Martha Sneyd: Ayahuasca Psychosis and Spiritual Awakening

Will Hall, MA, DiplPW
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After taking the psychedelic drug ayahuasca, Martha Sneyd went into an extended altered state diagnosed as psychotic. Her terrifying ordeal ignited a spiritual initiation that eventually brought gifts of awakening, insight, and compassion. How did Martha emerge from her ecstatic journey through a mythic, archetypal world to become an advocate and teacher? What lessons can we learn about the dangers — and potentials — of psychedelics and of altered states of consciousness labeled “madness”? Today she is a mental health case worker in the UK National Health Service, co-director of an interdisciplinary research team, and voice for more humane and spiritual treatments for madness.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. The reason why they gave Martha more Ayahuasca is because they believe they can help her leave the ‘balanço’ which is translated as wavering, a state of the mind when we see and feel only bad things usually.

    Ayahuasca is pretty safe, no matter how much you have. It’s basically impossible to be intoxicated by the amount because you’ll throw up the excess. In a process called “limpeza” which is also believe to be a spiritual cleanse.

    By what I hear the biggest mistake was lack of follow up. This is something you only get in smaller groups. Fortunately I’ve been consagreting for almost 2 years with minor issues.

    Feelings of detachment are common but they tend to disappear over time. I also think the best approach is to limit the length between rituals to give your body and mind the right time to consolidate what you have learned and to fully recover. I wait up to 3 months between rituals.

  2. By the way, from my experience I can tell the best treatment for any condition still proper health diet and exercise.

    Ayahuasca rituals are more like a religion and after time we learn to kind of resist some of the effects so it only makes sense for the people leaving in those tribe or in my case where I participate of a community that has heritage and aggregate a variety of shamanic rituals.