A psychedelic guide, or spaceholder, is an integral part of a well-organised journey. But what exactly is a spaceholder and why do you need one?
Most importantly, guides give a sense of security so you can fully surrender to the psychedelic experience. These people are practised journeyers themselves and this can certainly be reassuring, especially for novice psychedelic users. But even if you’ve taken psychedelics many times before, it is always safe to have a dependable confidant close at hand.
Not only are guides present to care for your physical needs, should you need to go for the bathroom, for example, but the guide will also hold energetic space for you, so that you have the freedom to let go. They may cleanse the energy of the room by burning palo santo incense before the ceremony and even if you’re not quite sure whether you believe in such things, it's nice to know that someone is taking care of it for you, all the same.
The guide “is the ground control in the airport tower. Always there to receive messages and queries from high−flying aircraft. Always ready to help navigate their course, to help them reach their destination.” – The Psychedelic Experience
A good guide’s work begins well before the actual journey, however. They will get to know you to build rapport and trust, which will further contribute to your feeling of ease during the process. On the day of the ceremony, it is their job to ensure the setting is optimum, free of too many distractions and with music which may enhance the experience.
The most important thing for you to fully commit to your internal process on the journey is to feel comfortable, and the guides relaxed and accepting attitude will help with this. They offer a reassuring presence, having been through this process many times themselves.
“As guides, we believe that providing a space of love, compassion and understanding is essential to the healing process. Being present for all the emotions that need to be seen, expressed and released is also healing for us - reminding us that we are all part of the same family and being there for each other is one of the greatest gifts we have.” - Polina, Truffles Therapy guide
A good guide will not let their ego or projections influence your experience; they are there to completely serve you but also to let the psilocybin work its own magic on you, without interference. Your process will be very individual to you, so the guide simply acts as a facilitator and support.
Guides are truly unique individuals, with huge hearts and bags of compassion. From a scientific perspective, there are six competencies that make a good psychedelic therapist or guide:
Research by Imperial College London suggests that psychological support is one factor which may affect the success of the use of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. In the ‘after-glow’ phase in the days following the journey the patients surveyed showed a marked improvement in mood. A guide is just one of the people you can reach out to for this kind of psychological support, alongside understanding friends and family members or medical professionals.
This integration period after the journey is also a time for reflection, when a guide shares in your wonder and may help you clarify the things you might have witnessed or emotions that you felt. A psychedelic journey can seem completely incomprehensible and indescribable, yet a guides innate ability to connect with others emotions will help you feel like they are on your wavelength.
Truffles Therapy considers the integration phase and the role of a psychedelic guide as crucial. This is why we offer vision boarding sessions after your journey, to help you make sense of the mystical psilocybin experience. We also have an online support community, always available to offer friendly advice in the days, weeks and months afterwards, to aid you in reaching your goals.