A “what to expect” guide for first-time ayahuasca users paired with accounts from the author’s extensive shamanic experiences in the Amazon • Describes how to prepare for the first ceremony, what to do in the days afterward, and how to maintain a shamanic healing diet • Details some of the author’s own ayahuasca experiences, including an intensive trip in 2009 when he underwent 17 ceremonies • Explores the many other plants that are part of the ayahuasca healer’s medicine cabinet as well as the icaros, healing songs, of the ayahuasca shaman Since 1999 Jan Kounen has regularly traveled to the Peruvian Amazon to participate in ayahuasca ceremonies. At first only a curious filmmaker, over multiple trips he transformed from explorer to apprentice to ayahuasquero and often found himself surrounded by other foreigners coming to the jungle for their first taste of ayahuasca medicine. Knowing how little guidance is available on how to prepare or what to expect, he naturally offered them advice. Part visionary ayahuasca memoir and part practical guide, this book contains the same step-by-step advice that Kounen provides first-time ayahuasca users in the jungle. He describes how to prepare for the first ceremony and what to do in the days afterward. He explores how to deal with the nausea and details the special preparatory diets an ayahuasca shaman will put you on, often lasting for months but necessary for life-transforming results and teachings from the plant spirits. He also explains how it is far easier to maintain these restrictions in the jungle than in the city. Detailing his own ayahuasca experiences over hundreds of sessions, including a trip in 2009 when he underwent 17 ceremonies in 25 days, Kounen describes how ayahuasca transformed him. He tells of his meetings with Shipibo healers, including Kestenbetsa, who opened the doors of this world for him, and Panshin Beka, the shaman to whom Kounen became an apprentice. He details the many other plants and foods that are part of the ayahuasca healer’s medicine cabinet, such as toé and tobacco, as well as their icaros, or healing songs. A veritable “what to expect” guide, this book should be your first step prior to committing to ayahuasca.
A comprehensive autobiographical account of the transforming experiences possible with ayahuasca • Reveals the protocols of a traditional ayahuasca retreat and the importance of its ritual diet, isolation, and sacred songs • Relates an extensive personal account of the traditional indigenous use of ayahuasca for healing and revelation Ayahuasca: The Visionary and Healing Powers of the Vine of the Soul is an autobiographical account of the author’s work with ayahuasca, a potent and sacred plant brew of the Amazon region that is known for its extraordinary visionary and healing powers. As she learned from her experience, with the help of ayahuasca we are able to grasp our paradoxical nature, the first step to acceptance of ourselves in both our glorious and dark aspects. Ayahuasca teaches us how to release the illusions we hold about ourselves and makes it possible to integrate our many diverse aspects to acquire our true power. This book reveals the ritual protocols that must be followed prior to partaking of ayahuasca, including the traditional preparatory “diet”--which requires enduring austere conditions, isolation, and only small amounts of bland food before receiving the powers of the plant spirit from an ayahuasquero, a healing master--and the sacred songs, icaros, that are sung when imbibing the substance. Although the use of ayahuasca is growing among “underground” spiritual seekers and through the burgeoning ayahuasca tourism trade in South America, few of its seekers understand how it is used traditionally and the importance of the rituals the indigenous people follow. With this book, the author hopes to restore the importance of these indigenous practices so that we may truly understand all the gifts of ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca Rituals Potions and Visionary Art from the Amazon
An authoritative treatise on the use, history, culture, and art of the sacred plant medicine Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is the strongest shamanic plant medicine. Brewed from the combination of the Amazonian vine, Banisteriopsis caapi, and leaves from the plant, Psychotria viridis, Ayahuasca creates sweeping visual and mentally startling effects. For many of the indigenous cultures of the Amazonian basin, Ayahuasca is central to their culture, revealing to mankind its role in the universe and the true nature of reality. Used properly, Ayahuasca provides healing and integration with nature and community and stimulates the creative process. The authors are recognized experts in the field of ethnology, anthropology and pharmacology and demonstrate the use of Ayahuasca in shamanic rituals. They dive deep into shamanic visionary worlds, explore the plants and their souls, and share their authentic encounters with Amazonian cultures and their artistic works.
The Gift of Shamanism
Discover the shamanic powers within each of us • Explores ayahuasca rituals in the Amazon, messages from power animals and plant spirits, intuitive dreams, soul retrieval, and holograms of past lives and spirits • Explains the shamanic way of “seeing” to diagnose spiritual, emotional, and physical ailments via candle readings, remote viewing, and shamanic journeys • Details how the author has helped individuals communicate with loved ones who have passed on and release themselves from negative spirits Each and every one of us has shamanic powers. Glimpses of them can arise at any age in the form of intuitive dreams, déjà vu, spontaneous visions, and out-of-body experiences. Most people dismiss these experiences. However, by embracing these gifts, we can unlock our shamanic potential to change ourselves and the world around us. Revealing his transformation from skeptic to respected shamanic healer, Itzhak Beery explains how, after countless prescient dreams and visions throughout his life that he brushed off, a series of synchronistic events led to his first shamanism workshop with Michael Harner, renowned shamanism scholar and teacher. This, in turn, led to a trip to South America with John Perkins to work with indigenous shamanic healers. Beery shares his experiences with ayahuasca rituals in the Amazon, messages from power animals and plant spirits, dreams that foretold future events, and holographic sightings of past lives and spiritual entities, both evil and benign. He details his shamanic way of “seeing” to diagnose spiritual, emotional, and physical ailments via candle readings and remote viewing. Explaining how we are always surrounded by spirits, he recounts helping people communicate with loved ones who have passed on and shares powerful stories of soul retrieval during shamanic journeys to other worlds. Through his true stories of visions that manifested in reality, Beery reveals that we are all shamans. By igniting our natural intuition and developing trust for our inner powers, we can each connect to the oneness of nature where all knowledge is found.
An insider’s account of the journey to become an ayahuasquero, a shaman who heals with the visionary vine ayahuasca • Details the author’s training and life as a curandero using ayahuasca medicine, San Pedro cactus, tobacco purges, psychedelic mushrooms, and other visionary plants • Offers first-hand accounts of miraculous healing where ayahuasca revealed the cause of the illness, including how the author healed his mother from liver cancer • Shows how “ayahuasca tourism” symbolizes the Western world’s reawakening need to connect with the universal life force For more than 20 years American-born Alan Shoemaker has apprenticed and worked with shamans in Ecuador and Peru, learning the traditional methods of ayahuasca preparation, the ceremonial rituals for its use, and how to commune with the healing spirit of this sacred plant as well as the spirit of the San Pedro cactus and other sacred plant allies. Now a recognized and practicing ayahuasquero, or ayahuasca shaman, in Peru, he offers an insider’s account of the ayahuasca tradition and of its use for expanding consciousness and achieving healing through access to other dimensions of being. Shoemaker details his training and his own curandero practice using ayahuasca medicine, tobacco purges, psychedelic mushrooms, and other visionary plants. He discusses the different traditions of his two foremost teachers and mentors, Don Juan in the Peruvian Amazon, an ayahuasquero, and Valentin in Ecuador, a San Pedro shaman. He reveals the indispensable role played by icaros, the healing songs of the plant shaman, and offers firsthand accounts of miraculous healing resulting from ayahuasca’s ability to reveal the cause of an illness, including how he healed his mother from liver cancer. The author also addresses the rising popularity of Northerners traveling to the Amazon to seek healing and mind expansion through ayahuasca and shows how this fascination is triggered by humanity’s reawakening need to connect to the universal life force.
Gnostic texts are filled with encounters of strange other worldly beings, journeys to visionary heavenly realms, and encounters with the presence and spirit of the divine. In Gnostic visions, author and Gnostic scholar Luke A. Myers presents evidence demonstrating how Gnostic visions were created and the connection these visions have to naturally occurring visionary compounds that are still in existence today. The culmination of more than ten years of research, "Gnostic Visions" advances the understanding of classical ethnobotany, Gnosticism, and the genesis of early Christian history. In this book the author discusses the prehistoric foundations of early human religion as well as the visionary religious traditions of the classical Greeks and Egyptians. Using these as a foundation, the book presents new and never before seen research explaining how Gnostic visions were created and what types of compounds were used by these ancient people to create them. "Gnostic Visions" presents evidence directly linking visionary Ayahuasca analogs with the creation of Gnostic and Hermetic visionary experiences. "Gnostic Visions" also describes the decline of Gnosticism, other visionary practices used in the Dark Ages and gives a brief tour of the visionary plants of the new world. In Gnostic visions, Myers tells of his personal experience with the divine and includes some of his own reflections of the importance of mankind's relationship to the natural world. He communicates that altered states of consciousness have been responsible for many of the most profound mystical religious experiences in human history.
A diagnosis of cancer leads to healing and transformation in the Amazon jungle • Explains in vivid detail De Wys’s experience of being healed from cancer through visionary ayahuasca rituals in Ecuador • Describes her apprenticeship and relationship with the shaman who cured her • Explores the ways this spiritual medicine can heal the emotional origins of disease now plaguing our modern technological culture • Chosen as one of the “Top 10 Books of the New Edge” by Jonathan Talat Phillips on The Huffington Post When composer and Bard College music professor Margaret De Wys learned she had breast cancer, the diagnosis shattered her comfortable life. Seized by fear, crushed by existential loneliness, she couldn’t respond when her loved ones reached out to her. To everyone’s concern, the illness propelled her away from her family and deep into the Amazon to work with Carlos, a charismatic Shuar shaman and master of medicina milenaria, an ancient mystical tradition with a highly sophisticated and precise technology of healing. In Black Smoke, De Wys writes of her amazing encounter with Carlos as he guided her into a world of potent visionary plants, harrowing initiations, ritual purification, and miraculous healings, including the complete disappearance of her cancer. It was, as Carlos called it, “the path of the warrior.” Sharing a journey not only through cancer but also through self-transformation, De Wys provides an intimate inside look at the shamanic ceremonies of ayahuasca and the ways this spiritual medicine can heal the emotional origins of disease now plaguing our modern technological culture. Capturing her physical, emotional, and “holy voyage” through a world that differs vastly from our own in its perception of healing and wholeness, she offers a revealing chronicle of spiritual insight and a trenchant exploration of the limits of idealism. She not only provides a probing look at how our society can learn and benefit from indigenous wisdom but also weaves a cautionary tale about how potentially dangerous it is--on both sides--to try to cross those frontiers.
A panorama of texts translated from nearly a dozen languages on the ayahuasca experience, including indigenous mythic narratives and testimonies, religious hymns, as well as stories related by western travelers, scientists, and writers who have had contact with ayahuasca in different contexts. In addition to contributions from Wade Davis, Dennis McKenna, and Richard Spruce, this new edition includes essays from Graham Hancock, Jeremy Narby, Susana Bustos, Michael Winkelman and a new section on ayahuasca art. Our backlist classic also includes contributions from leaders of the global ayahuasca movement, making this the most up-to-date collection of authoritative writings on the subject ever published, an essential reference for anthropology, ethnobotany and Latin American literature studies
The area of traditional folk healing with plant hallucinogens, such as the Peruvian urban setting studied here, is a unique human laboratory that is of interest to medical anthropologists, biologists, psychologists, and students of anthropology in general. One of the earliest firsthand observations of a practicing shaman and his use of native herbal medicines and psychedelic pharmaceuticals, this text makes an important contribution to understanding culture, illness, and healing.
A Hallucinogenic Tea Laced with Controversy Ayahuasca in the Amazon and the United States
One country's sacrament is another's illicit drug, as officials in South America and the United States are well aware. For centuries, a hallucinogenic tea made from a giant vine native to the Amazonian rainforest has been taken as a religious sacrament across several cultures in South America. Many spiritual leaders, shamans, and their followers consider the tea and its main component - ayahuasca - to be both enlightening and healing. In fact, ayahuasca (pronounced a-ja-was-ka) loosely translated means spirit vine. In this book, de Rios and Rumrrill take us inside the history and realm of, as well as the raging arguments about, the substance that seems a sacrament to some and a scourge to others. Their book includes text from the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and interviews with shamans in the Amazon. One country's sacrament is another's illicit drug, as officials in South America and the United States are well aware. For centuries, a hallucinogenic tea made from a giant vine native to the Amazonian rainforest has been taken as a religious sacrament across several cultures in South America. Many spiritual leaders, shamans, and their followers consider the tea and its main component - ayahuasca - to be both enlightening and healing. In fact, ayahuasca (pronounced a-ja-was-ka) loosely translated means spirit vine. Ayahuasca has moved into the United States, causing legal battles in the Supreme Court and rulings from the United Nations. Some U.S. church groups are using the hallucinogen in their ceremonies and have fought for government approval to do so. The sacrament has also drawn American drug tourists to South America to partake, say authors de Rios and Rumrrill. But they warn that these tourists are being put at risk by charlatans who are not true shamans or religious figures, just profiteers. In this book, de Rios and Rumrrill take us inside the history and realm of, as well as the raging arguments about, the substance that seems a sacrament to some and a scourge to others. Opponents fight its use even as U.S. scientists and psychologists continue investigations of whether ayahuasca has healing properties that might be put to conventional use for physical and mental health. This book includes text from the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and interviews with shamans in the Amazon.