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Ayahuasca: An Amazonian Healing Plant
by Michael Wiese
Editor's Note from Peter Clark: Michael Wiese has had some incredible experiences with the spirit and physical effects of Ayahuasca, as well as with Don Jose Campos - the Peruvian shaman and guide into the realm of the transformative power of Ayahuasca. This article is a small window into his experience. I will be reviewing for All Things Healing the book - The Shaman & Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms - written by Don Jose Campos - which in part came out of this excursion into the jungle and consciousness. Wiese has also created a film on the same topic. I am fascinated by Ayahuasca, but have not experienced it directly as of yet. Some of the effects of Wiese's Ayahuasca experiences - his awareness of the interconnectedness of all that is, I have also experienced in my shamanic journeys and initiations accompanied only by the drum. I have journeyed to connect with the spirit of Ayahuasca in non-ordinary reality, meeting its power in undeniable ways. Someday I'm sure, I will make the physical trek to the jungles of the Amazon to meet her - Ayahuasca - at the junction between the ordinary and extraordinary. I hope you enjoy this article of one man's experience, and keep an eye out here on the shamanism page of All Things Healing for my upcoming review of Don Jose's book.
It was my search for a cure for Parkinson’s that led me to the Amazon and Ayahuasca. I got a whole lot more than I had bargained for!
In searching the Internet I found that Banisteriopsis caapi was used in the 1920’s as a cure for Parkinson’s Disease but never made it to market because the pharmaceutical company could not figure out how to patent and profit from a vine. Further research revealed that this vine, combined with a psychoactive leaf (Psychotria viridis), were the two key ingredients in a healing brew that has been used for tens of thousands of years by Peruvian shamans. So I traveled to the Amazon to try the healing brew Ayahuasca (pronounced Aya-wass-ka) and made a film and published a book, The Shaman and Ayahuasca: Journeys into Sacred Realms, based upon this adventure.
Sitting in the darkness of the jungle through all-night shamanic ceremonies and trying to keep down the most foul tasting drink known to mankind is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, as well as the most rewarding. But it’s not for the faint of heart. Those with any mental instability should stay far away.
I have found the benefits from Ayahuasca to be profound. They have altered every area of my life. It is not called a “teacher plant” for nothing. Ayahuasca taught me through visions, voices, and telepathy. Imagine: rather than ask your doctor questions, you ask the medicine!
The first thing I learned was that plants have consciousness. We incorrectly assume that we are the only creatures with awareness.
Ayahuasca works not only on the physical level, but clears emotional and psychological blocks as well. It connects you directly with Spirit, and everyone participating in the ceremonial circle comes out of it realizing that we are all connected: that we are one.
Ayahuasca’s principle teaching is about ecology. You can have a direct experience that there is no separation between ourselves and our environment. What emerges is a relationship with the planet that is synchronous with the nature of reality. Ayahuasca’s agenda seems to be to help us restore balance on earth. It’s ironic that it may take a plant to save humanity from extinction!
Did the Ayahausca cure my Parkinson’s? Yes and no. The progress of the disease has certainly slowed down. At this rate, I’ll be productive for a very long time. My walking has improved, my voice is stronger, and I no longer have the expressionless face common to Parkinson's. I can type again, and my mind and memory are clearer. I still shake on the right side from time to time and have difficulty turning over in bed.
The other benefits are vast and numerous.
One big change has been my relationship to plants in our large garden. This was primarily my wife’s domain but now I feel as if I have hundreds of new friends. I feel a deep connection to the plants, the birds, animals and insects. I will go out of my way to save any spider or fly that gets trapped in the house. I begin my morning meditation in the garden giving thanks for my life and everyone and everything in it.
During the intoxicating state of Ayahuasca I said to her, “What about when I come down and return to ordinary consciousness. Will I still be in contact with you?” She said “yes.” I’ve found that to be true. She continues to inform my creativity, is available to answer questions and continues to help with my healing.
Since taking Ayahuasca, I’ve been more productive than ever before. During a shamanic ceremony, my wife was told Ayahuasca would help us start a new publishing imprint. So we launched Divine Arts and within a very short time we’ve released five new books and have many more in development.
My relationship with my wife has deepened to an extraordinary level. We pretty much read each other’s minds. Life together is an adventure and great fun. We express our love to each other throughout the day and try to carry that over into everything we do, whether it’s arranging flowers, writing friends, or making films.
In my work, people, projects, financing, distribution all show up when they are needed. It feels as if we are doing what we are supposed to do and everything takes care of itself.
There is too little space here to go into Ayahuasca in any depth so I suggest if you are interested in learning more, read the book written by Peruvian shaman Don José Campos or watch the film. The Shaman & Ayahuasca book and DVD are available at Amazon or www.divineartsmedia.com.
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About the Author
Michael Wiese (SAY Wee-see) is founder and publisher of Divine Arts Media, which publishes books on diverse topics with the common theme of integrating spiritual practice into daily life. Michael is an American director, producer, author, and publisher with over 35 years experience in film, television, pay TV and home video. He has launched video lines for National Geographic, The Smithsonian, NOVA, Audubon and PBS Home Video and written eight books on film. Learn more at www.DivineArtsMedia.com.