Welcome to This Blog

This is a potent and exciting time in the transmission of ayahuasca to the West. A new paradigm is taking form, modern ceremonies in urban settings shaping new traditions. We urgently need to develop a context that respects both the sacred power of this plant medicine and the particularities, both limiting and empowering, of our…

Wisdom of the Purge, Part II

from "Divine Moments of Trump", Stella Strzyzowska Guillen

In Part I of this post, we explored the many ways purging can manifest with ayahuasca, along with some tips for when things seem stuck. Here we continue with further esoteric mysteries of La Purga: In an essay titled “Ayahuasca and the Grotesque Body,” anthropologist Stephen Beyer notes the split that many Westerners seem to…

Wisdom of the Purge, Part I

Ayahuasca Purging

La Purga, “The Purge,” is one of ayahuasca’s names in the Amazon, highlighting a most notorious aspect of its reputation. The ayahuasca vine is strongly purgative—indigenous people sometimes drink it simply to induce a good cleanse. The bucket is thus an essential element in most ayahuasca ceremonies, unless you are free to vomit on the…

Mapacho: King of Plants

Ayahuasca use in the Amazon is embedded within a wider tradition of plant science called vegetalismo, and the most important and revered of all plants is tobacco—specifically, mapacho (Nicotiana rustica), a variety that is up to 26 times stronger than that used in commercial cigarettes. The ritual traditions surrounding mapacho are far more ancient than…

What Ayahuasca Has Taught Me

what ayahuasca teaches

Entering my seventh year of relation with ayahausca, I’ve been musing on how it’s shaped me, and what I’ve learned. What I’ve learned not just in passing, but for keeps—teachings that have been permanently tattooed on my being through my personal work with the medicine, and also the whole excruciating, beautiful process of plant dieta…

Four Integration Essentials

ayahuasca integration

People sometimes tell me that following a powerful ceremony, they seemed to completely forget about it—almost as if they’d shut it off. Intense experiences can be disconcerting, yes—but isn’t this the point of medicine work, to break us out of our rut, to recast our mundane vision into a new light? In every difficult experience,…

Lightworkers in the Dark

light dark ayahuasca

Ayahuasca visions, despite their glamorous reputation, are not all light and love—they can be shockingly dark and downright disgusting. Sometimes people feel shame about what they experienced in ceremony, or in the surprisingly intense times that can arise afterwards. Working as an integration therapist, here’s what I find myself saying, over and over again: “What…

#Thank You Plant Medicine

#Thank You Plant Medicine flyer

I recently had the opportunity to ask Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS, what we could do to accelerate the legalization of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for trauma. What could we do, that is, besides pray, and visualize—“and donate,” muttered the guy sitting behind me. “Share your experiences,” is what Rick said. “Make it public.” So many…

Planetary Therapist

Watching bumblebees plunder the garden’s snapdragons, I think of how the magic web of life is unraveling. It’s coming, and it’s here, environmental collapse on a systemic and unfathomably vast scale. This past year has seen a grim torrent of information about the seemingly inexorable damage we’re doing to the earth. The picture coming into…

Ancestors or Past Lives?

DNA, ancestors and ayahuasca

Ayahuasca leads us through subterranean memories, down into primal dungeons where we’ve locked away parts of ourselves. These are not just personal recollections, but the ancient, rejected secrets of our species (ayahuasca works with the species, not just the individual), which need to come into the light to be released. It’s not unusual to have…

On the Poison Path

Ayahuasca illuminates dark and light in equal measure, unleashing both terror and bliss, often in the same night, sometimes in the same breath. Ultimately, if you can open to whatever arises with a degree of equanimity and assimilate it over time, the practice can lead to a grounded wholeness that’s Tantric in its depth and…

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