Despite the legal challenges of working with Ayahuasca in the United States, it is possible to participate in ceremonies throughout the country, including in Arizona. Legal ceremonies are conducted under the umbrella of several Native American Churches, which is how our ceremonies are conducted. Ceremonies take place with some regularity in the Phoenix area as well as other areas and private ceremonies are also available.
Working with a Plant Medicine Person
Contrary to many misconceptions, ceremonies do not have to be conducted by people calling themselves “Shaman.” This term is not uniformly descriptive, even in the Amazon. There are many types of people in the Amazon that work with Ayahuasca who do not call themselves shamans. For example, there are those who call themselves “Curanderos” which means “healer” in Spanish. There are also people known as “Vegetalistas” who are experts in working with plants, and others known as “Ayahuasceros,” who are people trained specifically to work with Ayahuasca.
Many of the so-called Shaman in the Amazon and the U.S. are using this moniker to boost their own egos–it has no actual significance. The most appropriate term, and the one Hamid prefers, is “Plant Medicine Person.” This term was brought to Hamid’s attention by Javier Regueiro, a well-known Plant Medicine Person living in Peru, and it seems to be an honest term that does not seek to inflate any perceived egoic role in the process of working with plant medicines.
Finding a Ceremony
There are many resources for finding ceremonies in your area, but the best way is word of mouth. If you are in Arizona, feel free to submit an inquiry below.