Now Playing: Fallen Angels
There is no real need to go into detail on these topics, but I feel it worthwhile to highlight the increasing interest that psychedelic reserchers currently take in ancient Egypt and its mythologies and possible use of hallucinogens. There seems to be a near-consensus that the Egyptians knew how to use a plant in the Acacia family which conveniently provided both DMT and alkaloids with an MAOI effect. This all-inclusive entheogen package is not offered by any of the South American plants, to my knowledge. Images of the Acacia and its distinctive morphology can (supposedly) be found in many of the ancient frescoes, and it is also being suggested that the rites that egyptologists have interpreted as dealing with the death and post-death voyage of the rulers, are in fact descriptions of higher consciousness states for the living, much like a shamanic heritage. It seems clear that the psychedelic map needs to make permanent room for Egypt. Here is a lecture that deals partly with this, presented by I Lucy Wyatt: Psychedelics, Alchemy and the Hidden History of Civilisation . As usual I feel the best approach is to pick up two or three books on the subject and formulate one's own view.
Completely void of ancient speculation yet worthwhile to watch is Jolane Abrams' unglamorous description of the current ayashuasca tourism situation around the nexus of Iquitos in Peru. Abrams has spent enough time in the region to gain the fundamental insights that newbie Westerners usually lack, which is to recognize the cultural and social difference, understand that one is a stranger in a very different country, take heed and follow local customs, and generally keep a low profile and adapt to the reality of the place. Fortunate enough to find a real ayahuasquero maestro among the many phonies, Abrams' experience as a session assistant obviously includes many unfortunate and embarrassing moments with disrespectful 'gringos'. She also points out that some masters who were alright at the core become corrupted by the veneration and attention given to them in recent years. Check it out here, Think Before You Drink.
Personally I don't understand the fixation upon the actual location of the ayahuasca session, since all the visions and healing occurs in Otherworld/Innerspace and is accessible through your mind no matter where you are, as long as the brew is the right one. Why not buy the raw matter on-line and cook up the 'tea' for yourself? All the circumstantial risks disappear when your safe at home, and you can concentrate on the challenging experience itself. Ayahuasca can be heavy stuff, but of course you start off with a moderate dose to gauge how to proceed. Incidentally I must object to Ms Abrams' offhand remark that Ayahuasca makes psilocybin mushrooms seem like chewing gum (or whatever it was)--a high-dose mushroom trip is every bit as challenging as a yagé ride.
Home-brewing the entheogens should also contribute to a growing problem of Banisteriopsis scarcity, which is being reported currently. The vine is apparently getting harder to find in its natural environment, due both to its popularity and to clumsy reaping. The mailorder business is likely to source its matter not from the rainforest, but from designated back yards and green-houses which are there for the very purpose of entheogenic harvesting.
That's all for today!