Personal Experience

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 [...]

Uprooting Trauma: Meeting Iboga

Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga) is a rainforest shrub of West-Central Africa. The bark of its root, consumed in powdered form, is powerfully psychoactive, triggering visions and deeply personal understandings about one’s life. Iboga is known as a formidable spiritual teacher who guides and instructs humans. In Amazonian terms, it’s a planta maestra, a teacher plant—one of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Dieta Diary

I’ve been doing a series of plant dietas under the guidance of a curandero in the Peruvian Amazon. Every few months I fly into Iquitos, catch a moto out to Jose’s place, and commence a retreat with whatever plant he’s chosen for me this time. Dieta involves drinking an extract of a particular ‘teacher plant’ [...]