Nearly three years ago, I participated in my first ayahuasca ceremony. To this day, it remains one of the most profound, beautiful, and transformative nights of my life.
That experience eventually led me to work at an ayahuasca retreat center in Peru, where I witnessed hundreds of individuals’ journeys and experienced many more of my own.
For those new to ayahuasca, it is an ancient entheogen and plant medicine that has been used for centuries by indigenous healers and shamans throughout the Amazon in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil.
In ceremonial settings, ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew or ‘tea’ most commonly derived from 2 plants found in the Amazon basin – the ayahuasca vine and the chacruna leaf.
Ayahuasca has been used to heal all manner of physical, mental, and psycho-spiritual illnesses. A multitude of findings show that users of ayahuasca report:
- Improved psychological well-being, mindfulness, and emotional regulation
- Elimination of depressive, anxious, and addictive symptoms
- Treatment of PTSD symptoms
- Increased self-awareness, creativity, and empathy
- Deeper connection to the self, other beings, nature, and the universe
Although I know there’s always more with this sacred medicine, it feels like I’ve seen it all. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Heaven and Hell, and everything in between.
And though ayahuasca has definitely presented her own set of challenges, my work with this sacred plant medicine has undeniably had a profound effect on my own emotional, energetic, and spiritual healing.
Here are 30 of the most powerful lessons I’ve received from Grandmother Ayahuasca:
- Your true nature is unconditional love.
- You are never alone, and you are always supported.
- You are an extension of universal consciousness. Everything is connected, so what affects one will undoubtedly affect others. Be kind and compassionate to ALL beings.
- Healing happens when you are willing to open your heart.
- Time is a construct. There is only ever this present moment.
- There is a greater power (Source, God, Creator) that we must surrender to, yet we still always have a choice.
- Life is abundant. There is always enough of everything.
- Breath is life. Breath and spirit are one in the same.
- Don’t worry, and don’t take life so seriously. It doesn't matter the way we think it does.
- Be grateful for everything. Focus on what you have, and happiness will come easily.
- The beauty of life never ceases to exist. It is always there, but sometimes we forget (or choose not to see it).
- Fear is an illusion.
- Connection is essential to our healing and happiness. The majority of human suffering stems from the egotic separation we experience.
- You are capable of so much more than you believe.
- You don’t have to do or achieve anything to be worthy. You are worthy because you exist.
- Don’t try to ‘teach’ people. Embody your truth, and be the change you want to see in the world. When you live from a place of authentic expression, you inspire others to do the same.
- The people who trigger you are your greatest teachers.
- Let go of people pleasing. Follow your heart and do what lights you up.
- Always trust yourself. You know what to do.
- The Universe gives us what we need, but we don’t always have the perspective to realize it at the time.
- Your words hold power. Speak from a place of love.
- Reconnect with your inner child. Play. Laugh. Dance. Sing.
- The Truth is beyond our human understanding. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.
- Pachamama (Mother Earth) is truly our mother, and she gives unconditionally without asking anything in return. She deserves our love, respect, and protection.
- Forgiveness is true liberation.
- Peace begins when we release our expectations.
- Our darkness is also a part of us. True wholeness means shadow and light, unified.
- Be the witness. Rather than creating stories around what is happening, simply observe.
- Love is the most powerful force in the universe.
- YOU are the medicine.
So there you have it – 30 of the most powerful lessons I’ve received from Grandmother Ayahuasca.
It’s important to note that some of your greatest insights and transformations will happen after your ayahuasca ceremonies, with proper integration. Integration is what brings these new understandings into your reality once you return to your day to day life, ensuring that your experience translates into long term, positive changes in your life.
In parting, I’ll leave you with this message by Mexican healer and poet, Maria Sabina:
Cure yourself with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon.
With the sound of the river and the waterfall.
With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds.
Heal yourself with mint, with neem and eucalyptus.
Sweeten yourself with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile.
Hug yourself with the cocoa bean and a touch of cinnamon.
Put love in tea instead of sugar, and take it looking at the stars.
Heal yourself with the kisses that the wind gives you and the hugs of the rain.
Get strong with bare feet on the ground and with everything that is born from it.
Get smarter every day by listening to your intuition, looking at the world with the eye of your forehead.
Jump, dance, sing, so that you live happier.
Heal yourself, with beautiful love, and always remember,
YOU are the medicine.
Danielle Rateau is a writer, yoga and meditation instructor, certified health coach, and global traveler. In 2022, she lived and worked at an ayahuasca retreat center in Peru. She is currently expanding her offerings through the study of trauma informed breathwork and sound healing.
Connect with Danielle on Instagram: @daniellerateau