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Ayahuasca Retreats USA: No Need for the Amazon Ceremonies Now?

Ayahuasca Retreat USA

There are physical adventures, there are mental adventures, and then there is ayahuasca: a relentless spiritual-physical-mental adventure that may be one of the most intense ordeals your soul can choose to experience in this life.

If an ayahuasca ceremony is on your bucket list, you no longer have to go all the way to South America’s Amazon to reach your goal.

Thanks to religious freedoms in the USA, you can finally check-off this list item, the ayahuasca ceremony, without leaving the USA. There are a handful of legal ceremonies popping up in urban areas and far-out locations in scattered pockets across the United States of America.

According to our new section, the ayahuasca retreat directory, a Native American Church is offering ayahuasca in the United States for people interested in the sacramental ritual of an ayahuasca ceremony and the full-on spiritual practice of ayahuasca tea imbibing.

“The tea, known as Ayahuasca, is revered as sacred by Church members. It is a sacrament serving to heighten spiritual understanding and perception, and brings the practitioners closer to God and the Divine.” — Chief Minister Steve Hupp

It seems that the religious protections invoked by the religious freedom in America have made it possible — for people acting under the auspices of a church — to recruit new members to the church’s spiritual practices, where, as a potential member, you can partake in the ritual drinking of ayahuasca.

In other ceremonies that take place in the USA, invoking religious freedoms, take the UDV, for example, where it’s typical for UDV ayahuasca sessions to include dancing all night, wearing pure white clothes, and singing Christian songs. That’s right, the UDV is Christian. During a ceremony you’ll be immersed in an alternative Christian world that — to outsiders, the uninitiated, fundamentalist, or bible pounding puritans — may seem like sacrilege.

For the Native American church in Kentucky, you’ll have contact them to find out exactly what their ceremonies entail.

This is the most unusual US ayahuasca experience to come across Heroic Adventures’ radar, and it happens to be located in the same state as one of North America’s most famous horse races, the Kentucky Derby.

Yes, you read that correctly, Kentucky.

Save the South American journey. Instead, buy your plane ticket to Kentucky.

In all fairness, probably not everyone is as excited about an ayahuasca adventure in Kentucky as they would be taking the sacred medicine, say, with a Shipibo medicine man in South America — but, the novelty of the offer can’t be disputed.

Imagine it, you can fly from New York City down to Kentucky in a weekend. After drinking ayahuasca and having a lifetime’s worth of spiritual bombardment entering your consciousness, you’ll be a new person when you go back to the office in New York on Monday.

It’s time to take a Heroic Adventure not to the Amazon but to Kentucky.


Compare the first photo from the Amazon, below, to the second photo of Kentucky, below, it would appear there is a spiritual connection between the two… Well, at least, they both have a lot of nice green plants.

Ayahuasca Retreat USA

The Amazon isn’t the only place to legally ingest ayahuasca. Ceremonies are now emerging commercially in the United States of America.

Kentucky, USA Ayahuasca Ceremonies

Looking a bit like the Amazon without the river, in Kentucky you can now legally drink ayahuasca with a Minister from a Native American Church.


And, a caveat from a reader:

“Hey Team,

I’m not one to normally send feedback on posts, but this feels especially warranted. I appreciate you giving information to the public about Ayahuasca ceremonies being held in the U.S. I believe it’s a positive move forward that Americans will have Ayahuasca as a more accessible possibility. However, as someone who has experienced Ayahuasca, I really advise against saying things like “Imagine it, you can fly from New York City down to Kentucky in a weekend. After drinking ayahuasca and having a lifetime’s worth of spiritual bombardment entering your consciousness, you’ll be a new person when you go back to the office in New York on Monday.” That’s a very, very scary thing to advise people to do. When you take the medicine, it stays in your system for a much longer period than the one or two days you’ve actually consumed it. You need to have preparations in place for how you’re going to reintegrate into your daily life after the experience, and making it sound like it’s a “no big deal, let’s go do Ayahuasca this weekend” kind of thing is not only dangerous but it’s furthermore disrespectful toward and completely underestimating the power of the medicine.

I’m not trying to be a heckler, but please understand that this is powerful stuff. For the sake of your readers, I hope you reconsider the phrasing of your post and add in how important it is to seriously consider whether they’re ready to take the medicine, as well as how important it is for them to do their research regarding preparations before and after the experience.

Thanks for your time,
Lori”

(updated August 26, 2015)

Interesting Discussion on Legality of Ayahuasca in the USA

In the Fall of 2015, a website popped up touting the First Ayahuasca Church in the USA that is open for ceremonies to anyone. Now this is a distinct organization front Mr Hupp (in the article above). After this article was published detailing why this church is not legal–it seems the site went offline, maybe it will emerge again–for your own investigations–here is the link: https://ayahuascahealings.com.

And to see the site in it’s original splendor, the Internet Archive has a stash of how the site last looked on November 20th, 2015, available here: Ayahuasca Healing Internet Archive Snapshot 

A curious story in the world of spirituality, religious rights, internet marketing, and law.

(updated April 23, 2019)

 

How to Play Mahjong: The #1 Basic Guide [Illustrated]

How to Play Mahjong

To a viewer unfamiliar with mahjong, the game and how to play it can present a bewildering spectacle, what with its walls of tiles, talk of prevailing winds and the constant clatter of pieces being discarded in turn by the four opposing players.

Appearances, however, can be deceptive.

This quintessentially Chinese game is, in fact, very similar to a number of Western card games such as rummy. The goal in mahjong is to complete a set with your tiles similar to a poker or rummy hand.

Anyone used to card games where a winning hand consists of a straight flush or a full house can easily get their head around the basic rules of mahjong.

Mahjong: The Tiles

Tiles Used to Play Mahjong

The most distinctive pieces in a mahjong set are undoubtedly the tiles.

Based originally on paper cards, the tiles are now solid, chunky pieces with an image or character on one side (similar in a sense to a domino) and a thick backing of bamboo or, more usually these days, plastic on the other.

There are three categories of tiles:

  1. simples
  2. honors
  3. bonus

As is the case with a set of playing cards, the simples fall into suits.

How to Play Mahjong Tiles on Table

In mahjong there are three suits for simples:

  1. bamboos
  2. characters
  3. circles

Each suit consists of nine tiles numbered one through nine. There are four copies of each of these tile in a set.

The honor tiles are divided between dragons (red, green and white) and winds (east, south, west and north) while the optional bonus tiles (flowers and seasons) are used mainly for the purposes of scoring and gambling.

Mahjong: The Dice

Attractive Women Holding Chinese Dice, Text on Image says "Mahjong Dice"

A mahjong set will also include a number of dice with which players determine who is to deal and where the dealing is to begin and a marker to show who is dealing and which round is being played.

Some sets may also include counters to help with scoring and racks into which players may place their tiles so they remain hidden from the other players.

Mahjong: Standard Game

Mahjong Tiles in box: how to play mahjong for beginners guide

A standard game begins with the players choosing a dealer either by means of a high-scoring roll of the dice or by the blind drawing of wind tiles (featured in image below).

The dealer is assigned the position of East wind and play proceeds in a counter-clockwise motion to the other players, each of whom is assigned the wind respective to their position in regard to the dealer.

Mahjong Wind Tiles, Chinese Character meaning North, South, East, West, Middle (zhong)

When a round is finished, the position of dealer shifts to the player on the dealer’s right.

Once a dealer has been chosen and the tiles have been shuffled, each player takes thirty-six tiles and builds a wall in front of them two tiles high and eighteen tiles wide, see image below for what this looks like:

Building Wall Mahjong can get you to a winning hand

The players then push their walls together forming a square, the hollow center of which will be used for discarding tiles.

The dealer then rolls three dice and, counting along the row of tiles to his or her right, begins dealing from the tile which corresponds to the sum of the dice.

One by one, over three rounds, the players take four tiles at a time and one last tile for a total of thirteen tiles each.

Game play proper begins with the dealer taking an extra tile and then discarding a tile of his or her choice.

Three People Playing Chinese Mahjong Location Mainland China

A winning hand in mahjong consists of fourteen tiles.

Except when drawing a tile during a turn, however, a player should only ever have thirteen tiles in their possession.

The aim is to have your hand divided neatly between a number of groupings.

In mahjong these groupings consist of:

  • Lungs  – three of a kind
  • Kongs  – four of a kind
  • Chows – a run of three consecutive tiles of the same same suit
  • ‘A pair’ – used to round out a winning hand

During a round, a player draws a tile from the wall.

If the tile cannot be used to complete a set the player then discards it.

When another player can use the tile to complete a set, that player is allowed to claim it and take the next turn.

Otherwise, following a discard, play continues in a counter-clockwise motion until someone has completed a hand.

In Western games a winning hand is often referred to as a “mahjong” and the player will call it as such when he or she has drawn the winning tile.

How to Win Mahjong showing a winning hand

Mahjong: It’s Easier than You Think

It is the unusual set-up of the game which often seems so daunting to the novice player of mahjong. But once a player is used to the assigning of winds, the building of walls and the dealing of tiles, mahjong is actually quite straightforward.

Games can, of course, get rather complicated once you begin to grasp the possible strategies involved.

Systems of scoring too can render the game overly complex, but a player can always just adopt the simple option of scoring winning hands only.

how easy is mahjong?

Ultimately mahjong can be as simple or complex as you wish to make it and this is perhaps the secret of its enduring success.

For those of you taking Heroic Adventures to your local China town or further wanderings to parts of Asia, knowing how to play mahjong can be a way to make a healthy connection with locals and gain deep insight into local culture.

How to Play Mahjong: The Top Books for Beginners

American Mahjong Set, Panda Tiles with Tawny Brown Fabric Case

Mahjong Panda Set

Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Trekking Poles Review

Black Diamond Distance Poles Review

Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Trekking Poles: QUICK OVERVIEW

​Material

​Weight

​Grip

​Price

​What We Like
  • Durable and stable
  • ​Has a 3-folding design and easily extendable
  • Resistant to rust and corrosion
  • ​Comfortable and secure foam grip
​What We Don't Like
  • ​​Retracts in extreme pressure
  • ​​Unstable joints
  • ​Not great for harsh terrain

​A light set of poles with a name taken from the look of the poles when they are getting into their folded position. 

The quick extendability via push button makes for an impressive action but with this novel touch comes some tradeoffs in functionality.

Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Trekking Pole Review

Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Trekking Poles

These Black Diamond Distance Z trekking poles are dependable under extreme weather conditions and for use on rugged terrain. The shafts will not bend or break when hit on hard surfaces and will not corrode or chip apart.

Features

  • Durable and stable
  • Made of carbon shafts
  • Have a 3-folding design and easily extendable
  • Very compact at 13 inches when folded
  • Weight is 9 ounces
  • Length extends to 52 inches
  • Wrist straps made of mesh
  • Comfortable and secure grip
  • Interchangeable tips

Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Trekking Poles are a product that uses high technology and a design that is made appropriate and suitable for the use of any trekker. The poles are structurally sound and are made of carbon; each pole weighs 9 ounces and is 13 inches long when folded.

When extended, each pole reaches 52 inches. The retraction of the poles is dynamic and can be extended by pressing the grip. The lock snaps in place immediately as soon as the desired length is achieved.

The tips are coated with rubber and can be changed depending on the terrain. The Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Poles comes with baskets that can be attached to stop the pole from sinking in snow or mud. The tips are cone-shaped and are faster to extend than poles with flat tips.

The grip is made of mesh and foam that will absorb sweat and is comfortable to the hands. The foam on the grip will make handling more secure. The wrist straps reinforce the hold on the pole, ensuring that the poles are always within reach.

Advantages

The product is made of carbon and is very dependable on long distance trekking. The product can be used in any kind of weather and can even withstand the extreme temperature in the Swiss Alps.

The structure will not bend or be scraped when hit on hard surfaces. The user is secure and can rely on the product for support. The poles adjust to the size of the user because the poles are readily extendable.

Black Diamond carbon poles have grips made of foam that are soft to hold but keeps the hands from slipping. The product remains stable in the hand when going uphill and is a firm support when going downhill. The wrist straps are made of mesh and keep the poles from slipping from the user’s hand.

Aside from being firm, the pole’s tips grip well on any kind of surface. The poles will hold well on rocks, snow or mud and will keep the user from being knocked off. The retractable poles are easy to maneuver. The product extends and locks with a push from the handle. The cone shaped poles make it easy to glide through the shaft.

The poles’ length is not only usable by tall hikers, but the quick release is dependable for use on challenging terrain. This feature is great especially during emergencies when the user is out of balance and needs instant support.

The poles can be extended to 52 inches and are long enough to build a stable footing for the user at any time that it is needed.

The poles have three shafts that are adjustable. They are connected by rubber tubing that is sturdy. The connectors are a plus because they will not rust or corrode when wet and stop the poles from extending smoothly.

The product is reasonably priced for the quality and the high performance that it delivers. The product can be used in singles or as a pair because the handles are not specifically designed for left or right-hand use.

Disadvantages

Because of the rubber connectors, the poles tend to retract under extreme pressure. The connectors do not support the poles well and at intense impact, the poles fold unexpectedly.

The locking mechanism is not tight to give way for easy extending, which makes the product unsafe and can pose a potential danger to the user. The poles frequently unfasten even when used on muddy surfaces. The joints are not strong enough to withstand extreme stress and tend to unlock, according to several users, at times during a hike.

Verdict

The Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Poles are handy and lightweight. The poles are easy to carry and pack in a bag and will not cause arm or hand strain because of the stable and comfortable rubber grips. The pole length is adjustable.

The cone-shaped shafts make the shafts extend smoothly and without any problems. The wrist straps are good and hold well when the user is sweating. The product will not bend or break when hit on hard surfaces. The tips of the poles have good surface traction and slipping is avoided.

However, the product has a weak locking feature. The connectors of the poles give out when extreme pressure is applied. The lock disengages unexpectedly when the poles are used with force.

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM

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