ayahuasquero, a Mongolian Buryat shaman,a "Phurba Priest in Nepalese Jhankri Tradition, Houngan Asogwe in Haitian Vodoun and has been initiated into various strands of Taoist, Tantric, Buddhist and Sufi Mystism.
Ayahuasca, Means and Ends
The first difference lies in the role that ayahuasca plays. Locally, it is tool that the healer employs to enter the world of the spirits, channel the chants he receives from the spirits into his healing, and capture information about the illness of the patient and the medicine the patient needs. It often happens that the local patients do not drink ayahuasca, as in the case of the ceremonies run by the Shipibo, who are currently the most popular “shamans” in Iquitos. In the 10 ceremonies I participated in the small Shipibo settlement of Vencedor, on the river Pisqui, I did not see a single patient drink ayahuasca.
In the lodges, everything revolves around the drinking of ayahuasca, which is known as the “Medicine,” capitalized for emphasis. A client may drink it up to six times in ten days, which is exorbitant in local terms. In some lodges they do not adhere to the practice of “diets” (the abstention from sex and certain foods), nor do they give the patients medicinal plants other than ayahuasca, even though those two practices are locally regarded as crucial for an effective cure with ayahuasca.
The Purge and the Visions
The inhabitants of the region refer to ayahuasca as the “purge,” which is a metonymy for the main effect of drinking ayahuasca: the expulsion, through defecation and vomiting, of the “filth” in the patient’s stomach, which is related in turn to his or her bad energies; it is a purge both of the body and spirit. The term mareación (dizziness/nausea) refers to the physical effects of the plant. On a local level, drinkers also seek to have visions but, generally, it is only to discover the cause of the illness the person is suffering from or ascertain whether a relative who is not present in the ritual is or is not well.
For Westerners, the main attraction is DMT, the active ingredient in chacruna, the jungle plant which is cooked with the ayahuasca, and to which the visions are attributed. It is not so easy to see visions; however, the obsession foreign novices have with visions exerts pressure on the ayahuasqueros and, in order to meet their expectations, in some cases, they add another plant to the usual mixture of the ayahuasca vine and the chacruna leaf: toé (Brugsmansia sp.), which contains scopolamine, said to intensify the visions but with possible dangerous side effects.
This bias towards visions and DMT clashes with the ethnographical evidence of local use. The terms most widely used for the medicinal brew—ayahuasca (in Peru and Brazil) and yajé (in Colombia)—refer both to the vine and to the brew itself, whether or not it contains chacruna. Some ethnic groups only cook the vine, without any additives, like the Tucano Oriental, the Marubo, the Achuar and the Matsiguenga. The latter’s word for the vine, kamarampi, means “the medicine for vomiting.”2
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Used to really dig Bentinho a couple years ago. That was when I was desperately trying to find a story for what was happening. Same kind of affection was there for Trinity De Guzman who was at one point trying to start an Ayahuasca church in the US. They were young guys who, in my eyes, were in on this mass Awakening that made some people special.
I was desperately trying to find a story to be special. So there was an exchange from wanting to be special for the sake of my talents or ambitions to wanting to be special for having discovered some great truth.
There was also a sneaky kind of envy with regards to Bentinho and Trinity because it had been an ambition to also launch out with some sort of preaching. I wanted to sell it, badly, and my image of being a light worker right along with it. It was something not only to make myself feel special but to sell others on my sense of being special.
Then, feeling guilty for my own ambition, I grew annoyed with Bentinho and any of the other younger guys (like Infinite Waters and GoldJacketLuke), stewing in a strange hypocrisy.
Anyway, it seems to me that Bentinho, Trinity and others like that are still trying to figure themselves out in this whole thing. There's a personal story still playing out. There's a personal story playing out for anyone who buys their products. This is the same (and I'm guessing, don't take my word for it) for anyone who buys into the specialness of someone else.
There's such a beauty to not being special, to being no one in particular, to getting so lost in the character that there isn't a sense of self. That's the stuff that sells, because, despite what the awakening story is, we didn't come here to realize we've always been here. We know that. That's why it feels like remembering. We came to forget who we are.,,,
According to Ayahuasca Healings’ pseudo-messaianic figurehead, Trinity de Guzman, there is a deep cleanse happening right now to karmically pay for the pain and suffering we humans have caused and brought upon the planet.
“The Corona Virus is a necessary purge of what is no longer in resonance,” Trinity wrote in a recent email to his followers. “As these souls return back to the Source, those who are left have the choice to continue in our old ways, or to create a DRASTIC re-evaluation of all that is important to us and all that drives and motivates us.”
This purge, Trinity wrote, will identify those who are willing to be part of “birthing a New Era” and shows the “NEED for us to do the work we are doing.” While it’s not entirely clear what type of “work” he’s referencing, in particular, Trinity has spent more than a few years working to craft an image of himself as some type of “plant medicine” guru.