of the law then it is probably advised to wait until it is legalised or that you travel to a country where its use is legal and recognised.
We brew all our own medicines at our Sun Temple venue. Our unique brewing process has been refined with over a decade of experience learning from different medicine facilitators from various traditions including the Santo Diame and Huni Kuin. The medicines are always cooked in a sacred way with prayers and smudging calling in the spirit of the plants and Mother Nature to heal and awaken each participant who partakes in the sacrament.
Our South American medicines is mainly sourced through established ethical companies who manage sustainable forest gardens in Ecuador and Brazil. The growers and custodians of these gardens are indigenous tribes people who nurture these plants with love and care and use the income to sustain their communities.
Ayahuasca works in a unique way with every person depending on the healing that he or she needs to have done. This healing can be physical, emotional or spiritual and the medicine addresses any energetic blockages we have in our bodies to resolve these.
The indigenous healers believe that all western illnesses are really just symptoms of spiritual or energetic imbalances. The healers, working together with ayahuasca, have been shown to have great benefits in helping to alleviate a variety of conditions because it addresses the energetic patterns that underlie them rather than the specific symptoms. However, because individual circumstances vary so much, it is impossible to predict the depth and degree of healing. Certainly the deeper and more serious/chronic the condition, the more time would be needed to address it.
We make no specific claims regarding the efficacy in treating any particular medical disease as defined by Western medical standards. Any medical illness should be assessed by a qualified medical professional. There are no guarantees that any certain level of healing will be achieved or any cure for a condition obtained.
It is well known that the jungle ceremonies participants are often given one big serving and are left to navigate whatever wild journey comes their way. In Wake Circle ceremonies we have a developed unique approach to serving Ayahuasca, we dose incrementally and in stages. For first timers in particular we allow you to find your courage and confidence with the medicine. We usually open the alter three or four times during the ceremony where you have the choice to drink in deeper each time. The medicine is otherwise served intuitively by the facilitator guided by their experience.
A pure Ayahausca brew without admixtures as we serve in our circles is safe and virtually impossible to overdose with. Ayahuasca however as an MAO-I mixture, is pharmacologically contraindicated with certain medications and drugs and is potentially dangerous for those with certain psychological conditions and mental illnesses. We are careful therefore to screen all potential participants of our ceremonies to ensure that they are safe to attend. It is also vitally important to disclose whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding as certain combinations of Ayahuasca are not safe for pregnancy and certain combinations are.
Please ensure that you fill out our participation form with full disclosure regarding any medications, drugs or herbs that you are currently taking as well as what conditions or ailments that you have. We will be in contact with you to clear you as required or cancel your attendance. In Wake Circle safety always comes first.
There are two camps of opinion and beliefs around pregnant moms taking any psychedelics, one is for and one clearly against.
In a country such as Brazil the consumption of ayahuasca by pregnant women and children in the Santo Daime and União do Vegetal ayahuasca-based religions is considered an "exercise of parental rights." In many of the Amazonian ayahuasca tribes likewise the consumption by pregnant woman and older children is considered a normal cultural practice under the guidance of its elders and shamans.
It is important to be aware that the medicine practitioners and shamans in these communities are highly experienced in this practice and to be mindful that there are certain combinations of Ayahuasca that can be harmful to the pregnancy. If you are pregnant and decide to partake in Ayahuasca ceremony, you need to ensure that the facilitator is aware of your disposition and can dose accordingly.
Although ayahuasca groups and tribes do enjoy a relative degree of social legitimacy and formal legal recognition in countries like Brazil, the participation of pregnant women and children nevertheless continues to provoke heated discussions between the scientific and the entheogenic communities. The impact of psychedelics itself on an unborn foetus is as yet relatively unexplored in scientific studies and is therefore considered to be both risky and irresponsible by some scientists and health practitioners. In countries where psychedelics such as Ayahuasca is still categorised along with other illegal and dependence producing drugs, the consumption by pregnant moms could well be considered reckless endangerment of the unborn child.
The bottom line is that the journey of a pregnant mom and her foetus is such a delicate process with respect to all nutrition and medicines, herbal or otherwise. It is therefore advised that those for whom Ayahuasca is not part of their culture or religious practice to err on the side of caution and to only make an informed choice in consultation with one’s midwife or doctor. At the end of the day however it is the mother and her intuition who is ultimately responsible for the final decision and outcome.
The amount of facilitators changes according to the nature and need of the ceremony. Our ratio is generally 1 facilitator to 5 participants. During bigger retreats we often have outside anchors and staff to support the process. We are always training new facilitators and offer staffing options for experienced participants who wish to serve and learn about holding space.
Each Shamanic gathering has a very particular set of intentions and medicines that go with it. Therefor the preparations can vary quite greatly. The second that you inquire and commit to an event or a process the team immediately begins to help you prepare. Not only will this include being sent documents underlying the preparation but it also includes setting up a call with one of the facilitators. This not only helps us discuss any unique problems or challenges you might have both mentally and physically in your preparation but it also allows you to ask all the questions you might want addressed before you arrive for your ceremony. This can vary from little to know preparation up until two weeks of cleaning dieting and fasting before. This will include all screening and information regarding health conditions, medication contraindications and dietary guidelines for the task at hand. Ayahauscsa tends to have the most stringent preparations.
Preparing to meet Madre Ayahuasca
As a contemporary shamanic community we have placed an enormous part of our focus and our personal evolution on the art of holding a safe space. It is right at the core of our philosophy. The safer the space the deeper the work. Our head facilitators have many years of experience in powerfully navigating and supporting participants when they are having a difficult time, this is our expertise. Most people at some point will experience a difficult period in their journey but it rarely lasts long. In extreme cases we have a cool down/safe room which is another space where a participant can be taken and guided through their process.
Is talking allowed? Dancing? Can participants sing or play musical instruments? Are there rules around movement or going to the bathroom, etc.?
Each Shamanic gathering has a very particular set of intentions and medicines that go with it. Therefor the way we hold the space and even interrelate in each ceremony is very unique. Some processes involve lots of movement and interaction while others involve meditative and insular commitments. The expectations and guidelines for each space will be made clear to you before the start of each process. You will only be allowed to continue if you are able to commit to these. This increases the potential for the experience of all those involved. You will always be given ample time to see that you are comfortable and able to commit to the way that we hold space for each other in each unique process.
Shamanic facilitators often drink the brew with you in order to work with the plant spirits and activate the frequency of the medicine. Facilitator are experienced at remaining deeply present to their environment even while being deeply in the medicine.
Just as most ceremonies have a process of preparation before, the process after is equally as important. Most ceremonies and quests will leave you with solid guidelines that will often entail a way of eating and a daily practice. You will also have a facilitator checking in on how you are doing.
At the core of post retreat integration is a 21 day micro-dose assisted practice culminating in a online reunion. It is only the end of the 21-day process that we are encouraged to make decisions regarding to the new changes and commitments we are going to take on in our lives. These are witnessed and supported by the rest of this group. So essentially the ceremony as an organism and a transformation process only ends after 21days at the reunion. even beyond there are coursers you can get involved in as well as online and personal integration and celebration circle you can join permanently if it is aligned with you.
Wake Circle is an inclusive contemporary shamanic community practicing the art of holding space in sacred circle. These can be in the form of many rituals from the primary plant medicine ceremonies and retreats, breath and sound work sacred circles and even coursers and talks encouraging personal transformation. Some of the facilitators are also offer personal one on one coaching and guidance.
Depending on the ceremonies we always ensure that we have both so that the energy of the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine is powerfully held. For smaller ceremonies this depends on who the lead facilitator is.
We only use music that is created live and in person. Our ceremonies curate a unique shamanic journey that draws on prayers and chants from African, Shipibo, Huni Kuin, Red Path and Vedic Sanskrit healing traditions. This is weaved into a medicine tapestry of deeply personal soul-healing music, prayers and teachings that have been channeled through many years of running and facilitating plant medicine, breath-work and sound healing ceremonies. These ceremonies are not just a facilitated meeting with some of the most powerful plant sacred medicines in the world, they are a profound meeting of ancient chants and mantras that connect self to the deepest remembrance of soul.