The Psychonaut's Guide to Music For Ceremony and Meditation

By Aubrey Marcus February 14, 2017

Choosing the right music for ceremony and meditation is crucial. As your mind and perception expands the music can either be a driving force behind deeper revelation, or a distracting impediment to achieving your intent. Particularly when concerning plant medicines, music provides the cadence for the journey. Often each particular plant has a type of music that suits the inherent nature of the experience.

For a stimulant psychedelic like Iboga, music with a high BPM is crucial to slow the mind down enough for coherent thinking. I remember once I tried to play some slower new-agey music during an Iboga journey and it was a total disaster. With the traditional music my brain was operating like that scene in Sword in the Stone when Merlin was making all the dishes dance in the air and wash themselves… then I played the slow music and everything came crashing to the ground. My thoughts were in fragments, a cacophony of broken plates. Below is some traditional Iboga music. I listened to that track for 16 hours on repeat for my first Iboga journey! For Ayahuasca journeys a very specific style of music has developed. Called icaros, they are songs that according to the shamans, were taught by the plants and spirits themselves. Often an Ayahuasquero will have hundreds of icaros for different purposes, some passed down through their lineage and some from their own education. Below is a recording from my first Shaman, Maestro Orlando Chujandama, taken from ceremony. For meditation it is a lot about personal preference. I generally like a flute and drum combination to get me started as I burn some sage and get the party started. The artist Marina Raye has some consistently good albums. Then I like to transition to something softer and smoother, like the gamma flow track from Cory Allen as I dive deeper into the recesses of my mind. When we were making the soundtrack for the documentary “Ayahuasca” I knew music was going to play a huge part in the film. The film itself is designed to take readers into ceremony with the participants, and music is a universal bridge. Fortunately my brother Porangui was there with us during filming. He grew up as a musician in Brazil with ceremony a part of his life from a very early age. I know of no better human being to provide music for ceremony than he, and I really believe that his magic comes through in the album. He played every single instrument on the recording save one, and the sounds of the jungle were live field recordings from Peru.

The seamless version is a 40 minute experience unto itself. Unlike pop music that wears out your ears in a few months, ceremony music will have a deeper unfolding the more you listen. As you anchor your meditative and expansive states to those sounds, the music itself will form a trigger that makes it easier to slip into your desired state. This album has become a staple in my practice and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy traveling!

Share Post