The short version
Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic plant medicine that originated thousands of years ago among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. It has shown remarkable results helping relieve trauma; understanding and purging deep, destructive habits; gaining clarity on one’s purpose and essence; and cultivating a deeper sense of spirituality for the religious, secular, and otherwise.
Western healing modalities have long worked on the core assumption that humans are essentially machines. Unhealthy humans can and should be fixed much like you’d fix the engine of the car. You repair or replace the right part. Or you get the levels of fluids or chemicals back in balance.
Only relatively recently have many of us have realized the limitations of this way of understanding our health. In reality, it seems, human illnesses are multi-faceted, complex, and dynamic. What might manifest as tension in the back, might ultimately be informed by anxiety, which itself is informed by a lifetime of trauma. “Placebos” are often stunningly effective at curing illnesses, because what some patients need more than anything else is simply a doctor who will listen to them and witness their pain, or to simply believe that they can get better.
Since the dawn of time, countless cultures have used plant medicines – many of which bring about hallucinogenic experiences – as a powerful healing agent. Users of these medicines report an ability to step outside of their normal perspective; see the root of their pain, depression, anxiety, trauma, or addiction; and begin to let go at any psycho-emotional, much like that reached through talk therapy.
Ayahuasca – a brew concocted by the indigenous cultures of the Amazon – is among the most powerful of these plant medicines. People drinking ayahuasca quite often experience a significantly altered state of mind in which their see clearly, move through, and purge some of their deepest emotional challenges. Users report deeply meaningful releases from anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction or much greater clarity on their destructive habits or life’s purpose.
However, ayahuasca and other plant medicines are illegal in many countries, including the United States. Only recently have cities like Oakland and Denver begun to decriminalize and even legalize these powerful, non-addictive medicines.
In our more compassionate, holistic healing systems of the future, perhaps we will embrace these incredible, natural medicines that have such potential to not only treat and/or mask symptoms, but truly help us release the psycho-emotional realities underpinning and causing them.
The Chaikuni Institute is a non-profit organization and educational hub working for a truly sustainable future for the Peruvian Amazon. It is a grassroots collective which investigates, promotes and protects equitable, inclusive, interrelated and abundant living systems.
Its newest project promotes the sustainable & ethical production of ayahuasca and its use. With this project the Chaikuni Institute is working to revitalize ancestral practices in rural Amazonian areas, combining permaculture design and traditional knowledge to train committed local farmers, bolster food sovereignty, biodiversity, and mitigate climate change. It has already planted over 1000 vines around its permaculture site over the past years.
by Javier Regueiro
Regueiro not only provides general information about Ayahuasca, but he bridges the cultural gap between the native and the current use of ayahuasca by Westerners. This guide offers background about the plant medicine, its history, and how to engage with and learn through its use. It includes stories of Javier’s personal experience of transformation, as well as stories from those he’s guided in ceremonies.
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