Friday, October 11, 2013

How Big is Big Enough for Ayahuasca?

I recently saw a picture of a beautiful ceremonial malloca built in the Amazon. Truth is it looked pretty gorgeous. But something is sticking in my craw about it. And I guess it's because of the size. It looks like thousands of leaf-sections were used for the roofing--and as a rule, there is a limited supply of things like leaves to make roof sections. And, as a rule, locals need them for their homes. So it maybe just seems extravagant when someone needs so many for their malloca. I can't say for certain, but it's not improbable that some local will now have to walk deeper into the jungle to get what he/she need for their roof. And walking deeper into the jungle, well, it sort of ruins the jungle just a little.
    I feel very much the same way about ayahuasca centers that open up and ask the locals to collect 50-100 sacks of ayahuasca vine for them. In most parts of the Amazon, that would mean all of the vine on a several mile stretch of a small river. Which means that the local ayahuasqueros will not be able to go to their favorite plants because those plants have been cut and will take years to grow again--that is, if they were cut properly.
    Yes, people are spreading the medicine. Yes, the people who collected the leaves or those vines got some work and were able to splurge on sneakers and beer and maybe even clothes for the kids for a few weeks, but at what cost?
    In the old days, and still out on the river, people just drink at the ayahuasquero's home. No ceremonial space, just his/her little kitchen area. Cook during the day, drink that night, save the left over for another night. I know there is a new paradigm being designed for foreigners. I know things have changed. But I don't know if the resources can keep up. Yes, some people have planted a good amount of ayahuasca, but it takes years and years to grow strong enough.
    I'm not completely railing against things here, but I am concerned that things might be a bit off kilter. Ayahuasca, after all, is part of the jungle, not apart from the jungle--and hot water and wifi and electric light, well, I don't see any of that as being good for the jungle or its people in any way. I see it as a way to keep people apart from the jungle and I guess I'm not keen on that.


Anonymous said...

i hear you on this one.... but the locals sure seem to like all that luxury as soon as they can afford. same here in the andes... as well of course the holy grail "plasma" TV.

abeautifulbird said...

Its a mixture of sadness and revelation for me, I think its sad that its becoming a bigger "tourist attraction", But a revelation because we poor westerners cant live a spiritual life unless it slaps us in the head making us almost drown in a bottomless ocean.

Its also sad that money corrupts, and i believe many locals would like to be a part of this new money making system, sacrifice the vines that will take years to re-grow. & "shamans" whos expertise isnt anywhere near safety levels. All this, is making me very hesitated to support usages of ayahuasca, because people are in desperate need for revelation, that they dont think of the consequences. but in that case they deserve the consequences. i believe, but not those of us who do think of the consequences.

I think we should start informing people about these consequences that its not fair that the rest of the world should suffer deprivation of the expertise & quality for your selfish actions.

Well, I loved your book. I first bought it as an ibook, but now ive bought a hardcover edition! Really fantastic, I hope your write a follow up book?
Whats your favorite books on ayahuasca?
Congrats for everything working out with your leg! youre very blessed and loved.