Ayahuasca Vine of the Soul La Medicina. Photo by Tracey Eller for Cosmic Sister

Amazonian Shamanism Part 1: Ayahuasca
Herbal Academy
by Sarah Baldwin
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“Instead of appropriation, which implies an imbalance of power and exploitation of culture, let us practice appreciation, whereby cultural exchange is responsible, positive, and respectful, thereby benefiting all parties. There is much healing to be done for the entire global ecosystem and culture; let us undertake this restorative work for both land and people together.” - Sarah Baldwin

This is a two-part series by Sarah Baldwin on the sacred plants of the Amazon. Part 1 reviews elements of shamanism in the Peruvian Amazon and the use of ayahuasca. Part 2 reviews other traditional plants. The featured image on this page is of Shipibo Healer Laura Lopez at Tempel of The Way of Light, by Tracey Eller for @CosmicSister.

“Founded by eco-feminist and cultural activist Zoe Helene, Cosmic Sister is an organization that “promotes safe, legal, natural psychedelics such as ayahuasca and cannabis as evolutionary allies and educates about responsible psychedelic journeying from a women’s empowerment perspective” (Cosmic Sister, n.d.). Helene’s unique vision of psychedelic feminism as “a subgenre of feminism that embraces the transformational power of psychedelic sacred plants” (quoted in Godard, 2016, para. 7) has been gaining attention in the media, and each year, she receives more applications for Cosmic Sister’s Plant Spirit Grant. Helene’s husband, ethnobotanist and author Chris Kilham, accompanied our group and shared his knowledge of Amazonian plants in a class he called “The Shaman’s Pharmacy.” We were also treated to jungle plant walks with the Shipibo shamans, who spoke of their favorite plant allies to enlist for ailments of the body, mind, and spirit.”


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The mission of the Herbal Academy is to teach the art and science of herbalism honoring our intrinsic connection to nature. The Herbal Academy team is dedicated to teaching and promoting a lifestyle of wellness and vitality through the use of herbs, sound nutrition, and optimal health practices.

#herbalacademy #culturalpreservation #culturalexchange #culturalcelebration #culturalevolution #ayahuasca #amazon #shamanism #shipibo

August 2018