How much is total enlightenment worth to you? Is it worth the appropriation of another’s culture? Would you even be ready for it? One must ask him or herself such questions and be willing to turn one’s head on the answer or embrace it fully. Ayahuasca just might be the solution to what ails us all, or it might not be ours to have.

Ayahuasca is a vine found in the Western Amazon and is usually paired with the leaf of Psychotria viridis, a plant from the coffee family. Rife with dimethyltryptamine or DMT and similar to pharmaceutical anti-depressants the experience brings on both emetic and euphoric outcomes. The former being highly useful curatively while the latter of which “Dissolves the illusion of separateness” from the Earth according to leading ethnobotanist Terrance Mckenna. Sounds like a win/win.

Culturally and historically it is utilized under strict Shamanic control, allowing him and other participants to break down the barriers between Worlds facilitating one to speak to the Spirits of the Jungle/Earth in order to become more empathetic to them, ascertain threats and heightening the ability to deduce maladies. As a bonus it is a cure for everything from snakebites to heart issues. But then why has there been very little scientific exploration of it?

It is at the center of what is deemed the World’s largest psychedelic religion and it is the Amazonian be all and end all of medicinal as well as spiritual foundations. One might call it a miracle plant, for this, though classified as a Schedule 1 drug along with LSD by the United Nations, occurs not only organically in nature, but also in the human body. That is not a miracle, that is as Mother Nature provided–so say the Shamans of many different Tribes from Ecuador to Peru, via Brazil and now the Netherlands, Canada and Oregon. It is told that one is able to hear the Spirits of the Trees, the Rivers and the Four-leggeds—to truly understand them. Some need this direction, quite honestly most do.

It has found its way into Western culture most expediently through the founding of the Santo Daime Church. This church promotes a wholesome lifestyle with the motto of “harmony, love, truth and justice” and does so with Christian and African aspects in the mix centered around the imbibing of the Ayahuasca tea. The practice became a worldwide movement in the 1990s and has been upheld in several international courts including that of the United States due to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

One finds a dichotomous approach to not only understanding, but also accepting such a beneficial plant given to certain Peoples here on Earth. One must ask, is it for them alone or is it for the greater good to have all be aware and have access? One must inquire, is it yet another cultural appropriation, or is the need for it paramount for all? By no means is utilizing a natural property in order to enhance one’s knowledge and empathy a requirement for seeing with open eyes, but would it be a good idea and…are you ready for it?

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