While I am certified in Nutrition, this article is going to be more about fasting for spiritual benefit then physical body benefits, specifically for those of you practicing with psychedelics. Traditional fasting is the act of abstaining from all food and drink (with the exception of water) for a period of time. In our modern age, there are many types of fasts, and they are frequently used for religious, spiritual, and health purposes. Although complete fasts eliminate all food and drink, there are also a variety of fasts that limit certain food groups or only allow specific beverages. You can also fast from non-nutritive things, like technology or certain behavioral habits.
Fasts can last from hours to weeks depending on the purpose. Fasting is voluntarily abstaining from something for a limited amount of time; it’s not fasting if you plan on giving up the thing for good, though at the end of a fast, you may decide not to reincorporate it back into your life.
Fasting prior to a psychedelic ceremony is recommended in most native cultures that work with these medicines. Fasting is common before and after Kambo treatments, Ayahuasca rituals, peyote ceremonies and mushroom gatherings. Some even prolong the fast for days after the experience, which is said to help integrate the insights.
From my experience fasting is useful for two things; aiding the absorption of the psychedelic (quicker absorption, quicker onset and slightly higher intensity). Also, it helps you be more conscious and present so you’re not as likely to be consumed by unconscious patterns.
On the nutrition side of things,
fasting helps create a ‘clean’ experience. When you go into ceremony with a clean vessel you are more likely to go on a visionary journey because your body, mind and soul can focus on fulfilling your intentions.
It’s not necessary to fast or have a special diet for long before a psychedelic experience but even four hours can make a difference. If this is a new concept for you, some fears may be coming up… Will it kill me? No, it won’t kill you. One western guy fasted 400 days with no problems. There is even a center that has taken thousands of very ill people through a 40-day fasting journey, all showing miraculous results.
10 common motivations for fasting include:
1. Weight loss
4. Seeking redemption
5. Renewal of faith
6. Seeking a sense of purpose or direction
7. Struggling with a major life choice
8. Overcoming addiction or a crisis
9. Holistic health and wellness treatment
10. Gut health
Inner World Fast
The inner World fast is probably the deepest most important one this is the place where we may have some limiting beliefs. Maybe something embarrassed you as a child and is now holding you back, maybe you experience an addiction passed down in your genes or you have some fears holding you back. Some of the things we want to fast from in our inner worlds may include; negative thoughts, unconscious affirmations, limiting beliefs, values & judgments that don’t align with our soul and barriers of any kind.
Some steps you can take include reading inspirational stories, meditating, sleep schedule, explore your spirituality, seek out moments of peace and solitude or spend some time in nature. Don’t be afraid to write-down or journal your goals, thoughts, and feelings
Outer World Fast
An outer world fast is what I call it when I am helping my clients break habits that are holding them back, making them sick, stressed-out and tired. For this fast you simply pick one habit whether it be food, smoking, coffee, social media, or something else that is significant to you at the time. You then set a timeline.
You can do intermittent fasting with this too, for example if you are spending too much time on your cell phone you can start turning it off at 7 p.m. at night or tell yourself that you won’t even turn on your phone until 10 a.m.
The discipline of fasting dates to ancient times. Fasting is common to nearly every religion in the world as well as philosophy and nutrition. Did you know fasting is mentioned in the Bible more times than baptism? This is one of those things that brings us together globally.
Fasting is the most concrete and viscerally embodied of the spiritual disciplines, and it may be one of those things that produces effects that bridge the gap between body and soul. In recent times, fasting has become popular for its health benefits, but when also practiced as a spiritual discipline, it can unlock far more possibilities than science could possibly document.
Before you go off planning your fast, remember that billions of people do this all the time. If you’re new to fasting, it can feel like a big, nearly impossible challenge but you can do this. To keep things simple here are some elemental tips for you: 1. Plan ahead (date? Length?) 2. Stay hydrated 3. Journal it out and repeat. Working with the moon cycles has made this process even more simple, but that’s for another article, so stick around.