My Ayahuasca Experience, A Ralph Metzner Interview

In this 2 minute 45 second video clip, Ralph Metzner describes his first ayahuasca experience as an introduction to the spirits:

“I started having vision, like, of pairs of black people dancing–dancing pairs of black people…and it occurred to me that it might be because ayahuasca is a combination of two plants; they were always pairs, a male and a female.”


The male and the female pairs, as Metzner describes it, would represent the plant combination that is the basis of all ayahuasca recipes–that combination being (1) the ayahuasca vine and (2) a DMT containing plant, such as chacruna.

The DMT containing plant is thought to be responsible for the visionary qualities of ayahuasca; it is not uncommon, especially when drinking an ayahuasca brew in the context of the tropical rainforests of the Amazon, for people under the influence of ayahuasca to see jaguars, such as the below ayahuasca vision experienced by Ralph Metzner:

“I became a jaguar. This black jaguar just sort of arrived and then just sort of entered into me; or I entered it to kinda merge our consciousness. And then it left, again…then I got the idea, when thinking about it, if I’d been able to concentrate better, had more focus, I would be able to maintain that connection longer… So that reinforced in me the idea that if you want to use this [ayahuasca] for divination you have to use lower doses or you have to have more practice. It’s the practice or the discipline of being able to hold.”


Ralph Metzner is a Professor Emeritus of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco; he was a participant in the 1960s psychedelic studies at Harvard with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert.  You can see his academic bio here: or visit his website and blog:

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