A video, embedded below, is circulating the ayahuasca surfers’ realm. It shows, whether true or not, a jaguar feeding on the ayahuasca vine. The jaguar is a very centrally important figure in the cosmovision of many Amazonian ayahuasca cultures, the observations of which continue to spawn many speculations about the various practices and myths around the jaguar (and ayahuasca).
A very early observation states that:
“Ingestion of Ayahuasca usually induces nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and leads to either an euphoric or an aggressive state. Frequently the Indian sees overpowering attacks of huge snakes or jaguars. These animals often humiliate him because he is a mere man. The repetitiveness with which snakes and jaguars occur in Ayahuasca visions has intrigues psychologists. It is understandable that these animals play such a role, since they are the only beings respected and feared by the Indians of the tropical forest; because of their power and stealth, they have assumed a place of primacy in aboriginal religious beliefs.
In many tribes, the shaman becomes a feline during the intoxication, exercising his powers as a cat. Yekwana medicine men mimic the roars of jaguars. Tukano Ayahuasca-takers may experience nightmares of jaguar jaws swallowing them or huge snakes approaching and coiling around their bodies … shamans of the Conibo-Shipibo tribe acquire great snakes as personal possessions to defend themselves in supernatural battles against other powerful shamans.
The drug may be the shaman’s tool to diagnose illness or to ward off impending disaster, to guess the wiles of an enemy, to prophesy the future. But it is more than the shaman’s tool. It enters into almost all aspects of the life of the people who use it, to an extent equalled by hardly any other hallucinogen. Partakers, shamans or not, see all the gods, the first human beings, and animals, and come to understand the establishment of their social order.”
Did the shamans learn from the jaguars to use the plant? Is there a cosmic connection, therefore, through the ayahuasca between the jaguar and people that live with the cats and the ayahuasca plant?
Just came across an ignorant statement on LSD in a blog to which I left a rushed comment; however, given the backward, ignorant position of the blogger it is most unlikely that the comment will ever pass moderation, so I thought I’d stick it up here, even if very rushed; but first a quote from the post:
Ø LSD is a mind altering drug and the effects can last for up to 12 hours.
Ø A person on LSD never knows if they are going to have a good trip or a bad trip.
Ø LSD can cause hallucinations and loss of sense of direction and time. It can also cause thoughts of dying.
Ø There are reports of people who have never gotten over a bad trip and were impaired for many years after.
To which I quickly said:
This seems to me to be a rather superficial treatment of a highly complex substance – and does not add anything useful: kids want to try it because it is mind altering, – that’s the whole point of psychedelics.
There is no such thing as a good or bad trip – a proper psychedelic experience will most often include visions of the dark side. What’s so bad about looking into the painful, dark and sinister aspects or reality? Is it better to live in ignorant bliss and Homestore imagery?
Attaining hallucinations is also a key driving factor in taking hallucinogenic substances, obviously. The loss of sense of direction and time is yet another desirable effect. Any reflection on a deeper level ought to cause thoughts of dying: therein lies the revelatory potential to understand life (when juxtaposed with its only alternative).
The last point nails it: pure rhetoric! Did they “never” get over their bad trip, or were they “impaired for years”? Clearly a misleading statement based on lacking understanding.
More information and advice should be given to young people, no doubt about it, but “information” of this kind can only backfire, since any teenager who spends ten minutes googling the subject will realise that it is written in sheer ignorance and it will carry no sensible meaning for those who do so. It encourages unsafe use with the same level of understanding, or no understanding, really.
“Ayahuasca is going global“, said a prominent psychedelic researcher recently, and it is also going mainstream as part of journeying across the planet. In the Californian TV series “Weeds” the leading act, Marie-Louise Parker’s character, Nancy Botwin, drinks ayahuasca under rather suspect circumstances with the leader of a drug-, guns- and human- trafficking Mexican mafia, who is also the mayor of Tijuana for added comic value. The ceremony is led by a young shaman who is told by the spirit of the medicinal brew not to give it to Nancy; she is not ready for it, so to speak, but he uses the words “I should not give it to her” and the gangster boss says “that’s alright, I’ll give it to her then”. Not off to a good start, but then again what do those shamans know about what a mobster’s girlfriend needs?
Watch the ayahuasca sequence here:
There are various issues at play here. Firstly, the most obvious one of the slightly forced drinking where the strong male insists that the little girl drinks despite warnings by the learned practitioner. That, however, is not so bad, – perhaps he knew better..