deciding on a Shaman

In this article:

  • Taking Ayahuasca by Yourself
  • Keeping You Safe
  • Shamans are Healers
  • Other Ways to Experience Ayahuasca
  • Recommended Ayahuasca Center
Master Shaman Roger Lopez, Ani Nii Shobo and Suipino

Going on an Ayahuasca journey by yourself would be kind of like traveling to an unfamiliar city, getting off the bus and hoping you wind up in the right neighborhood. It’s certainly been done but for most people finding a qualified shaman may be a better route. Finding a qualified shaman or practitioner in Canada or the Amazon may take a bit of research. If you are contemplating a Canadian ceremony you also need to understand that Ayahuasca is illegal in Canada

Although there are people who undertake Ayahuasca ceremonies by themselves or in groups without a qualified shaman, it’s not the recommended practice. Experience with the medicine is a key parameter. There’s just too many things that can happen in a ceremony where you’re really going to wish you were with a qualified shaman. While Ayahuasca does work directly with you in a ceremony – it is very much a “one-on-one” experience – a shaman really should be a prime consideration for anyone contemplating “the work.”

While a shaman is certainly recommended, people do come to the medicine in their own way. If financial considerations or other impediments are keeping you from a ceremony with a qualified shaman, some people will undertake the journey by themselves or with a group. If you fall into this category at least try to find an experienced group of people to sit with. An Ayahuasca ceremony is not to be taken lightly.

The Meloka at Suipino, Ucayali region, Peru

The primary purpose of the shaman is to “hold the space” for people in the ceremony. This simply means that the shaman has enough experience to keep you safe on your journey. You are going to a world that is vastly different than the “physical” world and there is no road map. Qualified shamans may also be powerful healers and work directly with the Ayahuasca spirit and other plant spirits in a healing ceremony. This is mainly accomplished through the Icaros that the Shaman sings in ceremony and through other healing techniques.

Shamans direct the healing energies of the plant spirits and open you up to a deeper, more profound experience. Most good shamans have had a major apprenticeship – a minimum of 5 or 6 years or more and preferably decades of experience. The shamans we recommend at Ani Nii Shobo fit this criteria with individual shamans with 35+ years of experience.

Ceremony night at the Meloka in Suipino, Ucayali Region, Peru

If you’re just starting on the journey, you may want to contact our recommended shamans at Ani Nii Shobo and Suipino in Peru. Or you may be able to get recommendations from Ayahuasca social media groups found in Canada and around the world. Search Facebook, or use other social media platforms to find experienced people who can recommend centers. Do your research before making a decision.

As well, there are others ways to experience the medicine other than a traditional Amazonian shaman. Many different types of ceremonies including entire religions have sprung up around Ayahuasca.  But the best advice for anyone contemplating an Ayahuasca ceremony is to find an experienced practitioner or group of people with solid credentials. Trust your instincts when choosing someone.

Because of the huge interest and growth worldwide in Ayahuasca, as in any “industry” there’s all sorts of people who are only in it for the money. This may result in anything from unqualified shamans offering ceremonies to someone trying to serve you Ayahuasca with a dubious heritage. Make sure you know who you’re drinking with and how the medicine was prepared.