Zoe Helene age 11 with Wai in New Zealand

The Woman Who Says Psychedelic Medicine Cured Her PTSD
Radio New Zealand
by Susan Strongman

“Our work is about a mindful relationship with a sacred plant or fungi. We ‘work with’ or ‘journey with’ or ‘commune with’ but we would never ‘use’.” – Zoe Helene, Radio New Zealand

Helene was born in North Carolina in 1964 and moved to New Zealand as a 10-year-old, because her father had concerns about a nuclear holocaust in the United States.

She has written that feminists don't hate all men, that diversity is multidimensional, and that as a nation, New Zealand should be ashamed that the Maui's dolphin is so close to extinction.

“I got to see Aotearoa appear on the arch of the horizon after three weeks of nothing but ocean, like the first Māori explorers did. I embraced the magic of the adventure and stood on the bow of the boat until the Long White Cloud appeared. I saw it in ceremony once in an ayahuasca vision, like a mythic, mystical fairyland, twinkling and glowing and calling me home. I love to share my Kiwi side with the public. Deep in my heart, I will always be an island girl.”

Helene first took ayahuasca in 2008, on her first wedding anniversary. She's married to Chris Kilham, who goes by the moniker 'Medicine Hunter' and travels the globe researching medicinal plant use and working with companies to market them in the west. Helene is a part-owner of the business, and makes most of her income from royalties made on plants like maca and ginseng.

In the decade since first taking the drug, she has travelled once or twice a year to Peru, for ayahuasca ceremonies (they are usually led by indigenous Shipibo shaman, and typically there is singing, chanting and drumming as journeyers are in the throes of their psychedelic experiences). Why? "People like to say healing, and healing is definitely part of it, but I don't like to cram everything under healing as a category," Helene says. "I really think self-liberation is a big one, especially for women."

#diversity #MauisDolphin #ayahuasca #PTSD #NewZealand

October 2018