Posts tagged "shamanism"
Ayahuasca: A Skeptic’s Notes

Ayahuasca: A Skeptic’s Notes (or The Shortcut to Eternity Leads Through Hell)

Eye-Uh-Waz-Kah I was drinking coffee in the courtyard of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art when I finally mastered the pronunciation of the word “ayahuasca.” Redmond Blake, who was sitting across from me in dark shades and a baby blue painter’s jacket, was explaining the Medicine to me. A few days earlier, he’d returned from a weekend-long ayahuasca ceremony in Ojai led by disciples of a powerful shaman from Peru. Under the protection of the Mother, he had taken an astonishing journey through a beautiful and frightening spirit land. As I listened to Red’s stories in the...
Damning Critique of ESC, the Sustainable Ayahuasca Non-Profit

Damning Critique of ESC, the Sustainable Ayahuasca Non-Profit

You may have heard of ESC, the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council which bills itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives by assuring the sustainability and safe use of traditional plants.” They recently raised over $20,000 in an Indiegogo campaign. Their aims may seem honorable enough, but not everyone is impressed. Below is a scathing condemnation of the ESC’s structure, methods, and plans for the future, signed by a number of academics and other concerned parties. (via PsyPressUK)   Statement Critiquing the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) (*) We, the academics and other experts undersigned, manifest publically our rejection...
How a Banker Introduced 'Magic Mushrooms' to the West

How a Banker Introduced ‘Magic Mushrooms’ to the West

In 1955, banker and amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson traveled to Mexico with a friend, where they became “the first white men in recorded history to eat the divine mushrooms.” Seeking the Magic Mushroom, published two years later in Life magazine, introduced psilocybin mushrooms to the West. Wasson wrote about his personal experience eating the mushrooms, and their ceremonial use by the Mazatec people as a healing agent. The essay came at a perfect time, exposing a whole generation of young people to a natural, non-toxic, and easily grown psychedelic agent that had long been overlooked in the West. Wasson’s...
Are Entities and Plant Spirits Real?

Are Entities and Plant Spirits Real? A Skeptic's Guide to Tripping

Trips are like dreams. A genuine insight may bubble up from deep in your subconscious, handily solving a problem that your sober mind found intractable. Or you might emerge with absolute nonsense, the product of synapses firing without the guidance of logic and consistency. You don’t take your dreams as absolute truth upon waking, and psychedelics should be no different. It’s crucial to think critically about which lessons to take back into consensus reality, and which to leave behind. Wisdom or Dogma? Many psychonauts spread their personal beliefs and speculations as though they were fact. Sometimes they take an...
DMT-Nexus Publishes First Issue of New e-Zine: 'The Nexian'

DMT-Nexus Publishes First Issue of New e-Zine: ‘The Nexian’

Check out The Nexian, the first ever e-zine produced by members of DMT-Nexus. It’s a free PDF download with 56 pages of trip reports, horticultural advice, interviews, and DMT-inspired artworks by members of the Nexus community. One feature that stands out to me is Jungle Stewing: An Interview with Antrocles. Antrocles is Antony Galvan, a DMT enthusiast who runs a healing retreat inspired by his work with the Secoya tribe of the Ecuadorian Amazon. He talks about the relationship between language and the psychedelic experience:   If there’s one thing I’ve really gleaned from these tribes is that if...
Jason Silva video: Psychedelics are "Technologies of Ecstasy"

Jason Silva video: Psychedelics are “Technologies of Ecstasy”

Jason Silva does it again. The latest episode in his “Shots of Awe” series considers psychedelics as “technologies of ecstasy.” In the short clip, he blows your mind while elaborating on the thoughts of Mircea Eliade, Erik Davis, and others: [Psychedelics are] mankind’s cognitive toolkit, agents of psychic transformation we’ve been engaging in for tens of thousands of years to transform the perceptions of the bodymind, hacking our awareness and our perceptions, that evanescent flux of sensation and perception that is, in a way, all we have and all we are. He goes on to describe the importance...
Bungee Jumping Into the Godhead

Bungee Jumping Into the Godhead An Interview with Writer, Filmmaker, and Psychonaut Rak Razam

The vine has spread her tendrils across the world and a genuine archaic revival was underway. My bags were packed, South America beckoned, and the ancient mysteries of the rainforest awaited. I wanted in on it… —Rak Razam I sat down with Rak Razam, the writer, producer, and main subject of the new film Aya: Awakenings, for a 45-minute interview covering everything from the legacy of Terence McKenna to the intense 5-MeO-DMT trip that occurs at the climax of the film. The documentary, an adaptation of the book of the same name, covers the ayahuasca tourism phenomenon through...
Tierra Vida: An Ayahuasca Journey

Tierra Vida: An Ayahuasca Journey

There have been a flurry of ayahuasca documentaries lately, but I think this one takes the cake. In 2012, Alex Ward lived out of a backpack for 8 months, participated in over forty shamanic ceremonies, and went exploring “far beyond the veil of reality with Ayahuasca.” A freelance artist and filmmaker, Alex was originally looking for artistic inspiration to spur his creative pursuits. But as he puts it, “I got a little more than I bargained for.” Lucky for us, he made a short (26 min) video testimonial about the experience and what he learned from it. Check it...