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Selecting the Right Shaman for Your Ayahuasca Journey

Updated: Apr 5

Note: If you would like to watch the corresponding video for this post on YouTube, you can click here.


Greetings once more. In this segment, we'll delve into the essential aspect of choosing the right shaman for your Ayahuasca journey. With a multitude of retreat options available, finding the perfect match can be a daunting task. Let's explore some questions you should ask the shaman or their intermediary to ensure a harmonious and transformative experience.


What Lineage are They From?


Begin by inquiring about the lineage of the shaman. This tells you about their roots, who their teacher was, and whether their lineage is indigenous, mestizo, or maybe even non-existent. While some may choose to work with shamans outside of a lineage, having a lineage can be a reassuring sign of their commitment and knowledge. In my personal opinion I feel that a lineage is absolutely key.


Experience and Training


Understanding the shaman's training and experience is crucial. Don't settle for vague answers like, "I've been doing this for nine years." Dig deeper and ask about specifics. How many shamanic dietas have they undergone? How many ceremonies have they participated in before leading or facilitating? How many ceremonies have they themselves led? The depth of hands-on experience often trumps the duration of study.


Consider the story wherein I encountered a person who claimed to have studied Ayahuasca for nine years but in reality had only spent a fraction of that time in direct training with their teacher. Sure that experience spanned over nine years, but again their direct experience studying tallied up to about four months over nine years. So, be sure to question the actual direct experience they've gained. The quality and intensity of the training matter more than the number of years.

Teacher's Authority and Title


Ask if their teacher has granted them the authority to facilitate ceremonies. Does the shaman hold a title, such as Maestro, Maestra or Taita? Titles indicate recognition and trust from their teachers, validating their readiness to guide others. A shaman who has received this acknowledgment has often demonstrated mastery and dedication to the medicine path.


Dietas and Training Intensity


Find out how intensive their training was. Did they focus on a particular plant or spread their learning across various ones? Some traditions prioritize deep dives into one or a few plants over long periods time, while others explore a broader spectrum of plants. Each approach has its merits. My lineage, for example, has us diet a broad spectrum of trees and plants. Again, both approaches are valid. This point is more informational and how you personally feel about the two approaches.


Do You Like Their Vibe


Aside from their experience and credentials, you must connect with your shaman on a personal level. Spend time on their website, watch their videos, or listen to their icaros (medicine songs). Try to gauge their philosophy and overall energy. Your comfort with and trust in your shaman is the foundation for your Ayahuasca experience. If something feels off or doesn't resonate with you, it might be a sign to keep searching. This point applies even if you were referred to a shaman by a friend. Check your own intuition in addition to listening to friends or other sources.



In conclusion, choosing the right shaman for your Ayahuasca journey is a deeply personal and important decision. It's about more than their experience and training; it's about the connection you feel and the trust you have in them. Do your due diligence, ask the right questions, and ensure you're making an informed choice. Remember, there are many exceptional shamans out there, and finding the perfect match will lead to a transformative and enlightening Ayahuasca experience. Stay tuned for more posts about Ayahuasca and finding the right retreat for you. Until then, safe travels on your journey of self-discovery.


Note: If you would like to watch the corresponding video for this post on YouTube, you can click here.

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