Last month, my boyfriend of seven months went on an ayahuasca retreat. I'm not an expert on ayahuasca, but in the most general terms, that means he went to Peru with a dozen or so strangers to spend ten days in the jungle with a shaman, who provides ayahuasca. Which, as far as I know, is a liquid that they make each day from plants and roots from the forest … a hallucinogen. What happens next is a very dark, deep, personal, and intangible experience, which helps people face themselves in different ways.
People make commitments to do certain things before and after the experience. It's part of the rules — you go on a particular cleansing diet associated with the ayahuasca experience. And, in my boyfriend’s case, for 30 days after, he wasn’t supposed to drink alcohol, do any drugs, have any pork, masturbate, or have sex. To be precise, “no exchange of bodily fluids.” This even means no kissing.