I was talking to a friend today who is making their first journey to Peru tomorrow, and they asked a few questions about working with Ayahuasca (this is the main purpose of their trip). One question really stuck out to me.
"I'm used to the principle that a relationship with a spirit involves a bargain : I give you this and you bless me with that. So I was wondering, what is my share of the trade with Mother Ayahuasca? Because I will ask her to do quite some work on me but I don't give her anything, so it confuses me..."
Here is what I replied:
What do you give back to Ayahuasca?
I will explain this a bit differently, as I feel like adopting the Q'ero perspective of energy and reciprocation. In Q'ero philosophy, there is no good or evil, but only harmonious or not harmonious. Sami is what they call light energy or nectar, and hucha is what they call heavy energy, or energy out of harmony. Humans are the only creatures who create hucha, as we have free will. Hucha isnt bad though, and what might be hucha for one person could be sami for another person (just like gluten could be healthy for me, but be an allergen for someone else).
The goal is usually to cleanse yourself of hucha so that you can be in greater harmony with yourself, your community, and with nature and the spirit world. For example, you can release your hucha to mother earth - and to her, this hucha is food that she digest and turns into sami (just like a tree turns carbon dioxide into oxygen - what is poisonous for us is breathe for them). So you are actually paying her for taking your hucha by giving her hucha!
See how this could apply to Aya or other plants as well?
Now, beyond this, I think your other payments are your tests you must pass to work with Aya (horrible taste, purge, dieta ect). The final payment is that you become a pollinator for Aya - just like a bee who spreads pollen, you will have her inside of you and every interaction you have with others will spread just a tiny bit of her magic.
So you pay her in many ways!
You pay the shaman with money though lol!
(I would say this applies to working with San Pedro or other plants as well, not only Ayahuasca)