How to Turn Your Trip Into a Ceremony?
For millennia humans have used psychedelics in a ceremonial way to catalyze profound transformation. Ancient traditions consumed entheogens with deep respect and an awareness that they can be powerful teachers and healers. In the modern-day, ceremony is still a great way of guiding your experience and can offer a key to unlocking deeper healing.
What is a Ceremony?
The word ‘ceremony’ comes from a Latin root that implies holiness, sacredness, and reverence. By reframing your experience from a trip to a ceremony, you pay greater homage to the sacred nature of the journey you are about to undertake and recognize the indigenous traditions that established the practice and application of these entheogens.
When we hear the word ritual or ceremony, certain connotations may come to mind, but at its most fundamental level, ceremony can be defined as the deliberate use of metaphor to influence your reality. When you create a psychedelic ceremony, you are essentially sending messages to your subconscious regarding the direction of your journey. This is accomplished by communicating with the subconscious in its own language, using symbols and emotions.
When a ritual is established, the unconscious mind is able to participate more effectively. As long as we learn to speak its language and work with it, our unconscious is excellent at producing the results we request (and more)
A ceremony need not be formal or rigid in any manner! There are so many ways to arrange a ceremony that yours will undoubtedly be completely unique. In your ritual, the ‘what’ is not nearly as important as the ‘why’; it is less about having the perfect-looking altar or gathering a million crystals and more about focusing yourself and tuning in to why you are meeting the mushrooms (or any other plant medicine) in the first place. The effort is undertaken within, not outside.
The psychedelic experience may be divided into three phases: preparation, experience, and integration. All are equally essential. Those who want to get the most out of their trip may make modest adjustments at each step to get fresh insights and create a more profound psychedelic experience.
Ceremonial Ideas ─ Preparation
- Set an intention: intentions create a framework for the journey and can be like an anchor that provides something to return to for grounding and centering throughout the trip.
- Find a space that is safe and comfortable: mushrooms amplify your current mindset so it is important to find or build a safe space that supports your process.
- Clear and protect the energy of the space: similar to above, creating a space that feels good for you will greatly support your experience. Shifting the energy of your ceremony space could look like burning herbs like sage or cedar, building an altar with power objects, using crystals or sound healing tools like singing bowls ─ whatever feels right to you.
- Fast: stop eating 4-12 hours before your journey. This helps the effectivity of the mushroom and can combat some issues with nausea. Indigenous cultures also often modify the diet a few days beforehand, eating more simply (less oil, salt and spice) and plant-based.
- Meditate and ask for protection and guidance: ask for support and you shall receive it; try calling out and connecting with your ancestors, spirit guides and even the mushrooms themselves before you begin.
Ceremonial Ideas ─ During the Experience
- Music matters: very often (if not always) traditional psychedelic ceremonies have live music or icaros that help guide the experience. If this is not an option for you, try listening to a special playlist curated for the trip. You can also oxygenate your brain and soothe yourself by singing or chanting during the experience.
- Meditate: meditation can enhance the therapeutic effects of psychedelics and support the process of moving inward.
- Surrender and let go: the purpose of the preparation was to build a safe container into which you can completely surrender; now it is time to totally let go and enjoy the ride.
Ceremonial Ideas ─ Integration
- Wrap up the circle: thank your guides, ancestors, or any other supportive energies you may have encountered during the experience and release them from the space.
- Ground yourself when your experience is over: reflect on what you have experienced and take a moment to ground yourself and your energy. You can try a visualization of drawing the energy into your body and then into the core of the earth. If you were inside, get into nature and walk around (preferably barefoot) for a bit.
- Nourish the body: some people find that eating meats, root vegetables and minerals like sea salt can help to ground back into this reality after the journey is over.
- Journal: in the time afterwards sketch or write any insights or images that were especially potent to you during the experience.
- Take your time: if possible, try to have at least one day free of responsibilities immediately following your journey. This is an important time to allow for whatever is arising to have as much space as possible, plus it supports the psychological processes that are unfolding. The brain is still highly flexible after the trip, so now is a good time to reinforce any new insights or perspective changes.
Psychedelics are extraordinarily unique and potent drugs that, by their very nature, induce a sense of the holy. Whether attentively rolling a joint or singing over a boiling pot of ayahuasca, with respect and some mindfulness for the ceremonial process, we may deepen our connection to these medicines.
Note: If you have a mental illness and are curious about using psilocybin or other psychedelic therapy, please consult one of the relevant medical authorities first. Do not self-prescribe, it’s vital to have the proper support and guidance when using psychedelics as medicine.