shamanism – Psychedelic Frontier make the most of your dose Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 48719013 Ayahuasca: A Skeptic’s Notes Wed, 27 Dec 2017 12:04:38 +0000 Ayahuasca: A Skeptic’s Notes


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 cool shadows of LA palm trees, the earthy fragrance of the ancient tar pits bubbling around us, his words sounded as fantastical and strange as a tale from the Arabian Nights.

On his journey, Red met a goddess that took his hand and propelled him into the heavens.

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Damning Critique of ESC, the Sustainable Ayahuasca Non-Profit Mon, 22 Dec 2014 21:16:15 +0000 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 of the ESC’s methods and goals. The following statement has been made public after more than one year of “dialogues” and correspondence with the ESC, as we do not feel our concerns have been properly addressed.

The information below is a reflection based on the ESC’s reports and materials available online, in podcasts, in public representations and interviews, and from private letters and emails exchanged between us.

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How a Banker Introduced ‘Magic Mushrooms’ to the West Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:32:06 +0000 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 testimony also showed that such compounds had a long history of spiritual and therapeutic use, and were not just for reckless hedonists. Since the starry-eyed hippies of the 60s had no other guidance for taking mushrooms, this ceremonial context set a valuable precedent (although, then as now, not everyone was interested in taking the experience seriously).

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Are Entities and Plant Spirits Real? Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:41:27 +0000 Are Entities and Plant Spirits Real?

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 ancient myth, like Amazonian animism, and dress it up in the new-age language of spirits, energies, and vibrations. “Mother Ayahuasca,” they say, “is the plant world’s way of communicating with us, raising us to a higher vibration.”

Other times they’ll offer a testable scientific hypothesis, but disguise it as established fact.

Continue reading Are Entities and Plant Spirits Real? at Psychedelic Frontier.

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DMT-Nexus Publishes First Issue of New e-Zine: ‘The Nexian’ Mon, 17 Feb 2014 12:30:38 +0000 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 you’re going to work with these plants, do it right. I’ve met too many people who are just in it for the fireworks. […]

For a long time, I never put it together with the visual aspect of DMT, where I was being just so blown away by the visual aspect of it, and the symbolism of what I was being shown- I thought that was actually the important thing. 

Continue reading DMT-Nexus Publishes First Issue of New e-Zine: ‘The Nexian’ at Psychedelic Frontier.

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Jason Silva video: Psychedelics are “Technologies of Ecstasy” Wed, 12 Feb 2014 07:18:24 +0000 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 of shamanism in human culture: “That has always been the role of the shaman, to unplug us and to show us a bigger, wider, more far-reaching universe that goes beyond what the eye can see.”

Check it out, it’ll only take two minutes! Or four, if you immediately watch it again like I did.

Continue reading Jason Silva video: Psychedelics are “Technologies of Ecstasy” at Psychedelic Frontier.

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Bungee Jumping Into the Godhead Thu, 30 Jan 2014 12:30:56 +0000 Bungee Jumping Into the Godhead

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 the lens of Rak’s personal experiences in Peru.


The Interview

Stream it here or download the mp3.

Rak describes his film as an etheogenic journey for the audience:

There’s this synesthesia that happens in the film, where because of the narration taking you on the emotional left-brain journey, and the soundscapes and the visuals, it hits all the right spots of our sensory modalities and triggers a shamanic reaction.

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Tierra Vida: An Ayahuasca Journey Mon, 01 Jul 2013 19:18:29 +0000 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 out! Alex’s voice is hypnotic and even the music by The Fossil Club is sublime.

Alex has also produced a whole series of testimonials featuring the likes of Rick Doblin, Simon G Powell, and others called The Psychedelic Dialogues. You can find more of his work on his website, and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Continue reading Tierra Vida: An Ayahuasca Journey at Psychedelic Frontier.

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