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

Synesthesia and shapeshifting: Amazonian shamanism and transcorporeality

Synesthesia and shapeshifting: Amazonian shamanism and transcorporeality

This blog entry presents ideas on the types of sensory and cognitive effects of the psychoactive substances that enable Amazonian shamans to not only see the spirits of animals, plants, and meteorological phenomena but to see from the perspectives of the spirits, that is, to shapeshift. Exploring recent studies on synesthesia, the paper proposes a theoretical basis to the … Continue reading

Ayahuasca Australiana: An introduction to ‘healing’ and ‘wisdom’

Ayahuasca Australiana: An introduction to ‘healing’ and ‘wisdom’

  This piece explores some of the embodied, disembodied, and gut-wrenching themes of ayahuasca ceremonies in Australia. In addition, key motivations for drinking ayahuasca are explored in relation to required ascetic practices that precede ceremonies and strengthen the motivations. It is an excerpt taken from a PhD chapter I am writing on ritual.  Ayahuasca drinkers in Australia approach their practice as a means … Continue reading