February 03, 2008

Getting high on Native drink

Ayahuasca:  A Strange Brew

Can a psychotropic jungle potion cure the existential angst of the McMansion set?The brew was introduced to pop culture in 1963, when Beat writers Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs published their collected correspondence on their ayahuasca experiences in “The Yage Letters.”

In the U.S., ayahuasca remained for years a largely underground phenomenon that, like peyote and psilocybin mushrooms, attracted a following of academics, journalists, psychiatrists and other soul-searching intellectuals. Now, thanks in part to a 2006 Supreme Court ruling, ayahuasca (pronounced EYE-yah-WAH-skah) appears to be gaining in popularity. East Coast writers have generated interest among the intelligentsia, and online head shops are selling ingredients for making the ayahuasca brew. At the same time, some scientific studies suggest that ayahuasca has legitimate uses as an alternative psychotropic medicine that can abolish depression, cure addiction and improve brain function.

For ayahuasqueros such as Truenos and the eclectic mix of button-down professionals and New Age acolytes joining him on this night, the potion may be a conduit to higher consciousness. Who exactly are these psychotropic explorers? Truenos won’t reveal much about them, except to say that the owners of the home in which they are meeting are retirees (young ones, it appears) and that participants typically include doctors, lawyers, celebrities, New Age healers and academics. They’re working folks, he says. “People from all walks of life.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The article was interesting although of course it is pretty shallow. It did not address at all the question of ethics (if you google Lobo Siete Truenos you'll find some people questioning his ethics and selflessness). The article also misses the point that the McMansion set are probably the people most in need of deep spiritual healing and rebirth. They are the ones who largely run our governments and corporations. They are the most massive of mass consumers. They are powerful, in that many aspire to be like them. And do not doubt that for all their wealth they can be unhappy and deeply troubled. If they can find inner peace and reconcile their differences with spirit and the natural world, many of this planet's problems will be greatly relieved.