Plant Medicines

Kambo

What Is Kambo?

Kambo is a traditional Medicine used by many indigenous tribes in the Amazon basin for the last several hundred years, and more than likely much longer. Kambo is the venomous secretion of Phyllomedusa bicolor (the giant leaf or monkey frog) – a bright green tree frog, and is a medicine that is traditionally used to detoxify the body, cleanse the mind, open and connect one together with nature, improve hunting abilities, vaccinate against and treat various diseases, and ultimately and most importantly, to connect directly with the great Spirit. 

What Is Used For?

Today, Kambo is being used for many of these same reasons in the modern world, and a variety of protocols are being developed to help people treat a wide variety of debilitating mental and physiological conditions and diseases, including depression, lyme disease, HIV, and even certain forms of cancer. Finally, while Kambo often elicits a physically oriented experience initially, as one works with the medicine more, the experience also changes and deepens, often becoming much more subtle and energetically/spiritually oriented.

How Kambo Is Used

Kambo is applied to the body via small burn marks made to the skin, often called Kambo dots or gates. The medicine initially elicits a wide variety of “cleansing and detoxing” symptoms, which often include some amount of purging (vomiting), as well as sweating, crying, or physical tremoring. These release valves, it is said, are the process by which Kambo elicits its mind/body healing effects through a massive discharge of accumulated tension, stress, and toxins from the physical body. Scientifically, you could say that Kambo is very much a nervous system oriented medicine, effectively down-regulating the body and putting one into a more parasympathetic state of being, helping the individual to recalibrate and find homeostasis again. Metaphysically, the indigenous believe that Kambo opens up ones energy field by removing Panema, or bad luck, from a persons field, thereby realigning their spirit with the positive energy of nature and the cosmos more and more overtime.

Bufo

The Bufo is fast becoming one of the most loved psychedelic medicines by shamans and psychotropic users as it produces one of the most potent entheogen in existence, known as O-methyl-bufotenin. The substance comes from the Bufo Alvarius, which is a Colorado River Toad, also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad. It is commonly found in North Mexico and in the Southwestern parts of the United States.

The medicine inspires a unique mystical and spiritual experience in that it induces stimulating visuals, a paradigm shift in attitude or perspective by way of an ego death, which is often useful in healing.

The climax of the experience comes within 3 minutes of taking the medicine, after which a state of immense peace, serenity and oneness is felt. The user loses the sense of time, experiencing a vertiginous feeling of samadhi, total unity with all existence. This means that the veil of illusion (maya) dissolves.

During the experience it is also possible to go through moments of great anguish that are the prelude to the encounter with the divine. These moments prior to the ecstasy and the total oceanic feeling of communion with oneself and life have to do with the sensation of being thrown into the void at great speed. The transitory but total dissolution of the ego is the launching pad of the Self towards an unimaginable connection with the Whole. This confirms what Osho said, “Life is not a dream, you are the dream”.

The medicine is collected when the Bufo toad comes out of hibernation. It must be emphasized, however, that during the milking of its poison-secreting gland, the toad does not suffer any harm and is returned to its natural habitat. The venom collected is then dried, which then turns into a powdery crystal that can be smoked directly in a pipe or vape. These toads are the only species in the world that possesses this type of substance.

While the experience only lasts between 15 to 20 minutes, it takes great courage to jump into such an experience. Those who cross the threshold of the transient death of the ego are stripped of the veil of the illusion of separateness to be plunged fully into the peak experience of oneness. With no divisions in perception, the memory of where we come from and where we are going is fully recovered.

It must be made clear that these are not vague sensations or subtle feelings, but truly the perception of being with the whole: “You ARE divinity, you ARE all…”. It is surely the most powerful and profound experience a human being can have.

It is an encounter with the absolute, the mystical experience where the observer merges with the observed and the consciousness is conscious of itself. It is a change of gestalt from a mundane existence to the divine where we can instantly look through the eyes of God or Creation, merged in the totality of the present moment.

Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca, also known as the “Vine of The Soul” (with Aya meaning Soul, and Waska meaning Vine) in the Quecha language, is an herbal tea that is mostly used as a spiritual medicine amongst the indigenous tribes of the Amazon basin in South America. Traditionally, its use was only entrusted to the tribe’s healer, the “Curandero”, as the medicine induces powerful pyscho-active effects that brings about an altered state of consciousness (e.g. hallucinations, out of body experiences and euphoria), which can be frightening for the inexperienced. In this state, the Cuanedro would perform rituals and seek advice from the spirit world to heal various mental, emotional, physical or spiritual ailments of a tribe member.

However, in the 1950’s, following the discovery and research surrounding this sacred medicine, the tea was then sought out by the western world. People began experimenting with its effects by drinking the tea themselves under the guidance of an experienced Shaman (another term for healer).

This psycho-active drink is generally prepared by brewing the stem bark of the Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis Caapi) and other plants such as the leaves of a Chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis) or the root bark of a Mimosa (Hostilis or Tenuiflora). The resulting brew contains the powerful psychedelic substance known as Dimethyltryptamine, as well as the MAO inhibiting harmala alkaloids, which are required for the Dimethyltryptamine to be orally active. The MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) is a chemical compound that prevents the Dimethyltryptamine from being broken down by the stomach acids, and enables the Dimethyltryptamine to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream and to the brain.

The interaction between the Dimethyltryptamine (one of the most abundant molecules found in most plants and animals, including the human brain), and the body is the reverse tolerant effect, meaning that the more often one takes Dimethyltryptamine, the less the body needs in order to experience the same effects. This is why some first-time users of Ayahuasca drink a larger amount of tea at the start in order to feel its effects, and once they become accustomed to it, they consume less to feel the same effects. Thus, making it impossible for one to be addicted to the drink.

The MAOI, on the other hand, may cause some side effects, which is usually caused by the stomach’s inability to properly digest certain food, containing tyramine, and pharmaceutical medicines. Some of the effects are: food poisoning-like symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, fever, etc. 

Therefore, it is absolutely important to adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to preparing the body for Ayahuasca as it could result in serious consequencesPlease refer to: “Preparation for The Ayahuasca Ceremony” below.

Setting the above precautionary measures aside, there are studies that also show the physical benefits of the MAOi’s in Ayahuasca, such as beta-carboline and harmine. They have been found to protect and regenerate brain cells, prevent inflammation and stop the growth of a tumor. On the psychological side, studies show that Ayahuasca increases the level of mindfulness, the ability to stay focused and stabilize the mood. Depression and PTSD patients have also been observed to receive long term benefits from Ayahuasca in only a few sessions.

Drinking Ayahuasca is not very pleasant, at least in the beginning. Firstly, the tea has a very foul taste, then when the MAO in the stomach stops working, the body will begin to exhibit symptoms similar to that of food poisoning. This is, however, also a good sign that the MAOi in Ayahuasca is working and that the body is absorbing the Dimethyltryptamine into the blood stream.

When the Dimethyltryptamine level in the brain increases, one will begin to experience extra visual sensation (aka hallucination), which will take the individual on a mystical journey. Some may experience extreme body discomfort to a degree that they might feel like dying (also referred to as an ‘ego death’). If the person chooses to cling on their body, the experience would only become heavier and more difficult to a point that they will have no other option but to surrender. Once the individual surrenders, the experience would become more profound and meaningful. This is the moment when people say they receive wisdom, lessons and guidance from “the Creator”. The experience usually lasts about 6-7 hours.

For those who have never experienced Ayahuasca before, it highly recommended to partake in two Ayahuasca Ceremonies immediately the night after the first. This is because the first ceremonial journey may be too overwhelming for one to properly gain anything useful from the experience. The second ceremony, however, will much more meaningful as the body and mind already knows what to expect and can better cope with the medicine this time around.  This usually results in a much deeper and more powerful mystical experience.

The Ayahuasca dosage greatly varies depending on the strength of the brew and the sensitivity of the person. Generally, the dosage is between 40 ml to 120 ml. It is not advisable to take any dosage higher than 120 ml as the experience may be too intense and strong for it to be meaningful.

The tea takes approximately 40 minutes to kick-in, during which, the person is advised to sit upright to allow the medicine to be fully absorbed by the body. Once the participant begins to feel some sensations, without feeling nauseous, they may lay down to help the natural flow of the Dimethyltryptamine to the brain. Accompanying ceremonial chants (or Icaro), songs will then be played in the background to help enhance the experience of the participant’s journey.

Later, the facilitator may invite those who feel the need to take more Ayahuasca dosage, which is usually a smaller dose, just enough to give them the extra “kick” to the experience. The intensity of the experience generally slowly dissipates after 6-7 hours, but some may continue to experience some visions while they go to sleep due to the elevated Dimethyltryptamine level in their brain.

Preparation for The Ayahuasca Ceremony

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic medicine that is highly dependent on the physical and mental condition of the participant, before and during the ceremony. Therefore, proper preparation is extremely important for the success of the experience, and more importantly, the safety of the participant.

The most important caution to remember is that Ayahuasca is incompatible with modern anti-depression, anti-anxiety and sleeping aid medication. If Ayahuasca is taken while these medications are still in the body, the result can be very serious. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that one must stop using these medications at least 2 weeks before the ceremony.

People with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, serious heart conditions or very high blood pressure should not take Ayahuasca. Pregnant women should also not take Ayahuasca. Women experiencing their monthly period must inform the shaman or the facilitators for proper care during the ceremony.

2 Weeks Prior To The Ceremony

  • Stop taking anti-depression, anti-anxiety medication whether they are the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as fluoxetine (Prozac®), fluvoxamine (Luvox®), citalopram (Celexa®), escitalopram (Lexapro®), sertraline (Zoloft®), paroxetine (Paxil®), SNRIs (Serotonin–Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Venlafaxine, Desvenlafacine, Duloxetixe, DRIs (Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor), NaSSAs (Noradrenergic and Specific Serotonergic Antidepressant) such as Mirtazapine, NDRIs (Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Bupoprion and others because they will have strong reactions with Ayahuasca, which can cause heart attack.
  • Stop taking all sleeping pills
  • Stop all narcotics such as hard drugs and alcoholic drinks
  • Stop consuming/using cannabis
  • Stop consuming/using other psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms, cactus, LSD, MDMA etc.
  • Stop all processed food because some chemicals may cause adverse effects with Ayahuasca
  • Reduce coffee, meat (especially red meat) consumption

Eat mostly fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables

1 Week Prior To The Ceremony

  • Refrain from any sexual activities, including masturbation because these activities reduce vital energy that you will need during the ceremony
  • Stop carbonated beverages, energy drinks, both sweetened and unsweetened
  • Stop dairy products such as milk, butter, margarin, cheeses because they will interact strongly with the MAOi in Ayahuasca, causing unnecessary bodily discomfort
  • Stop eating meat and animal fat
  • Stop refined sugar, spicy food, fermented food
  • Stop having coffee and food with added sugar
  • Reduce salt intake and cooking oil (if necessary, use extra virgin olive oil or cool-pressed coconut oil)
  • Drink plenty of clean water

On Ceremony Day

  • Have a light, plain-tasting breakfast, no sugar, no salt, not spicy, not oily, no dairy – best to have fresh uncooked fruits or vegetables. Do drink plenty of water.
  • If you are comfortable with fasting, try skipping lunch or just have fresh 100% fruit juice with no additives.
  • If you aren’t used to fasting or have a weak stomach, don’t fast for too long because strong Ayahuasca tea can upset the stomach, causing premature vomiting before it is absorbed by body. You may have some fruit until noon of ceremony day.
  • Take it easy during the day, calm the mind, meditate, read spiritual/mindfulness books, do not watch TV, dramas or news to clutter the mind

Food Recommendation After The Ayahuasca Ceremony

  • No alcohol for 2 weeks. Alcoholic drinks can induce anxiety, agitation and paranoia, especially when your body and mind are fully open. These emotions will only cause the integration process more difficult than is necessary.
  • No cannabis for a week. Although cannabis is a wonderful medicine on its own, it operates under a different frequency vibration than that of the Ayahuasca and could disrupt the integration process, especially during the first week when you still feel the effects of the Ayahuasca in the body. It is better to allow the feeling to taper off naturally rather than disrupt it.
  • Be careful with coffee during the first week as the effects of caffeine may be stronger than usual. If you need to have coffee, it is recommended that you first to start with a decaf or a diluted coffee to test the body’s response.
  • Be careful with red meat, spicy and fermented food during the first week. The remaining MAOi in Ayahuasca in the body may still be active and may prevent the body’s ability to fully digest tyramine contained in these foods. White meats, such as chicken and fish, are generally fine.
  • Continue to eat fresh, uncooked vegetables and fruits as these will help keep the body and mind stay calm, fresh and light, which makes the integration process easier.

Shamanic Mushrooms

The ancient origins of these shamanic mushrooms can be traced back to as early as 10,000 BCE from rock-etched murals of the psychedelic found in Northern Australia. A controversial Stoned Ape Theory developed by a famous ethnobotanist, Terence McKenna, claimed that “the shrooms may have expedited human evolution” by increasing the size of human brains, creating hyperconnectivity between the neuro network, which led to our primitive ancestors achieving heightened levels of consciousness. Recent researches have also shown that these mushrooms can allow a person to think and see things very differently than before, which is why it is very effective in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction.

The onset of the experience typically occurs within 15 minutes to 30 minutes after taking the mushroom with peak effects usually occurring within the first few hours. Many people experience a release of residual energy in the person’s psyche during this period where colors become more vivid and solid objects appear to breathe. After that, the experience gradually becomes lighter and more open, allowing the person to receive more information and experience a wide range of emotions.

For centuries, these sacred mushrooms have also been associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery.  It enabled one to attain a heightened state of spiritual awareness, a connection to the divine and the universe, a distorted sense of time, a sense of euphoria, increased sense of empathy. However, everyone’s experiences will greatly vary depending on the user’s intent, existing mental and emotional state.

One thing is for certain, there is a divine intelligence behind this ancient medicine. If it is the person’s intent to cleanse or transmute any unresolved issues to the surface, the mushroom will provide them an experience that can either be gentle or intense. No matter the intensity, it will never be at a level that the person cannot cope with. The end result usually provides a great sense of cathartic release.

The entire ceremony lasts approximately 5-6 hours. It’s recommended to take a day off after the Shamanic Mushroom Ceremony to integrate the experience.

San Pedro

San Pedro is a fast-growing cactus native to South America. Its indigenous name is Huachuma or Wachuma, which has been mainly used in healing, spiritual awakenings and religious divination in sacred rituals for thousands of years. 

Following consumption, the San Pedro medicine can take approximately one to two hours to take effect, which leads to the mistaken belief that the dosage is insufficient. The effects will come gradually and very gently. Those who are unfamiliar with the medicine may not initially notice the change in the feeling. But the level of intensity increases as it continues to reach its peak after a few hours.

The highlight is mostly at the beginning of the experience as the sensation is likened to a cactus knocking on a thick layer of shell, which your egoic mind has created around the heart. It will keep on knocking until cracks begin to appear on the surface. Once the heart’s light beneath the shell bursts through the cracks, that is when the magic happens.

Once one enters the state of heart centeredness, all stresses, anxieties, concerns and disappointments become unnecessary as these are purely the construct of the mind. It is overridden by a state of contentment, compassion and connectedness, which feels natural. It is for this reason that when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Peru and tried the cactus tea for the first time, they called it “San Pedro” (Saint Peter), one who guards the gate of heaven.

During the actual trip, users report having heightened mind and body sensory experiences that allows them to absorb the surrounding energy. This also means that if it is taken in a busy and disturbing environment, the effects might only make one feel more anxious or agitated. It is, therefore, recommended that the San Pedro is only taken in a ceremonial context to ensure a proper mindset and positive environment under the care of those experienced with the medicine.

The initial effects can cause an unpleasant bout of nausea, however, like many psychedelics, a person’s mindset is pivotal to the experience. For some people, the potential side effects of consuming the tea in powder form are a slight headache due to unconscious resistance, some stomach discomfort, which may induce nausea, heartburn or diarrhea because plant matter can swell up when mixed with liquid. However, these are mostly due to the person’s body not being used to the sensations. As one is able to surrender and be at ease with the bodily sensations, these side effects will go away.


While in the state of heart centeredness, some may decide to do a quiet meditation, engage in a heart opening conversation, dancing or singing. The entire experience may last 10-12 hours. However, as it slowly fades, an “after grow” will remain for a few days or weeks.

We look forward to introducing you to this heart-opening plant medicine that will help you reconnect to your heart and spirit.

There are several variations in regards to the preparation of the cactus tea. The traditional way is to slice the cactus into star disc shape, remove the core or the flesh as most of the alkaloids are found in the layer just beneath the green skin, and boil them for several hours until it turns into a thick green soup. A more modern way to prepare the tea is to dry the skin of the cactus and grind it into powder form for preservation and easy transport. When consumed, the powder is then mixed with water or juice. 

The dosage of the cactus tea brewed is sometimes difficult to measure as it very much dependent on the time of day and the temperature of the day when the brewing process is being undertaken. Hence, the potency of the brew will often vary. It is for this reason that we prefer to use the cactus powder at the Soul Medicine Retreat as the level of potency produced is more consistent and reliable, providing that it is obtained from the same source. We source our cactus powder from an organic farm in Cusco, Peru, which subscribes to the following dosages: 

  • *Micro dose: 1-2 g
  • Low dose: 7-10 g
  • Medium dose: 13-17 g
  • High dose: 20-25 g
  • **Heroic dose: 30-35g

A vital part of any plant medicine ceremony is for the user to properly integrate the experience into their being so it can have a more long-lasting positive effect in their life.

Precautions:

When taking San Pedro, it is always recommended that you consume it with an empty stomach. This is to help shorten the onset and allow the medicine to be absorbed easier into your body. This will also help reduce the chances of a stomach discomfort. 

Prior to the San Pedro Ceremony, we recommend that you undertake the following preparations:

1 Week Before The Ceremony

  • No anti-depression drugs, pain-killers, alcoholic drinks
    • Reduce red meat, fat, sugar intake
    • Eat more vegetarian food and/or fruit

1 Day Before The Ceremony

  • No spicy or strong-tasting food that can upset the stomach
  • Only light & simple vegetarian food or fruit

6 Hours Before The Ceremony

  • No food
  • Drink plenty of water

Rapeh

What Is Rapeh?

Rapeh or Rap’e is a traditional snuff made from dried and powdered Tobacco rustica, along with a variety of medicinal plants and ashes from all over the Amazonian rainforest. There are hundreds of types of Rapeh, and each has their own very unique effects. 

What Is It Used For?

Some rapeh blends are very grounding and typically taken as an adjunct to deep meditation, some are used primarily for cleansing the physical body, some are used for protection and for creating strong energetic boundaries, and others still can be highly psychoactive, eliciting powerful effects similar to Ayahuasca and Bufo Alvarius, taking one a deep spiritual journey.

How Rapeh Is Used

Rapeh is taken through the nose – blown into the nostrils by a second person using a Tepi, which is a bone or wooden pipe, or the medicine can also be self-administered with a self-applicator, known as a Kuripe. The effects of rapeh again can be incredibly powerful, or fairly subtle, and the way in which the individual responds to the medicine can also vary greatly. In general, people who are working with Rapeh for the first time should work with a small amount in order to gauge their tolerance, and then slowly work their way up to a therapeutic or ceremonial dose.

Used wisely on occasion, a ceremonial dose of Rapeh can truly be one of the deepest, most life changing, and spiritually affirming experiences. Finally, indigenous Rapeh medicina is often used to bring about deeper connection and peace between people within the tribe, to aid in creative endeavors, such as playing music and dancing, to connect with the Earth and with Spirit, to potentiate greater awareness of the mind and body in meditation, as well as to help ground the body and nervous system during intense journeys with Ayahuasca and other plant medicines.

Sananga

What Is Sananga?

Sananga eye drops are made from the Tabernaemontana undulate shrub, and is present throughout many countries in South America. They take the bark from the roots of the shrub, grind it into a fine powder, and then strain the mass several times through a mesh filter using spring water. The active ingredients of Sananga have not all been scientifically investigated or proven, but the medicine is said to contain trace amounts of both ibogaine and other potent alkaloids, which are known to have many neurological and psychological benefits, as well as eliciting a wide variety of psychoactive effects.

What Is It Used For?

The spiritual properties of Sananga are powerful and fascinating, and vary a lot from person to person. Generally, the function of Sananga is to help clear blocked energies – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. According to the indigenous, Sananga is said to remove heavy dense patterns in the ethereal body, which is the part of us that informs how our physical life and blessings manifest here on Earth. Scientifically, sananga medicine has also been shown to help people completely recover from severe eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts, and there are even reports of people recovering full 20/20 vision after being diagnosed as being legally blind, typically after working with Sananga for an extended period of time.

There are different types of Sananga one can acquire as well. Peruvian Sananga tends to be much more gentle, and is often oriented more towards meditation and introspection, which Brazilian Sananga tends to be much stranger and more fiery, often used in ceremonial settings for deep cleansing and soul level healing work. Strong sananga is said to open up the third eye or pineal gland, allowing one access to higher dimensional realities and planes of existence, but in a very grounded and manageable way. Other benefits of Sananga include antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and also anti-cancer properties.

Integration

Integration, generally, refers to taking all insights, emotions, and attitudes from your experience, and integrating them into areas of your life that require attention. It is the process of “bringing our parts together to make them whole.” Specifically with psychedelic medicines, the largest aspect of effective integration is setting some clear and concise intentions for your journey well before the actual experience takes place.

The integration process is, by far, the most important element when embarking on any life changing journey. Once the hero’s journey is over, we invariably come away with many new insights, inspirations, ideas, and potentially, some new fears, doubts, and challenging realizations about what we experienced.

As we start to reflect on our experience, we also begin to unveil who we truly are and who we are becoming and most importantly, how this “new person” is going to effectively integrate itself into what used to be our previous personality.

Psychedelic experiences have the potential to open up some very dramatic, significant, and new ways of feeling and being – new ways of seeing the world, seeing others, and above all, new ways of seeing yourself. These experiences can bring to the surface new goals, things you would like to do and move towards, things you feel you need to say, how to heal with people in your life, and so much more.

We believe effective psychedelic integration is simply the process of achieving wholeness. It is about noticing the subtleties of our past conditioning, karma, addictions, unhealthy tendencies, and then gently learning how to process these insights into the person we are now desiring to become in the present. Integration is the powerful element that turns your intentions into reality. It is what makes your new found reality seem more tangible and long-lasting.

What does integration work look like in practice? 

As every person’s psychedelic experience can be so radically different, the integration process in itself is also profoundly unique. For some people, the process might be focused around a particular theme or life pattern, such as communication, intimate relationships, career choices, personal health, while for others it might be much more specific, such as “I really need to talk with that friend from high school and create some closure about what happened between us,” or “I need to be honest with my partner about how I feel about this and share my authentic truth.”

These are just a few forms that integration work can take.

The integration follow-up work that we do, is based on your own unique circumstances, the specific intentions you had going into the retreat, and of course, who you now wish to become and where you desire to go in your life. It may be simple, complex, or even dramatic, but what’s most important to know is that every path, desire, and personal process/experience is valid, and that integration is not about dogma, judgment, or pushing anyone in one way or another – it is a process entirely for and about you.

Primary Categories of Integration:

In general, we can categorize integration work into a few primary sub-categories:

– Psycho-spiritual Integration

– Emotional Integration

– Somatic Integration

Now all three categories of integration do, of course, bleed into one another, but it is often helpful to distinguish between them in order to see the benefits of each approach.  They are also integral in that it helps us organize our process and approach better. Additionally, people are sometimes more apt or called to a particular form of integration at a particular time in their life, or after a particular journey/retreat.

Psycho-spiritual Integration

This primarily revolves around how you view yourself, others, the world, spirituality, and the relationships that you experience between all of them. As with many psychedelic experiences, some significant and deeply relevant themes may arise, which often take a lot of dedicated work to fully process and integrate into your being. This area of integration can take the form of looking into and working with our past, finding purpose and meaning in our present, or looking out into our future to see what we will become, and also questions about our mortality, the purpose of the universe and existence, religion, consciousness, the Earth, spiritual conundrums, past lives, and ineffable experiences generally. Psychedelic experiences can often catalyze and open us to these new and occasionally scary terrains, and psycho-spiritual integration is the process in which we organize and bring all the pieces together into one symbiotic whole.

Emotional Integration 

This primarily relates to the processing of emotions and feelings that continually arise in your life. There are times when we do not want to feel our deepest feelings and be fully present and available for what they have to teach us, however, these emotions often stay lodged inside of us, just waiting to be processed and released. Trauma and fear, from this perspective, are more like energies in the body/mind which have been locked away inside of many rooms. Therefore, the process of emotional integration will slowly and compassionately regain access to these rooms in order to allow the energy, content, and emotional material to gradually and safely rise to the surface to be processed. There are several sub-categories to emotional integration as well, such as grief, jealousy, forgiveness, and gratitude work. However, psychedelic experiences can often shed light on the fact that our deeper emotional patterns, and the relationship we have to particular emotions, still needs work and at the same time gift us new energy and insights into how we can begin to reorient our emotional fortitude.

Somatic Integration 

This is essentially anything that encourages movement of the body and the energy in the body, which allows healing and deep processing to occur for the individual through the realm of physical sensation and direct feeling. The process might revolve around yoga, trauma release, somatic experiencing, martial arts training, weight lifting, swimming, bodywork/massage, ecstatic shaking, infrared sauna therapy, cold plunging, hiking in nature, dancing, singing, and any act of physical and mental self-care.

The most important element to note about this form of integration is that it is a process in which your body and energy is being first encouraged, and then allowed, to begin healing on its own accord. The chosen route, therapy, and/or practice will again always be highly unique to the individual, but once your approach is found, physical/somatic integration can be a highly effective way to work through very complex and nuanced material.

How long does the integration process usually last?

As with many of the above questions, the process of integrating a powerful and life changing experience can take anywhere from a few days, to several years. In some cases, a single plant medicine or psychedelic experience for instance, may continue to require integration for many, many years, or may not even have an “end point” at all. Some experiences are so important, radical, and meaningful to us that they may permanently change our outlook and evolutionary process. This only makes sense of course, for as individuals we are always changing, and the world around us is always changing too.

The nature of the psychedelic experience itself and the content that arises within these experiences, can vary dramatically from person to person. So, how the integration process looks, and what that process entails, will be entirely unique to the individual. That said, when approached with the right intention and proper integration work at the very beginning, the process invariably becomes much smoother and easier. Sometimes, it can help you understand the true meaning behind the experience, which will allow for quicker healing.

The most important thing to remember is not to have any expectations, but rather to focus on relaxing and surrendering to the process. Integration is about allowing the lessons and insights you gained from any experience to move through you and to change you, to focus on the work you are ready to do now, and to imagine the person you wish to become.

Additionally, it is fundamental to any effective integration process that our challenging internal material be addressed and resolved, and that we learn how to avoid soaking in our past and in our pain. This is a very common tendency yet easily avoided hang up, and not getting trapped in the never-ending process of “healing work,” is what effective integration is all about.

Why integration work is fundamental and important

All plant medicine or psychedelic experiences will greatly benefit from conscious integration. Many people today often continue to return again and again to plant medicines with the notion that they “need more work and healing” or that they “still need answers about this or that.” Often times, this urge and need to continually have more and more experiences and healing, can actually be a trauma in itself. This is what makes integration so important.

Integration is an essential part of any psychedelic or powerful experience, because it is the very activity that makes our insights more real, tangible, and long-lasting. It is the work that moves the insight from the conceptual to the actual. Any life changing experiences require time and patience in order to fully understand and see the deeper nuances and meanings embedded within it.

The intimations and meaning of a truly life changing experience is, by its very nature, almost never immediately apparent, for the amount of data and information being processed is immense, even overwhelming. This too is part of the process. Without integration, which essentially starts when the experience or “trip” is over with, you will most likely not create any long-lasting change in your life. You may feel good and clear for a while, but the integration process is the thing which actually allows our deeper insights and revelations to be embodied and become fully alive within us and within our lives.