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Here’s What Goes On On A Psychedelic Retreat

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You may have heard of a psychedelic retreat – and even considered taking one yourself but what happens? We asked those who have gone to provide their feedback…

What is a psychedelic escape?

A psychedelic getaway makes use of a variety of plant medicines to assist the body to heal on a spiritual, mental, as well as spiritual basis. If one has been raised in the Amazon and has been there for a while, the plants used for healers are Ayahuasca also known as San Pedro/Wachuma among others. Western plant medicine is Psilocybin frequently known as magical mushrooms. People gather in deep respect of the plant to inquire for its help and start the process of healing.

How long will they last?

A psilocybin retreat can last anything between two nights to two weeks. Certain indigenous retreats last one month or more.

What are they?

There is no alcohol. If led under the right direction, these ceremonies are considered highly ritualistic and not to be to be taken lightly. In the case of a retreat, and the shaman leading, there may be one ceremony every evening during which the plants are administered according to someone’s prior experience and state of health.

When you are on the Ayahuasca getaway, hours are usually spent sleeping in rest, sharing circles (minimal meals) and evenings are kept for ceremony and prayer/song. During a ceremony the group will drink medicine or eat plants and then go into deep meditation until the medicine begins to take effect.

Brain regions that are otherwise inactive become open channels. This is the beginning of the “journey” or, as some refer to it, the “trip” or psychedelic experiences. I prefer to not label them anything other than ceremony because I don’t think of them in the same way that people who use drugs to get high. The ceremonies are personal which means that each person experiences a different set of emotions as well as bodily reactions. Often groups will sit in a circle in the dark, within the safety of a space that has been blessed by the shaman. As a healer they are required to ensure a safe and secure space to facilitate the experiences.

What are some of your top experiences?

My best experience was the care of a Peruvian healer known as Ricardo. He left home aged 11 to travel, study and share his knowledge of healing. He is extremely professional and really cares about the wellbeing and health of each person. Since the moment I signed up for the space, I had prayed for six months to allow the medicine to be kind and gentle – my experience began long before the retreat. I also experienced signs that showed me I was definitely meant to join the group. Our actions and our thoughts about medical treatment all contribute to our ‘journey’. I also followed a special diet for a couple of weeks, which cleanses the body of toxins and prepares your body for the use of medicines.

What do you think of when you go home?

It takes time for body and brain to fully comprehend what’s happened. Some people leave feeling clear at ease, with a sense of excitement however if they have suffered pain and suffering, what happens when they leave is bound to be different.

Should everyone be able to go?

No, absolutely not. Today , medicines are being administered and used with care. I knew I was being called by the medicine commonly referred to as Mother, for around six years, however I wanted to stay away from knowing why. It’s not a means to experience a high and it’s not an escape from pain. You must be certain that it’s appropriate for you and that you’re able to take on the responsibility for whatever follow. Healing is a process , and isn’t a quick process, and even if you’ve glimpses of light or dark experience, it is typically a reflection of the place you are in life.

People should only go with those who have been recommended by retreat leaders or shamans. There have been many unfortunate instances where people have become sick and suffered terribly because of the many people who are using the term’shamans’ to describe themselves’. Make sure you do your research and ask yourself why you’d like to visit.

Experience Retreats are organized by the Psychedelic Society UK. Sebastian was a participant and shares his experience below.

“Psychedelic retreats are retreats where participants for therapeutic spiritual or recreational reasons ingest plant medicine (Ayahuasca or Psilocybin-mushrooms). They do it in a manner that is a ceremony which is supervised and looked after for by facilitators.

I have been on two psychedelic retreats . Both of which were “Experience Retreats” within the Netherlands run by Psychedelic Society UK. The first retreat I went to was for four days and the second one was five days.

In general, there is one day for preparation, one Ceremony day and one Integration day; each day with activities and exercises.

During the ceremony, everyone mushes their psilocybin-mushroom truffles and finds their own spot in an area for ceremonies. Then , everyone prepares tea out of the truffles, and then drinks the tea. Dosage is determined and discussed in advance with the person who will be your facilitator. A majority of people prefer a dosage that induces several hallucinations. an alteration of your perception of space and time and the loss of your sense of self , or a feeling that you are connected to everything.

I’ve had a number of amazing experiences at an psychedelic getaway. Interacting with wonderful people, deeply profound and magical experiences that offer visuals and insight. I’ve not had any really bad experiences. Challenging and sorrowful and sad experiences, sure but nothing that is a bit frightening.

After the retreats, I find myself inspired and motivated to live my best the world and be more inclined towards kindness and love. Returning to the modern world , where people are so chaotic and anxious may be slightly overwhelming.

FYI, psilocybin-mushroom truffles are legally legal within the Netherlands where these retreats are held.”

Elise Loehnen is the Chief Content Officer at Goop

“I discovered my psychedelic experience as well as the ones I’ve had after putting on the show – to be transformational. It was like decades of therapy wrapped in one session. The most important thing about the session itself, however it’s been how it’s been integrating. The parts of it that I haven’t tackled over the past few months I’ve lost. I believe that psychedelics when in the right environment, with appropriate therapeutic support, could lower the ladder to the sky. Then it’s your turn to grasp the line and climb.”