For centuries, the indigenous tribes of the Amazon have used a sacred medicine as a powerful tool for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing and awakening. This medicine is known as Ayahuasca, a Quechua Indian word which translates as ‘Vine of the Soul’.
Having been almost completely ignored by Western civilization for centuries, Ayahuasca has recently attracted a lot of interest from Academics, Doctor’s, Philosopher’s, Artist’s and Mystics due to the mysterious healing and teaching properties that it possesses.
It is widely believed that Ayahuasca is the ‘medicine of our time’, giving hope to people with supposedly ‘incurable’ diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as chronic depression, anxiety, and drug addictions. Ayahuasca can provide valuable insight into the sociological and ecological problems of today’s world, and inspires ideas about how to resolve them.
Spirituality is at the core of the Ayahuasca experience. Purification of mind, body and soul in a healing ceremony can catalyse a profound process of spiritual awakening and development. This process of growth and spiritual evolution can continue indefinitely even if Ayahuasca is not taken again.
Ayahuasca is divine, sacred, magical – teaching a deep respect for life and the world and facilitating personal healing and self-discovery far beyond the boundaries of conventional modern medicine. Indeed, it is believed that a single Ayahuasca session has the potential to be equally as effective as 10 years of psychotherapy or meditation.
The Ayahuasca experience is highly individual and unique to each person as it enables a direct connection with the deepest parts of the sub-conscious, facilitating a deep connection with our true, inner and higher self. Ayahuasca provides a window into our soul and shows us who we really are and who we can become.
WHY ARE PEOPLE USING AYAHUASCA?
Urarina tribe ayahuasca shaman
Ayahuasca induces a psychedelic, visionary state of mind and this effect is employed by various people for various reasons.
Shamans or medicine men take ayahuasca to communicate with nature or to see what is causing a patient’s illness on a spiritual level. In Brazil several religions can be found that pivot around gatherings where ayahuasca is taken by all participants. Drinking ayahuasca and singing together takes them into a healing and inspiring kind of trance.
In the past few decades ayahuasca is slowly gaining interest from Western society as well. Not only academic researchers in the field of psychotherapy have shown an increased interest. Psychonauts, i.e. people who practice responsible and conscious use of mind-altering substances, use ayahuasca to confront themselves with the richness of the mind, the infinity of the universe, and their deepest fears, so as to experience ecstasy resulting from facing and overcoming these fears.
One effect of ayahuasca is that it makes a lot of people vomit and many drinkers get diarrhea. One tribe calls ayahuasca ‘kamarampi’, which stems from ‘kamarank’: to vomit. It is also called ‘la purga’, as it purges the body through this physical effect, and purifies the mind through the meaningful psychological experiences or visions. You usually feel totally refreshed and reborn after a strong experience.
WHAT MAKES AYAHUASCA SO INTERESTING?
Although not unique to ayahuasca, there are many fascinating reports about people who have been healed from comprehensive problems, like addiction or depression, during one or more sessions. This, however, can also be achieved using LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, iboga, other psychedelics or various breathing and meditation techniques, and always involves heavy psychological work.
Ayahuasca is not a miracle cure in the sense that you drink the brew and all your troubles have vanished within a couple of hours. It is a miracle cure though, in the sense that it brings unconscious and seemingly other-worldly processes to surface, which enables you to work with it while the effects last.
What is more unique about ayahuasca, is that the effects rely on a specific combination of two plants: Banisteriopsis caapi and chacruna (or chagropanga, depending on the region). How and when exactly the discovery of combining these two plants was made by native Americans remains unclear, although many tribes and shamans have their own mythical talesexplaining this event.
Second, the primary ingredient of chacruna and chagropanga is also a neurotransmitter found in all human beings and plays a key role in all kinds of extraordinary states of awareness. This neurotransmitter is called dimethyltryptamine, or DMT for short, and is found in the brain, blood, lungs and other parts of the human body. There is strong evidence pointing towards the pineal gland (“the third eye” in esoteric traditions), located in the center of the brain, as the main factory of human DMT. Apart from human beings, DMT can be found in every mammal and in a variety of plants.