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Home » What Exactly Is A Psychedelic Retreat?

What Exactly Is A Psychedelic Retreat?

Perhaps you’ve heard about a psychedelic getaway or thought of having one of your own – but what happens? We asked people who’ve been on the retreat to share their experiences…

What exactly is a psilocybin retreat?

A psychedelic getaway makes use of a variety of herbs to support optimal healing on a psychological, physical mental as well as spiritual basis. If one has been brought up in the Amazon The plants that are utilized as healing medicines are Ayahuasca as well as San Pedro/Wachuma, among others. Western medicinal plants include Psilocybin, often described as magic mushrooms. People gather with reverence of the plant in order to request for help and begin the process of healing.

How long do they last?

Retreats can last between two nights and two weeks. Indigenous retreats can last for up to a month.

What are they?

Alcohol is not permitted. If conducted under the correct guidance, these ‘ceremonies’ are considered highly ritualistic and not to be performed lightly. Based on the retreat as well as the shaman who is leading, there may be one ceremony per evening where the plants are administered according to someone’s previous experience and position of health.

On an Ayahuasca weekend retreat days tend to be spent in bed or resting, and sharing circle (minimal meals) and the evenings are reserved for ritual and prayer/song. At the time of a ceremony, the participants can drink medicine or eat the plant and enter into deep meditation, until the medicine begins to take effect.

Brain regions that are not normally active are transformed into open channels. The process begins with the ‘journey’ or as some call it “trip”, or psychedelic, experience. I would prefer to not call these things anything else than ceremony because I don’t think of it as being the same that people who use substances to get high. The ceremonies are extremely personal which means that each person is likely to experience different emotions, emotions and bodily reactions. The majority of groups will gather on a circle, in the dark, within the security of an area that is blessed by the Shaman. As a healer is their job to create a safe space to allow for the experience.

What were your most memorable experiences?

My best psilocybin retreat experience was the care of an Peruvian healer named Ricardo. Ricardo left home at age 11 to travel, learn and share his healing. He is highly professional and truly cares about the well-being and health of each person. Since the moment I signed up for the space, I was able to pray for six months to allow the medicine to be kind and gentle – my experience began before I even entered the retreat. There were also indications that I was definitely meant for the space. The way we think and act around medical treatment all contribute to our ‘journey’. I also followed a particular diet for several weeks that removes toxins and prepares your body for the use of medicines.

What do you think of when you go home?

It takes time for body and brain to fully comprehend what’s transpired. Some people leave feeling clear as well as euphoric, but if someone has endured pain and suffering, then the outcome on leaving will be inevitably different.

Should everyone go?

Absolutely not. Nowadays, medicine is administered and used carelessly. I knew that I had been named by the drug, called Mother for about six years, however I wanted to stay away from knowing why. It’s not a way to get high or an escape from pain. You must be sure that it’s right for you and that you’re capable of taking on the responsibility of what may come after. Healing is a process , and doesn’t happen overnight so even if you have some enlightened visions or a difficult experience, it’s typically a reflection of the place you’re in your life.

It is best to only choose recommended shamans or retreat leaders. There have been many unfortunate cases where people have fallen ill and suffered greatly because of people simply claiming to be ‘shamans’. Do your research and think about why you’d like to visit.

Experience Retreats are organized in conjunction with the Psychedelic Society UK. Sebastian has attended and shares his impressions below.

“Psychedelic retreats are retreats where participants for therapeutic spiritual or recreational reasons ingest plant medicine (Ayahuasca or Psilocybin-mushrooms). They do it in a ceremonial manner which is supervised and looked after by the facilitators.

I have been on two psychedelic retreats . Both of which were the “Experience retreats” located in the Netherlands organised by Psychedelic Society UK. The first one I attended was for four days and the second one was five days.

Generally speaking, there is one preparation day, one Ceremony day and one integration day, each day is accompanied by appropriate tasks and exercise.

During the ceremony, everyone mushes their psilocybin-mushroom truffles and finds their way to the ceremony room. Then , everyone prepares tea out of the truffles and drinks the tea. The dose is decided beforehand with your assigned facilitator. Many people select a dosage that induces a lot of hallucinations, an alteration of your perception of time and space, and the loss of your sense of self or that you are connected to everything.

I’ve had plenty of incredible experiences at an psychedelic getaway. Meeting amazing human beings, deeply profound and magical experiences that offer visuals and knowledge. I haven’t really had any really bad experiences. Challenging and sorrowful and sad experiences, yes but nothing terrifying.

After my retreats, I feel inspired and encouraged to be more present in my life with more loving and kindness. Returning to the modern world , where people are so erratic and anxious can be a little daunting.

FYI, psilocybin-mushroom truffles can be legal in the Netherlands where retreats like these take place.”

Elise Loehnen is the Chief Content Officer at Goop

“I experienced my psychedelic experiences that I’ve experienced following the production to be transformational. It was the equivalent of decades of therapy wrapped in a single session. More important than the actual experience, however, has been that process of integration. The bits of it I haven’t worked on over the past few months, I’ve lost. I think psychedelics, in the right setting, with appropriate therapy support, can bring the ladder down out of the sky. Then, it’s your turn to grasp the line and climb.”