Trauma

When Ayahuasca Triggers Trauma

Ryan was a meditator, experienced with ayahuasca, so it surprised him (not in a good way) when a disturbing ceremony revealed the world as hollow and grotesquely meaningless. In the aftermath, he felt dissociated and numb. It took him the better part of a year to recover, and he was still wondering what had happened…

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…

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…

Family Secrets in Ayahuasca’s Light

Seven days into an ayahuasca retreat in the Peruvian Amazon, I’m 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 inside…