An introduction to the Ayahuasca ritual form:
Transformational work with Ayahuasca is a relatively new occurence in the western world. Ayahuasca and other entheogens have been used for millenia by indigenous people, so they have arrived as part of a religious or 'spiritual' tradition. In our transformational work, we have adapted the form or 'ritual' in which Ayahuasca is used to accomodate modern views. Such views have been shaped by the influential work of psychologists, such as Freud and Jung.
For our transformational work, we have chosen models that provide a clear method of understanding and dealing with the symbolic events that present themselves during an entheogenic session. Stanislav Grof's model of the Birth Perinatal Matrix, is a powerful and comprehensive attempt to place spiritual needs in context with psychology. This model is simple, comprehensive, and practical. We refer to Grof's book "Beyond the Brain" for a better understanding of the topic.
The Birth Peri-natal Matrix:
According to Grof's model, psychedelic experiences, appear to trigger emergence or re-experiencing of material that originates in the biographical details of the birth process. There are many areas that this model seems to explain that conform not only to a psychological explanation but also to spiritual world views. Unlike religious doctrine's however, the BPM model presented by Grof puts trauma at an age that precedes the formation of the ego. Thus such traumas may be universal conditions.
The BPM's pre-date the emergence of identity because a foetus has no language in which feelings can be expressed, which also explains why such sensations may be hard to remember. The traumas dating from the BPM are major factors in the formation of identity, and pain or fear from this early stage of life may be triggered by physical sensations, as if the mind stores unpleasant memories as sensory events.
Grof points out how traumatic experiences from the BPM, relate not only to the formation of identity, but to political and social behavior, thus these traumas possibly play an influential role in mass psychology.
Ancient ceremonies in a new setting:
In shaping our Ayahuasca ceremonies, we keep in mind the various expressions of BPM material amongst participants. In attempting to create an awareness of these forces, we continue to refer to them, and to the abundant literature, thats supports Grof's findings. Ayahuasca provides us with a powerful tool with which to examine the dynamic forces of our psychology. The rituals that have grown around Ayahuasca are meant to provide a safeway to enter into the emotions that stem from our early impressions, as well as matters pertaining to consciousness in general.
Distinct ritual forms:
Our ritual forms are very different from those proscribed by the Brazillian Church of Santo Daime, and are also distinct from the ritual forms associated with Native American rituals, which are performed for westerners as highly dramatized versions of the original, and are therefore politically incorrect. In searching for a 'ritual' form, we continue to ask ourselves how the first men and women would have set about learning to enter the visionary world, yet it seems reasonable to inquire into the modern sciences as well as the age old traditions. In doing so we are possibly paving the way towards a new human psychology.
You can get more information and downloads off my old site, which requires Flashplayer though:Ayahuasca Open Style