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Ayahuasca Art: The Nature of Marriage and the Marriage of Nature

Ayahuasca Art: The Nature of Marriage and the Marriage of Nature

  I have been told time and again by countless ayahuasca drinkers that the experience of ayahuasca is ultimately beyond words. These impenetrable descriptions are nonetheless usually followed by long narratives in which drinkers attempt to communicate the complex “inner” events of their ayahuasca experiences. The sentences they use to describe “the indescribable” are often daubed with visual metaphors and visual adjectives. Ayahuasca drinkers in the West … Continue reading

Organic and the Inorganic in Ayahuasca Visions (conference video)

Organic and the Inorganic in Ayahuasca Visions (conference video)

Talk delivered at EGA (Entheogenesis Australis) 2014, RMIT, Melbourne. Abstract: Images saturate our consciousness today. With the advent of photography, television, the personal computer and the Internet, images have become central to the way we perceive and understand history, the future, our identities, and the world around us. The image revolution has extended to the … Continue reading

Good Mother Nature: Ayahuasca neoshamanism as cultural critique (conference video)

Good Mother Nature: Ayahuasca neoshamanism as cultural critique (conference video)

This paper imports nuances of nature-culture theory in Amazonian anthropology and demonstrates ways in which the reimagining of ayahuasca use in Australian society involves the modern idea of nature as separate and wounded. This idea is linked to specific political and scientific discourse of industrialised states and is shown to provide the vision by which … Continue reading

Amazonian ayahuasca tourism and millenarian imperialism: The story of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council

Amazonian ayahuasca tourism and millenarian imperialism: The story of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council

[Abstract] This essay explores proposals that have been made for the political economy of Amazonian ayahuasca shamanism by the Western-based NGO Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC). The discourse, aims, and methods of the ESC are shown to include messianic and millenarian visions that are interrelated with an ideological governance model shaped to a Western-oriented tourist market. The … Continue reading

Medical anthropology, relatedness, and analytical cannibalism

Medical anthropology, relatedness, and analytical cannibalism

Despite Hiedegger’s revolutionary claim that it is not possible to escape existence and find a view of the world from nowhere,we continue to divide anthropology into neat subfields— defined typically by institutional logics of modern societies — and act as if the subfields combine to make an entity that is culturally universal in its explanatory capacity. Existentialism may not be the most pragmatic … Continue reading

Physicists, alchemists, and ayahuasca shamans: A study of grammar and the body

Physicists, alchemists, and ayahuasca shamans: A study of grammar and the body

Are there any common denominators that may underlie the practices of leading physicists and scientists, Renaissance alchemists, and indigenous Amazonian ayahuasca healers? There are obviously a myriad of things that these practices do not have in common. Yet through an analysis of the body and the senses and styles of grammar and social practice, these seemingly very different modes of existence … Continue reading