"Working with ayahuasca is like experiencing an accelerated course of psychotherapy. One evening of plant medicine can seem like several years of intense work with a skilled therapist. The shaman, overseeing the ceremony (there should always be an experienced shaman overseeing the ceremony!), acts as a conductor and an amplifier of one's personal work with the plant, so that the life altering impact of the medicine is exponentially multiplied.
I would define an experienced shaman as a person whose life is devoted to entering and performing healing rituals in the rarified airspace of the plant's frequency of consciousness. Working with the plant is like entering another world, and it is important to have someone there who knows that world and is expert at navigating it, making your journey as safe as possible. Think of it this way: You wouldn't climb Mount Everest without at least one highly skilled and experienced guide.
Just as a Chinese medicine practitioner uses the physical body as his point of entry to enable physical, emotional and spiritual healing, the shaman uses the energy body to enact a healing with ayahuasca. And while a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis moves from the present into the future, a shamanic healing is not limited by any context of time or space. The shamanic practice is centered in magical consciousness – an early form of consciousness in which time and space had not yet entered the field of human awareness, and therefore, simply didn't exist. This is very freeing for the shaman. Thus, his intervention in any present moment becomes a simultaneous healing of the past, present and future. What he sees on the energy body might source from a past trauma, or might possibly be the suggested mirage of what will constellate in the future. He doesn't actually know or care, because he simply sees the abnormality and uses his shamanic tools to clear it. For this reason, healing ceremonies take place in the pitch black of night to reinforce the timeless and space-less nature of the work. The patient is treated in a dark pristine void, not unlike the sterile operating conditions necessitated by a surgeon."
Excerpt from Outside of Time: A Woman's Exploration Within the Confines of Forever, New York: Olive Branch Healing, 2017.