In the past year entheogenic spiritual ceremonies have become popular in Cancun and Riviera Maya. If you have seen a flyer on the street or received a Facebook invitation to these events you may be wondering what they are all about. Or you may think that this is something that you’d like to try. I have been to a few so I will tell you all about it.
An entheogen (from the Greek “with God within”) is any psychoactive substance employed to induce spiritual experiences and deeper states of conscience. These substances can be found regularly in plants and have been used by shamans for centuries in their religious ceremonies. They are meant to be used in specific circumstances, with qualified guides, for serious purposes. Doing them only for fun is not recommended at all. In the Riviera Maya there are three types of entheogenics being used, all containing variations of a very powerful alkaline molecule called DMT (often called the spirit molecule). They are:
- A) Ayahuasca (or Yagé), found in the liana of Banisteriopsis caapi and mixed in a brew with other specifically chosen native plants.
- B) Bufo Alvarious, known as Sapito, from a Mexico-USA-border desert toad that produces 5-MeO-DMT in its external glands.
- C) Tepezcohuite (or Xanga) Its bark is also great for healing wounds and many other skin problems.
The ceremonies aim is to assist with problems of an emotional and psychological nature, such as post-traumatic depression, anxiety, and addictions. Sapito is known to be used in northern Mexico to successfully treat crack addicts.
The experience isn’t easy and it requires discipline. It’s preceded by a week of meditation (including reclusion), a healthy diet which avoids any kind of animal product, refined sugar or alcohol, and mental preparation. Most ceremonies take place in isolated spaces to create a more natural experience. The process varies, but it takes around 5 to 10 hours, with overnight camping in some cases, depending on the strength of the entheogen. It includes breathing exercises, temazcal, meditation, herbal teas and soft traditional music.
It is only recommended if you have an entire free weekend and don’t have an existing heart condition. It can be an exhausting experience for both body and mind, so you will likely need a day to recover.
(Disclaimer: The opinions and experience described in this article are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of The Playa Times. The article is intended to be purely informative and not in any way a recommendation or endorsement by The Playa Times of the practices described.)