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Why Integration Is Not a Should

Very occasionally an integration session feels faintly out of alignment to me. It seems like the person I'm working with is doing it from a sense of duty, rather than a genuine desire to deepen into their own experience—as if they’re not quite sure what integration is, but they’ve heard it’s important, so they’re checking it off the post-ceremony to-do list. Sometimes we can explore together to tap into a genuine desire to grow; and then we’re integrating.
Kerry MoranFeb 25, 2023 Read More

WTF, Ayahuasca?!

Often, too often nowadays, people expect ayahuasca to be some sort of magical potion, instantly reformatting them into a completely healed state. When this doesn't happen, they feel resentful, even betrayed: "I did the work, I showed up—why did it do this to me?" This can easily segue into the very common plaint of individuals wrestling with unrecognized trauma: "What's wrong with me?" I'm seeing this kind of reaction more and more lately, due in part to the rapidly spreading social understanding that psychedelics in general and ayahuasca in particular can heal. This new consensus does not, yet, have much…
Kerry MoranDec 29, 2022 Read More
from "Divine Moments of Trump", Stella Strzyzowska Guillen

Wisdom of the Purge, Part II

In Part I of this post, we explored the many ways purging can manifest with ayahuasca, along with some tips for when things seem stuck. Here we continue with further esoteric mysteries of La Purga: In an essay titled "Ayahuasca and the Grotesque Body," anthropologist Stephen Beyer notes the split that many Westerners seem to carry into ayahuasca ceremony, between our extremely high expectations of fantastical visions, and the dirty work of vomiting. We find vomiting wretched and miserable; we struggle to maintain our body boundaries; above all, we seek ways to evade the ferocious physicality of the ayahuasca experience.…
Kerry MoranJan 1, 2022 Read More
Pablo Amaringo - Three types of sorcerers - purging

Wisdom of the Purge, Part I

La Purga, "The Purge," is one of ayahuasca’s names in the Amazon, highlighting a most notorious aspect of its reputation. The ayahuasca vine is strongly purgative—indigenous people sometimes drink it simply to induce a good cleanse. The bucket is thus an essential element in most ayahuasca ceremonies, unless you are free to vomit on the ground. In this "Ode to the Bucket," I will explore some legendary aspects of the purge. I’ve heard people say “I don’t like to vomit, so I know I’ll never drink ayahuasca.” In truth, I know very few people who like to vomit—maybe ancient Romans?…
Kerry MoranDec 13, 2021 Read More

Mapacho: King of Plants

Ayahuasca use in the Amazon is embedded within a wider tradition of plant science called vegetalismo, and the most important and revered of all plants is tobacco—specifically, mapacho (Nicotiana rustica), a variety that is up to 26 times stronger than that used in commercial cigarettes. The ritual traditions surrounding mapacho are far more ancient than ayahuasca. Some say it was the tobacco spirit that taught humans how to use ayahuasca. Mapacho is considered the master plant of Amazonian healing traditions, the strongest of all the teacher plants. Like coca, another sacred plant, it is connected to all four elements (earth,…
Kerry MoranJun 23, 2021 Read More
what ayahuasca teaches

What Ayahuasca Has Taught Me

Entering my seventh year of relation with ayahausca, I've been musing on how it's shaped me, and what I've learned. What I've learned not just in passing, but for keeps—teachings that have been permanently tattooed on my being through my personal work with the medicine, and also the whole excruciating, beautiful process of plant dieta (more on that here and here). Here are three deep knowings that ayahuasca y las plantas have installed in my being: 1). We Belong to the Earth Knowing this has been downloaded into me through six years of living in the Sacred Valley, where the…
Kerry MoranMar 29, 2021 Read More
ayahuasca integration

Four Integration Essentials

People sometimes tell me that following a powerful ceremony, they seemed to completely forget about it—almost as if they’d shut it off. Intense experiences can be disconcerting, yes—but isn’t this the point of medicine work, to break us out of our rut, to recast our mundane vision into a new light? In every difficult experience, it’s by directly facing the pain that we unlock the door to true magic. Remember that hoary therapeutic adage: It’s impossible to transform that which you don’t accept. Having a few practices to consciously ground your ayahuasca experiences is an important element in the work.…
Kerry MoranOct 19, 2020 Read More

Lightworkers in the Dark

Ayahuasca visions, despite their glamorous reputation, are not all light and love—they can be shockingly dark and downright disgusting. Sometimes people feel shame about what they experienced in ceremony, or in the surprisingly intense times that can arise afterwards. Working as an integration therapist, here’s what I find myself saying, over and over again: “What you’re experiencing in the aftermath of your retreat is part of the process. The dark material that’s arising, the fear, the anxiety, the pain—all this is medicine work.” And: “You don’t need to judge yourself for having had dark visions. Let’s step back and look…
Kerry MoranMay 13, 2020 Read More

#Thank You Plant Medicine

I recently had the opportunity to ask Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS, what we could do to accelerate the legalization of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for trauma. What could we do, that is, besides pray, and visualize—“and donate,” muttered the guy sitting behind me. “Share your experiences,” is what Rick said. “Make it public.” So many people have benefited from psychedelic use, he went on, and yet there’s still a stigma around speaking publicly about it. Broad-based popular support is what can change this, and change laws in the process. Entheogenic use is a social movement, just like gay marriage, and…
Kerry MoranFeb 19, 2020 Read More

Planetary Therapist

Watching bumblebees plunder the garden's snapdragons, I think of how the magic web of life is unraveling. It’s coming, and it’s here, environmental collapse on a systemic and unfathomably vast scale. This past year has seen a grim torrent of information about the seemingly inexorable damage we’re doing to the earth. The picture coming into focus is bleak indeed: Insect communities collapsing around the world. Oceans warming 40% faster than previously thought. Ice loss in Antarctica proceeding at a terrifying pace. That the bird population in North America has been reduced by nearly 30 percent in my lifetime is unfathomable.…
Kerry MoranJan 11, 2020 Read More