One night in 2019, while strangers vomited around her, Lynn Cohen had a vision.
After being tipped off by a friend, Ms. Cohen, 62, traveled from her home in Milwaukee to Chicago to drink ayahuasca — a sludgy, psychoactive brew from the Amazon that ignites hallucinations while also inducing nausea. She arrived, carrying her own pillow and blanket, at a private house, where she was greeted by a shaman. In the living room, she curled up on a sleeping mat, and over the course of that one very intense night, went on a journey that mostly involved lying still.
“I was shown why I’m not happy, and it became clear I was carrying around the pain of my ancestors,” said Ms. Cohen, a deep-tissue manual therapist who has struggled with depression for 20 years. After that night, she said she found clarity, and has since sought out two other psychedelic retreats, traveling to Costa Rica and California for guided, extended experiences with hallucinogens.