An important new book, Ayahuasca y Salud, brings together perspectives from the social and biomedical sciences as well as personal accounts of ayahuasca shamans and practitioners in order to address diverse indigenous, mestizo and Western concepts of health, illness and curing related to the use of ayahuasca.
This is not a book review but a personal visionquest in the woods accompanied by The Book of Baphomet
The newly evolved deity Baphomet is the all encompassing energy of Life we all meet in our enthogenic journeys. SHe is the Great Spirit, the Anima Mundi we all need to feel more connected to. The Deity Baphomet has got his deep ecological voice with the help of 5-MEO-DMT and I believe this book might inspire the journier with new ways of working with this energy while having fun. A great read!!!
By Stephen Trichter, Psy.D.
As the use of ayahuasca shifts to use outside of its original cultural context, we must examine how the spread of this healing practice can not only bring the benefits for which it was originally intended, but how its transfer into a new cultural framework potentially can also cause distress and harm.
(Painting by Augustin Lesage)
The use of entheogens such as ayahuasca is exemplary of the long and ongoing tradition in many cultures to employ psychoactives as tools that stimulate foundational types of understanding. That such substances are capable of stimulating profoundly transcendent experiences is evident from both the academic literature and anecdotal reports. This article attempts to present these concepts in such a way that the possibility of using entheogens as tools is taken seriously by those with an interest in new and transformative ideas in education.
Steve Beyer talks about ayahuasca and transformative experiences, in a clip from the film project From Neurons to Nirvana: Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, produced and directed by Vancouver-based filmmaker, writer, and media artist Oliver Hockenhull.
Steve Beyer, author of Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon, questions the Western conventional wisdom that the sole function of the beta-carbolines in the ayahuasca drink is simply to allow DMT to become orally active, and explores the scientific and ethnographic literature for evidence of beta-carboline psychoactivity.
The goal is to evaluate the safety of this potential drug of abuse and potential therapeutic applications of ayahuasca by studying its physiological and psychological effects, as well as its peripheral and central neurochemical effects at dosages that are typical for the religious use of this substance.
More and more people are using or consider using ayahuasca tea as an alternative medicine for different therapeutic purposes: depression, Parkinson’s disease, ageing-related cognitive decline, etc.
Yet most of these actual or planned uses are relying on the rich pharmacodynamics of the caapi vine and don’t necessitate the preparation and use of a standard mix. Rather what is needed is a caapi tea specifically designed for these purposes.
Anthropologist Michael Winkelman, at Arizona State University, says that shamanic practices — drumming, chanting, and the ingestion of sacred plants — create a special state of consciousness he calls transpersonal consciousness, and that these practices create this state of consciousness through the process of psychointegration — that is, by integrating a number of otherwise discrete modular brain functions. Anthropologist Homayun Sidky, at Miami University in Ohio, says that this theory, despite a surface plausibility, is without empirical justification.
Jacques Mabit, M.D.
Ancestral medical practices are based on a highly sophisticated practical knowledge and view the controlled induction of non-ordinary states of consciousness as potentially beneficial, even in the treatment of the modern phenomena of drug addiction. These ancestral practices stand in contrast to the clumsiness with which Western peoples induce altered states of consciousness. Drawing from his clinical experience in the High Peruvian Amazonian forest, the author describes the therapeutic benefits of the wise use of medicinal plants, including non-addictive psychoactive preparations, such as the well-known Ayahuasca tea. Within an institutional structure, a therapeutic system combining indigenous practices with contemporary psychotherapy yields highly encouraging results (positive in 2/3 of the patients). This invites us to reconsider conventional approaches to drug addiction and the role of the individual’s spiritual journey in recovery.
We have talked before about the Grob, McKenna, Callaway, et al., psychiatric study on the long-term effects of drinking ayahuasca in the ceremonies of the União do Vegetal church. I noted that the study had not clearly disentangled any bias that might have resulted from the fact that the ayahuasca drinkers — but not controls — had been preselected for their orderly churchgoing habits. Here is a study that may shed some light on that question.
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.
A hypothesis suggesting Ayahuasca may be growing healthier brains…
By Dennis McKenna, Charles Grob & Jace Callaway
A biomedical investigation of long-term hoasca drinkers by the Medical Studies section of the UDV (Centro de Estudos Medicos).
By Kirby Surprise
It is often reported that the tea breaks even profound depressive episodes in a single use. This positive psychological benefit is what I call the “Ayahuasca Effect.” That is, to produce an intense and positive integrative experience with lasting beneficial effects from use of the tea, with no side effects common to pharmaceutical antidepressants.
Effects of ayahuasca on psychometric measures of anxiety, panic-like and hopelessness in Santo Daime members.
Ayahuasca ingestion did not modify state- or trait-anxiety. The results are discussed in terms of the possible use of ayahuasca in alleviating signs of hopelessness and panic-like related symptoms.
Foods and medications to be avoided with Ayahuasca
Fifty-two North American and European participants in syncretic Brazilian church religious ceremonies were assessed for indications of personality and clinical disorders, and tendencies towards chemical dependency and addiction.