Pubdate: Thu, 19 Nov 2009
Source: Meliorist, The (CN AB Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Meliorist
Author: Ian Del Bigio
Bookmark: (Hallucinogens)


In the murky depths of the Amazon, there is a rare combination of 
vine and plant geneses, when combined, they are among one of the most 
powerful hallucinogens known to man.  Its many forms, which vary from 
brewer to brewer, are known as ayahuasca.

The drug conjures up images of fantastical and illusionary worlds, 
gives the sensation of visiting magical cities and generally invokes 
a state of being which most of us will never know.  Though similar to 
psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and LSD (acid), it has birthed some 
fantastical practices in the greater Amazonian area.

In these southern reaches, there are many tribes with traditions of 
ayahuasca use that vary from mild religious use to shamanistic ritualism.

In the extreme cases, there is an element of psychedelic warfare in 
which one shaman uses spirits to battle the spirits of other shamans.

In this psychedelic battle among some tribes, a shaman would use his 
prowess to control the world around him under the effects of the 
drugs. Other users would observe his ability to interact spiritually 
with reality.  Often they would see the spiritual images of beasts 
and demons that would combat each other on behalf of the shamans. 
These practitioners ingested magical items they found to becomes more 
powerful.  If they could swallow a piece of some fearsome creature, 
they believed they could wield the power of that creature's spiritual essence.

The drug is so potent that some tribes told visiting explorers that 
they had already seen images of New York and other major cities of 
the early twentieth century.  These supernatural trances evolved into 
a major part in the cuktuer of these communities. In some cases, a 
quarter of the male population would be involved in the shamanistic 
use of ayahuasca.

Even with such widespread use, there is an element of mysticism 
surrounding the drug and its preparation.  In actuality there were 
people who believed their interactions with the world they 
experienced on a hallucinogen impacted reality.  This may seem 
ridiculous to some, but many movements have been founded on far less 
substantial evidence.

As to the makeup of the drug, it is harmine and/or harmaline with a 
dimethyl-tryptamine (DMT).  For those not in the study of organic 
chemistry, these are two very rare species of plants that somehow a 
large number of peoples have been able to isolate and prepare into a 
mind altering substance.

Ayahuasca, even in brewed and prepared form, is legal in North 
America. However, it is by no means recreational as vomiting and 
sickness, which makes it a little unpopular, often accompany it.

Ayahuasca use, however, is still occurring today.

In some parts of Brazil, people use it under the supervision of a 
master who asks the user questions to aid them on their spiritual 
quest.  People use the drug routinely to cleanse themselves of 
impurity of character and self.

All around the world, drugs have been used to understand oneself and 
the world around them.  Ayahuasca is just one of many drugs people 
have used to answer questions they couldn't fathom and explain the unexplained. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake