Imagine a brew that could open the doorway to the spiritual world and allow you to experience the omnipresence of Source all in a single night?
Ayahuasca has caught the attention of an entire generation, and in the past few years, has become so popular across the globe that an entire industry has seemingly popped up overnight.
Tales of powerful psychedelic effects spurred a wildfire of curiosity within spiritual seekers looking for adventure. Their travels took them to exotic holiday destinations, such as Peru, Brazil and even the infamous Colombia. Ayahuasca’s widespread popularity birthed an overnight tourist mecca for spiritual sojourners paying top dollar for Ayahuasca Retreats deep in the jungles, local bead work, fashion and jewelry from the Shipibo tribe, psychedelic artworks, online communities in nearly every single city dedicated to organizing ceremonies, and an introduction to a host of other psychoactive plant medicines more easily prepared and taken for personal use.
Within this astonishing bloom of interest in spirituality and amazing stories of miraculous healings, was a very dangerous culture of addiction, rampant sexual abuse, narcissism, overblown egos, possession, suicide, severe disempowerment, black magick, and long-term unaddressed mental issues. The effects of the highs only lasted so long, and the true underbelly of the psychedelic culture bared its fangs when people chose to no longer be involved with it. The formation of a heavy cult-like mentality within many spiritual communities and groups, began harming people more than actually doing good.
If you thought about trying Ayahuasca or are currently working with plant medicines, I implore you to read this article in full. There is a lot here that may look subtle on the surface, but are very detrimental if left unchecked.
Who am I?
My name is Sufian Chaudhary. I am the author of a bestselling book called “World of Archangels“. I’ve sold over 42,000 copies worldwide. The great majority of World of Archangels was channeled through Archangel Uriel. It retells the story of how I began seeing spirits when I was 3 years old and opens up to a full host of meditations and practices in the awakening of the soul.
A couple years ago, I became involved with a community that hosted Ayahuasca ceremonies every month. Shamans, or “Taitas” from Colombia, were invited to serve their medicine to groups of 20-30 participants on any given night. Within months, I became one of the helpers in the ceremonies, preparing the space, cooking meals, assisting those journeying, and performing energy work. I drank 2-3 cups of Ayahuasca every night of the ceremony. Ceremonies lasted 2 nights each. It wasn’t long before ceremonies increased to twice a month with two main shamans.
To give you a comparison, most people who drink Ayahuasca only attend 2-3 ceremonies per year. I was on a run of about 15-20 ceremonies per year. This extraordinarily high dosage of Ayahuasca and constant connection with the plant, gave me insight into its inner-workings that others don’t ordinarily experience unless drinking that volume of the drug. Couple that with an already attuned awareness of the spiritual world before ever trying Ayahuasca. I have been able to see spirits since I was 3 years old. It became evidently clear that most who participated in Ayahuasca ceremonies had never had a spiritual experience in their life.
Needless to say, there are many people out there who see and work with the spirits in ceremonies, who don’t have the experiences that I personally encountered. Everything from the energy and intention of the people attending, to the shaman serving, to astrological events, to the location of the ceremony taking place, effected the outcome and experience of any given night.
If you follow my Instagram (@sufianchaudhary) or have read my book, you will have come across some of my many spiritual encounters with everything from the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.
On this premise, I thought it very important to talk about the dangers of Ayahuasca as there are not a lot of people who share their stories. A culture of shaming, guilt and illegality, has been heavily suppressing the truth from coming out.
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a thick brew traditionally made in the jungles of Peru, Brazil, and Colombia, from the vine Banisteriopsis caapi and leaves of Psychotria viridis (Chacruna). The plants are sourced wild from the jungles by specially trained shamans, who build log fires by hand and cook the plants over very long periods of time, sometimes up to multiple days. The brew has to be cooked at the right temperature, with many sacred prayers and intentions, where the shamans drink some of the Ayahuasca and purge out any negativities or impurities within them before the cooking process begins. The process of creating Ayahuasca is a highly specialized skill as only indigenous locals know which plants to mix together to achieve the desired effect and at what ratio. A wrong mixture can lead to severe stomach pains and intensely negative experiences journeying with the plant.
Drinking Ayahuasca, also referred to as “medicine”, is a practice that is thousands of years old. The lineages of shamans who prepare and serve Ayahuasca hold a very strict and time-honored tradition. The shamans, or “Taitas”, often start drinking as young as 6 years old and grow up in a culture living off the land in the dense jungles. Not all make it to become a shaman.
The active hallucinogenic within the brew is N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). This is the drug that causes the visions and full-blown psychedelic experiences.
What happens during an Ayahuasca Ceremony?
A strict diet is often standard protocol before entering ceremony. Alcohol, drugs, citrus, red meat, coffee, and certain spices, are prohibited for at least the week before and after ceremony. Vitamin C depletes the effects of Ayahuasca– this can and is used to bring people out of a bad trip or those journeying too deep.
The participants often gather on the day and the ceremonies are held at night. A myriad of sacred incenses are burned over hot charcoals within a nearby fire. The element of fire is often honored as an integral part of the ceremony. Fire can increase the effects of Ayahuasca and the fire often brightened when certain negative spirits entered the room or caught hold of people journeying with the medicine. It was common for the the fire to be dulled down or cut out when a spirit possession occurred.
An altar was constructed where the shaman conducted the ceremony. This was where the medicine sat throughout the night.
Other elements included an array or instruments, from guitars, harmonicas, drums, seed bracelets/anklets, wairas (dried leaf fans used as wands), macaw feathers, tobacco such as Mapacho, Andullo or cigars, and Rape’ (pronounced Rah-peh; snuff tobacco ground with herbs to be blown up the nostrils).
The shaman serves the Ayahuasca by the cup to all the participants, and then drinks the medicine himself. From here, the ceremony is energetically opened by a series of sounds, instruments playing, and connection to the spirit of the medicine. I often saw blue/green vines enveloping the whole room and connecting to the people in preparation for their journey.
Approximately, 1 hour after the first cup, the effects of the Ayahuasca comes into play with an array of full-blown visions and journeying throughout the night. We often had to drink multiple cups throughout the night and it was common to purge, or throw up, the medicine after sitting with it for some time. Often the purging timed up perfectly with the healings that were taking place.
Now, I have to mention that A LOT of participants did not feel anything at all throughout the duration of the ceremony. It took quite a bit of patience and practice to work with Ayahuasca for it to take hold of your body.
What happens when Ayahuasca takes hold of your body?
For those that journey deep with Ayahuasca, there is truly an endless Universe of consciousness that unfolds. A single night could send you down multiple different streams of consciousness, with visions erratically and unpredictably changing and sending you down completely different avenues of learning. There are literally thousands of layers to this extraordinarily complex consciousness.
To begin with, many of the first few layers are filled with astral garbage. You literally have to swim through very thick layers of crap that may not even make sense and deal with the subconscious programming of not only yourself but the collective group as a whole. There are illusions upon illusions that you have to swim through to make it out into purity. From the beginning, we are taught to surrender to an invisible force, blindly trusting and giving our power away to illusions that we don’t even know are real.
Ayahuasca also involves thousands upon thousands of spirits. Not only from Earth, but from all corners of the Universe. I saw so many species of beings that I don’t even know how to describe most of them. Plants that talked and walked like ascended masters, rainbow-coloured gorillas, hummingbirds, snakes, monkey-shamans, spiders, hummingbirds, insect-like beings, masses of energies representing emotions such as anger, spirits that had strange personalities, spirits that didn’t speak at all but just came to heal. I could go on for hours.
Within the classes of spirits you also had levels of consciousness. There were regular spirits, negative spirits, pure spirits, animal spirits, then the leaders of the animal spirits who were much larger and rainbow-coloured, animal shaman spirits with feather crowns, human shaman spirits, beings that didn’t have bodies, consciousness that bridged all the way out of the Universe.
It is next to impossible to truly see or experience everything that happens in a ceremony. The human mind just can’t understand that level of bandwidth it takes to process such heightened neural activity.
This was where a myriad of problems started forming. Most people couldn’t see a single spirit the entire ceremony. They would wake up in the morning without a clue as to what happened the night before.
The Dangers of Ayahuasca
Almost everybody who tries Ayahuasca experiences a tough night. One where confronting revelations leads to a series of heavy emotions, energies, or spiritual activity, and it really hands your ass to you on a silver platter. When I talk about the dangers of Ayahuasca, I am not talking about a regular healing journey. Hard nights often led to the most amount of healing to take place. The danger comes in many other shapes and forms.
One of the most common things I noticed was an overpowering addiction that formed over time. DMT is not in itself the addictive element. For many, Ayahuasca helped them kick other heavy addictions, such as alcohol abuse, drugs, cannabis (yes this is addictive), etc. A belief is formed that Ayahuasca heals and this belief becomes ingrained within the mind from not only noticing how the urge for other drugs falls away, but the constant rhetoric from ceremony regulars who attend every month. People who drink Ayahuasca have their own language. This language forms part of a culture. An addiction forms not to the drug itself, but to the profound opening into the spiritual world, healing things that you didn’t know were there, experiencing out-of-world visions, and journeying out-of-body. The whole orchestration of ceremony, with the warm culture of like-minded people growing ever closer as a family, is what sweeps people off their feet to be more than willing to spend another $500 to attend ceremony next month.
It sounds perfectly fine, until people were blatantly ignoring their responsibilities to their children, leaving them in foster care, breaking up their relationships, funneling all their money to their next high, and being unable to cope or integrate back into the real world. A cult-like culture starts to form.
I was surprised to find out that most participants experimented with a lot of other psychoactive drugs when not in ceremony. Mushrooms, Kambo, LSD, Peyote, etc, as well as including cannabis and alcohol consumption. Many grew their own mushrooms and more still micro-dosed on a daily basis. A culture of hallucinogenic drug taking permeated throughout every ceremony. Some were crazy enough to start mixing drugs before and even during ceremony. This was completely against the prescribed diet or rules, yet it happened all the time. It led to dangerous trips where multiple people had to watch over and restrain participants.
Ayahuasca communities develop and use their own slang and language to describe experiences. One that stuck for psychoactive drugs, was “plant medicine teachers”. By labeling prolific drug use as “working with plant medicine teachers”, many became desensitized and often rationalized their addictions as something spiritual or worthy. In reality, it was nothing more than escapism that acted as a stepping stone until the next ceremony.
Unqualified, Untrained, Unprofessional
There are many men and women who serve Ayahuasca who are NOT shamans and were NOT trained to deal with anything other than collecting other people’s money.
I can’t stress the importance of drinking with a shaman or taita who has been trained in serving and journeying with Ayahuasca for at least 15 years. That’s “AT LEAST”. The shamans in the jungle have been drinking and serving Ayahuasca for 30-90 years. They have experienced the intricacies of the medicine enough to at least know what they are dealing with!
A great majority of closed door ceremonies are being hosted by people with the completely wrong intentions, serving Ayahuasca that you can buy off Amazon, dumping it into a slow-cooker, and then not even being capable of sensing or tuning into what energies are present in the room! It’s scary how many of these types of basement ceremonies are taking place.
People either don’t want to spend the money going to a legitimate ceremony, or simply don’t have the means to.
What ends up happening is like opening Pandora’s box. Good luck!
A great majority of the shamans who serve Ayahuasca are men. This is because a strict culture in their home villages, where women cook and tend to the children. Only the men serve. The only shamans who are female, are from Peru. Very few female shamans make it out into the Western world.
There is a big problem with shamans sexually abusing women in their ceremonies. They prey on unsuspecting women, drunk on the medicine, who are tripping on heavy psychedelics. When reports of sexual abuse and rape were alleged against the shamans, not only did the shamans deny it, but the helpers and community of people that surrounded the ceremonies would gang up on the women and accuse them of lying. Victim blaming at its worst, accusing the victims of sexual assault as attracting it upon themselves, and guilting them into submission.
Shamans with multiple baby mamas seemed to be a common thing.
On a more subtle level, what always shocked me about the ceremonies I attended, was the lack of female empowerment. Women would never make it up the heirarchy of helpers within ceremonies. Often there existed a culture of men who would feel threatened when others were more empowered. Talking down to and constant criticism often left women feeling less-than and somehow bad. Even the shaman would participate in the public humiliation and scolding of women. The shaman physically grabbed, punched, assaulted, and swore at participants. This change in behavior was similar to how a drunk father would abuse and beat his family at night, to wake up the next day and not remember anything that happened. Ceremonies were no place for enlightenment.
One of the most common words you hear from the Ayahuasca crowd is the term “humble”. You have to be humble. There are songs that are written and sung during ceremonies about being humble. You have to be humble. Don’t ask for power, be humble. Don’t expect anything, be humble.
I have never experienced more of a suppressed spiritual crowd than the helpers in Ayahuasca ceremonies. Their egos are so overblown that they can’t go a single ceremony without trying to look special, act like they are the chosen ones, or talk to others like they are somehow above everybody else. I probably spent multitudes of ceremonies wondering how the hell these people were ever chosen to be “helpers”. I couldn’t figure it out, until I realized a large number of helpers are chosen because of their financial status. They provide financial security as business owners, ensuring the ceremonies would always take place.
A culture of slapping each other on the ass, while humiliating others going through a tough night, mixed with a holier-than-thou attitude, led to a disgracing contest of flaring egos. The entire thing was just a shit-show from beginning to end. Not a single helper took to heart the word “humble”. This language of constantly repeating words to look or sound spiritual, was all for show.
A great majority of people do not go to Ayahuasca ceremonies to actually heal. They want power, just like the helpers. It was very common for negative spirits to play with people who had an overblown ego. People would wake up in the morning saying things like “I am the reincarnation of Jesus Christ”, “Ayahuasca told me I’m stronger than the shaman”, “Ayahuasca told me that I should be leading ceremonies”. I heard these kinds of things so many times, that it’s not even funny.
Notice how people kept saying “Ayahuasca told me…” The externalization to Ayahuasca as an authority figure was how people made sense of what was said to them. THEY couldn’t come up with it or allow anybody else to think it was just THEM. It had to be this greater all-knowing consciousness passing them messages like they were Moses on the mountain. It got old, very quick.
Spirits jumping from person-to-person was quite a big problem. Just because you didn’t believe in spirits, doesn’t mean these kinds of malicious entities couldn’t play with you. Often when portal opened and spiritual attachments formed during the course of the night, the shamans didn’t clear these away in the morning. Either the shamans didn’t believe in open portals or thought burning a little sage was all that was needed. This led to dark spirits following people home, or in the worst case scenario, possessing people while they were not of mental clarity and drunk on the effects of the drugs coursing through their system.
I witnessed two full-blown possessions during my course of drinking Ayahuasca.
It happened to two young girls on two separate occasions. The energy in the room went pitch-black and I started to see some very scary beings trying to come through. It happened in a heartbeat. The girls started screaming and trying to harm themselves. Blood-curdling screams filled the room as loud as their souls could call out in pain. The demons that came through were strong. They completely took over their bodies and it took 4-5 helpers just to hold back their superhuman strength.
These things were nasty. They started rolling their eyes up and swearing to kill you. They had to be muffled so as to not spread their unbelievable hatred to the others in the room, who were still deep in the medicine. It wasn’t a pretty scene. Unless the girls were bound and muffled, they would try to snap their own bones or attack others in a furious rage. Their bodies convulse for hours on-end. It took a lot of prayers for an exorcism to finally loosen the grip of hell itself.
Don’t drink Ayahuasca without a trained and seasoned shaman. Definitely don’t drink alone.
Often the impact of what happens during ceremony stuck with people for days, if not weeks, on-end. Sometimes what happened during those nights was so heavy that people didn’t know how to integrate it. There were always stories of how people ended up committing suicide from other ceremonies. The shamans often didn’t speak English, and very few people could understand the sheer level of complexity that Ayahuasca introduces into your life. Sometimes, the spirits of ceremony stuck with people. They weren’t cleared out during the cleansing ritual at the end of ceremony. People often left with more issues and traumas than what they started with. This is truly one of the biggest dangers of Ayahuasca. Depression and lack of support can truly overwhelm the light of a soul. Sometimes the authorities didn’t know those people were involved with Ayahuasca.
Rival bloodlines and families in the jungles of Peru, Brazil and Colombia are not unaccustomed to the jealousy that runs thick in impoverished households. Often the strongest shamans have to deal with so much black magick and rampant energies coming from neighboring tribes that they are constantly forced to move and psychically defend themselves. The small villages the shamans come from in the jungle are very poor. There are many gangs, armed guerrilla fighters, and unforeseen threats. Life is not easy out in the jungle. Westerners often don’t think about the repercussions of traveling through such dangerous areas. What I found interesting was the Ayahuasca being used to cast heavy black magick between the shamans themselves. So much for being humble and using it to “heal” or even bothering to call it “medicine” for that matter.
Something that has been for the most part greatly undocumented are the long-term mental issues associated with drinking Ayahuasca. The reason why this field of study is so scarce is due to the legality of Ayahuasca. It is illegal to be in possession or consume Ayahuasca in most the Western world. To be drinking a heavy psychoactive drug in the kind of quantity that I was drinking, was absolutely reckless and harmful to my mental health.
You aren’t allowed to drink Ayahuasca if you suffer from a mental illness. So a lot of participants started lying on their applications, just so they could attend ceremonies.
What I noticed with some of the other helpers, was a worsening of their mental health over a number of years. They started losing their memories, becoming increasingly paranoid, and impatient. They became angry when they couldn’t remember things or forgot conversations even happened. Their paranoia grew so bad that they started targeting and verbally abusing others. The lack of compassion and patience made them unsuitable to be helpers in any way. This worsening of mental health is a serious issue and remains unaddressed, as is always the case when people don’t believe they have a problem.
The web of lies
Often times people would share their encounters of the previous night in a sharing circle the next morning. The regulars would recount the things they saw and the crazy lessons they had to go through. Though many people couldn’t see spirits, a good number or people heard voices, saw visions of animals, felt strong expressions and communication, and were generally passed on messages. Sometimes, people would experience past lives and great insight into childhood traumas or things they never even thought were an issue. A strong voice would narrate the experience.
This is where the problems started. The voices, spirits, narrations, messages, etc, would be a complete lie. The things that were told to them, myself included, often just didn’t come true, or the complete opposite ended up occurring.
So where did that leave us?
We started to question even the most profound or innocent of ceremonies. We just couldn’t trust what was being shown or what was appearing before us. This led to a breakdown in trust and ultimately forced us to question why we were drinking in those ceremonies to begin with. Nobody wanted to be lied to about serious life issues. Often, it took months to uncover the web of lies that was spun.
The days after a ceremony would leave people in a drug-induced high. People would float around, completely ungrounded in every possible way. If you try to speak to people who have just come out of a ceremony, their eyes are glossed over and common sense alludes them.
Ayahuasca is a very intense experience for those who go through a rough night. Often the intense visions, dark spirits, and shocking revelations, re-traumatize the person and can make things even worse. There is no post-ceremony integration. There were many times that I noticed soul fragments had been stolen by dark creatures preying on innocent participants. Parts of your soul are literally ripped out of you and torn into shreds for insidious beings to collect a part of your essence. This is known as Soul Prisons and it is an extremely serious issue. Even after quitting Ayahuasca, months later I was still discovering insidious creatures with fragments of my soul.
The symptoms of falling victim to Soul Prisons, range from excessive anger, depression, sadness, unexplained fatigue and low energy, nightmares, anxiety, sudden feelings of fear, etc.
Something rather unexpected, and also quite disappointing considering the nature of the crowd, is the cult-like mentality of any friends or acquaintances that you make within the Ayahuasca community. When you stop drinking, the entire community ceases communication. You are either with them, or you are on the outside. It doesn’t matter how long you knew them, the rough nights you spent helping them through, or the closeness like family itself– once you are out, the cold doors to their inner circles shut around them. They are an easily-angered and very temperamental crowd.
Who can I call if I need help?
There are not a lot of healing practitioners out there who understand the fine intricacies of dealing with the residual energies of Ayahuasca. Even fewer still are those who perform spirit extractions and soul retrievals, while navigating a safe and effective pathway to remove what shouldn’t be there.
If you have encountered a negative experience while drinking Ayahuasca or feel like a spiritual attachment is adversely affecting your wellbeing, I currently offer a myriad of energetic healing services that can help you. I have been performing exorcisms for over 7 years. My specialty is in dealing with and deporting dark energies.
Don’t hesitate to take a look at all the energetic services I provide:
1. Soul Coaching – 1:1 video call session to help integrate, coach, guide you through a current phase in your life.
2. Chakra Awakening & Energy Healings – Performed live over Skype that activate and awaken your energetic body.
3. Spirit Extractions – In-depth spirit removal, exorcisms, and healing to remove anything that isn’t there for your highest and most beneficial purpose.