When is the right time to embark on your first medicine journey?

I receive many inquiries from people who feel called to work with Ayahuasca for the first time but have reservations and fears. Some feel that for their first journey, they would prefer to do it in a private setting fearing the discomfort of being open and vulnerable in front of strangers. Some ask about doing a ceremony with ‘lighter’ medicines to dip their toes into the shamanic waters first. Others inquire but keep postponing because they believe they are not ready or in the right space to enter this work. Some get easily spooked by information they hear or read on the internet and then cancel.
Fear of the unknown and resistance to change can manifest itself in so many ways and is completely understandable. It took me two years of being aware of plant medicine ceremonies, even receiving regular newsletters about it before I cautiously embarked on my first retreat. As I emerged from that journey, my first thought was, as is the response of almost everyone who experiences this medicine work: ‘I wish I had done this sooner!’ The direction of my life changed from that moment.
While plant medicine work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is undoubtedly one of the most profound peak experiences a human being can have in this lifetime. I would place this on the top ten bucket list of any seeker who wants to know more about their potential and greater existence. We now have the incredible privilege in this day and age of having relatively easy and affordable access to be able to do it. These mysterious master teacher plants are reaching out to us, just as we feel our inner attraction to their ancient teachings. There is a conspiratorial alchemy brewing between primordial plant consciousness and a new wave of human beings seeking to be reborn into this world. It is a global movement unfolding that is far bigger than us.
The advice I generally give to first-time seekers and anyone who inquires about doing Ayahuasca is to participate in the immersive New Tribe, Old Eyes weekend retreat, a 21-day journey we offer at Wake Circle. Your first journey should ideally be a pivotal life experience, and this can only happen if you jump into the deep end. The second reason for this recommendation is that as part of the journey, there is a finely tuned 18-day integration and micro-dosing program that powerfully supports your landing back into your life. Integration is one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of effective plant medicine work. My third reason is that having the container of a tribe of aligned strangers is ironically the safest environment we can be in to explore and heal the unseen and vulnerable parts of ourselves. My experience of holding countless medicine ceremonies is that participants always tend to go deeper with other like-minded fellows who dare to go deep themselves. We inspire each other through our courage, and we learn from each other’s experiences as we tap into our innate wisdom through sharing. This journey is as much an odyssey of tribal connection as it is a deep dive into our inner being.
For those people who feel that they are not yet ready or are not ‘in the right space’ to embark on the journey, my suggestion is that it may just be the ideal space to be in. I once had a participant whose parent passed away just two days before they were booked to attend their first ceremony. They felt emotionally devastated by the loss and feared that this would be the worst time for them to participate. I encouraged them to do the ceremony anyway, and it turned out to be the most profound and spiritually healing experience they could have. It helped them mourn and grieve from a deeply empowered, grateful space. In my experience, if one is feeling lost, scared, broken, depressed, ungrounded, hurting, or uncertain, this is often the best space to embark on your journey because this is what you get to transform. The most important ingredient, however, is that you must desire your transformation; if you are considering doing this only because of someone else’s urging or encouragement, it is probably best to sit this out.
At the end of the day, there is no proverbial ‘right or wrong’ time to embark on this sacred journey. It is important, however, that you do it safely- that you are medically cleared to do it, and you must be able to fully trust the organization or facilitators holding the ceremony space. Once these two boxes are ticked, the calling is felt, and the universe presents the opportunity: it is not to be rationalized or tempered; you book, pack, and do what it takes to show up to meet your soul. A value cannot be attached to such a meeting. It’s that simple.

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One Circle, Four Shamanic Directions, Twelve Sacred Agreements

We are contemporary shamanic facilitators practicing the powerful transformational modality of holding space, container work and altered state navigation. Our sessions are neither psychological in nature nor are they a substitute for any kind of medical diagnosis, therapy or treatment. Please seek the advice of your doctor or qualified health practitioner if you have any medical or psychological concerns or conditions before attending our sessions.