NYC – Understanding Ayahuasca: From Indigenous Origins To Neo-Shamanism

ayaeventimageUnderstanding Ayahuasca: From Indigenous Origins To Neo-Shamanism

Synergetic Press Symposium and Salon in New York

Tickets Here!

Ayahuasca Visitation by Alex Grey, in Ayahuasca Reader

Ayahuasca Visitation by Alex Grey, in Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine

Join the editors of the new Ayahuasca Reader with leading experts on ethnobotany and ayahuasca for an enlightening afternoon Symposium and stimulating evening Salon exploring plant medicine from multiple perspectives.

We’ll trace the cultural history of ayahuasca use, including traditional and neo-shamanic practices. We’ll also examine artistic and literary inspirations brought about by ayahuasca as a muse of the mystical mind.

The presentations over the course of the day will examine the therapeutic potential for profound healing, deepen our understanding of the scientific principles that lead to these outcomes, and frame the ecological context that supports the sacred vine of the Amazon.

The afternoon symposium will feed your mind and heart with compelling presentations and lively discussions, and the evening Salon will continue the journey with inspired spoken word, art, music and dance.

November 19, 2016

2:00 – 6:30 Symposium

8:00 – 11:00 Salon

(Registration opens at 2:00 PM)

The Alchemist’s Kitchen, 21 East 1st Street, New York City

Hosted by The Alchemist’s Kitchen with Synergetic Press

Symposium

2:00      Doors Open for Registration

ORIGINS

2:30      Steven F. White

2:50      Luis Eduardo Luna

3:15      Q & A

INSPIRATION

3:30      Alex and Allyson Grey

4:00      Q & A

4:15       Break

NEO-SHAMANISM

4:30       Allan Badiner

5:00       Ralph Metzner (via Skype)

5:30       Daniel Pinchbeck

5:50       Break

PRESERVATION

6:00       Discussion: Preserving Indigenous Cultures and Ecosystems

Allan Badiner as moderator, with Steven, Luis, Alex, Allyson, Daniel

6:30 Dinner (Food available from Alchemist’s Kitchen)

Salon

Rainforest Rhythms, Poetry and Mystery

8:00       Allan Badiner, Alex Grey, Estela Calderón, Luis Eduardo Luna, Steven F. White, Ralph Metzner (via Skype), The Bardo Blues

9:00        Michael Garfield

9:30        Skytree

Tickets available here!


Speakers

LUIS EDUARDO LUNA, co-editor of the Ayahuasca Reader, was born in the Colombian Amazon. He received his PhD from the Institute of Comparative Religion at Stockholm University. A Guggenheim Fellow and Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, he is also the author of Vegetalismo: Shamanism among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon and, with Pablo Amaringo, Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, a project that grew from their work to establish the internationally-recognized USKO-AYAR Amazonian School of Painting in Pucallpa, Peru. From 1994–1998 he was a Professor in Anthropology at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, Brazil. He retired from the Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki in 2011. He is the Director of Wasiwaska, Research Center for the Study of Psychointegrator Plants, Visionary Art and Consciousness, based in Florianópolis, southern Brazil.

STEVEN F. WHITE, co-editor of the Ayahuasca Reader, received a BA in English from Williams College as well as MA and PhD degrees in Spanish from the University of Oregon. He received support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation and was the recipient of two Fulbright fellowships. He has lived and worked in many Latin American countries, an opportunity that enabled him to edit bilingual anthologies of poetry from Nicaragua, Chile and Brazil. He has been teaching at St. Lawrence University since 1987, and is one of the co-founders of its Caribbean and Latin American Studies program.

ALEX GREY, artist, poet, author, minister, is best loved for his paintings portraying multiple dimensions of reality, interweaving biological anatomy with psychic and spiritual energies. His books, Sacred Mirrors, The Mission of Art, Transfigurations, Art Psalms and Net of Being, trace thevisions and mystical experiences that shaped his spiritual creative life and address how art can evolve the cultural body through icons of interconnectedness. Co-founded with his wife, the artist Allyson Grey, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, CoSM is an interfaith church celebrating creativity as a spiritual path. Alex has long been a practitioner of Buddhism and has taken a stand for cognitive liberty. More at www.alexgrey.com.

ALLYSON GREY was born in Baltimore and studied at the Museum School of Boston. Her watercolor and oil paintings are filled with a mystical unpronounceable alphabet and vivid spectral geometries of order and chaos. Grey’s abstract works employ densely measured grids coalescing into crystalline mandalaic imagery or shattering into fields of lush impasto color. The labor-intensive and spiritual quality of her paintings relates them to tantric art, Jain cosmological diagrams, and the science of chaos dynamics. Her work has been exhibited at Stux Gallery in New York City and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. www.allysongrey.com.

RALPH METZNER, PhD, is author of many books, practicing psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies including a book coauthored with Ram Dass, Birth of a Psychedelic Culture (Synergetic Press). Dr. Metzner has been involved in consciousness research for over fifty years, including psychedelics, yoga, meditation, and shamanism. He is co-founder and president of the Green Earth Foundation, a non-profit educational organization devoted to healing and harmonizing the relationship between humans and the Earth.

ALLAN BADINER is the editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (Synergetic Press), as well as two other books of collected essays, Dharma Gaia: A Harvest in Buddhism and Ecology (Parallax Press, 1991) and Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism (Parallax, 2002). Allan is a contributing editor of Tricycle, and serves on the board of directors of Rainforest Action Network, Threshold Foundation and Project CBD. He has been a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh for more than 25 years.

DANIEL PINCHBECK is author of Breaking Open the Head and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. In May 2007, Pinchbeck launched Reality Sandwich. He is the executive producer of Postmodern Times, a series of web videos presented on the iClips Network, and co-founder of Evolver.net, an online social network. His life and work are featured in the documentary 2012: Time for Change, featuring interviews with Sting, David Lynch, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and others.

ESTHELA CALDERÓN was born in Telica, Nicaragua in 1970. She is the author of Soledad, which won the 2001 Juegos Florales Centroamericanos Belice y Panamá competition, Amor y conciencia (2004) and Soplo de corriente vital (2010), a pioneering collection of ethnobotanical poems. Her historical novel 8 caras de una moneda (2008) is about a family in Nicaragua during the years that led to the Sandinista revolution in 1979. She is the co-author of Culture and Customs of Nicaragua (2008) published by Greenwood Press. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Creative Writing at St. Lawrence University in the Department of Modern Languages.

MICHAEL GARFIELD writes music for the head and heart – intelligent, emotional performances that captivate attentive audiences and reward repeated listening.  Alternately tender and apocalyptic, simultaneously chill and energetic, his intensely technical yet vulnerable music reimagines folk and psychedelic rock alike, updating “solo artist with guitar” to suit an age of existential wonder, cybernetic systems, and emerging planetary consciousness. Michael’s music has been featured in the award-winning PBS documentary series Arts in Context, as well as on numerous podcasts (including Expanding Mind and The Psychedelic Salon).  Passionate about interdisciplinary collaboration, he frequently co-improvises with fire dancers, aerialists, live painters, and visual projectionists.

And Music with Skytree http://skytree.bandcamp.com

Tickets available through Eventbrite here.

the Alchemist's Kitchen


 

The Alchemist’s Kitchen is a unique destination in the Bowery. Open daily as a botanical dispensary and a whole plant tonic bar that serves elixirs and gluten-free vegan food, we also offer a gateway into a conscious lifestyle and community through our wellness events and transformational workshops.

 


 And if you aren’t able to attend this event, you can still access one of the most in-depth resources for understanding ayahuasca with the new edition of the Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine, edited by Luis Eduardo Luna and Steve F. White, available here:

Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon's Sacred Vine
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A Miraculous Conversation: John Allen and Hans Ulrich Obrist

Let’s begin with the beginning… that’s how this captivating conversation between two remarkable minds begins. As part of the Serpentine Gallery’s 2016 Miracle Marathon, Hans Ulrich Obrist speaks with John Allen and goes directly to the source of his life-changing epiphany about the biosphere.

For a fifteen minute conversation, these two cover a lot of ground. From discussing Benoit Mandelbrot’s epiphany about fractals to Albert Hoffman’s discovery of LSD, John tells Hans about how he began understanding the biosphere through his discovery of humanity. When we understand that humanity is part of the biosphere, we understand that we are part of the overall unity of all the kingdoms of life.

According to Allen, the study of biospherics forms a separate line of planetary evolution. Biospherics studies the systems of the earth that support and include life. Buckminster Fuller influenced John to consider life from the perspective of total systems. Allen was inspired by Fuller to use synergy in bringing together technics, or advanced technology, with biospherics. The result was Biosphere 2, which made a model of the Earth’s biosphere (or Biosphere 1).

Sailing the Amazon River on RV Heraclitus, a ship that Allen helped to design and build

Sailing the Amazon River on RV Heraclitus, a ship that Allen helped to design and build. Photo from Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir from the Inventor of Biosphere 2.

John also discusses how he was influenced by Amazonian explorer and ethnobotanist, Richard Evans Schultes. Inspired by Schultes, Allen traveled the Amazon River by boat and drank ayahuasca with a traditional shaman. The experience changed his level of consciousness and communicated to him the objective truth of the biosphere.

One of the most poignant moments in the conversation is when Hans asks about miracles:

Hans Ulrich Obrist: What is a miracle to you?

John Allen: A unique, non-repeatable experience.

Our entire lives are made up of unique, non-repeatable experiences. Understanding our lives like this adds a miraculous quality to each moment. John goes on to say that all of modern life is based on miracles, but in modern life we have separated ourselves from the larger system of the biosphere. Instead of thinking about the environment, as something external that is around us, we can shift our thinking to a biospheric perspective, to seeing ourselves as part of the miraculous system of life.

In its eleventh year, the Serpentine Marathon series continued on its exploration of activism, art, anthropology, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, theology and science through a specific theme or topic of particular relevance in artists’ practice and in the wider contemporary context… the 2016 Miracle Marathon focused in on ritual, repetition and magical thinking to consider ways in which the imaginary can not only predict, but also play a part in affecting long-term futures.


You can hear more from John Allen in person at the Synergetic Symposium and Salon at the October Galley on 5 November. This Symposium and Salon on Understanding Ayahuasca brings together diverse perspectives on this sacred plant medicine from the Amazon. The event is celebrating the release of the new edition of Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine, a collection of  shamanic stories, myths, research, songs, poems, and art that share the wisdom of ayahuasca.

You can get your tickets to the Symposium and Salon here, and you can get your copy of Ayahuasca Reader here.

  • John Allen, conceiver and co-founder of major projects bringing together ecology and technics around the planet
  • Jeremy Narby, an anthropologist who studies the worldwide revival of shamanic cultures
  • Martina Hoffmann, a visionary artist inspired by expanded states of consciousness
  • Françoise Barbira Freedman, a medical anthropologist promoting women’s health through shamanic plants
  • David Luke, a psychology professor focusing on transpersonal experiences and altered states of consciousness
  • Terry Wilson, who apprenticed under the accomplished shaman of the avant garde, Brion Gysin
  • Peter Moore, a mystical poet who brings together inner and outer worlds
  • with music by ELSTIR, blending Amazonian field recordings with ambient electronic sounds
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LONDON–Understanding Ayahuasca: From Indigenous Origins To Neo-Shamanism

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Synergetic Press Symposium and Salon in London

 

Presentations • Panel Discussions

Dinner • Visionary Art • Poetry

Live Music • Dancing

With presentations by:

Jeremy Narby * Martina Hoffmann
David Luke * Francoise Barbira Freedman
John Dolphin Allen * Terry Wilson
Peter Moore
Music by ELSTIR
24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL
Holborn/Russell Square
Saturday, 5 November 2016 2:30 – 10:30 PM
(Registration opens at 2:00 PM)

Join some of the leading authorities on cultural anthropology, psychology, ayahuasca and visionary art for an enlightening afternoon Symposium, Dinner and evening Salon. We’ll explore the cultural history, traditional and neo-shamanic practices, artistic and literary inspirations, therapeutic and ecological dimensions of the sacred plant medicine from the Amazon. The afternoon symposium will feed your mind and heart with compelling presentations and lively discussions, while the evening Salon will continue the journey with spoken word, art, music and dance.

Only a few tickets left!

2:30 – 10:30
£75
or you can choose
2:30 – 7:30 pm
£60
or
6:30 – 10:30
£40
£25
La Chacruna by Martina Hoffmann

La Chacruna by Martina Hoffmann

Programme:

Symposium

2:00 Registration
2:30 Welcome, Announcements & Introductions – Deborah Parrish Snyder & David Luke
2:45 David Luke – The Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness of Ayahuasca
3:15 Francoise Barbira Freedman – Medicine from the Amazon and Preservation of Culture
4:00 Break
4:15 Martina Hoffmann – Art, Expanded States and Spirit Connection
5:00 Jeremy Narby – Ayahuasca as Antidote
5:45 Break
6:00 Panel Discussion with all speakers led by David Luke

Dinner

6:30-7:45 Catered Dinner in the Gallery

Salon

8:00 Welcome to the Salon with Dave Luke and the Cosmic Serpent
8:10 John Dolphin Allen – Biospheric Poetry
8:30 Terry Wilson – reading Perilous Passage
8:50 Peter Moore (Pen Dragon) – Poetry of Ancient Mysteries
9:15-10:30 Music by Elstir; Martina Hoffmann visuals

About the Speakers

Jeremy Narby, PhD, is an anthropologist and author of several books, including The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge and Intelligence in Nature. Narby has altered how we understand the Shamanic cultures and traditions that have undergone a worldwide revival in recent years. He has traveled the globe from the Amazon Basin to the Far East to probe what traditional healers and pioneering researchers understand about the intelligence present in all forms of life.
Françoise Barbira Freedman was born and raised in France before studying anthropology at Cambridge, England. She has had close ties with the Jakwash Lamista of Peruvian Amazonia ever since her doctoral fieldwork in the late 70s. Her pilot project of Yaku Mamay, near Iquitos, Peru, aims at applying the knowledge of shamanic plants to women’s health. Mother of four children, she teaches Medical Anthropology at Cambridge University and also coordinates Birthlight, a charitable trust to promote the enjoyable experience of pregnancy, birth and babies.
David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich where he teaches an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including five books, most recently Neurotransmissions: Essays on Psychedelics (2015). David is also director of the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: Multidisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness.
Martina Hoffmann is a painter and sculptress. Her unique iconography has been greatly inspired by expanded states of consciousness; the realms of the imagination, meditation, shamanic work and the dream state. Much of her imagery has deep connection to the sacred feminine while her sculptural work is undeniably influenced by African energy. She studied art with Professor Kiefer (father of Anselm Kiefer) and sculpting at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt with Professor Spelmann. Her work is exhibited round the world.
John Dolphin Allen is author of Me and the Biospheres (Synergetic Press), poet, playwright who invented, conceived and co-founded the Biosphere 2 project – the world’s largest laboratory for global ecology ever built, setting a number of world records in human life support. He conceived and co-founded several other projects around the world pioneering in ecotechnics and exploration, including the Research Vessel Heraclitus, which has sailed over 250,000 nautical miles around the world, up the Amazon River for a two-year ethnobotanical expedition in the late 80s in collaboration with Professor Richard Evans Schultes, circumnavigating South America, and to Antarctica.
Terry Wilson, author of Perilous Passage, writes in this work of fiction of his apprenticeship under the tutelage of the legendary Brion Gysin, painter/writer/inventor and accomplished shaman of the avant guard. Terry’s work includes Dreams of Green Base and “D” Train.
Peter Moore (Pen Dragon) is a mystical poet whose work celebrates the essential unity of flesh and spirit, microcosm and macrocosm. Working broadly within the frame of an Avalonian Bardic tradition, his work seeks to translate the ancient mysteries of a rich cultural tradition into a darkly delightful, slyly erotic tapestry of contemporary storytelling with the capacity to enchant and astonish young and old alike.
Elstir is a 20 year old electronica producer. His music blends various influences, from ambient to downtempo. The first half of his musical process is spent with a recorder, walking around, capturing sounds such as the creaking of a chair, or a forest ambiance. The second half is about organising these, and layering them with electronics. The set that he is going to do at the October Gallery will also incorporate Amazonian field recordings and ayahuasquero songs, captured in the summer 2015.
Dinner is catered by the new chefs at October Gallery Café, serving up a delicious freshly prepared
meal, starting with French onion soup, choice of chicken or vegetarian main, and a delightful dessert.

Tickets available through Eventbrite here.


And if you aren’t able to attend this event, you can still access one of the most in-depth resources for understanding ayahuasca with the new edition of the Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine, edited by Luis Eduardo Luna and Steve F. White, available here:

Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon's Sacred Vine
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What’s Really Happening To Our Planet?

Tony Juniper, well-known British environmentalist and adviser to Prince Charles, understands what’s happening on our planet. While he’s been fighting for a more sustainable society, Tony has also been sharing information about the dramatic changes that have been happening on earth. In the following video, you can hear some of the numbers that can help you understand the changes that are going on today.

10 Quick Facts About Climate Change from Tony Juniper

  1. Since 1950, the world’s population has tripled
  2. The number of cities with a population of over 10 million people was: one in 1950, ten in 1990, and is twenty-eight today
  3. Global energy demand is expected to double by 2030 compared to 1990 (with most new capacity coming from renewable sources)
  4. Only about 1/4 of the planet’s agricultural land is being used to grow crops, the rest is being used to raise animals
  5. About 97.5% of the planet’s total water resources is salt water, about 0.3% is liquid water at the surface, the rest is locked in groundwater and ice caps
  6. Since 1900, the consumption of construction materials, metals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass has increased tenfold
  7. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the planet’s atmosphere are higher now than at any point in at least the last 800,000 years
  8. Ten thousand years ago, 99.9% of vertebrate biomass was composed of wild animals; today, 96% of vertebrate biomass is made up of people and their domesticated animals
  9. The rate of animal and plant extinction taking place on the planet today is approaching a rate not seen on earth for 65 million years
  10. Since 1962, the area of protected habitat on the planet, in the form of national parks and nature reserves, has increased fourteen fold, to reach more than 33 million square kilometers

Understanding What the Planet Does for Us

Tony Juniper | What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?

As we try to understand what’s happening to the planet, we can also learn what the planet does for us. Take a more in depth look at the services that nature freely provides to humanity, many of which we don’t even realize.

In What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? British environmentalist Tony Juniper points out that we think everything nature does for us—providing water, pollinating plants, generating oxygen, recycling miracles in the soil and much more—is free, but it isn’t. Its economic value can, and has been, measured. And upon realizing what that value truly is we would stop treating our natural systems in a destructive manner. For example, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina cost the US $81 billion and the damage still remains. If the land around the levees hadn’t been redeveloped for shipping and aquaculture, at an estimated value of $100,000 to $450,000 per square mile of natural mangroves, then it is believed, much of the damage caused to the city would not have occurred.

During recent years, environmental debate worldwide has been dominated by climate change, carbon emissions and the greenhouse effect. But a number of academic, technical, political, business and NGO initiatives indicate the emergence of a new wave of environmental attention focused on “natural capital,” “ecosystem services” and “biodiversity,” things nature does for us.

What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? contains impactful stories imparting warnings about unfortunate occurrences such as a rabies epidemic that followed the disappearance of India’s vultures (drugs administered to cattle killed the birds, leaving uneaten carcasses that led to an explosion of wild dogs), as well as promising and enlightening tales of how birds protect fruit harvests, coral reefs shield coasts from storms, and rainforests absorb billions of tons of carbon released from automobiles and power stations. As a result of its immediacy, Tony Juniper’s book will entirely change the way you think about life, the planet and the economy.

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Learning about the Biosphere: Inside of Biosphere 2

We’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Biosphere 2’s first mission! Hear more about it in this interview with NBC News, as Biospherian Mark Nelson describes what life was like inside of Biosphere 2 and how those lessons have shaped our thinking about future space colonization.



Mark Nelson

Mark Nelson, photo © Peter Menzel

For a closer look at life inside of Biosphere 2, you can read more from Mark Nelson, who spent two years enclosed inside the biospheric bubble as part of the innovative experiment and discover how he developed a passion for natural solutions to wastewater recycling. As the manager of these essential systems he realized how essential the proper re-use of human waste is to the health of the planet. Join him in The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time on a global expedition of discovery, which he recounts with his characteristic humor and humility.

 

USA_SCI_BIOSPH_86_xs Biosphere 2 Project founder John Allen inside Biosphere 2 teat greenhouses and livestock areas. Biosphere 2 was a privately funded experiment, designed to investigate the way in which humans interact with a small self-sufficient ecological environment, and to look at possibilities for future planetary colonization. The $30 million Biosphere covers 2.5 acres near Tucson, Arizona, and was entirely self- contained. The eight ‘Biospherian’s’ shared their air- and water-tight world with 3,800 species of plant and animal life. The project had problems with oxygen levels and food supply, and has been criticized over its scientific validity. 1990

John Allen, photo © Peter Menzel

And for another perspective on the epic tale of Biosphere 2, turn to the legendary John Allen, who was the conceiver and inventor of Biosphere 2. Allen was first inspired when he began to learn of the sphere that supports all life on earth⸺the biosphere⸺ through study of Vernadsky at the Colorado School of Mines. Through his travels around the planet to study the many biomes that cooperate to keep earth in balance and his journeys inward through shamanic ceremonies to explore the nature of consciousness, Allen expresses the wisdom gained through a lifetime of adventure and inquiry in Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2.

 

 

Wastewater-Gardner-Cover

Silver Winner in the category of Home & Garden in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award, 2014 Living Now Book Award—Gold Winner in the category of Gardening / Farming / Landscaping, Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award—Silver Winner in the category of Ecology & Environment, Finalist for the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category of Science/Nature/Environment, and Winner of the 2015 Southwest Book Design and Production Award for Best Cover and Jacket Design

Me and the Biospheres

Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Biography/Memoir

 

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Wisdom from the Elders: Stories from Indigenous Ayahuasca Traditions

Artist unknown. Shipibo Textile. Courtesy of St. Lawrence University.


Artist unknown. Shipibo Textile. Courtesy of St. Lawrence University, in Ayahuasca Reader

Ayahuasca is More than a Headline

As it becomes more widespread, more people are sharing their experiences with ayahuasca. This traditional indigenous plant medicine has been making its way beyond the its home in the rainforests of the Amazon to major urban centers around the world. An increasing number of people, including spiritual seekers, travelers and even celebrities have been coming out and sharing their experiences. As more people are trying it, more people have been sharing their stories. More major news outlets including BBC, The Guardian, New York Times, and so many more mainstream news sources are sharing stories describing the effects of ayahuasca.

Respecting Indigenous Ayahuasca Traditions

But beyond any news articles are the stories of the people who have known ayahuasca for generations. The wisdom shared by people trained in shamanic lineages is more difficult to access; most of them don’t have blogs. To hear these stories requires multiple translations and perilous journeys to remote villages deep in the rainforest.
Ayahuasca Reader includes mythic narratives and testimonies from members of the indigenous groups who use the drink, themselves: the Siona, Cashinahua, Huaorani, Desana, Witoto, Yagua, Inga and Secoya. Some of these materials have been published previously, often in difficult to find journals and books in a variety of languages. In other cases, the authors have produced their contributions expressly for this anthology.
Ayahuasca Reader has a collection of these stories with notes and insights from the editors to provide deeper understanding of the original contexts of ayahuasca use and an examination of how changing cultural circumstances are shifting its ritual practice.

The Story of a Young Shaman

The following narrative from Ayahuasca Reader is by Yagua shaman Alberto Prohaño as told to French anthropologist Jean-Pierre Chaumeil places an emphasis on ritual itself and the actual songs used to invoke the different plant-spirits. The individual performance of the shaman facilitates a social function in connection with themythic presences invoked through the act of singing. This text also exemplifies theole of ayahuasca as a milestone in the path of knowledge, following other sacred plants such as piripiri (Cyperaceous sp.) and tobacco…

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Excerpt from “Initiation Experience”

On the third moon, múwa wánditu, I again drank ayahuasca mixed with tobacco juice and piripiri. At each stage, a new plant is added, with the goal of knowing them all, little by little. My deceased father and I sang the song to call the mother of ayahuasca:
ramanujúhamwo ranatutéhi
yeee yeee yeee yeeeeeeee
yeee yeee yeee yeeeeeeee
ramanujúhamwo rándia tuwatiaténdehi
ramanujúhamwo rándia tuwatié ndaria
yándatiénda npënanujú
hastëro rimínda
yátí yátí yátí yátí yátí
yátí yátí yátí yátí yátí
mother of ayahuasca, I’m going to call you
(call) yeeee yeee yeeeeeeeee
mother of ayahuasca, I don’t know you (I want to know you)
I still don’t know you
teach me how to heal
I want to extract virotes
come, come, come, come, . . .
The ayahuasca takes me, drags me along. Images appear. My father questions me. I answer that I don’t see anything. He gives me another dose that I swallow. The colors dance, the lit candle appears . . . on a second plane, animals torn to pieces parade past . . . my bones come out of their joints; the creatures devour my flesh . . . But a sweet voice echoes in my head: “Look! Study! Learn about this plant. Smoke, but do not spit. Swallow all the smoke. Don’t let even a mouthful escape.”
I suck on the cigar pë pë pë pë . . . a strange smell invades me, sweet and perfumed, followed by the image of a thick ayahuasca trunk. Whispering comes from below the vine, as if someone were speaking or, perhaps, singing:
eeeee eeeee eeeee
I’m the mother of ayahuasca
come closer and light this cigar
I take several puffs on the enormous cigar that they give me and I swallow all
the smoke:
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
A perfume penetrates my cold body. The images go up in smoke, little by little. I’m normal again. My bones are welded together. Then they appear again . . . I’m  scared . . . they calm once more only to return again. Terrifying images parade before my eyes. My bones explode . . . there are toothless monsters that fly, jump, fall, hang in the air, bite and devour each other . . . I want to leave, but a voice intervenes:
“Drink a little bit more. You’ll see everything.”
This account, based on field work done in 1976 by French anthropologist Jean-Pierre Chaumeil, is by Yagua shaman Alberto Prohaño, current leader of the community Edén de la Frontera on the Marichín River. In this text, which is fragmentary out of necessity, Alberto goes over some of the most intense moments of his own initiation. At that time, he still had not reached the age of twenty (in 1976, he was thirty-five). He was initiated by his father, Xenon, who received his shamanic knowledge from his father. In the following years, Alberto practiced with his maternal uncle José Murayari, who worked to perfect the knowledge of his future son-in-law by means of the periodic ingestion of new plant decoctions.

Carrying the Wisdom of Ancient Practices

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In Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine you’ll find myths and stories passed down over generations of Amazonian healers, personal testimonies of experiences with Amazonian cultures, a selection of hymns and texts from the religions using ayahuasca as a sacrament, writings from well-known figures in the literary world on the lasting influence of their experience, and a section of transcendental visionary color art to illuminate our understanding of ayahuasca.

Read more about these practices and dive into the deep traditions of Amazonian plant medicine wisdom. Support our Indiegogo campaign and you’ll receive your copy of Ayahuasca Reader, and you can check out the other incentives we have to take your further in your exploration of consciousness and planetary culture.

Honoring Diversity at the World Ayahuasca Conference

World Ayahuasca ConferenceYou can join the largest gathering of the world ayahuasca community, meeting. Come together with more than 100 speakers who will share knowledge and expertise through presentations and cross-cultural roundtables, and take this opportunity to learn more about the diverse indigenous communities participating in the conference, and to take in film, music, art… and much more.

On October 17-22, the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS) is bringing together the global ayahuasca community for the second World Ayahuasca Conference in Rio Branco Brazil.
The Conference has a panel dedicated specifically to the indigenous world, with tracks focusing on Amazonian Shamanism, Ayahuasca Traditions and Indigenous Knowledge, and other panels exploring the transformation of ayahuasca use within indigenous communities and how the outside world reinterprets native practices.
 
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Ayahuasca, Lore of the Amazon and Rainforest Action

Join the discussion with Alex Pogzeba, Jim Gollin and Deborah Parrish Snyder speaking on Ayahuasca, Lore of the Amazon, and Rainforest Action!

Renacos by Pablo Amaringo, 1996, in Ayahusca Reader

Renacos by Pablo Amaringo, 1996, in Ayahusca Reader

Thursday, September 15th, 6:00 pm at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ayahuasca is a visionary healing plant from the Amazon used by shamans for millennia for its powerful positive effect on mental, physical and spiritual health. Learn about the mythology, spiritual and cultural importance of this healing plant, as well as what is killing the rainforests now and what you can do about it.

 

The newest book from Synergetic Press, Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine, is the most comprehensive anthology of writings on the subject ever published. There is a global ayahuasca movement underway as hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing the remarkable effects of ayahuasca, but little is know of its history and how it works. The Ayahuasca Reader tells the story of ayahuasca from many perspectives. The book explores the many aspects of this healing brew, providing cultural context from Amazonian shamans, offering a wealth of scientific and medical understanding, detailing its spiritual and religious use, as well as illustrating its role in both literary and artistic expression.


Alex Pogzeba

Alexander Pogzeba

Jim Gollin

Jim Gollin

Deborah Parrish Snyder

Deborah Parrish Snyder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander Pogzeba, anthropologist and ethnobotanist, completed his BA in Anthropology with a focus on ethnology at University of New Mexico During his undergraduate coursework he explored traditional medicine, curanderismo and ethnobotany throughout Latin America and the Southwestern United States.

Jim Gollin is President of the Board of Directors for the Rainforest Action Network which campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action.

Deborah Parrish Snyder, the publisher of Synergetic Press since 1984, publishing over 40 books on the environment, ethnobotany, consciousness, and cultural anthropology. She is a Director of the Institute of Ecotechnics, a non-profit ecological think-tank, helping to manage a number of the international conferences it has hosts on global trends and in the field of closed ecological systems and biospherics.

Ayahusca, Lore of the Amazon and Rainforest Action is sure to be an empowering and enlightening gathering!

We hope you can join us there, but even if you’re not able to attend you can still be part of the action by participating in our Ayahuasca Reader campaign.

Ayahuasca Reader

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Be Part of the Global Ayahuasca Reader Movement

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Join the Launch of Ayahuasca Reader!

Join us in supporting the launch of our newest book, Ayahuasca Reader, and a educational outreach initiative designed to spread awareness and understanding on this important plant medicine and visionary vine. Ayahuasca Reader is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of information about ayahuasca, a healing plant used for millenia by shamans in the Amazon basin that has in recent years been gaining popularity for its positive benefits to physical health and spiritual growth.

Untitled by Pablo Amaringo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Untitled by Pablo Amaringo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Inside the pages of this magical text you’ll travel with dozens of adventurers, anthropologists, artists, shamans, scientists and poets on a journey to remote regions of the Amazon and to the far reaches of the human psyche.

“A wonderful book of vivid reports, illuminating every aspect of Ayahuasca‘s own world, covering all that matters about these plant spirits and their worldwide impact. This book’s poetry and scope led me to honor, as never before, the gifts we are offered from the proper use of these plants.”
–James Fadiman, PhD, psychologist, researcher and author, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide

New Edition: Ancient Stories, Breakthrough Research

The new edition of the Ayahuasca Reader features many distinct voices of the global ayahuasca movement: the researchers conducting clinical studies on its healing effects, the painters depicting the ineffable experience with visionary images, the indigenous people carrying the wisdom of ancestral traditions, and the stories of how ayahuasca has opened these individuals to their connection with the natural world and their true selves.

“Ayahuasca has a very insistent message. It’s one of those universals that almost everyone who drinks the brew sooner or later reports. It’s about the sacred, magical, enchanted, interconnected, infinitely precious nature of life on earth, and the interdependence of material and spiritual realms.” Graham Hancock from the Reader

The Ayahuasca Reader is a five-part anthology which shares myths passed down over generations of Amazonian healers, personal testimonies of encounters with Amazonian cultures, a selection of hymns and texts from the religions using ayahuasca as a sacrament, writings from well-known figures in the literary world on the lasting influence of their experience, and a section of transcendental visionary color art to further illuminate our understanding of ayahuasca. This comprehensive collection of writings has been expanded with a new section of ayahuasca inspired art and other resources to draw readers even deeper into the mythic mysteries of the Amazonian brew that has been gaining attention around the world.

Leading Voices from Traditional and Contemporary Culture

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

The texts chosen for this book include translations from nearly a dozen languages, representing the voices of many different Amazonian peoples and the diversity of their cultural approaches to working with ayahuasca. Contributors include legendary scholars of Amazonian plant medicine such as Wade Davis, Dennis McKenna, and Richard Spruce; cultural icons like Allen Ginsberg and recognized shamans and spiritual leaders such as Raimundo Irineu Serra, Fernando Payaguaje, and Alberto Prohaño. This new edition also includes essays from prominent visionary figures including Graham Hancock, Alex Grey, Jeremy Narby, Susana Bustos, Michael Winkelman, and others.

The Ayahuasca Reader provides a well-rounded introduction to plant medicines, Amazonian indigenous cultures, and psychedelic/entheogenic journeys, while also offering extensive information on the effects and experience of ayahuasca, the cultural context from which its preparation and use has emerged, and its blossoming impact worldwide.

Given the plethora of publications on ayahuasca, it is sometimes difficult to know which are the worthiest. That being said, the Ayahuasca Reader is a classic.”
   –Mark Plotkin, PhD, ethnobotanist, Founder & Director Amazon Conservation Team

Sharing the Wisdom of this Rainforest Medicine

Synergetic Press is mounting a global publishing an educational outreach campaign about ayahuasca, because at this critical juncture in time as we are seeing a remarkable increase of interest in this mysterious and undeniably powerful rainforest medicine. More people are beginning to discover the many benefits of this traditional brew, including the treatment of conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to PTSD and depression.

But at the same time that Western doctors and researchers are taking note of its potential for humanity, the very cultures and rainforest environment where it came from continue to be threatened and we are at risk of losing irreplaceable knowledge as well as the healing plants themselves.

Thanks in Advance for Your Support!

We can’t do it alone. We’re counting on you to share this vision with us and support the movement for greater consciousness and connection with the Earth.

Get your own copy of the Ayahuasca Reader, explore our other incentives, and find the level of support that works for you! And please share this with any friends or colleagues who you feel will also appreciate this initiative. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ayahuasca-reader-encounters-with-the-healing-vine

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Twenty-five years of Science and Imagination at Biosphere 2

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Biosphere 2

This year the revolutionary laboratory on earth sciences, Biosphere 2, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The initial experiment began in September of 1991 when eight pioneering individuals were enclosed inside of its glass walls for two years. The existence of Biosphere 2 and the research conducted there continue to gain attention, as it fuels understanding of planetary systems and calls attention to the realities of our circumstances on the original Biosphere, the Earth.

In 1993, in the first moments when the human experiment was coming to a close, the biospherians re-entered the outside world after two years of stewardship in their enclosed home. Mark Nelson, who managed the wetland sewage treatment system inside of Biosphere 2, shared a few words on the experience:

Mark Nelson in the wastewater treatment marsh of Biosphere 2

Mark Nelson in the wastewater treatment marsh of Biosphere 2. Photo from biospherics.org

“We’ve come out of another world. Through that thin airlock there is another world living… What’s been surprising and profoundly wonderful is that operating Biosphere 2 has changed the way I operate my organism. To live in a small world and be conscious of its controls, its beauty, its fragility, its bounty and its limits changes who you are.”

Mark Nelson, PhD, one of the original Biospherians and author of The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time

Several recent articles have revisited the story of Biosphere 2, while highlighting the role that the facility continues to play in inspiring a new generation to be ecologically minded.

“Many older generations know of us thanks to the experiments conducted in the early 1990s,” explains John Adams, deputy director of Biosphere 2. “But we really want to engage with the younger generations.”

The experiments Adams refers to are two missions which saw a team of scientists seal themselves inside the laboratory. The first mission garnered the most column inches; four men and four women entered Biosphere 2 in 1991, vowing to stay inside the lab for two years, without any physical contact in the outside world. The team hoped to demonstrate the viability of closed ecosystems in maintaining human life, and also explore how such a closed biosphere could be used in space colonisation.

Huffington Post UK

Flowing Through Changes Over Time

Whenever there’s an experiment at Biosphere 2, it’s a big experiment. This summer, Biosphere 2 will be home to the largest study ever conducted on how water moves through a landscape.

Photo credit: Gil Kenny

Water is clearly vital to life, but so are the minerals and nutrients it picks up as it flows through rocks and soil. This process, called weathering, underlies everything else in an ecosystem, including microbes, plants, animals, agriculture and how the landscape changes over time. . . .

“Chemical weathering is the first thing you need in order to form a habitable planet,” says Dixon. But the process is still not well understood.

That’s where Biosphere 2 comes in.

New Scientist

Although weathering has been studied in laboratories, there is no other laboratory that can compare in providing such large-scale conditions with the benefit of being a controlled atmosphere.

. . . the University of Arizona is transforming part of the site into a “Land Evolution Observatory”—a 10-year, $5 million project to study how vegetation, topography and other factors affect the movement of rainwater through watershed to drinking water.

Newsweek

The substantial site provides a unique opportunity to see how water moving over the land causes changes over time on a real-world scale.  

Living in Harmony at the Heart of Biosphere 2

Aside from serving as fertile ground for conducting scientific research on how water and soils operate, Biosphere 2 provides an experimental mirror for the way humanity relates to the Earth. John Allen, the inventor, conceiver and co-founder of the Biosphere 2 project provided an unparalleled opportunity to reflect on our own lifestyles. He spoke at the re-entry ceremony, when the eight people who had dedicated two years of their lives to the ambitious project emerged back into the larger atmosphere of the biosphere that we all share.

Project founder John Allen inside Biosphere 2

John Allen inside the Biosphere 2 test greenhouse. Photo Copyright: © Peter Menzel www.menzelphoto.com

“The biospherians have shown in practice for the past two years the do-ability of a comprehensive code of ethical behavior in a new area in which we can no longer depend on the aesthetic interests of the few or the economic interests of the many to maintain proper behavior in humanity’s relationship to the very basis of our life, to the biosphere. The eight biospherians ate, slept, worked, dreamed, enjoyed and suffered, in short existed in harmony with their biosphere. Their biosphere flourished with their way of life, they recycled their food, their wastes, their water, their air. They protected biodiversity and enhanced the beauty of their landscapes. Their own bodies purified and their biosphere sparkles undimmed without a ghost-like fog of smog. They lived with high tech instrumentation and communications but in a non-destructive, ecotechnic way… Sophistication and love of wilderness blended and fulfilled their dreams. I appreciate the biospherians’ skill in operations, their integrity in research, their zest for exploration but I honor them for their ethical achievement, achieved at no small cost to their immediate gratifications, for having done what they perceived they ought to do.”

John Allen, Inventor, Conceiver and Co-Founder of Biosphere 2, author of Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2 

 To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Biosphere 2, we’re offering a 25% discount on The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a TimeMe and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2, Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2  as well as our other significant biospheric titles such as Geochemistry and the Biosphere: Essays by Vladimir VernadskyThe Anthropocene: The Human Era and How it Shapes Our Lives, What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Does Grow on Trees 

Use coupon code Bio25 at checkout from our Synergetic Bookstore for 25% off of these important ecological books!

Wastewater Gardner CoverMe and the BiospheresThe Inside Story of Biosphere 2geochemistry and the biosphere

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What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Architectural Overview of Biosphere 2

And to read more on history of biospherics, the creation of Biosphere 2, and its continuing legacy from an architectural point of view, check out this paper written by Antonino Di Raimo, Architect PhD, Dean of Architecture at POLIS University from Tirana Architecture Week.

Allowing the Unknowable: The experience of Biosphere 2

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What Can a Taxi Driver from New York Do for the Planet?

Forty Years of Ecology, Adventure and Radical Cultural Innovation

Mark Nelson examining a small-scale closed ecological system. COPYRIGHT:© Peter Menzel 1990

Mark Nelson examining a small-scale closed ecological system. COPYRIGHT:© Peter Menzel 1990

Mark Nelson’s forty years as a pioneer in ecological systems and space life support science, along with his natural skills as raconteur—promise an evening of memorable tales and hard-won understanding. You can join Mark for this event Monday, June 13 at 6.00 pm at the October Gallery in London.

Whether appearing in a satellite broadcast to one billion people worldwide when exiting the storied Biosphere 2 mini-world’s 2-year experiment, doggedly pick-axing invasive species from 5,000 acres in the Kimberley, or designing an ecological waste treatment system in war-torn Iraq—this evening of Nelson’s unique history as Chairman of Institute of Ecotechnics (www.ecotechnics.edu) will be a very special event.

Author Mark Nelson in the recovering southern Iraqi marshes in 2011Nelson was a member of the first team of “biospherians” 1991-93 inside Biosphere 2, in Arizona. He is associate editor of Life Sciences in Space Research and organises sessions at COSPAR and other space science conferences. In 1987, he was an organiser of the first international conference on closed systems, held at the Royal Society. His books include: Space Biospheres (with John Allen), Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2, and The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time.

Nelson is also head of the Biospheric Design division of Global Ecotechnics Corporation (www.globalecotechnics.com) and founder of Wastewater Gardens International (www.wastewatergardens.com), which has brought ecological approaches to projects in more than fourteen countries worldwide. He works on reversing desertification in the Kimberley, Australia, and in New Mexico. He received his MSc at the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, and his Ph.D. with the legendary co-founder of systems ecology and ecological engineering, H.T. Odum, at the University of Florida.

In 1993, Nelson was awarded the Yuri Gagarin Jubilee Medal for outstanding service to international cooperation in space and the environment by the Russian Cosmonautics Federation. He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is also an international speaker and has appeared in numerous documentaries about ecological issues and biospherics. His scientific papers may be found here:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark_Nelson9/publications.

Institute of Ecotechnics is a UK charity based in the October Gallery premises.

Join Dr. Mark Nelson for this Special Evening at the October Gallery

Get Tickets Here!

The October GalleryMONDAY 13th of June, 6 PM, October Gallery

Please arrive at 6.00 pm for a 6.30 pm start.

Refreshments available and Advance ticket holders entitled to 1 free glass of wine or 1 free soft drink at the bar.

Please note that this event takes place on the 2nd floor of the gallery, accessible by stairs only. 

Monday, 13 June 2016 from 18:00 to 21:00 (BST)

October Gallery – 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL, United Kingdom – View Map

 

And if you aren’t able to attend this event with Mark, you can still read about his ecological adventures in Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2 and The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time.

Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2 | Abigail Alling and Mark NelsonWastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet one Flush at a Time!

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