Teacher Plants

Ayahuasca Obfuscada

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 [...]

Are Spirits Real?

Sooner or later, everyone working with ayahuasca has to come to terms with this issue. Who, or what, are those beings we’re seeing in ceremony? What do ayahuasqueros mean when they talk about spirits; the spirit of ayahuasca, for example, or los genios of the plants? What does Santo Daime mean when it speaks of [...]

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 [...]

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 Enrique’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’ [...]