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I’ve noticed a few times that when I post articles and videos about ayahuasca in Facebook groups, occasionally I’ll get a rather unexpected and violent reaction, talking about how ayahuasca is an experience for the elite only, that the cost is prohibitive, and when will regular people be able to try this experience which purports to be so life-changing.
When I first saw these comments, I was a little confused, as I’ve taken ayahuasca two times (here in Mexico), and both times it cost somewhere in the realm of $60 USD – more than an LSD trip surely, and perhaps more than a night at the movies, but not exactly in the realm of “maybe if I take out a second mortgage…”
My perspective changed when my buddy Aaron pointed out how the media portrays ayahuasca – with all the poetic visions that go along with it – hiking through the jungle, travelling by canoe along the Amazon to reach a 70 year old shaman holding a palm tree shaker, speaking in an incomprehensible native American tongue, which he later uses to sing incantations, conjuring tigers by the campfire.
Or people read about it in articles like this one from Business Insider casually mentioning the figure of $11,000 without explaining that, well, you don’t have to pay that much.
In an ideal world…
Of course, in an ideal world, everyone would be able to take this mystic medicine with a shaman who has a 1,000 year lineage, after a month of eating a pure vegan diet, abstaining from X, Y and Z, meditating every day, with spiritual guidance on hand… But, if you can’t get the ideal conditions, sometimes it’s best to just fucking do it. And you can do it.
I’m told that in the US, you can take a ceremony for around $400. In Europe, about €300 – still rather expensive for some. However, new groups are popping up all the time, and that’s sure to drive the price down.
In some countries, you can order the plants online to make the medicine for yourself or find a supplier who makes the brew ready-to-use.
As I said, both times I’ve taken it so far, it cost about $60 USD – 1100 MXN, and for that I slept on the floor of a shaman’s house on my sleeping bag, listening to musicians play hymns and ícaros. But for someone looking for a more all-inclusive experience, I know of at least one group in Mexico which will provide a 3 day retreat with food, accommodation, psychotherapy, and complementary medicines such as rapé, for around 6000 pesos or $310 USD.
Ayahuasca isn’t yet something that you can obtain with extreme ease in a lot of the world. But it is getting cheaper, and it is getting more accessible. When the media tells you that you have to travel to a Peruvian jungle – don’t believe the hype.
This article is for entertainment purposes only; don’t take it as medical advice. If you are going to do ayahuasca, do your research, and especially be aware that psychotropic drugs can interfere with the medicine, introducing serious risks.