(The Aware Project is not associated with the Conclave but is in service to spreading information about responsible use and administration of psychedelic and entheogenic substances)
There are no proven and established indigenous traditions or lineages associated with the use of 5-MEO-DMT; most facilitators or ‘practitioners' have themselves been initiated by other practitioners in their own various styles, which have essentially evolved by trial and error, and many facilitators believe their way is the way.
There are, however, many different approaches to work with this sacred medicine for varied intentions and outcomes within a more generalized holistic model; from small doses to a “full release” experience, from a psychotherapeutic setting to a more shamanic practice, from non-interference to active guiding. Our understanding is that every approach affects the journey and best practices essentially serve as guidelines or ways to approach the 5-MeO-DMT experience to secure an optimal outcome: ensuring the safety and best result for each participant.
A positive “session” can result in many feelings, such as: opening, letting go, purging, catharsis, releasing, healing, remembering, reunification, trust, love and bliss, amongst others. It may take more than one session to establish trust and rapport with a facilitator, to develop greater facility and ease in the internal process and to learn to fully let go, or to shed a lifetime of suppressed energy. A skilled practitioner listens and learns from each participant and their connection with the medicine and adjusts accordingly. One person’s perfect dose may, metaphorically, be another’s poison.
If the participant has not been able to open, or if the energies opened up have not been fully expressed, supported and integrated within the session, ego-fear, blockages, trauma, confusion and related energies can remain and even re-emerge in “reactivations” after the initial session. There is no goal, no striving, no right or wrong. Everyone’s journey to the same central Truth is unique; while the essential Truth remains the same. The best practice is to trust yourself and the process, to open to love, and to let nature take its course as it reveals Who and What You Really Are.
There are three effective stages to the process of providing an optimal experience with 5-MeO- DMT (or any other entheogenic/psychedelic substance for that matter). We have defined these under the broad categories of: Preparation, Initiation & Integration. Responsible practitioners will strive to develop and fully incorporate these three stages into their sacred work.
Those seeking to work with this sacrament would be wise to review these “best practices” when considering selecting an appropriate practitioner to work with and should feel free to ask questions of any potential practitioners before choosing to work directly with them. These recommended practices are offered in the spirit of love, communion & community, so that those approaching this important and most sacred work may be fully informed and that practitioners undertaking this sacred duty may do so responsibly and confidently with all the necessary tools and information that we can afford them.
May this Great Work be done well and held sacred by us All.
~ The Conclave (C.Q.)
Questions People May Ask When Selecting a Practitioner or Guide
Who is this person you are going to be working with?
Who is recommending them to you?
What is their specific background in working with a particular sacrament?
Do they have particular expertise or are they working in an apprenticed tradition or lineage of .....some kind, as in traditional Ayahuasca, Peyote or Iboga ceremonies?
Are they authentic, relatable and trustable?
Are they knowledgeable and intimately familiar with their particular ceremony and sacrament?
Do they have any other background or skill set that aids them in their Work, such as a psychology or psychotherapy background or other healing modality that they utilize?
These are just a few of the basic things that should be established in advance of choosing whether a particular facilitator, practitioner, ceremony or sacrament is right for you. And any practitioner or facilitator should always be more than willing to answer any of these basic questions for interested persons before they choose to participate in ceremony.
Health Considerations & Addressing Health Issues
First, unless you actually are a medical professional, you are not qualified to give health or medical related advice directly to a potential participant and should clearly state that you are not a doctor and therefore cannot offer medical advice or counsel.
Participants must be in good physical and mental health before participating with the sacrament. This includes screening for pre-existing cardio-vascular disease, significant high blood-pressure, respiratory disorders, stroke or other neurological conditions. They should also be screened for significant food allergies or other conditions that could effect or be exacerbated by participation with the sacrament.
Participants should also be pre-screened for any history of psychological conditions including schizophrenia, psychosis, manic-depression or bi-polar disorder, PTSD, OCD... etc. Although some conditions such as PTSD and depression may be benefitted by participation, these considerations must be made very carefully and on a case-by-case basis.
Should any concerns arise they should be clearly and openly addressed and communicated with the prospective participant during the health screening process. All information provided by potential participants is considered completely private and confidential and shall be treated as such.
On occasion practitioners may choose to informally consult with medical professionals in making their determinations for a given participant and should be encouraged to cultivate these professional relationships. Participants are also strongly encouraged to consult with their own personal medical provider before participating with this sacrament if there are any health related questions or concerns.
• Screening your practitioner – What do I ask and look for?
Be sure to ask the practitioner’s history and experience with the medicine. Some have made the distinction between terms such as a “provider” (one who provides medicine and holds space) and a “facilitator” (one who holds space and can assist in shifting the energy with a participant). While some may find these distinctions useful, we find that it is more important to ask what specific capabilities your practitioner has and how they interface with the participants they serve.
How long have they been doing their practice? How many individuals have they served or worked with? What style or approach do they offer (psychotherapeutic, psycho-spiritual, shamanic, mystical, etc.)? Is it a group circle or one-on-one session, inside or outside, etc., whether they take small doses of medicine with you or not, what kind of dosage will they serve you and how long will it last, whether they do multiple rounds to build to a full experience or go directly into a “full release”, etc., and what preparation and/or integration support do they offer. They should be able to answer these questions directly and/or provide materials that address these questions prior to your participation. Make sure this all feels like a good fit for you, and that you are physically and mentally ready for the experience.
• Establishing rapport between participants & practitioners
Rapport with participants begins with the first outreach, in person meetings, phone & email correspondence, etc., and should continue through the session or ceremony and into the integration period and beyond. Both participant and practitioner should feel into each other’s personality, their ability and readiness for the session, and be open to questions and feedback. Are they authentic, relatable and trustable? Are they knowledgable and intimately familiar with the sacrament? Do they have any other background or skill set that aids them in their Work, such as a psychology background or other healing modality that they utilize? Be sure you are both a good fit for each other’s needs. Both men, women and transgendered individuals need to feel safe with the practitioner, their style of serving and the space within which the session is conducted. These are just a few of the basic things that should be established in advance of choosing whether a particular facilitator or practitioner is right for you.
• Providing clear written & spoken communications & essential introductory information
5-MeO-DMT provides, possibly, the most powerful entheogenic experience one can have, opening and revealing deep states of Source consciousness within the Self. A participant should always be as informed as possible on what to expect and have access to further links and information in order to make an informed choice if this is the right step for them at this time. The practitioner should provide such information in advance of participation. This can be accomplished through written communication, e-mail, telephonically or they may provide a full Orientation gathering in order to address these questions adequately. It is also highly advisable to complete some form of health screening prior to participation to better know and serve the needs and suitability of each participant. Does the facilitator or those working to make their arrangements communicate clearly? Are they providing you with all the adequate information about what they do and what you can expect?
• Answering any and all questions in advance as necessary
Answering any questions, forthrightly, truthfully and in a timely manner helps to create trust between participant and practitioner and transparency in the relationship moving forward. Are they providing detailed reference and written material in advance of the ceremony that is clear and understandable and provides all the details you’ll need to know before your participation, including conducting any necessary health screenings or providing information about dietary, pharmaceutical or other restrictions? Are they open and willing to clearly address any questions, special needs or concerns in advance of your participation?
• Physical & Mental Health Screening including contraindicated conditions & medications
A concise and thorough health screening document or verbal health screening generally helps a practitioner better know a participant and how to best serve their specific needs. This includes any contraindications or possible dangers, any past traumas, injuries or energies that may arise. Some conditions and medications may be contraindicated with 5-MeO-DMT (such as SSRI & MAOI anti- depressant medications) and may mean that this medicine is not safe for some prospective participants. Any medications, traumas, sensitivities or needs should be discussed in advance of participation to best prepare the individual and to best serve their particular needs.
Participants should be in good physical and mental health before partaking in 5-MeO-DMT. This includes screening for pre-existing cardio-vascular disease, significant high blood-pressure, respiratory disorders, stroke or other neurological conditions, pregnancy, significant allergies or other conditions that could be exacerbated by their participation. It is also important to screen for any history of psychological conditions including schizophrenia, psychosis, manic-depression, bi-polar disorder, PTSD, OCD... etc. Although some conditions such as PSTD and depression may be benefitted by participation, these considerations need to be made very carefully by a given practitioner and on a case-by-case basis. Should any concerns arise they should be clearly and openly communicated with the potential participant during the screening process.
All information provided by potential participants should be considered completely private and confidential and held in confidence by the practitioner or their administrative assistants doing any intake. If there are concerns by either participant or practitioner the participant may wish to consider speaking directly with their health care professional about any specific issues before participating.
• Other necessary information for your participation (Diet?, dress?, sexuality?, menstruation?, etc.)
Various practitioners approach these kinds of preparation differently, so it is generally best to check in with them in advance. There can be varying degrees of dietary preparation for a 5-MeO-DMT experience, because it is usually smoked, vaporized or insufflated thus bypassing the gut. In general, the cleaner your body and energy are, the more aligned and able it will be to fully experience the energy that is opened by the medicine. Some suggest that, at a minimum, to fast for several hours before participation. Others suggest longer time periods, or abstaining from meat, alcohol, sex and drugs for 24 hours or longer beforehand.
As with other plant medicines and diet, it is more about purifying your energetic field than any physical contraindications. Other practitioners may have less stringent or more rigorous requirements. It is good to know and understand these and follow their lead. Feel free to ask questions as to why they feel this is important.
Similarly, there are generally no restrictions regarding menstruation or sex before or after a session with 5-MeO-DMT, but energetically if you are feeling low energy or sick, for example, it may not be the best time to undergo such an intense experience and you may wish to consider rescheduling. This is especially true if you may be contagious. Loose fitting, comfortable clothing that allows you to move and feel free are recommended, as well as removing any restrictive garments, jewelry or adornments that may become cumbersome or entangled. Participants may also wish to consider refraining from using excessive make up, heavy perfumes, or essential oils in ceremony.
• Providing a clear overview of what to expect from the experience through integration
There is a common geography that is revealed in the fullness of the 5-MeO-DMT experience, often referred to as an oceanic space within. Still, each individual brings their own unique energetic signature, sensitivity, armoring and understanding to accepting that central space, and each practitioner should endeavor to communicate this spectrum of experience to the best of their ability. How an individual responds outwardly has been termed, their “archetypal presentment”, and how someone is presenting outwardly may have little to do with what is actually going on internally for them.
Participants will be best served by refraining from attachment to outcome or comparison with others experiences including their own previous experiences. Practitioners can explain that the energy that is opened with the external/exogenous 5-MeO-DMT catalyst is the deeper nature – or “ultimate reality” of the participant’s being – and that energy, once awakened, is a relationship to be nurtured ongoingly throughout the participants life. Participants should be empowered to know that this energy may “reactivate” or BE activated, and that with a practice this dynamic state can be sustained to a degree within a healthy body. Participants should be given ample integration advice and counsel in order to maintain, manage, maximize or minimize this energetic relationship as best they see fit.
• Privacy & Confidentiality
The privacy and confidentiality of all participants, practitioners, locations and details of sessions and ceremonies are essential for the protection of this work and the respect of all involved. This is especially true in areas where the legal status of the use of this sacrament remains in question. Each individual’s experience should be considered wholly their own and that experience should never be shared with anyone by another, unless express permission is given by that individual to do so. Different practitioners or groups may have different protocols in regards to their privacy and confidentiality policies and these should be adhered to by all participants for the safety, security and continuance of the work for all involved.
Individuals may be encouraged to share their own personal experiences with others close to them, however, tact and discretion in this regard is both recommended and requested. In any event details of the experience should not be shared in an open, cavalier or casual manner. The privacy of all those participating should be considered sacrosanct. The identities of those present, their experiences and the location of specific activities should never be shared with others. Some practitioners and groups consider the nature of the experience as initiatory, so specific details of the ceremony itself are requested not be shared with others.
Some may choose to share their experience in more open online forums such as Erowid, 5-Hive, DMT Nexus or even on various related FaceBook groups. It is highly suggested that individuals involved in this vital work carefully consider how their sharing may be viewed by those who may not understand the importance of this work. We strongly encourage discretion in terms of what and how you share about your experiences - and those you may have worked with in these online forums as this can dramatically effect and impact how this movement is viewed by the wider general public and can have adverse implications if not handled tactfully and respectfully.
• Developing personal/group Intentionality in advance of initiation/ ceremony/session
5-MeO-DMT can reduce or temporarily eliminate the sense of ego and identity separating us from the “non-dual” or unitive Truth within. With higher doses, all sense of ego and intention may dissolve completely, and yet intentionality can also help prepare for the opening to this Truth. Setting a personal and/or group intention can provide focus on lower doses, can entrain the unconscious and assist to program the conscious mind going into, or returning from the peak experience on higher doses. Intentions should be carefully considered and crafted before a ceremony or session. Intentions should be clear within your mind and some may even wish to write it down in a succinct manner. Hold this intention lightly and be prepared to surrender that intention if and as necessary in order to be present and open to what actually shows up for you.
• Dealing with nervousness, anxiety and/or fear
C.G. Jung aptly stated, “What you resist, persists.” And when it comes to facing our fear (or inner shadow content) no statement could be closer to the truth. Fear can be a mind killer; a little death. Fear can close us off from experiencing the fullness of Love. Yet, fear and anxiety are natural artifacts of egoic consciousness. And the ego may be trying to protect itself, to avoid facing something that needs to be addressed, or to distract the participant from facing or experiencing the ultimate Truth: that you are not your ego.
A skilled practitioner can assist, coach and guide individuals through or around this anxiety simply through their way of being, with their words, with the establishment of trust, sometimes with touch, with song, or with any number of ancient or modern techniques that allow the participant to feel safe. Some practitioners utilize a first round, smaller ‘handshake’ dose of medicine to establish a connection with its energetic signature, to relieve anxiety and empower the participant to consent to a deeper medicine round.
Likely the best way to address fear is to accept and surrender into it. To embrace it, to make fear your lover. It is also said that, “Courage does not exist in the absence of fear.” So, developing a courageous sense of being is to face our fears, by relaxing and breathing deeply into them. “Ego death” can be a reality within the 5-MeO-DMT experience and learning to let go of the egoic structure can take practice in order to fully experience ego transcendence. Practitioners should be able to offer effective advice, counsel, coaching and support regarding this effectively before, during and even well after initiation.
Fear can also be a profound teacher and a natural part of the experience as it plays an integral role in letting go and dissolving the ego and moving into Source energy. In a certain sense fear can serve as a gateway or portal. Should fear come up in a season or re-activation do not resist it, but, instead, work to stay present and observe it with curiosity as you allow it to move through. Remember that moving through the fear has a purpose and a message, and it’s important not to get stuck in the information that it is trying to impart. Don’t deny the fear, but realize it is a choice. The fear that something is somehow "wrong" or seems “different” or “not normal" are all fear based beliefs. Refuting the rationality of these beliefs helps one surrender to the process.
• How is the facilitator influencing the (Set) in advance of initiation?
Almost everything the practitioner does from the very first contact will influence the mindset of the participant in advance of the initiation. Some practitioners may take a more therapeutic, hands-off approach, while others may draw on various shamanic lineages and use song, instruments and/or prayer to layer the ceremony. Others may use ceremonial techniques to frame or contextualize the 5- MeO-DMT experience.
From the moment of outreach the practitioners tone, words or lack thereof, and style, can influence the participants mindset and expectation. The practitioner should also be in good health, dedicated to the service and space holding of each participant, and be responsible and completely able to handle whatever energies or circumstances that may arise both physically and energetically within the participant or within the general space of the session or ceremony. In any event practitioners must do everything in their power to hold space for and positively influence the mindset of each participant in advance of, during and after the 5-MeO-DMT session or ceremony.
• Individual Sessions or Group Circles
Different practitioners may offer the 5-MeO-DMT sacrament in various ways. Some work directly, one-on-one, with individual participants. Others may work ceremonially with small groups, bringing each person through the experience one at a time, while other participants are instructed in how to effectively “hold space” for those going through their release. Still other practitioners may offer more advanced group work, where experienced participants may enter into state together. However an individual practitioner may be offering the medicine they should be well versed and experienced with the context of their offering and clearly communicate their particular approach and explain their specific methods and techniques clearly and cogently.
Some people compare 5-MeO-DMT to an ego death and rebirth, with that same dynamic energy of a baby being born – and this can be a great way to approach this deep initiation. Whatever their specific approach a practitioner should be fully focused on each participant, or the group as a whole, and their specific needs within this death and rebirthing process. This should take place without rushing, without expectation and in full service to what is arising and needs to come through, for the full duration of the experience.
Some participants may require multiple rounds of medicine in order to shed energetic layers, and open to the fullness of this experience, and in doing so they are extremely sensitive to the set and setting of the space. The medicine can dramatically increase the level of psychic perception and sensitivity of those partaking in it. If others are present at this “rebirth” every word and movement within the setting can affect the participant’s consciousness and experience while in state. Therefore, everyone present must be instructed in the proper methods of holding space and must do so with focus of attention, while maintaining a state of “loving presence” for those undergoing the initiation.
If multiple people are experiencing medicine at the same time – which should really be considered an advanced practice for those that are ready and prepared – their release and flowering will undoubtedly affect the others within the collective field of opening. Simultaneous group work can be deeply bonding and entangle individuals in the awareness of All is One, as Source does not differentiate between the petals of a flower. Group work such as this should really only be undertaken by those experienced with the powerfully energetic opening that this particular sacrament alone affords. And individual participants should never feel pressured into participating within a particular setting within which they may be feeling uncomfortable or unready for.
• Appropriate Compensation & Energy Exchange
Financial matters and compensation should always be handled transparently and in a forthright manner. Some practitioners host retreats and charge a fee for this. Others may ask for a requested contribution for services received. However a specific practitioner may handle monetary compensation for their work it should be clearly communicated to a participant well in advance. Some may ask for non-refundable deposits in order to hold a participant’s space. Some work on a sliding scale basis and may wait to handle money exchange until after the ceremony to have the participant base their contribution on the value they receive from their experience. In any event, practitioners should request a fair amount for their services and consider alternative solutions for energy exchange as may be necessary, such as partial or full scholarship funds or payment over time for those who may need this.
•Creating a safe, solid, sacred & secure container for the work (Setting)
5-MeO-DMT can be experienced inside or outside, as long as the container for the work is safe, solid, sacred and secure. Outside spaces afford a unique connection with the unified field of nature itself, as all five senses receive the broadcast signal, deeply connecting one to the natural world. Inside work can feel more held, secure and contained, and can minimize external noise, energies or potential interference insuring thesafety of those participating. We define these aspects as follows:
“Safe” refers to an environment that is suitable to the physical, psychological and spiritual safety of the participant. Safe space means no dangers, inside or out, and the more comfortable and open one feels, the more a participant can relax. This involves wisely choosing a space that maximizes the comfort and well-being for both participants and practitioners, where no one is likely to get physically harmed or injured due to the nature of the environment.
“Solid” refers to the conditions within the environment, including things like weather, if outside, that will not dramatically shift or change for the duration of the ceremony or session work. And interior spaces that are suitable and will adequately hold the level of intensity released within the session or ceremony.
“Sacred” refers to the setting up of the inherent psychic and/or “spiritual” conditions of the specific location or space by utilizing shamanic, mystical, or liturgical ceremonial practices to create a “container” that will effectively hold up and support the participant both physically and psychically for the duration of the initiatory work. Practitioners and participants do not have to hold any specific belief in the “sacred” to hold a sacred space; what is meant is that the space is not profane, that it be dedicated to the work and removed from the mundane and pedestrian flow of life. One should not just do 5-MeO-DMT at a bus stop or randomly at a festival event. However, many different spaces can be made sacred by the intention of those creating and holding space. A certain sense of “spiritual” esthetic can also be helpful.
And finally, “Secure” is defined as a space within which all present are protected and held and where the ceremony or session will be uninterrupted and undisturbed by any inside or outside influences. A designated Temple space is highly recommended whenever possible. This could be a dedicated room, specifically set up for this kind of sacred work. Or, if need be, a living room or similar space could be utilized after removing any non-essential furnishings or covering TV monitors, which is a good idea if they are present. Also an individual may be assigned to serve as a “guardian”. Outside spaces should be chosen carefully in terms of privacy and should be set up taking the comfort of the participant in mind. In certain instances practitioners may need to be agile and adaptive in determining what works best in particular circumstances. In any event, all these factors should be carefully considered by practitioners and participants alike before a ceremony or session begins.
• Ceremony or contextualization
It has been said that, “In true religion, there is no sect”. Some practitioners may draw upon indigenous shamanic lineages and affectations utilizing various ceremonial methods of approach including ritual items, altars and iconography. Some make up their own, or have a minimalist–zen approach. Some practitioners use invocations, prayers, music, and/or songs and various other practices within their ceremony or session work, which can create a sacred setting and energetic to frame or contain the central peak experience.
The depth of the ‘full release’ on 5-MeO-DMT means there is no ego present to hear or witness any of this technique, but the artistry is such that a shamanic or magical ritual can help to manifest and hold the space before and during the peak, and reinforce and help reintegrate the ego upon its return. The neuroplasticity and suggestiveness of the rebirth state is extremely sensitive to words, songs, ideas, energy, etc., and the positive use of such can have as valid a place as the practitioner who holds space through non-action and non-communication. Individual participants would be wise in choosing a practitioner that offers a setting or contextualization that best suits their particular needs. And one practitioner may be better suited than another for any given participant. For there are many paths or approaches to the One.
• Holding space and witnessing
Holding space is the active art of being present and holding or anchoring energy. It is effectively a collective agreement between the practitioner, participant and all others present within the field of the container, that they will actively witness, while consciously holding a positively rock-solid state of "loving presence” for each individual and for the group itself throughout the entire process. Providing with absolute certainty the knowledge, understanding and deep trust that each participant will be held, honored, respected, protected and cared for no matter what may be coming up for them in their process of unfolding into the fullness of the energetic awakening; in order that each participant knows and trusts that they can fully surrender into the process. And it is this ability for the participant to trust and completely surrender the egoic function that is absolutely essential to this process.
It can also mean non-action, simply quietly witnessing and allowing the participant to fully express without touch, restraint or interference, as long as there is no harm to the participant or those in attendance. Some practitioners choose to hold space with action, and with the prior consent from participants, may hold space with touch, bodywork, song, words, rattle, etc. as deemed necessary. Every participant has an arc of their own experience, and different stages of that experience may require different needs.
• Physical protection & safety of the participant and all present
The safety of each participant is paramount within this process and every effort shall be made to ensure the safety (physical, psychological, emotional, social, etc.) of those participating in this sacrament. The energy released from the 5-MeO-DMT experience can lead to a very dynamic physical presentment within certain individuals. If a participant is moving dynamically or in danger of self harm, it is always a practitioner’s and/or the group’s responsibility to protect them and the safety of any others present. This means paying close attention and adequately containing any extreme or potentially hazardous movements, while not physically restraining a participant. The general rule of thumb is, “Contain, don’t restrain.”
Restraining someone in their awakening process can create negative imprints and potentially induce trauma. Participants should be enabled to move freely, to get up, dance, express, etc., while the practitioner and those present create room and safe space within which they can do so. Agreements should be in place for participants not to leave the agreed and protected ceremony space, nor to cause self harm or do harm to the practitioner or others present. In the rare event of aggressive or potentially violent behavior on the part of a participant, practitioners and those present will do their utmost to deescalate the situation and calm the participant, ensuring that everything is safe within the container before proceeding. In no event should aggression be met with further aggression or violence. All practitioners should be aware that aggressive behavior may arise within a given session or ceremony and take adequate precautions to be able to contain and diffuse it safely, responsibly and non-violently. This may mean having assistants, guardians or others present and available to manage these instances when and if they occur.
• Appropriate boundaries and physical touch
Practitioners should discuss appropriate boundaries and physical touch with participants before a session or ceremony begins. The space that can open up when working with 5-MeO-DMT is the most sensitive sacred space one can experience, so tread lightly and with discretion. Also, previous traumas and imprints may arise creating triggers around touch and boundary issues between participants and the practitioner. Better to discuss the need for touch in some cases as a possibility than to surprise and overstep agreements with a participant and break trust.
If the participant has “stuck energy” or is trying to purge or release, some hands-on bodywork by the practitioner can be useful and effective in encouraging this energy to shift or clear. Some practitioners may touch, massage or tap different areas of the body – but only with prior consent. Some may use feathers or fans to facilitate this energetic movement. Some practitioners may attempt to gently uncurl a body going into a retraction or fetal position, or may adjust the participants body to assist in purging or releasing or to avoid choking, aspiration or similar issues. Pouring water into the mouth, nose or throat to instigate the breathing reflex is an extreme tool that should be avoided by more careful consideration of dosage and sensitivity of the participant. It can result in water in the lungs causing aspiration and other complications. If necessary and requested, small amounts of water can be easily given to participants in state with a squeeze bottle, allowing the practitioner to administer small amounts of water directly and safely if water is required.
A participant’s journey is as slow and long as needed to open and express to their ego death and rebirth or whatever may be arising for them – and this process should be savored and allowed to unfold in fullness. It cannot and should not ever be rushed or hurried. Each wave comes to shore in it’s own time, and if forced, may cause distraction or even potential harm to the participant. No one should ever be forced to their feet, or forced to do more medicine without their full consent or appropriate time between rounds. No one – NO ONE – should ever be galvanized to move by any external device that removes their consent. Such activity by a practitioner should be considered a violation of their sacred trust of service and duty to participants. Each soul flowers when the bud feels safe to open, and not before.
The 5-MeO-DMT experience is one of incredible intimacy, great depth and beauty. It can also be powerful and challenging for some. Practitioners should work diligently to create an environment of safety, comfort and well being where all communicants can feel held and supported within this place of great sensitivity and vulnerability. As the nature of this unfolding is one of deep and abiding Love; creating a safe and conducive environment for the free and unrestricted expression of that Love is a high priority and of major importance.
We have found that powerful sensual, sexual or “kundalini” energy can be released through the experience of the medicine; the participant should feel free to personally express such without shame or guilt, and to be held in a safe, conscientious, compassionate and professional manner by the practitioner and those present without indulging or reciprocating such energy. Appropriate conduct and decorum within such an environment demands a high level of emotional literacy and social maturity on behalf of all those participating in order to respect the personal boundaries of participants as well as to guard the sensitive psyches opened within the process.
Some practitioners believe it is best to remove themselves as much as possible from the line of sight of participants to remove ego identification; at other times it may assist a participant to remember that someone is there looking after and tending to them and that they are not alone. Other practitioners may put themselves front and center of the participant, serving as an anchor point. As long as the participant does not confuse “the finger that points at the sun with the sun itself”, the bond between guide and those guided can be visible and supportive.
Practitioners should remind participants that they are merely facilitating the medicine experience, but they are not the medicine. Everything that occurs within the 5-MeO-DMT experience is part of the participant’s own revelation of Who and What they Really Are; of Source Consciousness within them. A skilled practitioner can assist in engendering an openness to the experience, but it is always the participant who is opening, and remembering, the practitioner is NOT doing this to them or for them. And this is vital to both understand and represent. Egoic attachment, transference, projection or entrainment onto a practitioner serves no one and practitioners should be at pains to avoid engendering such attachments. Ethical protocols should be generated and adhered to by practitioners in regards to establishing appropriate boundaries in terms of potential romantic and/or intimate relating with participants that provides for an appropriate amount of integration time to occur before engaging in such activity.
Finally, it is important for us to include a general definition of what we mean by “consent”. We are choosing to adopt four principles for evaluating consent as valid given by ethicist Morten Ebbe Juul Nielson (“Safe, Sane and Consensual – Consent and the Ethics of BDSM” – The International Journal of Applied Philosophy 24:2 (2010): 265-288)*. Nielson asserts that consent draws its moral force from the idea that individual freedom and autonomy is a basic human right and cannot be given to acts that destroy autonomy. For consent to be valid it must:
Be Informed, with both (or all), parties fully understanding the activities they are agreeing to perform and their risks; * Must be whole-hearted and intentional (“enthusiastic”), not being used as a bargaining chip;
Consent must be voluntary, not compromised by the threat of force or harm;
Consenting individuals must be competent (not intoxicated, under extreme emotional duress, underage, etc).
*Thanks to Rev. Teri Ciacchi of Living Love Revolution and Interdependence & Autonomy LLC for this contribution.
• Body position & posture, lying down or standing, etc.
There are many ways to receive 5-MeO-DMT, and each may have a varying effect on the experience. Many practitioners recommend sitting or lying down so as to be most comfortable when receiving the medicine, to not be distracted by the body or any aches or pains, in order to be able to fully let go. If seated in a crossed-legged position, it is encouraged to release the legs outward and gently lay down before going into the peak of the medicine, opening the arms, heart exposed and entering ‘savasana’ or corpse pose in yogic terms, a full surrender. Some practitioners may insist on the participant maintaining a very specific body position throughout their experience. However, we have found that simply comfortably laying on the back, face up, arms wide open and legs slightly apart is one of the best positions to allow the energetic flow that the medicine releases to move freely through the body. In any event the participant should be allowed to move freely as the energy of the release may move them.
Some practitioners serve the medicine outside in nature, standing, uniting heaven and earth, drawing energy from both in an augmented warrior pose. This can be transformational, but also leave some egoic focus on standing and being present or holding on. Participants may also need immediate practitioner help in safely lowering them to the ground when the ego goes offline. Standing is a powerful choice and has it’s place, but may not be for everyone all of the time.
As well as the psychic opening, 5-MeO-DMT engenders an enormous energetic opening that flows naturally through the body’s circuits. Some participants may curl up or go into fetal position, exhibit signs of muscle contractions or begin shaking or vibrating intensely as the energy is released. They may try to hold on or otherwise attempt to escape or redirect the experience. Some practitioners recommend keeping limbs uncrossed to allow free energetic flow, which sometimes results in what has been referred to as “mirrored bilateral symmetry” of their limbs resulting in mudras, asanas, yogic poses etc. Some participants may move or dance and experience free flowing movement in their bodies. Some may feel an overwhelming orgasmic burst and some may overflow into cathartic sound and release, including primal screaming, or may exhibit glossolalia (speaking in tongues), etc. These are all natural responses to be honored and supported as the practitioner best sees fit.
• Use of music, chant & sound, aroma
The session may have music that is live or recorded, structured or free-form, or savored in silence. Some practitioners use specific recorded tracks of gentle, non-rhythmic, ambient music that creates a contextualization or framework that assists in deepening or harmonizing the brainwave state of the participants experience, such as sound healing frequencies, solfeggio tones and binaural beats. Each stage of the journey has different needs. Lower doses or initial rounds, and the “reentry” or initial integration phase is when the participant is most aware of their surroundings and the interactions of the practitioner. Sound or song, chants etc., at these moments can be hugely supportive and guide the participant in or out more fully. However, such techniques must be carefully employed as to not create a distraction for the participant at any time. Should a participant find that any actions, including sound or music, that a practitioner is employing to be distracting, they should immediately indicate this and the sound, technique, etc. should be immediately ceased by the practitioner.
Certain instruments such as the rattle can shake and push the consciousness that is holding on, and be appropriately employed when entering a peak state. Bells or sharp sounds can create vibration to parallel the vibrating consciousness learning to let go and help release, but at other junctures they can also draw egoic attention to the sound, and bring people out of their experience, as can some music in general. Gentle sounds and instruments like singing bowls, Koshi bells, etc. can be highly effective in layering a smooth and supportive sonic environment for re-entry. Some practitioners may artfully use recorded music to assist in the reintegration of the participant by subtly introducing rhythm and melody which can serve to effectively bring the egoic consciousness of the participant gently back until full body awareness and “grounding” is achieved.
Smell is also highly influential and must be approached very carefully by practitioners. Some practitioners may use burning smudge such as sage or palo santo which can similarly support the senses and cleanse the energetic field. Others may use traditional incense blends such as frankincense, myrrh, copal, acacia, etc. to consecrate the place of working within a ceremonial environment. Others may incorporate the subtle use of hydrosol sprays, distilled water infused with floral essences, to clear or move energy or for subtle imprinting of the psyche. In any event all of these techniques should in no way distract from the central unitive experience of the participant, but instead serve to support that experience and should always be used with appropriate craft and discretion.
• Dialog vs. Silence
It is said that, “Silence is golden” and that it is “...the equilibrium of perfection.” In full ego release no external sound is really necessary, although comforting sounds, songs or music can be complementary to creating a sense of safety and presence for the participant’s “launch” and “re- entry”. It can also be utilized to cover external noises. However, in general the practitioner and those present should maintain silence throughout the participant’s experience.
However judicious and strategic use of dialogue can be extremely effective at the right moments: ‘trust, open, feeling, love’ and similar words are felt not heard, and can assist in opening to the fullness of the medicine. Simply whispering “Yes” in affirmation of the participants opening can be extremely useful. However, one must be very careful in using terms such as, “It’s okay”, when someone may be re-experiencing a trauma that is anything but “okay”. If a participant is experiencing fear or anxiety, simple statements such as “You’re safe”, can be very effective in calming a participant as necessary.
Intuitive verbal free-forming, sometimes based on the health/induction form around possible traumas etc., can also help reframe imprints and blockages, but such techniques should always be approached with respect, prudence and caution and only after developing a robust practice. A stray word during the integration phase after a peak 5-MeO-DMT experience can reverberate to unforeseen degrees on the participant’s consciousness: be prepared and use discernment in what you choose to communicate in these instances.
• Porous or solidly held containers
A 5-MeO-DMT session is best administered within a safe and focused container for the work. Some practitioners hold a more rigorously held container, controlling light, sound, temperature, outside interference, etc. Others may hold a more porous container that allows natural energies in. Some may seem to offer no container at all, which is not suggested or encouraged. Some believe all participants present at the start of a ceremony or session should remain for the full duration and hold space for others in the group; others may allow group members to come and go as long as it doesn’t disturb the overall energetic of the field. The golden rule to remember is everything affects everything else. And it is important to recognize the value of how containers are generated and held by various practitioners and how they can serve to hold, support and transmute the energies released within them in this powerful process of awakening.
• Conscious use of breath (pranayama)
We have found that it can be immensely helpful to practice some form of breathing exercises before (and after) a 5-MeO-DMT session. Deep, unforced, rhythmic breathing can greatly enhance and assist in the process of surrendering the ego. Entraining participants to be consciously aware of their breath, the precious gift of life which each breath affords us, and the release of all which no longer serves with each exhalation. Various breathing exercises & techniques that can be utilized beforehand such as: square breathing, breath of fire, deep belly breathing, and yogic pranayama breathwork, etc., can all help open the lungs and empower the participant to be more conscious of their breath in general. This can assist to alleviate any ego fears about their body stopping breathing in the session, in addition to calming the nerves and energy of participants both before, during and after the experience.
During the activation itself it is recommended to simply breathe deeply, through the nose in an unforced manner. Practitioners should pay close attention to each participants breathing throughout their experience. Simple techniques, such as blowing gently on the participant’s face, rubbing the breastbone lightly with a closed fist, or just placing a palm gently over the navel can offer subtle cues to the participant to take a breath should their breathing become compromised within the session in any way.
• Total permission to fully express what is necessary & essential
Whatever happens in a 5-MeO-DMT session stays in the 5-MeO-DMT session. Confidentiality is imperative. And each participant must be given complete permission to fully express what is necessary and essential in their experience – as opposed to what the ego may attempt to act out. The practitioner extends that permission, and encourages the participant to give themselves that same permission.
The participant can rage, scream, cry, laugh, orgasm, move, purge, release – whatever is required that needs to be released without shame, fear or guilt, because everything that comes up is for their healing. Everything. And the practitioner needs to accept that without qualm or reaction or attachment, without reinforcing or denying, to radically accept with non-judgment and absolutely no shaming. This sense of no-shame can be negated if the session is filmed or digitally recorded – as the camera generally just captures the flesh body; the external “presentment” and not the inner spiritual experience.
Some practitioners may allow for audio recording of an individual’s experience for later review. However, any recording of a participant’s experience must have total consent beforehand and should never be shared with anyone in an open casual manner.
• Specific Dosing protocols (Bufo/Extracts/Synthetic)
Synthetic and organic 5-MeO-DMT sources have different potencies and strengths. There is lab- made synthetic 5 which can be up to 99%-100% pure, organic varieties such as Bufo Alvarius toad bufotoxin (Bufo), and other plant based 5-MeO-DMT extracts, including Yopo seeds and other variants which can have significant variation in purity and potency. Practitioners and participants alike should be aware of dosage strengths and other potential alkaloids that may be present in organic materials from source to source, and understand clearly that potencies can vary according to the season, individual creature, age, and batch from these organic sources. A very detailed dosing protocol document has been released by The Temple of Awakening Divinity (T.O.A.D.) that outlines a very effective dosing protocol for both synthetic and organic forms of the medicine.
Also, every participant is different and each possesses their own specific capacity for processing tryptamines. It’s a unique blend of potency of material, the participant’s personal energetic sensitivity and egoic strength or ability to let go, and an ineffable heavenly permission and protocol that all combine in every single 5-MeO-DMT journey. Practitioners must be intimately aware of all these factors and not just mechanically bludgeon an ego into submission with large doses of medicine. Regardless of dosage, some participants may experience a ‘white out’ and not have any recollection of the experience. It is important to note that sometimes there will not be a “linear” memory of the experience, as such. In that this is not a linear experience. It is a “trans-rational” unfolding into the infinite, beyond the parameters of the rational, reasoning memory within what has been termed the “Default Mode Network” of egoic consciousness.
Some people can achieve a “full release” experience on small doses of medicine – and invariably these sensitives are overwhelmed by the average or large dose, and larger doses may be unnecessary or less than optimal. While some participants can be given enormous doses of medicine and their egos shrug it off or refuse to let go. You cannot force trust and openness. Sometimes starting with smaller doses and building up to a medium then full dose allows the ego to trust and give consent to itself to let go. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes the participant just isn’t ready in one session – and that’s okay, too. Proceed delicately and prudently in this process without forcing.
Participants who experience multiple sessions may also find their relationship with the medicine changes. Like peeling back layers of an onion, the more you release the less you have between you and fully releasing the next time. The more you can trust and remember the process of opening and letting go, then the more you can do so on each subsequent occasion. And the more you understand, that the external 5-MeO-DMT is just a key to unlock your own medicine within, the stronger that ability becomes. It is also important to remember that our bodies create 5-MeO-DMT endogenously and it is a naturally occurring substance within all humans. Some have found that for many individuals, the more one partakes of the medicine, the less is needed in subsequent dosing.
It must be clearly understood that 5-MeO-DMT is a pathway and relationship with the non-dual, unitive potential within us all. It is the practitioner's ultimate responsibility to effectively communicate that to the participant and to ongoingly support and assist in this process of awakening.
• Up to date valid CPR and First Aid training & Kit
All responsible practitioners should seriously consider taking basic First Aid & CPR certification training on a regular basis and keep their training updated and current. These classes can be easily found through any local area branch of the Red Cross or other such organizations. Having this foundational training can be vital in the case of emergencies encountered within a 5-MeO-DMT experience. Feel free to enquire if the practitioner you are considering has had such training. Also, having a solid professional first aid kit on hand, including a pulse-oximeter and oxygen canister and other related supplies can come in very handy in case of a health emergency while in session or ceremony. Be sure your kit is kept up to date and filled with relevant and necessary supplies.
• Integration & Suggested Techniques for Grounding
Integration and effectively grounding the energies encountered within a 5-MeO-DMT experience is absolutely essential in this process. Often individuals may need additional support, both during their experience, and especially after undergoing a powerful entheogenic awakening. Circumstances and issues surrounding reactivations may arise that need to be addressed. Experiencing deep catharsis or re-experiencing a past trauma or unresolved fear may arise. Or perhaps some new revelation has dawned within the consciousness of the newly initiated that needs further processing.
Practitioners should be prepared to offer both written material on the 5-MeO-DMT integration process and create spaciousness to be available to follow up with individual participants and offer necessary support as they gain their bearings and come to terms with any emotional issues that may arise. Or, to assist new participants in getting used to this higher vibrational frequency that often manifests in their lives after their experience. Practitioners may consider training assistants or trusted members of their communities, well versed in this process, to aid them in these efforts.
Subsequently, participants should be sure to give themselves plenty of time after a 5-MeO -DMT session or ceremony to give themselves spaciousness before just jumping back in to their standard “default reality”. Some may wish to develop a “buddy system” in order to have individuals who agree beforehand to hold space for each other in their integration process. Some practitioners and groups use a sponsorship model, where new participants must be officially referred by an existing member of the group who agrees to assist in their integrative process if and as necessary.
• Effective Documentation to offer for integration and aftercare
Individual practitioners or groups should be able to provide participants with effective documentation regarding integration and aftercare or at least offer solid verbal communications, explanations and support regarding their particular integrative process. We are making available a companion support document, “Integration & Suggested Techniques for Grounding” which has been offered to us by the entheogenic church, the Temple of Awakening Divinity (T.O.A.D.), which is aligned with The Conclave. The T.O.A.D. has given direct permission and consent for it’s publication and usage. We invite you to thoroughly review this additional material.
• Accessible and ongoing relationship, interface and communication with practitioner or network/community?
Ultimately, responsible practitioners should work diligently to create ongoing relationships with individuals they work with as well as forming alliances with other responsible practitioners. Establishing methods of ongoing interface and communications with an eye toward creating integrated and sustainable practices and communities of empowered, balanced, sovereign and enlightened individuals. Generating these kinds of networks allow for this important work to expand and grow giving more individuals the opportunity to participate in this vital, sacred work of planetary awakening, healing and transformation. Individuals should consider how they represent themselves, especially within the wider context of social media. We support those who create effective media platforms, interface and channels of communication that allow for the effective dissemination of necessary and essential information and counsel those who interface within broader social networks to seriously consider what impact they may have through their voices and actions in supporting and forwarding the cause of this movement.
• Integration circles, directly hosted or referred
Some individual practitioners and/or groups work to create, host and moderate regular facilitated “integration circles” where newly initiated participants can share their experiences; their breakthroughs as well as their and challenges, with one another in a safe, confidential and supportive environment. Many independent “psychedelic support” groups are being established in major population centers to offer just such support. And a solid reliable practitioner or group should be able and available to offer and provide any additional integrative support or referrals necessary for individual participants.
• Sustainability of the Medicine
Lastly, a note on pacing. Entheogenic medicines around the world were originally utilized and cared for by indigenous tribes with a direct connection and relationship to their environment. This instilled a deep understanding around the sustainability of entheogens and their correct usage, and it also shaped the availability of some medicines with the seasons. In modern times we often bring an unconscious capitalist, globalized paradigm to the consumption of earth medicines. More is not necessarily better, and in the global shamanic community this is even more so. This may also be seen in the rapid degree that some people enthusiastically dive into the practice and facilitation of this medicine with little or no training.
The trend in the West towards combining entheogenic medicines, especially something as powerful as 5-MeO-DMT, is relatively unknown territory. Combinations of other shamanic medicines like the Kambo frog poison, ayahuasca, psilocybin, San Pedro cactus, and even sources of N,N-DMT before of after 5-MeO-DMT can be dangerous and put extra stress on an already activated nervous and serotonin systems. Any MAO-inhibitor should be expressly avoided in direct combination with 5-MeO- DMT and could be fatal. Let these experiences breath. Let their wisdom reverberate through you to the fullest extent and integrate that, before moving on to another peak experience on a shamanic smorgasboard.
The sustainability of 5-MeO-DMT whether from natural or synthetic sources is also a cause of concern in our growing community. The Bufo Alvarius toad, one of the main guardians of this medicine in nature, is particularly sensitive to the supply and demand of the global entheogenic market, and we caution seekers and practitioners to utilize this and other organic forms of the medicine wisely and effectively, being conscious of sustainability and our human impact on the beings that host this Sacred Gift, and sourcing from ethical toad medicine collectors that continue to nurture these creatures.
5-MeO-DMT is especially powerful and can continue to reverberate in your life and your being. You can become sensitive to any other psychoactives, which when taken may reactivate the 5-MeO vibration that is within you, or with a regular meditation practice you may dip into that Source consciousness in an ongoing, dynamic relationship.
The long term activation potential of 5-MeO-DMT within an individual or group is presently unknown, but we are walking that path of awakening together.
All is One.
~ The Conclave (C.Q.)