Name: Kathleen

Why did you decide to try psychedelics?

I knew that they would shift my perspective. I work with psychedelics for a multitude of issues. Raising my consciousness, healing childhood issues, anxiety, and more.

How did you learn about psychedelics?

I read about Peyote in college as something that could show us what we need to work on.

Which psychedelics did you use?

I’ve worked with Ayahuasca, ketamine, MDMA, mushrooms, salvia, and LSD.

Who guided you through your experience?

I’ve worked with a Peruvian shaman, on my own, as well as some gringo folks who are not all that well-trained and friends.

How did you prepare for the experience?

For Ayahuasca ceremonies this is the protocol I was given:

For 3 days (minimum) to a week before the Ceremony, abstain from:

  • Red meat and pork
  • Fermented foods
  • Alcohol
  • Any substances
  • Cannabis;
  • Sexual relations of any kind (with self or another)

Avoid processed foods; excess sugar and salt; spicy, fried or fatty foods; aged proteins; smoked fish; sardines; herring; chocolate; tahini; sesame seeds; overly-ripe bananas and overly-ripe avocados; and go light on soy and dairy products.

Avoid coffee, caffeine, and strong black and green tea the day of the meditation and the day preceding the meditation.

Your best choices are whole foods: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy bread, brown rice, fish, chicken, eggs, and vegetable oils.

How would you describe your experience?

I have yet to work with an individual therapist but the shaman helps the whole circle of people. About 25-ish.

The shaman starts by opening the ceremony, folks go up and drink and then he sings and goes around to do a prayer over everyone’s head, called an Olympia. For the ceremonies I attend, they have about 3-5 “helpers” who assist folks to the bathroom, take away vomit buckets, get blankets, water, anything you need.

Depending on how much one needs you get someone different to help. When someone generally panics and starts crying, a helper steps in. With bigger issues, like someone feeling like they can’t breathe, the 2nd in command to the shaman helps out. When there’s a BIG time issue, the shaman steps in. He keeps tabs on everyone to ensure things are A-ok.

What did you do for integration afterward?

I talked to friends, reviewed the experience with a therapist, journaled, and meditated.

How long did the effects last?

Depends on the substance. I metabolize these substances slowly so Ayahuasca can have me going for 8-15 hours. Other things about 5-8. Depends on what it is and where it came from.

How is your life different after going through psychedelic therapy?

It wasn’t officially therapy per se but yes, many changes occurred.

If you could go back, what would you have done differently? Or what will you do differently next time?

I wouldn’t change anything. Maybe I would have started earlier in my life and done it more often. I plan to continue to work with plant medicines for as long as they are available.