Even though the Maloka has space for quite a few more, we limit the number of guests to 9 per ceremony. This is to ensure that each person has plenty of space around them so as not to be adversely influenced by other people’s experiences and also so that everybody receives adequate care and attention from the Dreamglade team.
Each guest has their own mattress with sheets, blankets and pillows and also a small bucket (for vomiting) as well as an ashtray and some local jungle tobacco (mapacho) that is traditionally used in conjunction with ayahuasca.
We recommend that you bring a medium-sized water bottle with you that can be re-filled from the large container of purified water that is stationed by the door. A headtorch or a small torch that can easily fit inside your pocket and a lighter are also a good idea.
There are clean, modern bathrooms right next to the maloka
For first-timers, Stace or Drew will give a short talk about an hour before we begin, explaining some of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ for the upcoming ceremony and also other important information to ensure that you have a positive, pleasurable and totally safe experience.
We then proceed to ‘smudge’ the entire Maloka (large ceremonial hut) by burning ‘Palo Santo’, a local fragrant wood to create a nice clean space for the night’s work.
The dosage given to each guest is tailored to their own particular needs and desires. We usually give first-time drinkers a maximum of a half dose to begin with, just to make sure that they don’t have too intense an initial experience and also to ensure that we get a good idea of how sensitive they are and therefore how much they will require in future ceremonies. If they do require a second dose later on, but only after at least one hour has passed, we will bring it over to them but as a general rule we prefer that they have ‘purged’ (vomited) the first dose before we give them a second one.
The Ayahuasca that we use at Dreamglade is very potent and usually very ‘visual’. The brew is first smudged/prepared for the ceremony by both Stace and Raul and then each guest is called up in turn to receive their initial cupful. We always advise our guests to make a short intention just before they drink, just as a prelude to the healing work.
Once everybody has taken their dose, the lantern is extinguished and the ceremony begins.
Typically, the ceremonies last between 4 to 5 hours, and the Curanderos sing their ‘Icaros’ (healing songs) for the majority of that time, with short breaks in between. For the duration of the ceremony, they are working on everyone in the Maloka, using their plant spirit ‘allies’ as healing tools and also ensuring that the ceremonial space is clean and clear of any uninvited guests, such as darker spirits/energies.
Stace and Drew are on hand throughout the night and regularly check-in on each guest, typically every 20 minutes or so, just to make sure that they are in a good space and to give them assistance if they require it, even if it is just to fill up their water bottle, bring them an extra blanket or even to give them a hand to get to the bathrooms.
Sometimes people’s experiences can be a little tough, often (but not always) for the first one or two ceremonies.
It is quite common that a person’s own particular ‘issues’ such as hidden fears or insecurities will come up quite strongly as Ayahuasca often acts as a kind of ‘mirror’, illustrating to them very clearly the shadow parts of themselves that need to be healed or released.
If we see that someone is having a difficult night, we will come and sit with them immediately and help guide them through the process of releasing the repressed emotions, past traumas or energy blocks that are manifesting. The most important thing is that you stay as relaxed as possible and ‘surrender’ completely to whatever is coming up. The more you ‘resist’ or ‘judge’ your experience, the more difficult it will be for you so we will softly and placidly remind you to stay calm, control your breathing and ‘accept’ fully whatever it is that you are experiencing.
We encourage our guests to go with whatever they are feeling. If they feel the need to cry, then cry. If they feel the urge to get up and dance or even do some yoga moves, we are completely ok with this just as long as they are not disturbing the other participants.
Towards the latter part of the ceremony, each person is brought up to sit with one of the curanderos to receive a personal healing, usually lasting about 10-15 minutes but sometimes longer if the person needs it.
When everybody has completed their turn, we then close the ceremony and very often we will go and sit outside on the swim platform to chat about the night’s events and to gaze at the stars and connect with the beautiful jungle surroundings.
Every morning following the ceremonies, we have a group discussion held in the maloka, giving everybody a chance to share their experiences from the night before.