An example might be, “I want healing” or “I seek purification” or “I want guidance with the path forward in my life.” If you set your intention as something like, “I wish to clear up the relationship with my mother who makes me so angry sometimes because she keeps comparing me to my brother, and just because he excels academically I know he has a lot of issues she doesn’t know about…” or something like that, you just won’t be able to remember it when you’re in ayahuasca’s thrall. At different ceremonies you may encounter people who surround themselves with stuff: crystals, little vials of different healing potions, favorite objects, shoe options, etc. At a shamanic centre, a mattress will normally be provided and some pillows.A good intention is kind of like a mantra that you can repeat and come back to if you start losing your way. Let’s assume here, though, that you have to bring your own stuff. Note that this is not the thick kind you inflate with a bicycle pump, but rather the thin kind hikers use, that can be rolled up tight.(I rarely lie down flat except for stretching out my back — the visions just become to overwhelming.) As I can’t easily sit with my legs crossed for a long time, I find it very useful to bring along a yoga chair (there are versions used by hikers) that’s basically a legless item made from two pieces of nylon-encased foam, held together with straps.
At a minimum all these things should be strictly avoided 48 hours before ceremony, but really two weeks is my rule. If there was ever a time in your life to get turned on to good vegetarian or vegan cuisine (ideally raw), this is the time. The first time I drank aya sexual abstinence was easy because I was between relationships; there was no one to disappoint by skipping the wild thing for a couple of weeks.
As the shamans often say, if you bring no intention to the ceremony, you may see a pretty light show and colors and not much else.
In truth, the first time I drank I felt it was worth the price of flying to Peru just for what I saw in the first 15 minutes.
Of course this all became a moot point as people were overtaken with the medicine and fell into visions or writhed around their mattresses. You’ll be encouraged to “set an intention” for your ceremony.
But if you do smoke during ceremony, cover up the light as much as possible and smoke minimally. This can be perplexing to newbies, who may be there for a wide variety of reasons, including healing, curiosity or even thrill-seeking.