Ayahuasca

The first cup of ayahuasca I drank was dark brown, molasses-y and surprisingly sweet, about the viscosity of cough syrup. Bad taste? What are they talking about? I thought, a bit smugly. That was the first time. I did not yet know how each subsequent cup would become more difficult to down, tasting more and [...]

About Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a potent psychoactive brew made by cooking the ayahuasca vine (banisteriopsis caapi) with the leaf of the chacruna shrub (psychotria viridis) (sometimes other plants are used in the admixture.) It's been spreading with extraordinary rapidity from its indigenous home in the Amazon into global popular culture, becoming what a recent New Yorker article [...]

At a certain point following your return from an ayahuasca retreat, you may begin wondering how to maintain your relationship with the plant. In the peace of the jungle, everything may have seemed crystal-clear. Back at home, inertia and doubt can creep in. Old patterns may be pulling you back to behaviors not in your [...]

Shadow Chasing in the Amazon

Seven days into an ayahuasca retreat in the Peruvian Amazon, I am not liking—no, let’s tell it straight—hating the guy who sits across from me in the circle. Mike’s smugness, his closedness, his know-it-all vibe are driving me crazy. And I know, reluctantly but well enough, that the qualities I am triggered by are actually [...]

Aya & Depth Psychology

Depth psychology works explicitly with the unconscious—that within us which has been repressed, rejected, denied or ignored. Through dreams, images, fantasies, art, meaning and myth, it seeks to understand and unveil what has been hidden in the depths of the psyche. This is precisely the territory that ayahuasca works, as it unzips the unconscious with [...]

Ayahuasca & Meditation

I believe the single most important integration practice is some form of regular meditation. Working with ayahuasca can rattle the cage of who we think we are, dismantling our tidy self-definitions. While ultimately this leads to expansion and growth, the process can be disconcerting, generating feelings of fear, anxiety, and confusion. This is where meditation [...]

Ayahuasca & Shadow

Integration work means more than joining a sharing circle, starting a meditation practice, and maintaining a clean diet. Most essentially, it signals turning to face the shadow, all the forgotten, repressed, unseen and un-integrated psychic material we’ve left behind in the process of growing up and into the world. Shadow work deliberately evokes that which [...]

Meeting Ayahuasca

People come to ayahuasca for all sorts of reasons, from simple curiosity to the profound desire for change. You may be struggling with depression, anxiety, or the residue of trauma; looking for deeper insights into chronic patterns; or sensing some mysterious limitation that blocks the freedom to be who you really are. Working with ayahuasca [...]

Medicine For These Times

Ayahuasca is spreading around the globe with astonishing rapidity. Increasing numbers of people are turning to it as a treatment of last resort, seeking a remedy for depression, anxiety, and trauma. Even more are searching for a spiritual catalyst, an emotional reboot from the meaninglessness that marks these alienated times. Sometimes, they find it. Ayahuasca [...]