My stay in gorgeous Peru is coming to an end. I have my last ceremony (San Pedro) tomorrow, will take a couple of days to recuperate and integrate, and will then be flying back to Barcelona on Tuesday (first class, naturally). My trip here has been infinitely valuable. The Melody that’s returning is, in many ways, a completely different person than the one that left. Don’t worry, the changes have all been good – I am more of Who I Really Am than I’ve ever been before.

With that in mind, I think it’s the perfect time to answer a question that was asked in the comments of last week’s blog post. Why would anyone engage in this method of growth in the first place?

Awesome “Just Call Me A” asked: “If I may ask, why exactly are you interested in such ceremonies that use hallucinogens, for those of us who do not plan on using them? I am trying to understand their use. Is their use sought out for the feeling they provide? Is that how one is supposed to feel when close with Source (even though I know it to be as sheer peace)? Is what is happening actually the cognitive part of the brain getting out of the way and allowing the drug to put them in a place they would find difficult to reach themselves and thus make certain realizations? The after effects are kind of severe, but they are seen as a cleansing and as resistance being shifted. Do the hallucinogens accelerate the process, and that is why they are used? I know it takes longer to achieve these states without the plants; it just seems more preferable to me, but I would like to know the actual purpose of the plants in ceremonies.”

Dear Awesome A,

Thank you for your wonderful question. First of all, I want to make it very clear that no one HAS TO use entheogens in order to facilitate their growth. They are tools, one particular set of tools out of many. I’m happy, however, to tell you why I use these powerful plant teachers, although I do so in conjunction with many other methods.

Personally, I find the term “hallucinogen” a little inaccurate, although one is welcome to argue with me on that. Here’s why: A hallucination is something that is considered unreal, a vision made up by the mind. I don’t believe the visions that these plant teachers help us to access to be hallucinations. They may be symbolic; for example, when I saw a huge snake swallow me whole, the snake was not real, and I didn’t really get swallowed. Nor was it a premonition of some snake swallowing to come. But the image and experience were representative of something – in my case a surrender to the journey. I realize that this is semantics – potato, potahto, but I find the distinction important. If they are hallucinations, they are hallucinations with deep MEANING.

Discovering the illusion

For me, these plant medicines help me to discover, face and surpass the illusion – what we consider to be physical reality. It’s not that this reality is fake, per se, it’s just that it’s only a fraction of what’s really going on. The illusion is that we are limited to this one perception, and I’ve come to understand that we, very clearly, are not. The illusion is that we are small, insignificant, and powerless. The illusion is that we are alone, separate, lost and unsafe.

Our perception of physical reality is only a tiny percentage of all that there really is. Ayahuasca and other plant teachers give me access to a great deal more of those percentage points (not all, mind you, I’m not sure the human brain could contain it all, but more.) They help me to move into an altered state of consciousness where I am able to consciously perceive the interconnectedness of everything (humans, plants, animals, the earth, etc.), and even interact with those connections. Again, this is not the only way to achieve that goal, but it’s one of the ones that seem to work well for me right now.

Much of the work is emotional, yes, and I am able to achieve states of feeling in the ceremonies that I then carry with me into my “normal” life. For example, if I experience the feeling of unconditional love in a ceremonial setting, I will remember that feeling and am then able, if I so choose, to reach for that feeling in my waking state. I don’t have to, of course, and doing so can represent a considerable amount of work. But once I’ve found a certain frequency (such as unconditional love), once I know what it feels like, it’s easier to find it again.

Being slapped by resistance

Another reason that I use these plant teachers is because I am able to manifest, in a safe and non-physical setting, any hidden resistance I have to fully becoming Who I Really Am (which is the goal of this work). I may, for example, set the intention to release any beliefs I still hold that are keeping me from fully connecting with my body. This was actually an intention of mine before one of my ceremonies on this trip. In that case, Ayahuasca brought up the belief that was still holding me back. I was no longer afraid of death, I’d cleared that ages ago, but it turns out that I was afraid of decay. I was afraid of declining. I had no idea that I had this limiting belief; it wasn’t something that had ever been triggered. Aya helped me to clear it (she turned it into a medieval dragon and slayed it). For my part I had to be willing to allow that to happen; I had to be willing to let it go (I was very willing).

Would I have found that belief eventually on my own? Of course, I would’ve. The ceremony just facilitated that discovery and release.

The thing about these teachers is that they help to bring up our resistance in a way we can’t ignore. You say “show me”, you drink and then you will be shown. You are not forced to release anything – that’s a choice, although you are made strongly aware of just how uncomfortable it is to hold on to those beliefs and perspectives. But it’s much easier to let something go once you’ve become aware of it. You can, of course, refuse to believe what you are being shown. It’s not easy when it’s slapping you right in the face, but you still have free will.

Turbo charging growth

All in all, plant medicines are a way to facilitate quantum leaps – a super-fast way to release resistance. This is why they tend to be so intense and uncomfortable. Keep in mind that while Ayahuasca and her brethren can show you your resistance, they cannot release it for you. You still have to do the work. This is not a magic pill. The methods I generally teach on this blog are a bit slower but therefore much gentler than this type of work. This might sound hypocritical. After all, why wouldn’t I just teach what I practice? Well, actually, I do. I don’t JUST use plant medicines. I engage in this type of work about once a year, when I am called to it. I take the entire month off, and allow myself the luxury of intensive, turbo charged growth. The rest of the year, the other eleven months, I use all the other methods I talk about on this blog.

The time may come when I no longer resonate with this set of tools. I’m ok with that. Most of you won’t ever be called to use entheogens. And that’s totally ok, too. Like I said, there are so many ways to do this, some faster than others, some more gentle than others, and choosing which methods to use is an intensely personal process. I haven’t shared my experiences with you this month in order to entice you to go to Peru and drink the brew, nor am I endorsing this method of growth. But I’ve promised to be as authentic as I can, and therefore I would find it hypocritical of me not to peel back the curtain and let you into this part of my world. What you do with that information is entirely up to you.

What’s next?

For those of you who would like to know more about this type of work, I’m happy to report that I successfully completed a video interview with my Ayahuascero (shaman) Javier this morning, and will be posting that video in the coming months. Javier will be away for a couple of months and has asked me not to upload the video until he’s back and able to answer any questions that come his way as a result of the interview. The good news is that this delay will mean that I’ll have a chance to get the video transcribed, so you’ll be able to read as well as listen to our conversation.

For those of you who really can’t wait, you can read Javier’s book Soul Medicine of the Amazon Jungle: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide (not an affiliate link). I highly recommend it for those of you who resonate with plant medicine. It’s the best book on Ayahuasca that I’ve ever read.

Although my time here has been incredible, I’m really looking forward to getting back to my apartment, to first rest and integrate and then get back to work. I’ll be finishing the final draft of my book, will be answering a slew of messages (my inbox is overflowing), and will go about sharing this new, delicious vibration with my coaching clients (and you on this blog, as well, of course!).

One week from now, I’ll be all yours again. Until then, I wish you all love and light and the smooshiest of happy shiny puppy hugs!


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  • As a therapist this post made me smile. A snake swallowing you whole? Wow Melody, sounds like you have some huge daddy issues. Maybe I resonate more with Freudian theory who knows? But I believe sometimes you need to try things that don’t resonate with you, so that you face real resistance and conquer it 🙂

    • LOL Regina. In this case, I didn’t interpret this image as resistance. Visions of snakes are very common with Ayahuasca, and the swallowing was a sign of surrender. It was very pleasant. 🙂

  • Hi Melody, awesome post that finally helped me pinpoint my fear. Please make a post on fear of declining.
    I’m 25 and terrified of aging to the point of having anxiety attacks. I’d appreciate everyone else’s input on this subject as well.

  • Hi! Melody

    I’m a swedish girl who have been following your blog quite a while now and I love it cause for some reason your words gives me a peaceful feeling and something resonates within and love love love to come here whenever Im feeling down.
    Anyway, I haven’t made any comments before until now that is and when I came across this blogpost I just felt that I wanted to share an experience I had a eight years ago in which I never had thought much about cause I just wanted to erase it as a BIG MISTAKE but now I think there pretty much were some kind of message to it and maybe you would do me the honor of giving your perspective or objective point of view?.
    So here it goes, eight years ago for several reasons I made up my mind to try marijuana for the first time in my life and the story behind that is pretty funny actually and I can clearly see how my subconscious created that moment that special night in which I had my first experience. It was my boyfriend back then and two new friends who were a couple which were doing it together and after taking a few pull of the cigarette I asked my friends what would happen cause they both had done it several times before and I wanted to know what to expect from this (not a good idea though) but they just said wait and see so I did and after a short while I started to feel really glad, couldn’t stop smiling, like my mouth got a life of its own and then I heard a voice inside my head telling me that I had to go through every single human feeling there ever has been known before I could get out of this state of being. Those words didn’t made me feel anything in particular cause I was feeling good at that point,, happy I would say until the spiral of feelings started to go down towards the more darker feelings of sadness and at some point I felt really low which ended me up getting real panic cause I realized I couldn’t control it back to feeling good again no matter how I tried(the voice had been true), the spiral just continued going down and when I feel trapped I just loose it, always have cause I can’t stand the feeling of being trapped or limited in any way possible so I ran out to the balcony to get some fresh air but all of a sudden it felt like my head was starting to spin, like I was being drunk and I couldn’t stand up anymore so I laid down on the balcony concretefloor, this was in december and really cold but I couldn’t feel it, it was like my bodie was gone but I knew it was still there and here comes the most interesting part of it all, there was a busstop just outside our apartment back then and some people were standing there that night talking and I at first tried to concentrate on what they were saying just to put my mind somewhere else than just spinning which also made me throw up several times and made my boyfriend run back and forth and he also wrapped a blanket around me though my bodie was icecold but not to me, to me it wasn’t there. When I first succeeded concentrate on the people talking it was like I went all over the place, whenever I took in some of their words or places they talked about it was like I was at that place in a blink of an eye, I felt like a pingpong ball going really really fast everywhere in my mind to all of those thoughts or places they talked about, it all happend like there were no limits what so ever, it was like what ever I thought about I went straight there and i rememebered thinking how can this be?, I know I am here but at the same time somewhere else and my body is here but twhat if I think about falling right thru the balconyconcrete and next thing I just fell thru which was a really odd experience the whole thing and also made me realize that if I want to stop feeling nausea I have to control my thoughts so I don’t go so fast everywhere and in that moment my head was still spinning like in the beginning (spinning-beginning haha)but now I really tried hard to still my mind and keep other peoples voices out so I could come back to feeling good and be able to go back inside without having to throw up all over the place.
    To me it all felt like it happend in a few minutes but later that night my boyfriend told me that I had laid on the balcony for four hours on that cold minus degree floor without freezing at all, my body was cold he said but it was useless to try to make me stand up and come inside and he was shocked that I had not feel a thing from the freeze outside.
    I have never since tried marijuana again but I think about that experience from time to time now and try to see the message of it cause I am more than ever aware of things, law of attraction and really really seek answers about who I really am, the universe and my inner purpose.

    Thank you Melody for a fantastic blog and for this moment for me being able to share this with like-minded.

    lovely hugs <3

    • Hey Suzanne,

      Well, it sounds to me like you and the sacred Marijuana plant had quite a conversation. You definitely had a plant medicine experience (marijuana is a sacred plant, also, although it is not generally used that way by the public…). You were shown how detrimental it is to simply let your busy mind spin out of control. It also sounds like you did some massive releasing (the emotional spiral). The disconnection from the body is very common in an altered state, either from meditation or through other means. It’s also not weird that your body didn’t get too cold. Our bodies are much more capable of regulating our temperatures than we give them credit for.

      The only thing I would recommend for you is that if you ever wanted to try something that like again, do it with someone who can hold the energy for you while you do (like a trained shaman), not in a party setting. This person will then also be able to talk you through what is happening (an intuitive person trained in plant medicine will be able to tune into exactly what is shifting), which can help A LOT to help you calm down and surrender to the experience.

      What I can tell you is that this was not a mistake. It was an awakening. What you do with the information is up to you, and you certainly don’t have to go through that again, but I’m certain you’re being called to some kind of spiritual/energy work (could just be meditation, yoga, other gentle methods…). People don’t wake up like that unless they have big plans. 🙂

      Big smooshy hugs!


    • OMG Suzanne, Almost the same happened to me. I tried Marijuana couple months back for the first time and I thought of having a good time like everyone says. But instead my head started spinning and I was scared. I felt that I am losing control and I did not want to lose control. I was desperate to come out of that feeling. And I also felt that if I spill some not so good things about me to people around me in my “high” state, then they will hate me. So I was afraid of something else taking over me. I felt nauseated although I did not throw up. I also remember checking facebook to distract myself and then saw some pics of friends and again limiting feeling about my own body came up. I also felt as if I was right there with them when they were taking these pictures. I also had fleeting moments where I did not know whether I was dreaming or it was really happening. I did not even consider anything at the time, but after this post by Melody I plan to analyze why those experiences happened. Wow, I guess everything happens for a reason. Thanks for sharing your experience. Warm hugs!!

      • Thank you soooo much for your answer Melody, this reaaaally meant soooo much to me <3 and I got a heartjumping feeling when I realized you had actually answered. Your words warmed my heart and something changed inside so THANK YOU <3. I would love to have an experience with the help from an shaman or someone else with knowledge but here in Sweden I don't know about one being autentic, I know I need like a mentor and can give me some guidance but where to find it…
        Anyway… I am soo greatful for you and your blog and will continuing showing up here reading your posts..

        Lovely hugs <3

        Hi! S

        Thank you too 🙂
        After reading your post I am glad that you were able to still funktion and look at facebook and stuff cause I wasn't, my head was spinning so fast I couldn't even move at all, not my body or legs or arms or hands or my head cause if I just lifted my head a couple of cm of the floor I immediately started to throw up and had to keep my eyes closed too cause the world around me spinned so fast it was like going in a car for like 300km/h or something. I wasn't scared, it was all about trying to make my world stop spinning and not having to throw up all the time and at the same time be aware of the things happening and at some level find both an explanation and solution. I was aware every single moment of my bodie like there were and invisible link to it, it was more like I didn't care cause I was occupied with my mind and the fact that what ever I thought about or heard anyone else say it immediately happend to me, I went to that place and didn't have any other feeling than my world spinning even faster every time I traveled. When I had to go thru all these different emotions before the spinning took place I was all fine to, it was more like when the feelings went to the more darker ones it became too much to handle, imagine having a feeling of total despaire and still going down not able to do anything but follow with it, thats when I paniced cause I was not able to do anything about it which made me feel helpless, I usually leave a situation when it becomes to much to handle emotionally or too much trouble but now I wasn't able to. I sooo hate feeling limited or having the feeling of no choices, it brings me so deep down. My soul is all about freedom of every part of life no matter what and I guess thats what I am trying to find but most of the time I feel like I don't belong here, it seems too hard. I am now 33 years old and it's the love for my six year old son which keeps me going, I just have to find the answer of my life, how can I otherwise best serve my beloved child and still be happy to be alive.
        I have had several different experiences since then, not with drugs though, like talking to the dead,
        healing with my hands, looking at a stranger and just know things about them and how they feel, having bodylike experiences with my friends and their condition, knowing when people were thinking about me, connecting with animals emotionally, knowing which team who were going to win in a game like everytime, recorded someone from the other side talking to me, feeling unknown forces in my home an many other things.. All of this fascinates me but it is something you can't tell when it is going to happend. I have had several mediums asking me if i was talking to the dead cause they could see them everywhere around me but that is actually the only interesting thing I have ever had from a meeting with a medium, everything else they have had to say wasn't new to me, more like they confirmed what I already knew for myself. Oops got out a bit of topic here… anyway… hugs to you too and if you get some answer don't forget to share <3

  • Thanks for sharing this Melody. Just last night as I was going to sleep I was doubting my decision to attend an Ayu ceremony this coming April. I already sent the money in and it’s nonrefundable, but I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to even take advil. This article has put my mind at ease that the experience will be what I decide to allow it to be and has motivated me to start putting some intentions into my hopes for it. Thanks! Shelah

  • Thank you for sharining your experience. At the moment I do resonate with these tools . Maybe it is because my desires or awarness are getting much bigger ..anyway I am hitting a LOT of resistance, . I can be a very logical person , and I appreciate how things are explained and broken down in this blog , I love how you get to the core of things, everything you say hits home for me . However, I must say things making sense to me are not enough at the moment ,very often I find it very difficult to talk myself into different perspectives and shift . I do realize the subtle shifts are powerful and help build up trust, but honestly I feel impatient .. I do not know if it is lazyness , which i could not explain because this energy work has all my interest, or if it is because everything feels so amplified..
    I wish I could appreciate more of what I am already achieving or simply give myself a break . But every good part seems to grow old fast these days!
    Lots of love

    • your thinking half is like the left leg.
      you feeling half is like the right leg.

      from my observation, you have been trying to walk forward with the left leg only and been dragging the right leg along. What is worse, You have gathered tools to help yourself walk faster with only the left leg.
      no wonder you felt like you were supposed to move faster.

      why not use both legs to walk?

      you have been using your mind too much.
      let it rest.
      switch to your emotions/feelings/heart to connect with the world around you.
      Don’t think, just feel.
      after a while, you will instinctively know when to stop feeling and get back to thinking.

      there is a natural rhythm.

      • Hi SK
        thanks for your advice . I definitely need to get more in touch with the emotional part of this energy work , that’s why I said that , right now , I am attracted to the kind of tools described in the post . Probably if I had the chance to concentrate more on myself I would manage to get more out of the gentle methods, such as my meditations , simply writing, and some others. When life gets in the middle (it is quite invasive at the moment..!) makes it harder to hold on to the new perspectives to are trying to cultivate . Anyway I have set the intention to look better after myself and what I want to create somehow, knowing that (and this is getting stronger and stronger), it is worth. Resistance is a feeling, you can try and look behind it , despite it may not make sense when it comes up it always has the same purpose: to protect you. I want to embrace it and get over it

  • All this has been very interesting to me. Melody’s blog is the first time I had ever heard of Ayahuasca, and I actually googled it a while ago to find out more. Apparently it is illegal in Australia (and most other countries I’m guessing) which is why you have to go to Peru, which is a shame that a spiritual practice should be so inaccessible, but not surprising given the beat up that alternative medicine gets. Definitely something I would do if it were easier to access without going to another country. The one question that came up for me was, in a foreign country, in the jungle, in the dark at night, under the influence of a hallucinogenic medicine bringing up your resistance – isn’t that a bit scary??

  • Thank you very much, Melody for addressing this question. It was on the minds of other readers as well, so it clarified a lot and explained certain things I just could not find elsewhere.

    It is good to see the “old” Melody back. I mean, the one I met when I originally came to the blog.

  • A question for those of you experienced with ayahuasca – I have heard that ceremonies should be held in places where the vine grows naturally. What’s everyone’s opinion on this? Would taking aya in another country (still within a ceremony setting with an experienced shaman) not be as helpful? I feel like energetically, location has some effect but isn’t the be-all-end-all, however I have read sources that say taking it in South America where the vine grows naturally is a must.

    • I was called to ayahuasca a couple of years ago, and references kept popping up over and over until I couldn’t ignore it. I researched buying the plants to make my own, but it just didn’t feel “right” to me. I wanted my experience to be authentic and as close to the source as possible, even though I didn’t really understand why at the time. It was a gut feeling I had.

      Last April, I spent a week in the Amazon jungle and I did four ceremonies with a shaman and two other people who were there for the retreat. I can’t imagine doing ayahuasca in a “modern” place, or without a shaman there.

      Aside from the shaman, the environment that you’re in is super-key (to me) to a good experience. In the jungle, without electricity, surrounded by miles and miles of a living, breathing entity — every creature and thing in the jungle is part of your experience. Your ears will pick up sounds that can send you down spirals of fantastic revelations. Your body is wrapped in the air that is created by the place where Mother Ayahuasca lives… your journey is supported by everything around you, and you will feel like you are a piece of a pattern in a huge fabric that is made up of everything else in the world.

      I don’t even know if I’m making sense because it’s hard to put the ayahuasca experience itself in to words sometimes. You can certainly have an experience wherever you feel called to do it. *For me* if given the choice between having an experience outside the jungle tomorrow, or saving and booking a ticket for a year from now in Peru, I would take Peru every. single. time.

      • Thanks for the reply Lori. I kind of have the same gut feeling. I have been considering ayahuasca ceremonies in the Netherlands where it is legal, but the idea just doesn’t excite me as much. I think I will wait for now – I don’t think I’m really ready for aya right at this moment anyway!

  • I’ve been loving your past few posts Melody, I’m really excited about the direction you’re heading in with your blog!

    Ayahuasca references seem to be popping up everywhere for me right now! I would fly to Peru tomorrow to do it if I could, but I don’t have the funds to do this sort of thing right now – but I know that when I am ready, the funds will appear, so no problem. For now, I’m just keeping myself excited by reading about plant medicine experiences like yours. I’ve also been listening to a lot of podcasts about plant medicine – if anyone is interested, this guy does some great podcasts about his experiences:

    • I have not cc. I don’t feel called to artificial substances like LSD, and I haven’t tried mushrooms yet, but would not be adverse to them if I was so inclined. Just hasn’t happened (yet?).


  • Take a plane from Lima to Santiago, Chile and come to my house and let me fill your stomach with all kinds of cakes.
    Hope you’ve had a nice time 😉

  • I want to second what Melody said about plants helping to release resistance. They definitely have helped me bring forward vague feelings and form them into conscious cognition so I can understand what the resistance is and how to release it.

    For those that don’t want heavy duty plant action like aya, you can use marijuana for the same purpose and get a gentler ride while working out your resistance.

  • You have just inspired me to go on one of these retreats, Im so excited. I clicked the link to the book and at the bottom of the page, there were links to retreats, not as pricey as I would have thought. Im going to go to Gaia Sagrada in Ecuador, do you know anything about them? Thanks for this post. Im gonna start saving for this trip now.

  • Thank you, Melody, for this great explanation of the value of plant teachers. Even though I am not presently drawn to this “set of tools”, I love reading about all the different adventures that are available for those who are drawn to them. Like Melanie, I get very useful information from what you share about your plant experiences!

  • Hey Melody
    I loved reading this. Like I had mentioned in some previous comments, I have done ayahuasca as well. Interestingly, your blog is the first place I had read about it awhile back, and it seemed interesting, but didn’t really resonate with me. Then awhile later, out of nowhere I had this very strong urge to do it, and that day I set up my trip, booked my tickets and sent my deposit.

    It was the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done. I too was drawn to it because of the idea that it would bring up resistance that was hidden and might be easier to get to in an ‘altered’ state. I too agree that hallucinogen is not an accurate term. I had many profound experiences but there was on in particular that was very strong and that emotion and truth is something that I always go back to, and it comforts me and gives me a nice boost spiritually. Not sure if I will ever do it again, but if I ever felt the urge, off to Peru I would go!

  • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Melody. I’m not sure I resonate with working with plant medicines, but I still get very useful information from what you and others who work with plants learn. We’re all trying to be Who We Really Are! I hope you have safe travels home.

  • Ah, I love it when I have a question and the Universe answers it! As I read your post on Aya the question popped into my head, “why do this?” And voila. Thank you!


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