Author: Tina Courtney

What It’s Like to be an Ayahuasca Shaman

Succumbing to the intensity of feeling every conceivable emotion throughout the unpredictable expansion of Ayahuasca, every time she is consumed. Letting one’s eyesight transform into portals of a kaleidoscopic landscape, where you decipher the flow and disturbances of each human frame that sits in circle around you. Honoring the epic, insanely sacred responsibility of creating spiritual and physical safety for every being that surrenders themselves into your loving care. Holding court over a tribe of spiritual warriors, expressing the bravery of doing the deep, frightful inner work that allows each being to witness and integrate their shadows and their superheroes. Being the guide, the protector, the tone-setter. Working with the spirit world in sacred partnership. Developing unbreakable bonds with guides, totems, and guardians. Holding space for humans experiencing the horror and glory of an ego death and inevitable rebirth. Bringing them out the other side with grace and love. Managing freak outs, egoic projections, and all manner of outbursts. Knowing that everything is always unequivocally OK. When you lead Ayahuasca ceremonies, this is all just another …

The Economics of Ayahuasca: Do You Get What You Pay For?

Art by Josh Usmani Money is a complicated force woven within our cultural psychology, and when you combine it with our spiritual pursuits, the energies can go haywire. Most of us have no problem justifying the cost of our iPhones, our doctor-prescribed medications, our exotic vacations, jewelry and clothes and food and furniture; even the cost of a spa massage. If the items we want or need are beyond our reach, we find a way through savings and patience, or putting in extra elbow grease and effort. Humans are manifesting monsters when we have our eye on the prize. For many of us, however, paying for a spiritual experience brings up all kinds of resistance and stories. There’s a lot of discourse that proposes a process that brings you closer to God should be free; perhaps because it’s our birthright to know our divinity. How does someone have the audacity to charge for that? But what if the reverse is true? Isn’t it audacious to assume someone’s life calling should be given away? Isn’t the …

Why I Quit Ayahuasca Shamanism After 11 Years and 1,000 Ceremonies

I’m alive because of Ayahuasca. I am connected, soulful, expanded, and spilling over with self-love, mostly because of the blessing of attending around 1,000 sacred plant ceremonies. But if my intuition proves correct, I will never drink Ayahuasca or any other plant medicine again. Why? Because it worked too well. Let me explain. The Standard Story: Ayahuasca Saved My Life When I first found Ayahuasca – or rather, when she first found me – I was deeply depressed, though I pretended to be the happiest chirpy ass blonde LA girl you would ever meet. I had paralyzingly painful migraine headaches at least every 2 weeks. I drank alcohol almost every single day, as much as my body could handle. I did drugs most weekends to escape and to feel better, but increasingly, they were making me feel worse. I was fake. I was miserable. I was dying inside and out. In short, I was on a fast-track to total self-destruction, but I appeared as though I had the ultimate dream life. I had a famous …