Some of which are common for beginners, as they are learning how the healing with plant medicines work. Some of which are unfortunately more traumatizing than healing, often due to how the experience was held, facilitated, orchestrated, etc.
I’d just been writing on this topic, and a few good blog posts came across my feed. In one, the writer, a facilitator herself and an outspoken voice on the medicine, says “This is serious business.” (Recommend to read https://www.afterlife.coach/after-life-blog/shamans-need-training). And this one as well, where she talks about what can happen when facilitators don't know what they are doing. (https://kahpi.net/ayahuasca-ceremony-facilitator/)
With all the hype, popularity and celebrity status that the ego can get hooked on in the plant medicine world, many facilitators are serving the medicines as “healers” who have not had the proper training. And it’s not just about the training but also the intensely deep shadow work that the person themselves has gone through and continues to go through. I’d venture to say not only on a personal level, but also on a cultural, collective and even universal level.
Any shadow work not addressed by the facilitator that they themselves are carrying will emanate throughout the circle. In some ways, some see it as a “group” healing, yet for many, it can be traumatic and the facilitator is not able, skilled or trained to help those who are deep in the healing process. What I’ve also seen is that the group, or a portion of the group is then doing the shadow work for the facilitator, instead of them taking responsibility for it themselves. This is part of the learning of energy and plant medicine work- learning to work through our own shadows, and learning from the shadow work of other (including the facilitator.) However, there are facilitators who haven’t done much work, or ones who have shadow that may negatively influence your own ability to navigate and heal on a deep level.
I have been fortunate enough, having been in hundreds of ceremonies, that these types of experiences have only happened 5-10% of the time. Some of them, I’ve been able to remove myself from; others I have not. I ended up with the aftermath that has taken years to integrate- yes, years for some and some are still ongoing. While on some level, I was called to be there for my soul’s learning, I had to come to the very hard lesson of taking back my power by choosing not to work with someone who can’t actually hold the space I need to do my deep healing work. Even if everyone else says this is the best “shaman,” circle, spectacular show, etc. In some cases, I was holding the space (along with others) for the facilitator to do their work (or for them to ignore their work). While this happens in circles, as facilitators are humans too, how we choose to give our power away, and what roles and personalities the facilitators choose to play, can perpetuate wounding and the cycles we are intending to break free from in the first place. (More on this later.)
Choosing the path of your healing requires a responsibility. Do your own research, trust your intuition, and find the path that supports your highest evolution. Do not get caught in the appearances of what facilitators may want you to see, the outer performances, or in what everyone else is saying is the "best." It's up to you to decide.
Protectress of Mother Earth, Energy Healing, Plant Medicine Integration, Coach, Writer