Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sometimes I'm Upset With Ayahuasca in Peru

So someone on a blog to which I occasionally post has been pushing me a little to talk about things that bother me about the way ayahuasca retreat centers are spreading like wildfire in the Peruvian Upper Amazon. I wrote this post, then deleted it--somehow I didn't want it up there because it's got a tone of arrogance--justifiably, in my opinion, but it's still there and will be misinterpreted. Anyway, this is a very short take on a subject I'm involved with--because of my history--which means a great deal to me.

Dear X: No offense but you're an offensive pain in the ass. Why the hell do I have to give up what I've learned over 30 years to a newbie like you with just five years under your belt? Spend another 50 years and you'll probably get it all.

Yes, of course, 50 percent-80 percent of the people holding ceremonies at lodges as ayahuasqueros are not ayahuasqueros. Do the math. There is one per small river. There are 100 small rivers; half those guys were old and died. The others were lured from their rivers to work at lodges where they lost most of their power because they were put in an unfamiliar environment and have people throwing themselves at them. Ick.
So a lot of people who carried water are now serving as ayahuasqueros. And maybe they're learning, but I know of a few who've never been in ceremony but who are serving aya as curanderos.
So what do you want? People who have been around know this. This is nothing new. You get a good hearted gringo who has an epiphany that they are supposed to open a lodge and they buy 50 hectares of jungle on the road to Nauta and cut down 15 hectares to save the jungle, what do you think you'll get? Cut down jungle, ruined monkey and wild boar paths and an end to wildlife in that part of the jungle.
And then they give someone the job of ayahuasquero and that person knows little to nothing and suddenly they're being given more money than they ever imagined and power and more white girls from the States and Europe asking for sex and then people complain that they have lost their way. What do you or anyone else expect? This is a bad thing. This is people following what they perceive as visions when they are just hallucinations. And there is an enormous difference.
If I could turn back the clock and not have written the first national article about ayahuasca, I would. I can't. It's out there and everything sprung from there. I will live with it, but I will continue to rail against it.
It has not done the jungle any good and it certainly has not done ayahuasca--who has been bitch slapped recently to put her back into her place after she got too self important--any good. Things moving fast, faster, and they should be moving like LSD in the early days: Each one, teach one. Not each one teach many. The latter doesn't work well.


Unknown said...

You touch on the truth Peter... even if i am just another gringa with an epiphany! But that was not your fault... See you in Iquitos.

Shae said...

You're spot on in many ways Peter..but the world's fucked and we need to bring nature and cosmos back into the hearts and minds of all these toxic materialists and war mongers...
So what do you suggest?
And putting all the responsibility on yourself for starting all this is unfair to yourself,and also a stroll through egoville..
Big mysteries and wonders make their way from the fringes to public's the nature of reality..
If it wasn't you'd it would've been someone else..
So absolve thyself and unswell that head for a spell...
If we all had the guts to wage revolution and force these consciousness lifting and body healing potions down the throats of all and sundry maybe things'd be different..but these weekend warriors still want middle class security..heh..fucking absurd planet and all it's seemingly unwinnable quandaries,ey?

Unknown said...

Your story, Peter, reminds me of the guy from the movie “The Cove”. He too, feels guilt over the dolphins being kept in captivity…and it all started with “Flipper”…