In late 2010, two Australian scientists were invited by colleagues from Norway to experience “a real adventure” at an Ayahuasca center outside of Lima, Peru. They traveled together to the center, far from populated areas in the mountainous region, for a 4-day Ayahuasca experience with a Peruvian curandero.
The curandero is a traditional healer dedicated to curing both physical and spiritual illnesses, and may also play the role of psychiatrist along with that of doctor and healer.
The scientists participated in the Ayahuasca ceremony on the first night at the center, with decidedly mixed results.
Would the trained scientist stumble upon evidence that could be considered ayahuasca science?
Both Norwegians and the Australian woman said the experience was pleasant and enlightening as they had hoped, but the second Australian, a young man named Matthew, suffered a terrible experience.
When asked about his experience the day after the first ceremony, Matthew was obviously disgusted:
“I spent today being incredibly ill after taking the poisonous potion that is supposed to give you spiritual enlightenment.
The surroundings are beautiful, but otherwise it’s been pretty much a waste of time. Certainly not what I was expecting, and certainly not what I was told to expect. It has not satisfied what I was hoping to achieve.”
See how Matthew looks after the first ceremony and then how he is transformed after the second ceremony in the video below:
Matthew was convinced by his companions’ positive experiences to attempt the Ayahuasca ceremony once again after recuperating from his first unpleasant encounter with the powerful hallucinogen.
Afterward, he had a changed outlook on the entire experience, relating that it was “pretty fantastic,” despite pain and discomfort at the beginning. He related passing through a gateway into “amazing visions,” with “magic going on,” and he claimed it was an almost indescribable experience, well worth having.
Matthew’s Australian companion, an older woman, had an incredible and healing experience from the very start.
She approached the ceremony with very specific direction in mind, requesting physical assistance with her health and mental clarification about her work.
She related that within her visions during the first ceremony, she saw “many little people working” on aspects of her body, and had the sense that her heart was being surgically cleaned, stopped, and kick-started again with a “massive explosion of light… like electrical power.”
Unlike Matthew, she said that she felt very content and happy after the first Ayahuasca experience, and that her body “was quite clean after the first night.”
The Australian woman did not partake of the powerful concoction the next night when her three companions tried it a second time, but nonetheless she still had a spiritual experience:
“Last night my three friends did the second ceremony outside the room where I was sleeping…I didn’t actually take any Ayahuasca; however, I was fortunate enough that the spirit plant was still within me. While my friends were working with the curandero, my body was also being worked on, and my mind…I went into a very deep space within my mind, in what I call The Void. This morning, I actually feel reborn…lithe, energetic, and ready to go back to Australia.”
The companions all left the Ayahuasca center feeling somehow awakened and changed, both physically and mentally.
Matthew summed up his experience, saying, “I have people saying to me this morning ‘welcome to the club,’ and I actually understand what that means now.”
All in all, the ayahuasca journeys’ of these two scientist were profound. The video highlights their personal anecdotes and the jury is still out on the efficacy of building a framework of investigation that could be called ayahuasca science.
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