Ayahuasca Ceremony Etiquette

Stepping into an Ayahuasca ceremony is like opening the door to a profound, transformative journey that transcends ordinary reality. As you prepare for this sacred experience, remember to let go of control, embrace the unknown, and trust in the process.

By understanding the flow of the ceremony, the importance of surrender, and the powerful role of Icaros, you can navigate your journey with grace and confidence. In this article, you will learn how to prepare and navigate this life-changing experience.

1. Responsible Preparationfor Ayahuasca ceremonies

If you are thinking about participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony, prepare to let go of your mind, and meet yourself beyond who you think you are!

Describing an Ayahuasca ceremony with words is almost impossible, and also every experience can be very different. In this article you will learn what happens in an Ayahuasca ceremony and how to navigate your experience!

Your Ayahuasca ceremony starts with a responsible preparation process, to make sure you stay safe on your plant medicine journey, and make the most out of your experience! Part of this preparation is to choose a safe place and the right people for your Ayahuasca ceremony.

2. Following the guidelines

Before your Ayahuasca ceremony make sure you are understand the guidelines and in agreements with them. Often there is an information circle before the ceremony with everybody present when the facilitators inform you of the guidelines and rules and you can ask questions if you have any. It’s outmost important for everyone’s safety to follow all the guidelines during your Ayahuasca ceremony.In altered states of consciousness boundaries can seem different or dissolve completely. To educate yourself about ethical behavior in the psychedelic healing spaces read my Code of Ethics and best practices for Ayahuasca healing journeys.

3. Confidentiality

What happens in the ceremony, stays in the ceremony. Be mindful of the privacy of others and only share about your personal experience outside of the ceremony container. Confidentiality ensures that participants feel safe to share their experiences without fear of judgment or repercussions. This trust is essential for deep, personal healing.

4. Focusing inward

Even though Ayahuasca is traditionally used in a group setting, each participant have a unique and different experience. The primary goal of an Ayahuasca ceremony is personal growth and healing. Closing your eyes, staying quiet and focusing inward allows you to engage deeply with your journey and avoid external distractions. Respecting others physical space and avoid touching assures safety and healthy boundaries in the ceremony space.

5. Stay till the end

During the ceremony, stay in the ceremonial space unless you need to use the bathroom outside. For your own safety, under no circumstances leave the ceremony or wonder off premises before it officially ends. Leaving prematurely could expose you to risks without proper support and supervision.

Honor yourself, your journey and the spirit of the Ayahuasca by complying by all the ceremony protocols and staying till the end of your experience.

6. Opening the space

The Ayahuasca ceremony will start with a Shaman or ceremony facilitator opening the sacred space to provide the group with guidance and protection.

Opening a sacred ceremony space usually starts with calling in the four directions, the Mother Earth, Father Sky, The Great Spirit and our ancestors, but each ceremony leader has their unique way of opening the space. Calling in various plant Spirits apart from the Ayahuasca to share their medicine, guidance and wisdom is also part of the opening ritual. Last but not least, in many traditions the shaman use sacred Tobacco to open the crown chakra and energetic body of each participant.

7. Drinking the medicine

The amount of medicine they offer you to drink depends on the ceremony leaders and the tradition they follow. At the beginning everybody is offered a certain amount of medicine based on their makeup and previous experience. After the first serving the facilitators check in with the participants to see if they possibly need more medicine. During the ceremony there are certain times when more medicine is offered and participants can discern if they want to take more medicine or not, depending on their experience and internal guidance. As a general rule, if you keep asking yourself during the ceremony about needing more medicine or not, probably you need some more.

8. The Purge

In an Ayahuasca ceremony, the “purge” refers to the physical and emotional release that often accompanies the Ayahuasca ceremony. This can manifest as vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, shaking, yawning, crying, or other forms of expulsion. The purge is a common part of the Ayahuasca experience and is considered an important part of the healing process.

The purge helps to detoxify the body, expelling toxins to improve overall health and it can also help release stored emotions such as grief, anger, fear, and sadness, allowing individuals to process and let go of emotional baggage. When you are in the purge is best to surrender to the process and use your breath to navigate your experience.

9. Psychedelic journey

An Ayahuasca ceremony is a profound journey that encompasses a range of experiences, from vivid visions to deep emotional releases and expanded awareness. You can often see visions that can range from beautiful and awe-inspiring to dark and challenging. Increased sensory awareness is also a common sign of being in an altered state of consciousness. Temporal distortion will make you feel as though time has stopped or stretched, entering a state of timelessness.

Ayahuasca allows you to see your lives from a higher perspective, offering new insights and understanding. During the Ayahuasca ceremony many feel a profound connection to nature, sensing a unity with the earth and all living beings.

10. Breathwork

Your best ally during an Ayahuasca ceremony is your breath. Conscious breathing will keep you present and fully engaged with your journey. Breath will keep you grounded during your experience and provide you with a sense of calm and stability during the intense experiences. Using your breath is a powerful tool to navigate intensity and emotional discomfort. It can also serve as a tool to reduce anxiety and panic, providing a way to stay calm during challenging parts of your journey.

It is recommended that during your Ayahuasca ceremony you sit upright as much as possible, because when you lay down it’s easy to lose presence and your power.

11. Icaros, prayer songs

Icaros are traditional prayer songs used in ayahuasca ceremonies, especially within the Amazonian shamanic traditions. These songs have significant roles and are considered essential to the ceremonial process to guide the participants through their ayahuasca experience. Shamans and ceremony facilitators use these songs as surgical instruments to facilitate a deep emotional healing, spiritual insights and to deepen your journey induced by ayahuasca.

Icaros are more than just songs, they are an integral part of the ayahuasca ceremony, carrying deep spiritual and healing significance. They guide, protect, heal, and connect you to the spiritual realms, making them a vital component of the transformative ayahuasca experience.

12. Surrender

Surrendering during an ayahuasca ceremony is crucial for maximizing the healing, and transformative benefits of your experience. By letting go of control and embracing the journey with trust and openness, you can navigate your journey easier and maximize your results.

People often feel fear and anxiety before their ayahuasca ceremony about the unknown or the intensity of the experience. This fear creates resistance that can prevent you to get the most out of your experience. When you focus on trust and surrender it is easier to navigate the challenging moments and fully embrace your journey.


Embarking on an Ayahuasca ceremony is a journey of deep self-discovery and healing, offers a unique opportunity to connect with your inner self and the greater universe. Remember to surrender, trust in the process, and use your breath to stay grounded. Respect the sacred space and those around you, and be open to the profound insights and healing that Ayahuasca can offer.

Check out this webinar to learn the 5 steps of responsible preparation and satay safe on your Ayahuasca healing journey!

Blessings on your path, Nina Izel

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