OUR APPROACH TO AYAHUASCA & DIETA
What are our morals & ethics in approaching Ayahuasca?
What traditions do we work with?
How do we brew our Medicine?
How do we offer Ayahuasca Ceremony & Dieta at Novalis?
AYAHUASCA AT NOVALIS
As a retreat center, we receive visitors from all across the globe, from many cultures, coming with a vast range of intentions for working with Ayahuasca. Ranging from no prior experience, to decades of experience, we are always inspired by the feedback we receive regarding the integrity & approach we hold within our organization.
Here, we wish to share with you a bit about our process of formation with Medicine, our Approach to Medicine, and our Medicine Team of facilitators.
OUR PROCESS OF FORMATION: We have seen, that with the modern world´s access to these ancient practices, many new approaches are arising from Ayahuasca going global.
With that, we are ever-developing our own moral & ethical understanding of how to consciously and respectfully approach tradition amidst a highly evolutionary & changing time on the planet. In this time, with the tradition becoming ever-more accessible & popular, we sometimes see the medicine being adopted in ways that neglect the essential traditions and root structures, in trade for convenience and modernity, or out of forming new infusions that quickly irradicate traditional knowledge.
OUR APPROACH TO MEDICINE is to actively explore ethical approaches to tradition in the modern age. Though we hold space for the intelligence of change, we also believe that access to core tradition & root systems with all spiritual practice is important. We take care not to breed western entitlement, spiritual conquest of indigenous traditions, and a loss of highly precious cultural knowledge & heritage, which can oftentimes arise in our modern age of globalizing medicine.
Therefore, at our center we assess the time of change with carefully learning of how to actively hold tradition whilst amidst changing dynamics of the forest, the cultures, and the medicines themselves. We actively work with ¨bridge systems¨ which we see as necessary for western people to communicate & integrate with indigenous systems of belief & spiritual practice.
OUR FACULTY & MEDICINE TEAM is comprised of Shipibo Unaya (shaman), from a family heritage of working with Ayahuasca, and a team of people who actively support the medicine space & act as bridges between the visitor & indigenous (our Novalis Medicine Team). We also have many indigenous friends living on-site & in neighboring communities who are actively weaving their traditions within our approach as well, offering continuous education & contributing to the evolutionary process of our medicine work.
ROLES OF OUR FACILITATORS: The Shipibo Unaya are our Ayahuasca ceremonial facilitators, and our Medicine Team serves as their support in the ceremonies. Thus, there is infusion, in accordance to the shamanic guidance of the Unaya in our process of learning to hold ceremony together. The Shipibo Unaya are also our teachers in the shamanic and medicinal plants realm, concerning treatment, dieta, and other plant therapies. They also are ever-passionate in sharing their cultural traditions such as the Shipibo Language, their cultural worldview of plants, and ways of living.
Our Medicine Team serves as cacao ceremony facilitators, integration circle counsel, morning practice instructors, kirtan facilitators, personal counseling agents, translators, field guides to local plants, classroom style teaching, and constant on-site support. And, on occasions where the Unaya are not present, we do offer Ayahuasca Ceremony in respectful and careful way that is supported by the Unaya.
Please feel free to contact us for any further questions regarding our approach to medicine work at Novalis.
Loyver shares the story of the origins of Shipibo culture through his paintings.
Preparation of Mucura (Petiveria alliacea); a teacher plant known for its powerful healing and strengthening properties.
OUR APPROACH TO DIETA
One of our dieta tambos that house our dieta participants, giving them the complete isolation experience, as is in accordance to tradition.
The Dieta process, as approached at Novalis, is an 8 day isolation period where the participant undergoes a shamanic journey with a singular planta maestra, or master teacher plant. Opening & closing the 8 day period with an ayahuasca ceremony, the participant then enters a dieta tambo in the jungle for 8 days, completely isolated from all social contact, drinking their chosen plant & adhering to a restricted diet. This is done to make a special shamanic relationship with the spirit of the plant, a life-long relationship where the person integrates the energies of the plant into themselves. We offer longer dietas upon request.
Primary Dieta Plants Available:
Una de Gato
NOTE: Though these are our MAIN plants, to which we are most experienced with, other plants may also be chosen, depending on the participant's needs & intentions. Our Shipibo Unaya, the Yui brothers of Yarinacocha, will recommend plant dietas when these plants are not appropriate.
MEDICAL VS. SHAMANIC DIETA: We offer dieta for both medical cases & people wishing to deepen their shamanic connection to Nature, though indeed both offer shamanic experience. We ask that people interested dieta to please contact us in advance, as often there is a very intimate process of formulation regarding person-plant matching, understanding the intentions & constitutions of the person, and preparation work that may include suggested reading, education, and dietary changes before visiting the center.
TRADITIONAL SHIPIBO CONTEXT: We feel that it is necessary to speak to the original tradition of dieta. In the Shipibo tradition, and in many other traditions, traditional dieta form is between 3 months to 1 year in isolation, communing with the plant in dieta. We recognize that with the western interest in Amazoninan healing, that these stipulations may seem impossible. So, as with most centers, we offer a modified version of something traditional. Sometimes we refer to his modified dieta as dieta or plant immersion.
Brewing Una de Gato, for a dieta participant. Oftentimes, we allow the participant to be a part of the harvesting & medicine making process, allowing them the opportunity to connect deeply to their own personal dieta medicine.
OUR AYAHUASCA MEDICINE
We take great care in the crafting of our Ayahuasca Medicine. As an educational note, we often encourage people, no matter where you go to experience Ayahuasca, to ask your facilitators about the crafting of their medicine. Do the facilitators themselves brew the medicine? What plant additives are in it? What kind of vine to they use? Here is what we can tell you about ours:
BREWED ONSITE, BY OUR TEAM: We brew our Ayahuasca ourselves, something more rare than you'd think. In our modern day, ayahuasca is often stored for long periods of time, brewed off-site to the facility or ceremony, and/or brewed by other people not even present at the centers themselves. Oftentimes additives are used, to which the facilitator has not directly worked with (dieted). And oftentimes, participants are not informed of what plants are going into their medicine. Here at Novalis, we believe in keeping the traditional practice of Ayahuasca as in integrity as possible, and we see how our standards do, in fact, differ substantially from other centers. We strive for transparency, education, and intimate connection between our participants and the medicine they receive.
WE BREW OUR MEDICINE FRESH FOR EACH RETREAT: Our Ayahuasca is brewed fresh on our premises, before each retreat we hold, offering an incredible potency & living presence. When we brew medicine, with intention, adding the plants that are most present in our daily connections in the Nature of our center, that potency is felt.
ADDITIVES TO OUR AYAHUASCA: We hold very strict understandings of the appropriateness of adding other master plants to Ayahuasca. If there are additives in the brew, it is because the person brewing has a deep connection (usually has dieted) with that plant. We recognize that using additives changes the composition of the brew, and alters the experience of Ayahuasca in accordance to the nature of the plant. The visions may be different, the feelings & sensations, the mystical connections to the different realms of spirit; all of this changes with additives.
When approaching dieta, the plants themselves have a very specific relationship with one another. To diet a plant means a commitment for life. When additives are put into ayahuasca brews, this is an important note for the drinker if they intend to approach dieta in the future. Knowing what you are drinking, and education surrounding those plants, is of essential value in traditional ayahuasca culture.
AYAHUASCA BREW & PARTICIPANT PAIRING: We often pair participants with a particular formula. Though the ayahuasca itself is ALWAYS the same brew (having been brewed the week before), the additives may vary, and therefore we may have several different kinds of medicine, which we serve during a ceremony or retreat. We tend to pair people with the medicine that is going to best serve their process, largely determined by the plant-additive present in the medicine. We take great care in this matching process, which is largely determined by the intention & constitution of the participant, their unique process and nature, if it is a medical or spiritual intention, and if they are planning to diet while out at Novalis, etc.
We take great care to brew our medicine on our premises.
Cooking Bobinsana Additive to be added to Ayahuasca brew.