Year: 2008

Preparation for the Ayahuasca Experience

Howard G. Charing
After being virtually ignored by Western civilization for centuries, there has been a huge surge of interest in Ayahuasca recently. There is a growing belief that it is a kind of ‘medicine for our times’, giving hope to people with ‘incurable’ diseases like cancer and HIV, drug addictions and inspiring answers to the big ecological problems of modern civilization.

On the Origins of Ayahuasca

Daniel Mirante
How could such a complex synergistic potion be discovered amongst over 80,000 catalogued plant species of the Amazon forest? Studying Ayahuasca, modern minds have puzzled the origins of the discovery of the Great Medicine, since it is commonly said that being a synergistic potion, there is no effect when only one of the plants are consumed.

Some Thoughts on DMT Art

Steve Beyer
A number of artists have attempted to render the striking visual experiences that occur after ingesting ayahuasca or DMT. In the Upper Amazon, there are both indigenous artists, whose traditional work consists largely of abstract patterns, such as those found on the now well-known pottery, clothing, and other household goods of the Shipibo; and visionary artists, mostly mestizo, whose work is characterized by detailed representations of spirits, trees, animals, objects, and participants in ayahuasca healing ceremonies. These latter works fall almost paradigmatically within what has now come to be called outsider art, sometimes naïve art, and sometimes visionary art — direct, intense, content-laden, narrative, enormously detailed, personal, idiosyncratic, two-dimensional, and brightly colored.

Drugs and Culture: New Perspectives

The book Drugs and Culture: New Perspectives, the result of a symposium organized by the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP, www.neip.info) and that took place at the Universidade de São Paulo in 2005, represents an important push by researchers in the areas of anthropology, sociology, political sciences, law, and history to approach the topic of “drugs” from multiple angles and who have as their common ground the staunch criticism of the prohibition of these substances.

A Neurobiological Theory of ‘The Fall’

Dennis McKenna
In the book ‘Left In the Dark’, a culmination of over fifteen years of independent research into human evolution, the authors postulate that the universal myth of a pre-historic Golden Age is a racial memory that reflects our primate evolution in an arboreal, rainforest environment in which humans possessed mental and psychic abilities that have since become lost or atrophied in the profane ages that followed.

Our Story as Gaia

Lunaya Shekinah
Taking this opportunity to think about the more-than-human world from a more-than-human perspective : if you are open to a little ego dissolution this will lead you through a shamanistic visualization sequence. The intention is to prime our creative imaginations, and explore a path of evolutionary remembering, mourning, honoring the extinct and taking responsibility as steward-healers of the biosphere.

Mestizo Shamanism and Vegetalistas

What is mestizo shamanism? The Loreto province of northeastern Peru (and to a lesser extent to Ucayali province south of it) is virtually unique in Latin America in that indigenous shamanic practices have been adopted and adapted by the mestizo population, and become a part of the mestizo culture. While mestizo curanderismo is not unknown elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world, it is almost always found in isolated rural areas. Among most mestizo populations, there is strong social pressure to distance oneself from the scorned indigenous world and embrace the prestigious Spanish/western world, and only in the most isolated rural regions would mestizos continue indigenous practices. And in the modern world, with television and mass communication, such pockets of isolation are fast disappearing. Yet, in the province of Loreto in northeastern Peru, not only does an active mestizo shamanism thrive, but it thrives even in urban centers. Especially in the city of Iquitos – population about 400,000. (Iquitos resident Alan Shoemaker quoted the Iquitos police chief as estimating that on any given Friday, 10% of the …

Ayahuasca and Kabbalah

Jay Michaelson
The ayahuasca trip is not especially unitive: indeed, one of its hallmarks is the sense of communication with other life forms or consciousnesses. And while a sense of “all is One” is sometimes reported in the midst of the ayahuasca experience, it’s more common to read reports of visions of phenomena – manifestation, not essence.