Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ayahuasca Plant Spirits

On a board I occasionally post on, a new member recently asked about adding things like ginger, St. John's Wort and maple syrup to ayahuasca while he was brewing it. Reactions from the board members who responded were pretty harsh. First off, St. John's Wort is not a good thing to utilize with ayahuasca because of possible serious physical complications from the chemical combination of the substances. But more than that, the board members were slightly upset with a new member simply tossing things out there: the question seemed filled with arrogance.
I posted a long and arrogant answer of my own, then immediately deleted it.
The new member then started a new and self-centered thread asking whether his questions would be answered by other members of the board or simply ignored. Two hours later he decided his questions wouldn't be answered and was feeling sorry for himself.
So I answered him. This is the answer I gave, and re-reading it, I think it might have enough merit to post it here. I hope you don't mind.

Have you got a question to ask?
In your first post, at least the first I read, you asked about admixtures that might be included when making ayahuasca. I wrote a good, long post, and then deleted it. Who am I, after all, to give advice? (My advice was to take one kilo of caapi; 1/4 kilo of chariponga or chacruna; an ounce or so each of the bark of the catawa, lupuna negro and chiri caspi trees, crush and separate all bark, put in 5 gallons of water, simmer or boil for five hours while chanting over it and blowing smoke from black tobacco into it; strain, save, repeat with same material; strain. Add both strains, reduce to 2 ounces and drink.)
But others answered your question well: St. John's is not good as a rule with ayahuasca. If you're a curandero and discover good ad mix plants--which will generally be good for specific things--then fine. But if you or anyone is just trying to make a strong brew, make the brew I just suggested. It's pretty standard per person in the amazon, out on the river. 20 People? 20 kilos of caapi.
On the other hand, that's generally strong enough that I recommend you have a real curandero there overseeing things. It is not something most people could handle at home alone.
I think the answers to your question came to this: Don't play with this stuff. Don't think you should make it stronger until you've a teacher who knows who tells you so. The spirits, the souls, the life force, of these plants are very very powerful. You've got to know that. And to imagine that you might add a little of this or a little of that before you've met the spirits or this and that, well, you won't know who you are inviting to your party, will you? And if they come, what sort of guests will they be?
You've got to be realistic here. We are not discussing chemicals. Chemicals are zero in this equation. We're discussing the invitation of spirits who can have an important impact on our lives. The meditation and smoking of black tobacco during cooking is probably much more important than any chemical that can be extracted from the plants. Because that 8-10 hour meditation is what invites the spirit of the plants. The plants themselves are not worth much. Their spirits are worth a great deal. And if you are going to invite living beings, beings with intent, will and desires into your physical/emotional/spiritual/soul space, then you'd better be sure you know who they are and how to treat them as guests.
In my world, this is serious stuff, and your initial question wasn't serious.You might have thought it was but it was silly. You're talking about adding a bunch of stuff to ayahuasca that has never been traditionally added. And you didn't say that you're a curandero who's met those spirits. Ginger certainly has a spirit. Maple syrup probably has a phenomenally strong spirit. Have you met her? I haven't but can imagine that any spirit strong enough to keep trees alive for 200 years in the cold north must be very very powerful.
So to hear someone toss off the idea of adding a bit to ayahuasca, without them telling me they know the spirit and what she's like, sounds like someone playing, not someone who is learning to interact with spirits.
Again, who am I? Nobody. Maybe you don't believe in spirits and maybe my idea, taught to me by some pretty good curanderos, is all wet. What do they know anyway?
My guess is a lot.
I spent days preparing before I put a sprig of cedar (who had been begging me to be included) into a mix some years ago. And the cedar was good. But I would never recommend her to anyone not prepared to deal with such an ancient soul once she arrives.
So if you've got real questions, I think there are many on the board who will answer them. If you are here to tell us things, then do it. But the people on the board who consider questions seriously have lives to live and limited time and I'm guessing that many of them won't take the time to answer questions they find frivolous, regardless of how serious you claim to be.


Dr. Grossman said...

Astounding wisdom.

schapper said...

Great reply, Peter. Not many would understand how real the plant Spirits can be unless they have been there themselves to witness them. Your reverence for them is admirable and understandable!

Chuntaro said...

Thank you! wopila waste! Tlazokamati! Migwitch!
it is very comforting to have people like you that respect and protect the traditions of our elders and the earth in such a genuine way.
Thank you, thank you!

Adam Revere said...

Great answer! Ayahuasca is a wonderful plant that is used in healing many kinds of disorders. It originated from southern america and is now popular around the world. People go to places such as Peru to attend ayahuasca ceremonies. If you are interested in a ayahuasca recipe, check ths site out