The Healing Power of Plant Ceremony
You don’t need to be unwell to reap the benefits of making healthy choices – it’s all part of investing in your well-being. Proactively maintaining your mental health is just as important as taking care of your body by doing exercise or eating well.
Most people are now familiar with the scientific advances that have been made in using psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) for treating mental health conditions, thanks to a surge in mainstream media coverage. What’s also coming to light is that plant medicine work is beneficial to people without diagnosed mental health conditions who nonetheless wish to improve their mental well-being, creativity and ability to thrive, despite modern stressors.
PAT improves mood, even in people who are in good health – an outcome that studies have confirmed. We have all experienced trauma, even if those traumatic events have not resulted in diagnosed mental health conditions. Collectively, we’ve all experienced a particularly stressful few years during the pandemic. Our lives are typically busy with competing demands on our time and energy, and our bodies accumulate daily stress. This can lead to burnout in the long run.
Plant medicine provides an opportunity to process and discharge trauma and stress from the nervous system and the body, where it is stored. This helps us mentally recharge, improves mood and enhances our overall well-being. When we are provided with the appropriate “container” – safe and controlled environment – and a professionally guided plant medicine Ceremony, it gives our body the opportunity to release stored tension and emotional burdens from the bones, muscles, tendons, tissues and fascia. Participants report feeling calmer and more relaxed and centred after partaking in a Plant Ceremony. The afterglow of a psychedelic experience can last for days, weeks or even months. Studies have shown that many people develop a new outlook on life after their psychedelic experiences.
The use of psychedelics has also been shown to enhance our social connections, fostering deeper and more meaningful interactions. Plant medicines are natural, and those who participate in a Plant Ceremony often feel a greater connection with nature, the earth and other people and living creatures after this experience. A feeling of oneness and sense of connectedness pervades, as well as a deeper understanding of life and spirituality.
Psychedelics also reintroduce us to our bodies, feelings, sensations and emotions. Studies have shown that psychedelics allow people to become more present and embodied. Through the use of plant medicines, we can change our perspective, and this often enables us to come up with different solutions to our problems. You may feel more empowered and in control of your life following Ceremony. Plant medicine can also contribute to self-betterment and more creative problem-solving. Psychedelics, in particular, may boost creative thinking, thereby enhancing self-expression through various art forms or simply the understanding and expression of ideas and feelings.
It is important to understand the difference between the legitimacy of a guided or therapeutic Plant Ceremony versus the recreational use of psychedelics, and why Ceremony is the method most likely to promote these benefits and long-lasting well-being. Firstly, guidance from our team of trained and accredited practitioners begins long before a Plant Medicine Ceremony begins. In Dimensions’ preparation process, a mental and physical assessment is completed before guests even arrive, to ensure readiness. Once at the retreat, guests are guided through steps that help them set clear intentions for Plant Ceremony and learn skills that help them to regulate their nervous system, stay with uncomfortable feelings or experiences and navigate the psychedelic experience. This preparation helps to create a container of safety, and to have guests develop the appropriate mindset when approaching plant medicine work.
A guided approach during Ceremony also helps deepen your experience with plant medicines. This might look like reassurance or verbal support, asking questions or using therapeutic processes to expand your experience. The nature of Ceremony allows new thought patterns and expansive visions to emerge. Sometimes people can get lost in thought or stuck in their heads; therapists can help guests when this happens by guiding them through practices that quiet the mind and help them turn inward. Participants can rest assured and fully submit to the experience knowing they are both safe and supported. This is the ideal setting for a psychedelic experience.
It is also important to give yourself space to integrate from a retreat experience (which, at Dimensions, is fully supported.) A six-month window is recommended between psilocybin retreats, while cannabis can be used more frequently. Additionally, cannabis helps you integrate experiences with other plant medicines, including psilocybin. And in a guided setting, where Plant Elders and psychedelic therapists create a container of safety and provide the necessary support, it is possible to have life-changing experiences with psychedelics. Exploring the expanded states of consciousness that psychedelics provide creates many positive outcomes that buoy mental wellness.