To make a long story short, my search for a shaman in Peru led me to members of the Santo Daime church in Oregon, the group mentioned in the previous post. They welcome visitors, although there’s a fairly rigorous screening process.
I received a newcomer packet via email with information about the church and the Daime tea (aka Ayahuasca). One section contained a long list of foods, beverages, and medications to avoid before participating in a Daime ceremony.
It’s extremely important to avoid drinking the Daime tea if you’re also taking antidepressants such as Zoloft or Paxil. They can interact with one of the chemical ingredients in the tea–monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)–with potentially serious results. The list of foods includes things like chocolate, red wine, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, all of which interact with MAOI.
I filled out the application form, which included an extensive medical history, and mailed it in. The next step was a personal interview. Usually, the interview is face to face, but since the church is on the west coast and I’m in Wisconsin, we did it by phone. The interviewer was very friendly and helpful.
I had a number of questions about the ritual. All Santo Daime services involve the consumption of the sacramental tea. There’s an extensive liturgy of hymns and prayers in Portuguese, the language spoken by the founder of the church, Mestre Irineu. Some services emphasize quiet meditation while others involve ritual dancing that can go on for ten or more hours.
There’s a dress code. I drove to the Boston Store and purchased a pure white cotton shirt and matching pants. My interviewer suggested that I also bring a blanket, a pillow, some fruit or other light snacks, and a water bottle. It sounds a bit like a slumber party.
My flight for Ashland, Oregon, leaves this afternoon. Wish me luck.