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Conduct of the ceremony

The ritual begins between 8:30 pm and 9 pm. It takes place in a specific room located in our house in Taray (40 minutes from Cusco next to Pisaq). Mattresses are provided for each participant, as well as blankets and a pillow.

As the light is a disruptive agent for ayahuasca, the ritual takes place in the dark, otherwise the different participants would be unable to have 'visions'. The toilets are right outside of the ritual space and lit by a candle throughout the ceremony.

The ritual, as we have already mentioned, obeys the traditional shipibo form as instructed by the shaman Ronin Soi. Dressed in a ceremonial robe named cushma (tari in shipibo), the healer begins the ritual by smoking his ceremonial pipe (cashimpo) in order to 'cleanse' the space, in other words to chase down the harmful entities that might be disturbing the ritual. A first explanation of the course of the cure, as well as instructions to follow, are provided by the wife of the shaman, who speaks English fluently and is herself a French anthropologist and specialist in shipibo shamanism. Participants are then invited to provide the reasons why they have undertaken the ritual and specify their physical problems - whether they are suffering from an illness, following a specific treatment or having suffered an accident, etc.

After this introduction, Ronin Soi seizes the ayahuasca drink that he 'spends' by blowing inside the bottle of mapacho tobacco smoke (shamanic tobacco from Amazonia), then pronouncing a quick icaro invoking his auxiliary spirits so that they ensure the proper functioning of the cure.

After that, he invites the participants to drink the preparation. In this regard, it is recommended that they focus on their personal intent in the moment that they ingest the beverage. As he does not yet know the participants, the shaman first gives a small dose as a precautionary measure. Depending on the case, it is possible that he increases thereafter the doses in a controlled and very progressive way if people feel the need to take a second cup. Note that the shaman also consumes the beverage in order to be able to 'see' the problems and sufferings of the participants and thus begin the therapy with songs.

The songs begin as soon as the effect is felt and evolve throughout the night according to the needs of the persons. Although the notion of time is completely altered by the effect of the drink, the ritual usually lasts between 5 and 6 hours, after which the participants fall asleep on the mattress put at their disposal until the following morning. Indeed, it would be risky to let a person go in the middle of the night. Even if the effects fade, they can resume afterwards, so that it is therefore recommended not to be far from the shaman until the next morning.

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