• James Keskimaki

What makes Yajé different?j

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Yagé flowers


Many people think that Ayahuasca and Yajé are the same. According to websites all over the internet they are, but in reality they are quite different.

It seems that many of the tribes in Ecuador and Colombia use "Yajé" which in its simplest description is a brew made with Yajé vine (or a similar, but different variety of ayahuasca vine) and the admixture leaf Chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana).  This makes a much different brew as the Chaliponga contains N,N-DMT, Trace amounts of Bufotenine, NMT, and MTHBC.

Ayahuasca contains the Ayahuasca vine and Chacruna (Psychotria viridis), which only contains N,N-DMT.  

From the Secoya perspective, it is believed that they are the ones who taught the Kofan and other tribes how to properly prepare the brew.  Whether this is true or not, their brew is entirely different from anyone else.

First off, they use the Yajé vine and a Secoya variety of Chaliponga which they call Yajé Oco. But they also use a small amount of a pygmy Yajé vine called Waiyajé.

The main differences in the way they cook are as follows:

(1st)- Only two experienced elders or apprentices make the brew.

(2nd)-They pound of all the bark from the Yajé vine and discard it. The bark contains tannins that make it more purgative

(3rd)- they add a small amount of Waiyajé

(4th)-They cook this for 4-6 hours on a intense heat and then remove to boil down for an hour or two more.

This creates a very, very bitter and powerful brew They usually drink multiple times a night and go all night long until past sunrise.

The effects usually take some time to come on as the brew is super smooth and clean. I find that once it does come on it shows itself in surreal visionary state that is not overwhelming. But as the night goes on it grabs a hold of you and takes you right to what you need to look at. What you need to reconcile with, accept, love, or let go off. The medicine can last up to 10-12 hours depending on how strong it is and if you drink more than once. The Secoya really like to drink strong and will drink 2-4 times a night.

Another difference is the energies that these two different brews and traditions work with. Ayahuasca is usually cooked really thick, it comes on very quick and has a lot of visual fireworks and chaos. Most Ayahuasca traditions work with the plant and animal spirits. Ceremonies focus on purging and healing. Songs, also called icaros, are sung most of the night and healings are done in the middle of the night. They start early and end usually by 2am.

The Secoya work with the Wiñapai "heavenly spirits" and work hard all night to keep the space clean and clear of the Wati, or earthly bound spirits, that can be malevolent or just trickster in their ways. These spirits show up between 10-1 am, but by the time 3 am arrives the veil is at its thinnest and the Wiñapai can come through providing the space with true visions, deep healing and ascending bliss.

The elders keep the space quiet and still for many hours until they themselves connect with the Wiñapai, at this point they will start to sing.

It is best not to purge for the deepest healing and to keep the space as clean and quiet as possible. Like a deep meditation, the more movement and distraction, the less chance of calling in the Wiñapai.

Both are great medicines and if you work with a true master you will have very deep healing and insight. I believe it is good to know the difference. My one issue with ayahuasca is that it has become very trendy and commercialized. I believe what the Secoya do is more of a path of deep learning and integrity. They continue to push themselves and retain a gentle loving buddhist nature.

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