Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2013

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Page 37 of 51

gy. I saw a translucent, placid lake, only to have the surface shit into concentric circles and lines. I thought I understood the cycles and secrets of creation. Suddenly a beautiful woman with a blue mantle appeared and seemed to know who I was; I could feel her strong vibration and felt honored by her presence. When we discover that force that gives us all the possible sensations of our body and energy ield, when the doorways of the unconscious open to a new expanded reality, then we are ready to journey with the ayahuasca through the timeless universe. he visions and revelations seemed to continue for hours. his is sacred and powerful medicine. As I returned to Jacinto's cabin amidst the faint colors of daybreak and the leafy, un- tameable jungle, I could still feel the spirits' energy around me. I felt great inner peace and realized I had a new perception of reality. It was humbling. On my last day in San Francisco I tried to think calmly. I analyzed the mental hypotheses of another existence, understanding that there could be other life forms and that death was another reality. I had connected with God, saints, spirits and angels. God could be the Creator, the spirits could be entities, and the angels could be celestial bodies or beings from other dimensions; I now think anything is possible. Ayahuasca forces us to see all, whether we want to or not. Far from being a scientiic experiment with a powerful hallucinogen, for me ayahuasca was a deeply spiritual experience that connected me to the invisible side of reality. he secrets of the universe no longer seemed secret. Birth of Ayahuasca M any myths surround the origins of Ayahuasca. Archaeological evidence reveals that Peruvian natives have been involved with plants that contain DMT (dimethyltryptamine), the active ingredient in the ayahuasca brew, since at least 200 BC, and Constantino Manuel Torres, professor emeritus at Florida International University in Miami, notes that "other South American hallucinogenic preparations, basically snuf powders and fumatories, have proven antiquity as far back as 4000 years. However," he adds, "snuing and smoking use very speciic paraphernalia, making it easier to detect use in an archeological context." 38 wholelifetimesmagazine.com Torres points out the earliest historical mention of ayahuasca by José Chantre y Herrera in his history of Jesuit missions in the Northwest Amazon between 1637–1767. Apparently the good fathers' spiritual visions were not all precipitated by prayer! Ayahuasca's efects rely on the interaction of leaves or bark from several plants with the vine  Banisteriopsis caapi, explains Torres. "Approximately 100 species from 40 plant families are reported as  ayahuasca/yagé  admixtures, many of them also psychoactive plants." he reason for this is that psychoactive tryptamine alkaloids found in these plants can't survive the stomach enzyme Monoamine oxidase (MAO). However, Banisteriopsis contains several beta-carbolines that are potent MAO inhibitors. hus the combination allows the DMT to activate. It is possible that in earlier times, other seeds containing psychoactive tryptamines were added to chicha, and a similar betacarboline-tryptamine synergy was activated. If such a recipe can be considered roughly analogous to ayahuasca, Torres concludes, the tradition could date back to 500 BCE, or even earlier. So how was this complex chemical synergy determined, centuries before the advent of modern chemistry? It's anyone's guess. —AL

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