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 and 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.
In our observation of the modern world's increasing access to ancient practices like Ayahuasca, such as the Amazonian tradition, we've noticed the emergence of various new approaches as these traditions go global.
In light of this, we continuously refine our moral and ethical understanding, aiming to consciously and respectfully navigate tradition in the midst of a rapidly evolving and changing global landscape. The accessibility and popularity of Ayahuasca sometimes lead to its adoption in ways that overlook essential traditions and foundational structures, often in favor of convenience, modernity, or the creation of new infusions that may disregard traditional knowledge.
OUR MEDICINE APPROACH involves an active exploration of ethical methods to uphold tradition in the contemporary age. While we acknowledge the intelligence of change, we also recognize the importance of maintaining access to core traditions and root systems in spiritual practices. We are vigilant against fostering Western entitlement—by this, we mean avoiding actions that may imply a sense of superiority.
Therefore, in our center, we navigate the current period of transformation by carefully learning how to preserve tradition amidst the changing dynamics of the forest, cultures, and the medicines themselves. We proactively engage with "bridge systems", which we consider essential for Western individuals to communicate and integrate with indigenous systems of belief and spiritual practices.
OUR FACULTY & MEDICINE TEAM consists of medical plant practitioners, or in Spanish, ayahuasqueros. Each of the ayahuasqueros with whom we work has a family heritage deeply rooted in Ayahuasca practices. We specifically work with Shipibo, Matsegengka, and Mestizo practitioners. For general clarity we will refer to any of these people as ayahuasquero, although they have their own specific terms in the indigenous or mestizo tradition they come from.
The Ayahuasca tradition in Peru is vast, and there is not one lineage. As we work in a team setting at Novalis, the persons serving you medicine in the ceremony and facilitating will come from different lineages depending on the time of year. Please contact us for the specific time you are interested in joining, and we will let you know who to expect. Our listed retreats also name each person in the ceremony with you.
Additionally, we have a dedicated support team that actively supports the medicine space and serves as bridge between visitors and the indigenous community (our Novalis Medicine Team). On-site, we are fortunate to have many indigenous friends residing both within our center and in neighboring communities. They play a crucial role in weaving their traditions into our approach, providing ongoing education, and contributing to the evolutionary process of our ayahuasca work.
Together the support team and the ayahuasqueros will form our core Medicine Team. We are facilitators in your process. You are also obviously an integral part of this team, and we work for and with you.
ROLES OF OUR FACILITATORS: Our Medicine Team fulfills diverse roles within our center, serving as ayahuasca ceremony facilitators, cacao ceremony facilitators, integration circle counselors, morning practice instructors, personal counseling agents, translators, field guides to local plants, and providers of classroom-style teaching. We offer constant on-site support, ensuring a comprehensive and holistic experience.
There is a continuous infusion of knowledge through the shamanic guidance provided by the ayahuasquero as we collectively conduct ceremonies as a core team. The ayahuasqueros view the plants as teachers within the shamanic and medicinal plants realm, actively engaging with the plants in your treatment, dieta, and other plant therapies. This is possible because in Amazonian Plant Medicine, plants have spirits.
It is important to remember the word SHAMAN comes from a completely different geographic region and tradition, but we will use it because it is understood in English to be a stand-in for the lacking terms within the Amazonian plant medicine practice.
Our team's passion extends to sharing their cultural traditions, providing insights into their worldview of plants, and offering perspectives on ways of living.
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.
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.
The Dieta process, as approached at Novalis, is a 5 to 8-day isolation period where the participant undergoes a shamanic journey with a singular planta spirit, also known as a master teacher plant. There is an opening and closing of the dieta period with an ayahuasca ceremony.
During the opening, the participant then enters a dieta tambo in the jungle for the number of days choosen, completely isolated from all social contact, drinking their chosen plant and adhering to a restricted diet. This is what is meant by dieta, as it requires a special protocol. The word "dieta" means diet in Spanish, but in our case does not just mean food. This is done to make a special shamanic relationship with the spirit of the plant. It is a life-long relationship where the person integrates the energies of the plant into themselves. During the closing, this relationship will be sealed.
We offer longer dietas upon request.
Primary Dieta Plants Available:
Una de Gato
NOTE: Though these are our MAIN plants, with which we are most experienced, other plants may also be chosen, depending on the participant's needs and intentions. Our Ayahuasqueros along with our medicine team will recommend plant dietas when these plants are not appropriate.
MEDICAL VS. SHAMANIC DIETA: We offer dieta for both medical cases and for people wishing to deepen their shamanic connection to Nature. Though indeed both offer a shamanic experience. We ask that people interested in dieta to please contact us in advance, as often there is a very intimate process of formulation regarding person-plant matching, understanding the intentions and constitutions of the person, and preparation work that may include suggested reading, education, and dietary changes before visiting the center.
TRADITIONAL DIETA CONTEXT: We feel that it is necessary to speak to the original tradition of dieta. First, it is not found in all lineages of Ayahuasca as practiced by indigenous peoples. It is common in the Shipibo tradition. Our dieta is modeled after this Shipibo tradition, but it is not a traditional dieta. A 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 Amazonian healing, 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 a plant immersion.
OUR AYAHUASCA MEDICINE
We place great emphasis on the meticulous crafting of our Ayahuasca Medicine. As an educational note, we consistently encourage individuals, regardless of their Ayahuasca experience location, to inquire about the medicine's preparation.
Questions such as whether the facilitators themselves brew the medicine, the presence of other plant additives, and the type of vine used are crucial. Here's what we can share about our process:
BREWED BY OUR TEAM: Unlike common practices in Peru, we take pride in brewing our Ayahuasca onsite—a rarity in our modern era. Many centers store Ayahuasca for extended periods or have it brewed offsite, often by individuals not physically present at the center. Frequently, undisclosed additives are used, which facilitators may not have directly worked with (dieted).
Here at Novalis, we are committed to preserving the traditional integrity of Ayahuasca. Our standards significantly differ from other centers as we prioritize transparency, education, and fostering an intimate connection between our participants and the medicine they receive.
ADDITIVES TO OUR AYAHUASCA: We adhere to stringent criteria when considering the addition of other master plants to Ayahuasca. Our brew always contains only ayahuasca vine and chakruna.
We acknowledge that other plant additives alter the brew's composition, influencing the Ayahuasca experience—visions, sensations, and mystical connections to different realms of spirit.
AYAHUASCA BREW & PARTICIPANT PAIRING: We frequently match participants with specific formulas. While the Ayahuasca brew remains consistent week by week, variations may occur. Careful consideration is given to pairing individuals with the medicine that best serves their unique process, determined by factors such as intention, constitution, medical or spiritual objectives, and plans for future dieting at Novalis. This meticulous matching process is a testament to our commitment to participant well-being and the transformative potential of our Ayahuasca ceremonies.
We take great care to brew our medicine on our premises.
Cooking Bobinsana for dieta.