światosław / tales from the world

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Ayahuasca works for my memory in probably opposite way than cannabis. Years into that relationship I am still amazed when new pathways open, new vistas, when mouldy, dusty corners I never even expected to visit start to shine with eerie clarity, and my attention, without any specific will, intention or logical train of thought leading me there, goes to random, very specific, very detailed moments of my life, places, people. I am not talking here just about significant events, like favourite of psychotherapy, trauma, or turning points, things that gave my life meaning. At least not in rational sense, because after all, maybe meaning is in those insignificant details, hair of the dog, light in branches, one specific piss taken in dark alley of Delhi slums. It is literally that clear, like a zoom into arm tattoo of someone I have been chatting with 10 years ago. It all has dream quality about the way my mind arrives at certain sight, “in-sight” to be precise, but it is no illusion at all, very factual, very true. It is even often verifiable, if I reach into deep contents of my photo archive, at some periods built day after a day of documenting of what I saw and experience, now, if humidity does not destroy it, waiting there, with precise EXIF of date and hour, ready to be accessed thanks to modern technology just like it is ready to access in my brain’s hard drive thanks to the ancient technology of the vine.

So here go some snapshots of my memory.













In recent decades we have travelled very fast on road of changing relationships with psychedelics – from therapists saying “drugs are bad, mmkay, what you need is our therapy” to users saying “ayahuasca gave me what 10 years of therapy couldn’t deliver” to finally therapists saying “mmkay, some drugs are good, but you NEED our therapy in the package”.


What about all finally acknowledging validity of journey itself, and relativity of importance of various stations – or destinations for that matter. What is needed for that is great courage for many involved – for some travelers to admit they are not “strong” enough to continue on their own, but for some therapists as well to confront their hidden fear of being left on their own, of not being needed, and hence not only jumping on the wagon, but forcing the view that all must jump on it the way they see it best.


Before my journey brought me to the Amazon, I have followed Sufi ways – literally and metaphorically, as each of their many branches is called precisely that – tariqa, “a path”. There are many of them, and far from being perfectly tolerant, those who trod on chosen one often look down upon others, see them as controversial, but despite the dialectic game, it seems like they – and many of us, remain aware of the underlying truth, that they are “only” that, a path, and most of all, rather then preach your truth, it is much more important to embody it.



“The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.”
Bayazid Bastami (804 – 874)


Work with ayahuasca is a process in which these words of famous Sufi mystic resonate eeringly well. No matter how profound the mystery revealed, how great the understanding, if we cling to it, we are inevitably punished with proportional diminishment of its power, it is as fleeting an effect as we want to make it permanent. Actually, this is not a punishment, this is a simple rule of nature.

Big bow to the gifts of coronavirus time, when more and more is taken away, so that we can open our eyes to see that rule and learn to be flexible.

Big bow to fellow seekers, for not loosing hope, holding each other up in times of doubt.



“To, o czym mówimy nie da się znaleźć poprzez szukanie, a jednak tylko poszukujący to znajdują”

Bayazid Bastami (804 – 874)

Praca z ayahuaską to proces w którym te słowa sufickiego mistyka rezonują niepokojąco prawdziwie. Nieważne jak głęboka tajemnica jest w nim ujawniana, jak wielkie zrozumienie, jeżeli się jego kurczowo uczepiamy, nieuchronnie spotka nas proporcjonalne do tego czepiania umniejszenie mocy tego katharsis / zrozumienia, są one dokładnie tak ulotne, jak bardzo chcemy by były trwałe. To prosty mechanizm, im szybciej go zaakceptujemy, tym będzie łatwiej.

Wielki ukłon i szacunek dla podarunków czasu zarazy, kiedy coraz więcej jest nam odbierane, abyśmy w końcu mogli otworzyć oczy i nauczyć się być elastycznymi.

Wielki ukłon dla współposzukiwaczy, za nie tracenie nadziei i podnoszenie drugiego w czasach wątpliwości.






And if along the way you feel frustrated, you feel like it is one step forward, two steps backward, the remember from the same mystic and be grateful and patient :

When Bayazid died, he was over seventy years old. Before he died, someone asked him his age. He said: I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my veils only four years ago.

A jeżeli na tej ścieżce czujecie się sfrustrowani, że to jest ciągle jeden krok do przodu i dwa do tyłu, pamiętajcie inną historię tegoż mistyka i bądźcie wdzięczni i cierpliwi :

Kiedy Bayazid umarł, miał ponad 70 lat. Zanim to się stało, ktoś zapytał go o wiek. Odrzekł : Mam cztery lata. Przez 70 lat nosiłem zasłony, spadły dopiero cztery lata temu.

real business is coming

June 10th, 2020

There is this recurring voice of armchair experts about ayahuasca tourism being cultural appropriation. We listen to it mostly when we make mistake of distracting ourselves from 7 days a week hard work, in a place where we live as the locals, off grid, drawing water from the well, consuming basic necessities available in local market, and that is year after year, serving all kind of intense energies people bring with them for treatment. We learn from the indigenous elders, provide them with constant job paid way above local standards. You can say we can simply stop making that stupid mistake and engaging with those voices, regardless if they come from anthropologist pushing his agenda or just “I know it all” internauts. And yes, that is the best answer. However polemic devil inside just needs to add his pinch of salt : when authors of these voices succeed with their negativity, and combined forces of decline of global tourism, legalization globally, need for easier life ( and actually, contrary to the myth about fortunes in ayahuasca tourism, need for stable economic situation ) will drive this adventure in Amazon to the end, then you will see true appropriation. Instead of artisanal heart driven enterprises, you will see proper business, psychedelic franchise clinics, retreats twice as expensive popping up in Europe or USA, done without any need for indigenous guides, you will see ayahuasca turned into another commodity – raw resource just like cacao or coffee, bought from lowest bidder, or even worse – just like in the story of collapse of rubber – planted where labour costs and effectiveness of exploitation of global capitalism is at its best, probably in South East Asia. And so your precious Amazon will be free from evil exploitation of ayahuasca business, free for cattle ranchers and oil extractors, to provide fuel for your comfortable, daily lifestyle in the global centre, away from this annoying poverty, as some would be yoga student deciding against learning in India put it.




The photo above is ironic illustration for this story. It is my own image, which in times while I was still hoping to be able to continue making honest living from photography I uploaded to Alamy, and now, that I sacrificed to the Amazon not only my time but also some hard drives devoured by humidity, this corporate vendor, that pays pennies and charges giant percentage of commission on the sales is the only place I can access the image, but if I want it watermark free, I would have to buy it myself.






Can ayahusca help reduce the symptoms of grief? According to a study recently published in the journal Psychopharmacologyayahuasca – also known as the “vine of the soul” within the Peruvian indigenous Shipibo healing system – can help people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, significantly reducing symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. Benefits lasted for up to a year following the retreat.

International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS), in collaboration with the Beckley Foundation, conducted a study into ayahuasca’s potential for people grieving the death of a loved one. The study, entitled “Therapeutic potential of ayahuasca in grief: a prospective, observational study” and published on January 14, opens up a new avenue for research into effective therapeutic approaches for prolonged grief.

“We found that ayahuasca eases the acceptance of a loved one’s death,” said Dr. Debora Gonzalez, the study’s principal investigator.

Participants in the study attended a retreat at the Temple of the Way of Light, a center located near Iquitos, Peru, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, where they participated in a series of traditional medicine ceremonies lead by indigenous Shipibo healers. Ninety-two percent of patients experienced relief from symptoms of grief, noting benefits on a spiritual level and in social relationships, as well as on their physical and psychological health. It was found that the experiences expand on the materialistic way we approach life and death in the Global North.

Grief is a natural process that occurs in human beings when a family member or close friend dies. However, when it is prolonged it can become pathological. In fact, the WHO recently included Prolonged Grief Disorder as a new diagnosis in the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Prolonged grief affects 9.8% of people who have lost a loved one. The family, social and occupational impact of this diagnosis is comparable to that of depression or post-traumatic stress. Medications alone are not effective in reducing it, and psychotherapy does not achieve the effectiveness it has shown in treating other clinical problems. Since the experience of grief is universal, it is urgent to find new therapeutic paradigms to address our relationship with death.

previous study, ( https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0030222817710879 ) published in Omega – Journal of Death and Dying, also conducted by ICEERS, found that one third of mourners who had participated in an ayahuasca ceremony reported experiences of an encounter with the “presence,” “soul,” or “essence” of their loved one.

“We found that having an experience of an encounter with a loved one who has passed away and being able to resolve the doubts and issues that were left pending and to establish a continuing bond, has a therapeutic impact on the grievers that is difficult to achieve with the techniques currently used in conventional psychotherapy. This type of experience tends to transform their view of life and death,” adds Dr. González.

SOURCE :  https://www.iceers.org/ayahuasca-opens-up-new-possibilities-for-grief-therapy




Czy ayahuaska może pomóc zmniejszyć symptomy żałoby? Według ostatnio opublikowanego w Psychopharmacology badania ( https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-019-05446-2 ), ayahuaska, znana także jako “pnącze duszy” w systemie medycznym rdzennego peruwiańskiego plemienia Shipibo, może pomóc osobom opłakującym bliską osobę w znacznym zmniejszeniu symptomów takich jak nerwica i depresja. Pozytywne efekty mogą utrzymywać się nawet do roku po przyjęciu substancji.


International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS) we współpracy z Beckley Foundation przeprowadziło badanie nad potencjałem ayahuaski dla osób opłakujących bliską osobę. Studium to, zatytułowane “Terapeutyczny potencjał ayahuaski w żałobie : badanie obserwowanych efektów” i opublikowane 14 stycznia 2020, otwiera nowe ścieżki dla badań nad skutecznymi terapeutycznymi podejściami do przedłużającej się żałoby.

“Odkryliśmy, że ayahuaska ułatwia proces godzenia się ze śmiercią kochanej osoby”, mówi dr Debora Gonzalez, główna prowadząca procesu badawczego.

Uczestniczący w badaniu brali udział w odosobnieniu z ayahuaską w Temple of the New Way of Light, centrum położonego w pobliżu Iquitos, w Peru, w sercu peruwiańskiej Amazonii, gdzie uczestniczyli w serii ceremonii tradycyjnej medycyny, prowadzonych przez rdzennych uzdrowicieli Shipibo. 92 procent pacjentów doświadczyło ulgi w objawach żałoby i smutku, rejestrując pozytywne efekty w sferze duchowej i w relacjach społecznych, jak również w stanie swego zdrowia fizycznego i psychologicznego. Okazało się, że ich doświadczenia poszerzają dominującą na globalnej Północy materialistyczną perspektywę z jaką podchodzi się do życia i śmierci.

Żałoba jest naturalnym procesem, jaki zachodzi w człowieku, kiedy członek rodziny lub bliski przyjaciel umiera. Jego nadmierne przeciąganie w czasie może jednak stać się patologiczne. W istocie, WHO ostatnio włączyło “zaburzenie przedłużonej żałoby” jako nową diagnozę do ostatniej wersji Międzynarodowej Klasyfikacji Chorób ( (ICD-11). Przedłużona żałoba dotyka 9,8% ludzi, którzy stracili kogoś bliskiego. Rodzinne, społeczne i zawodowe konsekwencje takiej diagnozy są porównywalne do tych w przypadku depresji czy zespołu traumy pourazowej. Same leki nie są wystarczająco skuteczne w zmniejszeniu tych symptomów a psychoterapia nie wykazuje takiej efektywności jak w terapii innych problemów klinicznych. Ponieważ żałoba jest doświadczeniem uniwersalnym, odnalezienie nowych terapeutycznych paradygmatów dla naszej relacji ze śmiercią staje się pilnym zagadnieniem.

Poprzednie badanie ( https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0030222817710879 ) opublikowane w Omega – Journal of Death and Dying, również prowadzone przez ICEERS, pokazało że jedna trzecia żałobników, jacy wzięli udział w ceremonii ayahuaski, przytaczało przykłady kontaktu z “obecnością”, “duszą” lub też “esencją” ukochanej osoby.

“Odkryliśmy, iż doświadczenie spotkania z opłakiwaną osobą i możliwość rozwiania wątpliwości czy rozwiązania niedokończonych spraw i wzmocnienia trwałej więzi, ma terapeutyczny wpływ na żałobników jaki trudno osiągnąć technikami obecnie dostępnymi dla konwencjonalnej psychoterapii. Tego typu doświadczenie zwykle transformuje pogląd na życie i śmierć, dodaje dr Gonzalez.


Źródło : https://www.iceers.org/ayahuasca-opens-up-new-possibilities-for-grief-therapy



It is perhaps one of many paradoxes of psychedelic use, that what conservative majority within our societies considers as drug escapism into hedonism, and away from duties and commitments of the world, can often lead – and it has led in my experience, to quite conservative view of life and values. It is not angry fanaticism however, rather is accompanied by acceptance of other paths and options – while pursuing simplified, quieter version of previous, greedy life. In my case, a trade off from solitary adventures, devouring the world in form of exotic, extravagant adventure and millions of pixels accumulated in my memory and camera, being everywhere, and wanting ever more, and yet not fulfilled, now left behind and exchanged for simplicity of family life, modest nest, in very rustic conditions of a backward middle-of-nowhere corner of Amazon forest.







I would lie if I said that looking through years worth of accumulation of stories and photos on this blog does not evoke some kind of nostalgia for the road, other lands where grass is if not greener, at least different. But one enduring lesson from the vine of death, even if at times we try to suppress it, is about mortality. I see clearly that greed of the world, no matter whether consumed in form of material goods or experiences, is a manifestation of underlying deeper anxiety about inevitable end of it all being quite near. The solution, again and again life shows to us, is never forward, faster, more, but actually less. We can not have all the women of the world, all the money, all alternative career paths. We may as well learn as soon as possible, that it applies to all aspect of life, and just we find happiness with that particular person, so let’s try to find peace in that particular place, ability and flaw we are given. Surrender, hardest of victories, to be gained daily, isn’t that the teaching of Christ refusing temptation of the world in his 40 days retreat to the desert?

To me, it does not mean that the world is evil, and that Satan is its owner, it means that unreined desire for it is hell in itself.




November 11th, 2019


I started my adventure with ayahuasca not by any kind of extraordinary psychedelic, visionary experience, but as concrete physical healing, one not separable however from intellectual and emotional understanding. I had stones in my kidneys and associated pain while pissing, during nearly whole winter, in period that separated two first ceremonies and then until I went to Brasil. Finally, there in the jungle, standing in toilet, watching rain pouring outside, I realized that I am urinating without any problem, just as the rain in front of me.


That flow, circulating movement, is life. When it is broken for some reason, when the circle is not complete, when our blockages, stiffness, our lifestyle choices affect it, decay and degeneration begins. There is no flow in death, no juices running in dry stick.


Same thing applies to any nature, the one in us and the one “on the outside¨ alike, this is for example why often great wave of purge runs through the ceremony, pushing people down to their buckets, right when long accumulating throughout the evening clouds finally burst with tropical rain.


We go through same circular journey, harvesting, smashing, cooking hundreds of liters of murky brew, then concentrating it, drinking in the night and puking it out with what needs to be purged, emptying those buckets afterwards under trees where new vine grows.


Some have it hard. Having read a lot before coming here, they are suprised to have several ceremonies without vomiting, without visions appearing. The block is strong in a culture so focused on strenghth and fixed truths rather than surrender and flexibility.


Now the dry season should already be over. And yet our tanks are empty, water shortage, distruption in the cycle. We have giant pots of ayahuasca drying out, waiting to be cooked, and no water coming. In the time of climate change, the ones to first feel its effects are those who live like us, in tune with elements, not sheltered from them by brute force of money and machinery, petrol and pumps, able to postpone the direct consequences.


This happening in the very same period in which we are supporting indigenous Achuar communities fighting consequences of petrol contaminating their waters ( https://web.facebook.com/notes/psychonauta-foundation/to-give-back-petrol-contamination-in-amazon/2451079018477235/ ) shows us clearly, Standing Rock is here too, and it is coming to you. It also shows again the meaning of the medicine work.

If you are able to see that and do the work in the internal universe within you, you will have no doubt what matters in the world out there.




“Taussig wrote that the perception of the shaman as the creator of order from chaos mirrors the romantic notions of the Western imagination rather than the reality of shamanism. The anthropologist pointed out that the very talk about the shamans’ mystical trips to the heavenly spheres and their organic unity with their tribes is an example of a ‘‘fascist fascination.’’ This is clearly a reference to the scholarship and intellectual background of Eliade, the classic scholar of shamanism studies, who paid tribute to nationalist soil ideology during his early years. The anthropologist simultaneously took on those of his colleagues who associate order with good and disorder with evil. Taussig saw in the anarchy and disorder of Amazon ayahuasca spiritual sessions a helpful antidote to the Western ‘‘fascist’’ order, which is rooted in the European Enlightenment with its logic, rationalism, and discipline. According to Taussig, in this spiritual anarchy lies the liberation potential of shamanic sessions. If we are to believe the anthropologist, one of the Putumayo shamans he met directly pointed out to him, ‘‘I have been teaching people revolution through my work with plants.’’



“Taussig pisał, że postrzeganie szamana jako tworzącego porządek z chaosu jest odbiciem romantycznych koncepcji z zachodniej wyobraźni a nie rzeczywistości szamanizmu. Antropolog wskazywał, iż samo gadanie o mistycznych podróżach szamanów do niebiańskich sfer i ich organicznej jedności ze swoim plemieniem to przykład “faszystowskiej fascynacji”. To jasna aluzja do prac i intelektualnych korzeni Eliade, klasycznego badacza szamanizmu, który oddawał hołd nacjonalistycznej ideologii ziemi podczas swoich wczesnych lat. Antropolog jednocześnie uderza w swoich kolegów, którzy łączą porządek z dobrem i chaos ze złem. Taussig w anarchii i chaosie ayahuaskowych duchowych sesji widział przydatne antidotum do zachodniego “faszystowskiego” porządku, zakorzenionego w europejskim Oświeceniu, ze swoją logiką, racjonalizmem i dyscypliną. Według Taussiga, to w duchowej anarchii leży wyzwalający potencjał szamańskich sesji. Jeżeli mamy mu wierzyć, usłyszał te słowa bezpośrednio od jednego z szamanów z Putumayo : “Poprzez swoją pracę z roślinami uczę ludzi rewolucji”.


[ "The Beauty of the Primitive. Shamanism and the Western Imagination", Andrei A. Znamenski ]



best spoken around the fire

February 6th, 2019

I am often asked, why not publish a book about my experiences? It for sure would be more effective in spreading knowledge about certain things and issues than this blog or random articles somewhere. But I came to believe that certain things are more important than “effectiveness”, like truth and honesty, and we all shift our values from latter to former, that unreigned beast called progress could be introduced to his potential fiancee, harmony.


First of all, I love how my life became in ways, let me use this fashionable word, organic. So I think it perfectly fits the style, if I pass certain observations, insights to individuals gathered together, going already through similar process, hence willing and ready to receive, by direct conversation. It fits the style of off- grid living, rather than jetting around the world of my days before. Feels right when it’s done while scraping the medicinal roots, so far removed from extracted single compounds, in bottles listing countless side effects in tiny sings called print.





Because it is not only about romantic fancy of stepping back into oral culture. I think that is not a coincidence that now, when we are recreating / rediscovering ancient techniques of communication with the spirit world, reviving the mythical, that alternative to print ways of communication become important. There is much more than words that direct, oral communication can convey to those who are prepared to hear it, going through initiation, open and present.


Word is like a seed, and it has to fall on fertile ground. Of course, one can scatter it in thousands of copies, hoping that some of them trigger something more than intellectual understanding, or worse, blind quasi religious following.  But we have wasted already so many trees, and besides, there is a risk of devaluation of the message but making it too public too quickly. Many initiatory traditions understood it, most likely long before Al-Halaj has been executed for his too enthusiastically shared revelation.


The other risk is of inflating one’s ego, enamored with sound of own message, its impact, influence, income it brings, and in the meantime, its readers, always happy to receive instructions from the exterior, live in the description rather than in the experience itself. Despite “those who know are silent and those who don’t know, speak” there has been too many Oshos, producing countless volumes, financing their limousines, and binding thousands of believers in stupor of attachment, while both the herd and the shepherd lived far from what was preached.


Word can be countereffective. It can be based upon and point to the example of someone’s experience, and then negated and opposed by the one who doesn’t have such an experience, and therefore block him from it. Word is dualistic discussion, constant monkey chatter, that scares away many more subtle messages present in the cosmos of the forest. And it is through the forest that I am learning in recent years. It is good to silence oneself there to hear more, especially in the path of medicinal dietas, path of vibrating with the plants. When one reveals secrets too soon and open, not only they loose their potency, but one may be blocked from receiving more. Better to keep tuning in, refining that shared vibration frequency, and then enable others to join in the song, in full presence and participation, until truth and harmony is so clearly visible, heard and felt that it needs to be discussed no more.





There has been a lot of doubts on my path recently. About choices, about effectiveness. We left the jungle to see, after a year of sedentary lifestyle, if road will bring solutions. Less control for sure, that ever relapsing disease. Surprise, opening to something new. After continuosly working with Shipibos for such a long time I needed to step out of this beautiful but narrow format, to be able to open more again to intuition, less to tradition and routine. Routine, killer of joy, didn’t reward me in exchange with some extraordinary technique improvements, so I decided this ain’t a fair deal.

So we arrived in the mountains, into fairy land, some call it happy gringo bubble, but this time I came more mature, not as a seeker of illusionary unknown and rare, not as explorer who needs to go, with this characteristic modern western obsession, where “no one” has gone before, but as someone who acknowledges that he is a gringo and just wants to live. So free from internal obligation to produce images ( freed, in some extent, by their excess today, as well as eyes that are not of a young man any more, these small things that help to naturally shape fate, in the face of indecisiveness and hard letting go ), I was able to land in the Sacred Valley as in a substitute of home I am barred from. There is entertainment, there is more choice of food, more diverse characters to meet. Perhaps not so many as in London or Warsaw, but that is even better, not to go so straight from hermitage into supermarket. People are calmer and nicer than in my homeland, and so is the weather. Place to enjoy, to live. But of course as an addict of action, I decided to use the opportunity to continue a bit the photo / guide project, and when I saw post about ceremony with William Koroskenyi, a gringo healer I already heard about in Iquitos, I wrote to him. This was also symbolic, to break my time with the indigenous culture by drinking with a foreigner, as if I were back in the good old Europe. I came with the intention of being once again a documentalist, but shitty low light in the place and great medicine both ruled that my input and my experience will be of a different kind. So there are no great images here, perhaps, but the experience was a great one, and that is perhaps more important and another sign about the path to follow.





To drink in the mountains is a whole different game than in the jungle. In some ways, more challenging, as ayahuasca doesn’t really like the cold, but people not used to heat and mosquitos appreciate cold air one can sip when things become to dense inside. For me this cold breeze is also refreshing these days and brings back the scent of first ceremonies on the other side of great ocean. It feels fresh, it feels clean. I don’t think of sneaky spirits of the jungle, of devils and brujeria, I think about fast brother wind, that always was close to my soul. Sacred Valley is all about “hanan”, the high world, the Father Sky, condor and flight rather than snake and chtonic ambiguity of the lowland forest. I was always rather weary of these upward gazes, feeling they often conceal unresolved issues, smelling of priests, of religion, be it our own pious men in black, spiritual functionaries of Inca empires, or any other men of the high pulpit. I have always liked the doubt, the trickster, but trickster teaches the value of change, and I have grown weary of my doubts. So when I step into the maloca for ceremony with William, I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am walking the tree of life, from the trial of fire and snakes, towards the higher realm.






William works together with his partner Pamela. He has been studying Amazonian shamanism for years now, very thorough but also open to intuition, to being guided by plants and experience itself, rather than only dogma of the culture. Pamela seems to be more of a fusion of different healing modalities, of feeling, flow, touch and direct contact with people. William creates the space, the steady rhytm, upon which others can experiment, open up, and Pamela sneaks around with her energy. They complement each other in the performance, but more important perhaps, show the integration of this medicine, so necessary in this world of many gurus who claim to love the whole world because they are unable to hold balanced relationship with their nearest person.








There is a lot of setting up the space. Preparation, grounding, talking, explanation. Cleansing and calming.  Step by step, with no hurry, with all and each and every one in proper order. It builds the climax, it prolongs the session, it gives it added value, regardless of our belief about actual value of certain gestures, such as tobacco sopladas. This is good inspiration for me, often carried away by my impatience, by inner fire, dismissing the uncessary.  Ceremonial structure can teach about that – we can either slowly dismiss everything as superflous, superstition, just take our psychedelics with Brian Eno’s smartphone app and in doing so discard all tradition, all need for human presence and interaction. But by doing so we desacralize all world, bring everything down to utility and end up in the same loneliness and despair we tried to escape in the first place with aid of plant medicines. Yes, it is cheaper, maybe even faster to do our shopping in cashierless supermarket, but I enjoy wasting time with campesinas in mercado of Pisac. Yes, I could just get my potent brew online and drink it with unlimited diversity of Spotify soundtrack, doing away with mapacho smoke, but I want to feel William’s breath in the palms of my  hand. I want everything to have meaning. To appreciate. To live for the process, rather than just the outcome.







Not only with chill of nature around us I am closing sentimental loop to my first ceremony ever. Since we came from the jungle my sinus is blocked again, eternal problem since early colds of my youth. It subsided in the tropics, but here it is again, justifying ceremonial rape, medicine that likes a good reason for its use, and without it can easily turn into another mindless habit. A round is served, and we are ready to start.





Brew was very tasty, rare thing, but not impossible, when one knows how to cook. Mostly chacruna providing light, but some huambissa too, which I could feel, it is always more physical/medicinal in my experience. The first cup, full one, started coming up strong,  I purged, apparently trying to avoid harder work, and of course then regretted it as I sat just listening to icaros, feeling a little buzz. I was in a different position however then during most ceremonies of last year, when I had been in charge of the show and somehow responsible for it, this time as a guest I could really accept whatever happens. When the time for second round came, I was of course one of the few to take it.

William sings classical ribereno style, mestizo Spanish icaros, with rich, deep voice, long, stable, he walks around with his chakapa, sometimes sits down with a particular person. Pamela is more random, less predictable, her songs can go through different, sometimes unpleasant, sometimes touching, freaky registers, which for me is always more inspiring, closer to the primitive, improvised shamanism, far from mind and memory, closer to the moment. They asked in the beginning to keep silent, not to join them, which was a good lesson of patience and somehow allowed me to save breath for a right moment, when it came. Out of difficult time, as usually, out of sickness and crisis comes the best singing, always been like this, almost as if this was to teach something about paradoxes of life. And these icaros are from gift from the source, rare time when my plans disappear and my mind takes a back seat. It was a release I have been waiting for a long time, maybe even months of routine and rising feeling of resignation and pointlessness. It was also a powerful lesson in gratitude, some hints about healing with it my greed, all these things I know from my path, all these humble-yourself-and-jah-jah will-guide-I, that I keep losing, in my hunger for more. Make amends, ask little, and the right times return, in fact they are here already, just wake up to it, Mundo.







There are challenges ahead, but this kind of ceremonies gives strength to continue. Giving thanks, not only to the captains, but to all the crew who participated, co-created, even just by their presence, more so by kind words, smiles, gratitude. It all builds the house we want to live in.


The spirit is back.






You can find William and Pamela mostly in the jungle, not far from Iquitos, Peru, where they run Avatar centre ( https://www.eywainstitute.org ), hosting retreats and dietas, and where, is Jah permits, I will be able to visit, to develop this one night stand into something deeper.




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