I lay down on the floor, on a comfortable mattress in the center of the room. And I waited. And waited. Eyes closed, I began to see things: patterns of light and energy moving in time with the music. This continued for about half hour, and then a thought came to my mind: “This is too much.” … nd then, something miraculous. I heard, as though from outside myself and within myself at once, a soft voice.
Premiering tonight in Canada on CBC’s The Nature of Things, (8pm EST, November 10, 2011) The Jungle Prescription tells of ayahuasca and its encounter with the West, as played out through the story of two doctors; Dr. J. Mabit in Peru and Dr. Gabor Maté in Canada.
I was asked about the Barquinha’s astrology. There isn’t any (I was told). Stars are a part of the creation. One can learn anything from anything. Some people can learn things by looking at stars. In the Barquinha they look at God. For a week I was preparing with prayers, candles, intensions… Daime work at the Barquinha of Dona Gabriel each day… Came the 27th, a Saturday before the Semana Santa and the entity Don Rafael was going to operate me. Finally I am going to heal the pain in my back which does not leave me alone ever since I had hernia of a disk two and a half years ago. It is normal that such treatments are done over 3 ceremonies (three 27th) but I had only one (two to come). I did not know I was supposed to bring something to lie on, and sitting was never as difficult as it was that night. I did not know what to expect… we were seven or eight people in a dark room, drinking …
Steve Beyer’s Singing to the Plants, writes Morgan Maher, is “a wild ride out and across the jungles of mestizo shamanism. The book, and its wonderful cast of characters, curanderos, animals, plants, spirits and stories presents honest, accurate, respectful, levelheaded and, at times, outrageously marvelous descriptions of the environments and climates of mestizo shamanism in the Upper Amazon.” Morgan interviews the author.
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.
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.
A hypothesis suggesting Ayahuasca may be growing healthier brains…
By Steve Beyer
Each species of teaching plant has what mestizo shamans call a madre, mother, or genio, genius, or espíritu, spirit. Informally, we generally translate all these terms simply as the spirit of the plant, as if the meaning of the term “spirit” was perfectly clear. So: what do we know about these spirits?
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.