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…

The Earth’s Pain

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…

We’re Not Made to Heal Alone

We humans need other humans—to call us on our stuff, to name our shadow. To see ourselves as we cannot. To initiate us into new paths and practices. And to support us through the rough ride that ayahuasca can bring, the retriggered trauma and angst-y feelings that can arise. Let’s take shadow work first. By…

Ceremony As Shitshow

A few weeks ago I sat through perhaps the most outrageous ayahuasca ceremony I’ve ever attended, a chaotic display of anarchy that was a true shitshow. Yes, chaos is a fundamental attribute of ayahuasca, and sometimes pure chaos is exhilarating. And my own experience that night was okay, even beautiful at times. But what I…

How Dieta Rewires Your Being

During my last half-dozen or so plant dietas, I’ve been experiencing a phenomenon I call ‘unfolding.’ It has something to do with the way my normal life, much of which is spent staring at a laptop screen, flattens my perception, collapsing my sense of dimensionality. Technically speaking, you might say I suffer from an overemphasis…

When Ayahuasca Triggers Trauma

Ryan was a meditator, experienced with ayahuasca, so it surprised him (not in a good way) when a disturbing ceremony revealed the world as hollow and grotesquely meaningless. In the aftermath, he felt dissociated and numb. It took him the better part of a year to recover, and he was still wondering what had happened…

Owning The Dark Side

I am not a fearmonger saying that ayahuasca is something dangerous to be avoided. Whether you as an individual should work with it, or not, I can’t say. I believe that ayahuasca has tremendous value as a transformational agent, for both individuals and the collective. As a therapist working with integration, I witness firsthand the…

Ayahuasca Obfuscada

Work with Amazonian plantas maestras or teacher plants is almost always enlightening, but the process can be confusing, too. The language of plants is not exactly straightforward or clear-cut. They speak to us in non-verbal ways, through images and sensations that can be vague, diffuse, difficult to understand. Plant teachers move at a different pace…

Knowing When It’s Enough, Part II

In ceremony a few years ago I received a most disagreeable vision of everyone in the circle lying back on their mats like giant infants, crying out “Give me more! Give me more!” The message couldn’t have been any clearer than if we’d appeared in diapers: immaturity, greedy appetite combined with shallow capacity—it was a…

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