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If your Ayahuasca Facilitator uses a Playlist, they haven't been Formally Trained. Here's Why:

For centuries, perhaps millennia, small villages in the Amazon used ayahuasca, where communities would select one or two members as revered healers. These ayahuasqueros would act as intermediaries between the spiritual and physical realms. Through chanting and song, they would communicate with the spirits and pass along guidance and healing to those suffering from physical disease or mental illness.

This type of communion was not unique to those living in the Amazon and can be observed across many cultures spanning the globe. From the Aboriginals in Australia, Native Americans in North America, Mongols in Asia and the Bwiti in Africa, all use chanting and sound to induce a trancelike state in which they connect to and communicate with spirits.

It's clear to see that underlying all these mystical practices, music is the foundation of transformational experiences and its why these musical practices continue even in modern day applications such as Church Psalms or Buddhist Mantras.

Music is vibration, all of life is vibration and when you are in an altered state of consciousness with a plant medicine like ayahuasca, which lifts the veil between this dimension and beyond, it's necessary to have a trained guide that knows how to interpret the energy, communicate with the spirits and translate those messages into songs. This is how healing happens.

Recorded music or a playlist can not interpret the energies that exist in a space. They can not usher in good spirits or expel bad ones. Even a playlist using recorded Icaros fails to transmit the frequency and power that the live version may have held, and its application under different circumstances will yield different results.

In training and learning to guide traditional ayahuasca ceremonies, one gains the skills necessary to navigate the intensity of ayahuasca and how to interact with spirits and entities. Sprits, just like humans, have intentions. Sometimes, many times, the spirits are curious and want to help, but others have nefarious goals to take energy or power from you, or attach so they have access to our dimension. When you drink ayahuasca and listen to a recorded playlist, you have no protection or awareness of what spirits may be around, be they good or bad.

With the growing popularity of ayahuasca, many well-intentioned people want to share the medicine without realizing the negative consequences that can result from using something as powerful as ayahuasca in inexperienced hands. Sometimes these people believe that because they've drank ayahuasca a handful of times or been to the Amazon and drank with a master ayahuasquero, this qualifies them to share the medicine, but it does not.

The use of recorded music in the ayahuasca ceremony is a very clear indicator that a 'guide' is not properly trained. If you are considering drinking with a person who claims to be trained but relies on recorded music, you should be asking questions. Ask what makes them qualified to guide ceremonies, who their teacher was, what their lineage is, what their training consisted of, what tradition they follow, if they've undergone any initiation or completed master-plant dietas. Be specific with your questions, ask for details and do not accept a vague answer such as 'I've spent much time in the Amazon', 'I've sat with an indigenous curandero x number of times', or 'I trained under xxxxx'. Get specific. Great, how much time did you spend in the Amazon and why? What did you do there? If you trained under xxxxx, what was the training like?

It's important to note that just because a person can perform live music, it doesn't necessarily mean they are properly trained. There are many people in the world that are musically inclined, that doesn't mean they could lead a ceremony. To be a responsible ayahuasquero, one needs to channel the energy of ayahuasca into songs in the moment, and to do that, they must also be drinking ayahuasca. The only way to feel the energy and guide the experience is to be in the ayahuasca experience, too. In fact, in indigenous communities, oftentimes the shaman would be the only one to drink ayahuasca to learn how to heal the members of the community. So, if your guide does not drink with you at the ceremony, it's another clear indicator that they are not properly trained.

Is it possible to have a good ayahuasca experience with recoded music? Absolutely! Many of my first experiences with ayahuasca were with recorded music and I certainly still had benefits from those experiences. I didn't know any better at the time and I was happy to pay hundreds of dollars to glorified trip sitters for a 'ceremony' even though I could have had literally the same experience at home.

Is in dangerous to drink ayahuasca without a proper guide? Absolutely! As I mentioned before, when you drink ayahuasca, you open yourself up to receive her spirit, but in doing so, you also open yourself up to all the other spirits that are around. In my experience, the majority of spirits are indifferent to our arrival in their realm with a special few that come to help and teach us. Encountering dark entities isn't common, but it happens more frequently than you might think. You could get lucky and drink ayahuasca for years before you encounter a negative entity, but I promise you that when that day comes, you will wish you had the protection of a trained guide.

More so, we all carry the weight of trauma and pain from our past, and sometimes those manifested from spirits attached to us earlier in life without our awareness. If you are drinking with a group of people, ayahuasca could release these spirits into the shared space and without an ayahuasquero to dispel the spirit away, it could reattached to someone else in the circle.

That is why traditionally trained ayahuasqueros will never use recorded music in their ceremonies. They understand and have experienced firsthand that the function of the shaman is to use ayahuasca to guide the experience through sound and vibration. Ayahuasca is a beautiful medicine that offers incredible benefits, but in the wrong hands it could cause more harm than good. Trained facilitators dedicate years to developing the skills necessary to hold a sacred container. They develop relationships with master plant spirits, build protection, gain allies and learn to masterfully navigate the spiritual realm to share the healing from ayahuasca.

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