Work with Amazonian plantas maestras or teacher plants is almost always enlightening, but the process can be confusing, too. The language of plants is not exactly straightforward or clear-cut. They speak to us in non-verbal ways, through images and sensations that can be vague, diffuse, difficult to understand. Plant teachers move at a different pace [...]

Knowing When It’s Enough, Part II

In ceremony a few years ago I received a most disagreeable vision of everyone in the circle lying back on their mats like giant infants, crying out "Give me more! Give me more!" The message couldn’t have been any clearer than if we’d appeared in diapers: immaturity, greedy appetite combined with shallow capacity—it was a [...]

Ayahuasca: Knowing When It’s Enough

It’s one thing to know when you’re called to start working with ayahuasca. It’s an entirely different matter to know when to stop. When is it time to take a break, or […]

Synchronicity: Magic, and Shadow

You think of a long-lost friend, and she gets in touch that very night. Glancing at the clock over the course of a few days, you continually get repeating […]

It may seem farfetched to suggest that ayahuasca can work like a somatically based trauma therapist, but I’ve noted intriguing parallels between ayahuasca experiences and the process I’ve witnessed with trauma healing methods like EMDR and Somatic Experiencing. In this article, I’ll offer some empirical observations on how ayahuasca works with trauma, drawing on my [...]

Here are some details I might have wanted to know before my first cup of ayahuasca five years ago. (Despite the not-knowing, it’s all worked out perfectly okay.) 1. It can change your life, big time. And for the better, which is why a lot of people are turning to it. But the scale and [...]

Ayahuasca gifts us with wisdom beyond the ego; understandings bigger and deeper than we come to on our own. The intelligence of the medicine shows us exactly what we need to see, when we need to see it. It’s important to remember that ayahuasca gives nothing from the outside. Rather, it uncovers our unique inner [...]

Embracing the Emotions

How to Work with Painful, Disturbing, Horrible Feelings and Be Okay We enter now into an exploration of what Daniel Goleman calls “the last great uncharted territory of the mind”—our own emotions. Rather surprisingly, given how fundamental they are to our lives, there is no scientific consensus on what emotions actually are. Do they result [...]

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 [...]