God on Psychedelics: Tripping Across the Rubble of Old-time Religion

In God on Psychedelics, veteran journalist Don Lattin trains his eye on some previously unexamined questions. Why do relatively few people in the burgeoning psychedelic renaissance connect chemically induced mystical states with their own religious traditions? Can sacred plant medicines be a source of renewal for Christians, Jews and other people of faith?

God on Psychedelics takes the reader on a magical mystery tour across the nation’s changing religious landscape, exploring a new kind of trinity that blends psychedelic insight, psychological healing and spiritual revival.


This encyclopedia provides an overview of the main religions of Latin America and the Caribbean, both its centralized transnational expressions and its local variants and schisms. These main religions include (but are not limited to) the major expressions of Christianity (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Pentecostalism, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses), indigenous religions (Native American, Maya religion), syncretic Christianity (including Afro-Brazilian religions like Umbanda and Candomblé and Afro-Caribbean religions like Vodun and Santería), other world religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam), transnational New Religious Movements (Scientology, Unification Church, Hare Krishna, New Age, etc.), and new local religions (Brazil’s Igreja Universal, La Luz del Mundo from Mexico, etc.).

Neoshamanism is a set of discourses and practices involving the integration of indigenous (especially American) shamanic and psychotherapeutic techniques by people from urban Western contexts. It has emerged, like other New Age modes of spirituality, in opposition to the materialism and positivism of European modernity and presents as central the idea of reconnecting panindigenous ancestral knowledge that people of the West had purportedly forgotten. It results in large measure from the circulation of literature on shamanism, altered states of consciousness (often, but not always, involving the use of psychoactive drugs), and the possibility of generating new psychotherapeutic modalities.

From the Rubber Boom to Ayawaskha Tourism: Shamanic Initiation Narratives and the Commodification of Amazonia

In this article, I examine shamanic initiation narratives, the stories told by urban mestizo shamans in northwest Amazonia to explain their knowledge of Amerindian plant medicine, to illuminate the sociohistorical context in which they emerge. Using a geocritical approach to literary analysis, I interrogate the initiation narrative of renowed Iquitos shaman, Manuel Córdova Ríos, using the work of Peruvian poet César Calvo, the American forester Frank Bruce Lamb, and two local Iquitos publications. I argue that Córdova’s narrative served to erase the urban shaman’s involvement in the exploitative practices of rubber extraction. In so doing, he reinvented Iquitos and its surroundings as a place of purification, setting the scene for the commodification of shamanic healing in a new extractive cycle of magical plant experiences. The analysis offers a surprising example of the way that narrative shapes the way places are perceived, conceived, and lived.

Psychoactive Ubulawu Spiritual Medicines and Healing Dynamics in the Initiation Process of Southern Bantu Diviners

The use of psychoactive plants by traditional healers in southern Africa appears to be a neglected area of ethnobotanical research. This article explores the healing dynamics involved in the use of popular psychoactive plant preparations known as ubulawu in the initiation rituals of Southern Bantu diviners. Research methods include a review of the literature, fieldwork interviews with Southern Bantu diviners, and an analysis of experiential accounts from diverse informants on their use of ubulawu. Findings reveal that there is widespread reliance on ubulawu as psychoactive spiritual medicines by the indigenous people of southern Africa to communicate with their ancestral spirits—so as to bring luck, and to treat mental disturbances. In the case of the Southern Bantu diviners, ubulawu used in a ritual initiation process acts as a mnemonic aid and medicine to familiarize the initiates with enhanced states of awareness and related psychospiritual phenomena such as enhanced intuition and dreams of the ancestral spirits, who teach the initiates how to find and use medicinal plants. The progression of the latter phenomena indicates the steady success of the initiates’ own healing integration. Various factors such as psychological attitude and familiarization, correct plant combinations/synergy and a compatible healer-initiate relationship influence ubulawu responsiveness.

Global ayahuasca trend drives deforestation in Brazil’s Acre state

The growing popularity and increased commercialization of ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew, may be harming the Amazon forest where its two key ingredients grow.

In the Brazilian state of Acre, regulations in place since 2010 have done little to curb the threats to the native Psychotria viridis shrub and the Banisteriopsis caapi vine.

Traditional proponents of ayahuasca say the absence of meaningful environmental safeguards leaves the authorities powerless to act against the outside forces clearing rainforest for these increasingly rare and valuable plants.

Shamanism From Ecuador To Chicago: A Case Study in New Age Ritual Appropriation

This article has three objectives: (1) to give ethnographic accounts of shamanism as practised by the Shuar of Ecuador and of one group of contemporary urban Americans who take the Shuar, as well as other indigenous groups, as their models: (2) to present a critical comparison of those practices; and (3) most importantly, to suggest methodological criteria by which such dislocated ‘neo-shamanisms’ might be usefully distinguished from indigenous shamanisms which are organically related to the surrounding culture and environment.

Racism and the Discrimination Against Cannabis by Ayahuasca Users in Brazil

Foreigners, and even Brazilians, often feel confused by the fierce accusations leveled by the members of different Brazilian ayahuasca religions against each other. Matters become especially fierce in the case of attacks, often seeming to verge on a desire to ban the brew entirely, made against members of CEFLURIS or ICEFLU, followers of the late Santo Daime leader Padrinho Sebastião. This is allegedly due to their acceptance of the sacramental use, in certain of their rituals, of cannabis with ayahuasca. Another point of discord is their acceptance of possession trances alongside the shamanic flight more common among indigenous ayahuasca users. However, if one looks a little further into the history of Amazonian Indian and mestizo shamanism, one will find many different plant species being used in conjunction with ayahuasca; some of them with considerable psychoactive properties. Similarly, in Rio Branco, one will find followers of the Barquinha religion who reserve a special place in their rituals for mediumship and for possession trances and do not receive the criticisms leveled at CEFLURIS or ICEFLU.

Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth

It is becoming more and more apparent that the causes and cures for the current ecological crisis are to be found in the hearts and minds of human beings. For millennia we existed within a religious and psychological framework that honored the Earth as a partner and worked to maintain a balance with nature. But somehow a root pathology took hold in Western civilization–the idea of domination over nature–and this led to an alienation of the human spirit that has allowed an unprecedented destruction of the very systems which support that spirit.

In Green Psychology Ralph Metzner explores the history of this global pathology and examines the ways that we can restore a healing relationship with nature. His search for role models takes him from shamanic ceremonies with the Lacandon Maya of Mexico to vision quests in the California desert, from the astonishing nature mysticism of Hildegard von Bingen to the Black Goddesses and Green Gods of our pagan ancestors. He examines the historical roots of the split between humans and nature, showing how first sky-god worshiping cultures, then monotheisms, and finally mechanistic science continued to isolate the human psyche from the life-giving Earth. His final chapters present a solution, showing that disciplines such as deep ecology and ecofeminism are creating a worldview in which the mind of humanity and the health of the Earth are harmoniously intertwined.

The Medicine

The Medicine reveals the hidden mysteries of one of nature’s most powerful and controversial healing remedies- Ayahuasca. It is a documentary about Amazonian shamanism, introducing Taita Juanito Guerillmo Chindoy Chindoy, both a teacher and student of the sacred plant medicine. As Ayahuasca gains popularity in the West, the film explores the science as well as the lore behind the plant and why it is used to heal. It follows former NFL Safety, Kerry Rhodes, and actress, AnnaLynne McCord, as they drink with the Taita experiencing Ayahuasca for the first time- in its true tradition.

Humanity faces an unprecedented rise in addiction, insecurity and disease- perhaps the cure does lie within the arms of Mother Nature.