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Holding Responsible Ayahuasca Ceremonies

Ceremonies at the Hummingbird are led by Manain Amacifen, a fourth generation ayahuasquero with over 40 years of experience with the medicine. Our priority is to provide a safe and sacred space for healing where you can relax into the experience knowing you will be well cared for. Many people drinking ayahuasca the first time are unsure of how they will handle the experience. They may feel anxiety, fear or apprehension. This is understandable, but in truth there is nothing to be afraid of. When drinking ayahuasca with a skilled healer and facilitators no harm will come to you, physically, emotionally, spiritually or energetically. These fears can easily be managed by beginning with smaller doses to gain confidence in your own ability to work with the medicine and in the benevolent and caring nature of ayahuasca itself. Ayahuasca and the doctor spirits want to heal and teach us. Our job is to allow them to do their work. We do this by trusting them and surrendering to the process.

All retreats begin with thorough discussion of ayahuasca clearly explaining how this medicine works, what you can expect to experience, helpful attitudes to bring to ceremony and techniques for managing difficult experiences. Specific examples are given so you will know what falls into the “normal” range of ayahuasca experience and be more calm and accepting of what arises. We will cover all the safety guidelines and rules of ceremony and clearly explain the importance of following these rules. They are in place for everyone’s safety and well-being.


Getting the most from your time with ayahuasca requires building a relationship with it and coming to a place of trust and surrender, allowing the medicine to do its work without resistance. One simply will not surrender to something they are afraid of. We take a conservative approach with initial doses so our guests are not taken into an overwhelming or frightening experience in their very first journey. There will be a chance to take more medicine if the effect is not as strong as you would like. This process of healing yields much better results when we quickly come to trust ayahuasca and that can be a difficult place to reach if our first journey is too much to handle. Surrender is the key, and we will only surrender to something we trust.

In the following ceremonies you may begin with a larger dose if you choose. The dose for each individual will vary based on their sensitivity and metabolism, and we will quickly get the appropriate dose for each person dialed in. As you demonstrate your ability to manage the experience and remain in control of your behavior, we will gladly give a dose sufficient to take you as deep as you like.

Safety Guidelines

In order to facilitate the safest and most productive healing experience all participants must agree to abide by the following protocols during ceremony:

  • Remain in the protected space of the maloca until the end of ceremony is announced.
  • Allow our caretakers to guide you to the toilet and help you back to your spot. This is the only time to leave the maloca.
  • Try to remain quiet and respect the journeys of other participants.
  • No talking, singing or humming to the music during ceremony.
  • No physical contact with other guests during ceremony.

Each ceremony will have the shaman, an english speaking facilitator and two caretakers that will not drink. The caretaker will guide each person to the toilets, bring them back to their mat in the maloca and assist as directed by the shaman and facilitators. During the ceremony the shaman may come and blow tobacco smoke to clear energy, and will also be doing specific healing for each person singing directly in front of them. If someone appears distressed the facilitator will come and chat with them quitely and guide them through their challenge.

Feel Your Emotions

Ayahuasca brings deep healing and release of suppressed energy and emotion. Most people will have a lot of emotion come up both in and outside of ceremony. Our facilitators are available during and after ceremony to assist understanding and integrating the experience. We foster a supportive and nurturing environment and encourage people to be open and honest with the shaman and facilitators about their challenges. As emotions arise, it is important to allow yourself to feel them. They will pass on their own, and often there is little that needs to be done except allow them to pass through you and be released.