For new people just beginning the medicine path as a sacred practice, it’s important to provide a firm foundation to start the work. Rather than offering single sessions to new folks embarking on this path, The Congregation prefers to offer a sequence of sessions that will get you through your first ceremony with both depth and safety.
The sequence is five steps: Intake, Intention, Retreat, Themes, and Integration. Typically each of these steps can be accomplished in a single session but sometimes, it takes more time.
Before we meet for your first session, the Intake Session, we ask you to fill out an intake form. The form asks a variety of questions that we will explore during your intake session. Some of these questions are about your intentions and your goals. Some of these questions are about your medical history. Some of the questions are about personal history, spiritual practices, physical practices, etc. The Intake session usually lasts an hour and a half to two hours. It gives your Minister a chance to get to know you and the chance for you to get to know your Minister. It’s also a good time for you to ask questions that may come up for you as you begin thinking more deeply about embarking on this work.
The second step is the Intention Session where we specifically dive in to crafting an intention or two for you to explore during your retreat. You’re diving into the vastness of your psyche and spirit and it’s useful to have direction to dive toward. The session usually is done 24 to 72 hours before the ceremony since it’s partly designed to prime yourself to get ready to jump. Out of that session we can craft intentions or perhaps questions for you to explore with yourself. It’s important to understand the framing of the way we approach this work: You are going into the space to have a conversation and/or experience with yourself about something important. Our job as a minister is to set you up with your intentions so that you can have the best experience you can have with your deepest self.
Next is the ceremony. We’ll begin with a short ceremony where we will light some sage or some palo santo, waft the smoke for cleansing, and say a prayer if you’re so inclined. From there your Ministers primary job is to keep you safe and their secondary job is to support the unfolding of your process. Sometimes they will play recorded music. Sometimes they will play crystal bowls or sing. Sometimes, when requested, they may do bodywork. Your Minister will take notes about anything that comes up for you that feels really important to capture. For the next few hours their job is to attend to you, write down what you say, get you water if you need it or a blanket if you want it. In general, their role is to stimulate and support the work so that you can dive into yourself. At the close of the ceremony, they will bring you a snack if you’re feeling hungry.
The fourth step, the Themes Session, typically takes place 2-4 days after the retreat. It’s a chance for you reconnect to the themes and sort through the things you might have been saying to yourself and things you might’ve been teaching yourself while you were in the ceremony. It’s a bit like coming back from vacation. If someone asked you when you get off the plane, ”How was your trip?,” often you’re not quite sure yet. But a few days later, you have sorted through the trip and you can tell the stories of the places you went, the things you did, and the people you met. In short, your psyche and spirit make meaning of the experience quite naturally in the days following an adventure. The Themes step captures this regular process and supports it so you can find the most important things that happened.
The final step, Integration, completes the experience and typically takes place 7-10 days after the retreat. After you’ve been living with the new feeling and a new opening with yourself for a week or so, it’s helpful to then begin thinking, ”What would I like to do with this?” The integration sessions can sometimes feel a bit more like a traditional coaching session where we explore different commitments that you can make that would support what you learned about yourself. Sometimes this can involve the commitment to have a conversation that’s been put off, to begin a practice of some kind that felt really important, or to stop the habit of some kind that no longer serves you. The increased neural plasticity after a ceremony allows for you to prune old habits and begin new habits with greater ease than you typically would.
Donations and Scheduling
The suggested donation is typically between $1500 – $3000. This includes all five of the stages and can usually be accomplished in 5 meetings. If additional meetings are necessary (such as needing more time to cover all the notes in the Themes phase), those meeting(s) are included. Many people find that this work is one of the most important and impactful experiences they’ve ever had. Please ask to discuss options with your Minister if this suggested contribution feels truly uncomfortable.
For those that are familiar with working with entheogens and are interested in healing in community, we offer group ceremonies. As with all sacramental work, participation in a group ceremony requires engaging in both a preparation phase and an integration phase. Prior to participating in a group ceremony, we will ask you to fill out an intake form, schedule an “Intentions” call, and engage with our preparation practices. After a group ceremony, you will have an opportunity for an integration session and ongoing support from the congregational community. Intake, intentions, group calls, the ceremony, and the integration session are all part of the sliding scale donation ($700 – $1400) that we request for the ceremony.
If you’re ready to schedule a ceremony, please fill out the ceremonial membership form above and once you are invited into the portal, you may use the Minister Directory to schedule a thirty minute consultation to discuss your journey forward.