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. And if you’re really interested in his shamanic journey, check out his in-depth account. It’s fascinating.
One of my favorite parts of the film occurs about halfway through, where Alex describes the cathartic self-confrontation common to many psychedelic experiences:
An examination of our own ego, that which we equate with being ourselves, is commonly first on the agenda for explorers new to this. An examination of the conditioning one has picked up throughout their lifetime. Religious, philosophical, and political associations; fears, hopes, wants, and desires, all social conditioning you have received from culture—these will all be broken down in front of the psychedelic experience. And you will for the first time see yourself behind all these layers of your attachments.
…Taking Ayahuasca is like looking into the clearest mirror imaginable. The ayahuasca gets under all the wiring of the conditioning that created the ego you mistook as you. Knowing this, one then often proceeds through a purgative experience. All the negative emotional baggage you’ve unknowingly picked up here and there and held onto all these years is purged from your very being, shed like old skin.
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