When we take part in a plant medicine ceremony and we ingest a plant teacher such as Ayahuasca we really don’t know what to expect. The experience can be breathtaking and overwhelming. Most likely we will be confronted with parts of our own subconscious and we could end up in some unknown and dark places. In order not to get lost in the experience it is really helpful if we set an intention for the ceremony that works as an anchor during the experience. You could also call it a prayer. Tanya describes Ayahuasca as a doctor and a teacher and like with any real doctor or teacher it does not make sense to approach them without knowing what it is that you want to heal or to learn. To give your experience a direction and also to make sense of it afterwards it is essential to come prepared and have an intention that fits in a short sentence so you can remember it during the ceremony. Tanya gives us a wonderful and simple formula that helps with the intention setting. It consists of one verb; choose one of the following:
- Help me
- Show me
- Teach me
in combination with
- a difficult emotion (fear, anger, guilt, sadness, shame, joy) or
- an essential quality (peace, love, compassion, connection – essential human qualities the we might have become disconnected from, through traumatizing experiences)
- Show me – my fear
- Teach me – about love
- Help me – experience joy
Interview with Dr. Tanya Maté, N.D.
Tanya is the Integration Director at the Temple of the Way of Light, an ayahuasca healing center that works with Shipibo healers in Peru. She is a naturopathic doctor and is in an ongoing apprenticeship with her father-in-law, Dr. Gabor Maté, and his unique style of compassionate inquiry and ayahuasca processing.