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All posts published here are presented as casual conversation pieces to provoke thought in some direction or another, they do not necessarily represent fixed opinions of the Inner Council, as our work exists beyond the spectrum of bound statement and singular clause.

Sacred Ceremony Preparation

Although sacred plant medicine is becoming more popular, there are many uncertainties when first considering the options. What all of these experiences require is a grounded sense of self, one toe or more on the subjective soil and a helping of trust because your state of mind is the main driving force of your journey. Inner Child work gives you the grounding of your personal truth, a deep sense of familiarity which gives you a relative reference point when considering the ambiguity offered in a mind shifting and opening experience.

Unfortunately arriving for retreat, or arriving in a place which is well known for sacred medicine does not mean that your personal inner needs will be supported. It does not mean that anyone you meet will have time to instruct you on your journey past recommending the configuration of the plant medicine work. You have two options, you can begin working on your own, or you can put your trust in the reputation of others. Regardless which you choose, you will be the one responsible for 99% of the integration work. You will need tools. In fact, without these tools, the sacred medicine may not even show up for you.

It may surprise you that the list of symptoms with which you can leave a sacred plant ceremony or a plant dieta look strikingly similar to the symptoms which you were hoping to resolve. It is possible that a new depression can be present afterwards and unless you have personal tools, you may feel very alone in the reflection and integration time following the necessary opening to your healing work. At the same time, a deeply mature wisdom is waiting for you deep within. Sometimes repressed emotions can come through, replacing depression with anger, often from childhood truama. Repressed emotions were repressed for safety reasons and the more ground work we’ve done with self-forgiveness and nurturing the valuable part inside, the more grace can be present when the doors are opened.

Ayahuasca ceremony preparation

In the afternoon before we drink, all participants come to a one-to-one sharing to discuss their reasons for attending the ceremony, to ask questions and to home in on the all important reason for attendance or intention that they will share with the shaman before the ceremony. “I’ve never told anyone about this in my life before” is a statement that isn’t unfamiliar. Our minds tend towards our deepest doubts and insecurities as we prepare for a deep subjective life review which may very well not be under our control.

We are settling down for another ceremony with the maestro shaman and the 3 participants for tonight’s ceremony are all new to the medicine and also the shamanic ritual which incorporates the sacred healing plant medicine ayahuasca. All are focusing on personal intentions and the power of being present and held in the shamanic space. The power of intention has been implied since the participants first contacted the retreat center and through each stage of their personal preparation.

The Andean shaman asks the participants to consider their childhood, and asks one of the participants to gently skim over their childhood stories to raise an opportunity for integration. 20 minutes later the participant begins to show emotional signs, murmuring and moving. Tears & light laughter interspersed with ‘thank you’, ‘thank you mother’, thank you medicine’.

One of the repeated intentions that I have heard from ceremony participants is the want to integrate and clear the past to make the present light and clear for the mind. To do this work now with strong dedication and not leave this baggage until death.

The shaman explains that integration is required before we can ascend into the realm of knowing that the sacred medicine can reveal. As in death, he explains, our doubts will expose us and form the monsters that lay before us.


I was in Nepal studying with the Tibetan refugees north of Pokhara in early 1997, I remember the importance that was placed on the primary developmental stages of the child up to around 7 or 8 years of age. I felt a civilized honesty and authenticity druing that time which has never left me. The monks explained that a child needs to be exposed to the same world as an adult in order to become one. My mind revelled with the patronising tone that had surrounded my childhood experience, where my questions were dismissed and silence was implied. Where was the guardian of my well-being?

If I was to ask you right now if you are ready to die you would probably feel not quite ready, and that’s OK. This feeling of being unprepared is with us when we wake in the morning and when we go to bed at night, it saturates all our decisions, deep desires and primary motivations. What is it exactly that’s not ready?

If I were to tell you that I have a new gadget that could read your thoughts, which areas would you feel instantly exposed by and wish to cover up? How could you hide something without bringing it into your current focus, allowing it to be identified with my gadget?

We all have a past which influences our current behaviour. Where do we begin with this? At birth. The Inner Child workshop starts with a womb meditation where participants are sometimes shocked to feel that their experience of birth holds with it a contract or agreement which is there each and every morning as the realisation of life comes flooding in on waking.

If we can turn our attention to some of our childhood experiences which are not integrated, then we will be able to comfortably approach medicine with the correct sense of mutuality. Ayahuasca cannot harm you—for it is you. It cannot take you to a place where you wouldn’t have chosen to take yourself, if you had had the long-term attitude of foresight. 50 / 50. If you walk in to meet ayahuasca with a sturdy preparation, a strong conviction that you can do the work yourself also, she may leave you to the integration work and show you a diamond in the cosmos.

The Inner Council methods mirror your subjective healing journey and once you have personal tools the heightened sacred medicine experiences can be of kaleidoscopic awe, navigating the heavens with your archetypal family.

Click here to visit our Inner Child Workshop page to find out more.