Category Archives: yoga

Ayahuasca Shipibo Shaman – Medicinal Plants of the Amazon Part 4


Used by Shipibo shamans for ceremonial workAyahuasca Shipibo Shaman, Enrique Lopez talks with our group about Amazonian shamanism, medicinal, and the spiritual properties of plants. Video taken at Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreatat Mishana in Peru, March 2008.

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Ayahuasca Shipibo Shaman – Medicinal Plants of the Amazon Part 3


Shipibo Shaman with Ajo Sacha plant Ayahuasca Shipibo Shaman, Enrique Lopez talks with our group about Amazonian shamanism, medicinal, and the spiritual properties of plants. Video taken at Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreat at Mishana in Peru, March 2008.

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Ayahuasca Shipibo Shaman – Medicinal Plants of the Amazon Part 2


Ayahuasca Shipibo Shaman, Enrique Lopez talks with our group about Amazonian shamanism, medicinal, and the spiritual properties of plants. Video taken at Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreat at Mishana in Peru, March 2008. (part 2).

Click for Info on our Ayahuasca and Yoga Retreats in the Amazon Rain forest in Peru.

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Ayahuasca Shipibo Shaman – Medicinal Plants of the Amazon Part 1


Ayahuasca Shipibo Shaman, Enrique Lopez talks with our group about Amazonian shamanism, medicinal, and the spiritual properties of plants. Video taken at Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreat at Mishana in Peru, March 2008

Click for details about our Ayahuasca and Yoga Retreats in Peru

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Ayahuasca, Moses, and the Ten Commandments – Entheogens of the Old Testament


Israeli researcher

Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher

The world wide media interest in Benny Shanon’s paper about Moses and entheogens, is encouraging us to take a good and hard look at the roots of religions and the notion that they were based on fertility cults, and shamanic practices such as Entheogens (or hallucinogenic) plants as a source of spiritual communion with the universal consciousness, or the mind of God.

John Allegro, in his book “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East”, postulated through the etymology of words and relates how the development of language indicated that the roots of the religions emanating from the Middle East were based on fertility cults, and shamanic practices such as Entheogens (or hallucinogenic) plants as a source of spiritual communion with the universal consciousness, or the mind of God..

Back in the 1970’s the reaction against these ideas was so strong that it destroyed Allegro’s career, the book was not published in the UK as it was regarded as blasphemous, and blasphemy was still a crime. It’s good to think that we have made some progress in recent years.

Allegro’s theory was visionary and ground-breaking. He was the first to propose in some detail that two major religions Christianity and by extension Judaism were entheogen-oriented and that the entheogen was Amanita Muscaria. His book was published at a time when there was little or no awareness about the use of entheogens, and was indeed a courageous act to publish this book.

Another great explorer and pathfinder in human consciousness was Terence Mckenna, in his book “Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution”, proposed that hallucinogenic plants, in this case Psilocybin mushrooms, were the cause of the astounding and unexplained rapid evolution and development of the human brain within the evolutionary time scale (just 500,000 years from the hominids). In other words how we developed from our ape relatives . His theory also encompasses the development of linguistics , and human civilisation itself.

JERUSALEM (AFP) – High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

“As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,” Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the “burning bush,” suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a clasic phenomenon,” he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to “see music.”

Israeli researcher He mentioned his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazil‘s Amazon forest in 1991. “I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations,” Shanon said.

He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible.

source: Yahoo News.

Paper originally published in:

Time and Mind:
The Journal of Archaeology Consciousness and Culture
Volume I—Issue I, March 2008

Biblical Entheogens: Speculative Hypothesis

pp. 51–74

Benny Shanon is Professor of psychology at the Hebrew university of Jerusalem (Israel). His main foci of research are the phenomenology of human consciousness and the philosophy of psychology. His publications include The representational and the Presentational (1993) and The Antipodes of the Mind (2002). At present, he is working on book devoted to a general psychological theory of human consciousness.

Original Paper by Benny Shanon

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Ayahuasca – Medicine for the Soul Part 4


Ayahuasca - Medicine for the Soul Part 4Ayahuasca, is regarded as the ‘gateway’ to the Soul. The fourth part of this article continues to explore this fascinating plant brew from the Amazon Rainforest. Ayahuasca is the jungle medicine of the upper Amazon. It is made from the ayahuasca vine ( Banisteriopsis Caapi) and the leaf of the Chacruna plant (Psychotria Viridis). The two make a potent medicine, which takes one into the visionary world. The vine is an inhibitor, which contains harmala and harmaline among other alkaloids, and the leaf contains vision-inducing alkaloids. As with all natural medicines, it is a mixture of many alkaloids that makes their unique properties.

I discovered that Ayahuasca is a medicine, so unlike the Western understanding, a medicine which works on every level, on the physical and non-physical beings, our consciousness, our emotions, and our spirit. It is as if you are drinking not just a liquid brew but imbibing an ‘other’ intelligence which knows exactly what is needed to help you. This is a communion in the true sense of the word, an intense experience of euphoria and ecstasy. A journey of deep and profoundly meaningful personal and trans-personal insights , a searchlight on the hidden thoughts and feelings in the sub-conscious mind, an erasing of the ego boundaries and a merging with the greater field of consciousness of creation.

The was more and more to experience, dieting some of the teacher plants such as Ajo Sacha and Guyasa, I felt my senses being altered , expanded in some ineffable way, and becoming aware of the song, the very rhythm of the rainforest. There was sound, smells, and sights around me, which I had not been aware of in my normal everyday waking state. I could zoom in on smells, and sound, I realised that the rainforest was one entity with the insects, birds, and animals being a part of the totality of the rainforest. I am in paradise when lying in my hammock; it is like floating within a living three-dimensional sensorial experience of sound, colour, smell, movement, and vibration all in harmony and great beauty.

The work with the visionary plants not only provides a philosophical frame of reference for my life so to speak, but is also a path for deep soul healing, and generates a desire to engage fully and with enthusiasm the world around me. Celestial visions are always very nice and pleasing but they must never cloud, disguise, or distract our real purpose to live in the full embodiment of being a human on this beautiful planet and striving to enrich that special and unique experience, our ‘earth walk’. I recall some years ago when I led a group to the Amazon Rainforest, our initial gathering with our shaman Javier Arevalo so we could all introduce ourselves. Javier was very curious about Westerners, and was interested in knowing what we were searching for with the visionary plants. One participant stood up and said she wanted a clear and definitive understanding of the male and female principles of the universe, the cosmic “ying and yang” as she put it. Well Javier was totally mystified by this question, as when I have attended his sessions with local people who visit him for a consultation or session they ask about everyday problems and concerns such as “is my boyfriend / husband / girlfriend cheating on me?”, or “why am I unlucky in finding a job?”, “I need help to overcome this disease”. Well we worked with our participant to explore what the real question was behind her initial enquiry, finally she said that she was really looking for love in her life, and of course, Javier could understand this deep desire completely, and was subsequently able to help her discover and reconcile the inner obstacles, which had been preventing this.

Visit our website for details on our Ayahuasca and Yoga Retreats in the Amazon

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Introducing our Yoga Teacher at the Amazon Ayahuasca Retreats


Our Yoga Teacher at our Amazon Ayahuasca RetreatsOver the years at our Ayahuasca and Plant Spirit Shamanism Retreats on an ad hoc basis we have invited yoga teachers to the Retreats to hold Yoga, Chi Gung and meditation classes. This has worked very well with Ayahuasca and the plants, and we have found a real synergy between these two bodies of practices. Now that Eugene Bersuker (a Russian American) has joined our team at our Retreat programmes. We have now (officially) incorporated Yoga, Chi Gong, and Meditation classes in our programme.

Eugene is a qualified Yoga teacher, trained in India, Shivananda Saraswati School of Yoga. Traditional Hatha and Yoga for Healing. Yoga postures and meditations used to relieve tensions, purify mind/body, and raise vibrations. An instructor in Chi Gong, and Eugene is also a Licensed Massage Therapist – Swedish and Shiatsu.

Visit our website for details on our Ayahuasca and Yoga Retreats in the Amazon

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Ayahuasca – Medicine for the Soul Part 3


Ayahuasca - Medicine for the Soul Part 3Ayahuasca, is regarded as the ‘gateway’ to the Soul. The third part of this article continues to explore this fascinating plant brew from the Amazon Rainforest. Ayahuasca is the jungle medicine of the upper Amazon.

My first real encounter with the plant world of the shamans was when I first arrived in the Amazon some fourteen years ago. The moment I stepped off the aeroplane in Iquitos it felt as if I had been hit by bolt of energy. I felt so energised that I didn’t sleep for two days, my senses were at a heightened state of awareness, and it felt as if I could hear the heartbeat of the rainforest itself.

Iquitos is a city in the Amazon rainforest, there are no roads (completed anyway) to it. The only way to get there is via aeroplane or by river boat. The city in the 19th century was the centre of the Rubber industry but by the early 20th century the rubber trade had moved to the Far East, and the city had fallen into neglect and disrepair. It is now a place without an apparent purpose resplendent in its post-colonial splendour literally in the middle of nowhere, a true frontier town.

I recall my first moments in Iquitos standing on the Malecon at the edge of the city overlooking the river and some 3000 miles of pure rainforest spread out in front of me, an exhilarating experience which still fills me with wonder and awe.

I had come to Iquitos out of a long-standing interest and desire to experience at first hand the living tradition of plant spirit medicines and of course, the magical brew of Ayahuasca of which I had heard so much about.

I was not to be disappointed; my first sessions with a shaman in an open jungle clearing changed my view and understanding of life, a spiritual epiphany. I experienced being in the very centre of creation. I had the realisation and experience that I was not separate but an intrinsic part, a discrete element in the vast cosmic mind or field of consciousness, and that we were all connected. All part of the one great mind, and our experience of ‘separateness’ was no more than an illusion, generated by our being in our bodily vehicle which housed our senses.

One of my most profound experiences in an Ayahuasca ceremony, when I found myself transported to what I felt as the centre of creation. I was in the cosmos witnessing totality, planets, stars, nebulas, and universes forming. Everywhere stretched vast patterns of intricate geometric and fluid complexity constantly changing size and form. The chanting of the shaman was filling every cell with an electric force, every port of my body was vibrating and it felt as if I was being bodily lifted into the air. I was in a temple of sound, vibration and bliss. Gathered around me were giants in ornate costumes of gold and multi-coloured feathers blowing smoke and fanning me, these were the spirits of Ayahuasca, and then this soft gentle and exquisitely soft and sensual voice spoke to me of creation and the universal mind.

To reinforce this poetic insight, the words appeared before me in bold neon like script. When I related this after the session to the maestro said, “Ayahuasca wanted you to understand”, and he continued; “Ayahuasca opens doors to different dimensions. Often the mind can be obstructed from accessing inner knowledge. Ayahuasca can open up the mind to abstract things that cannot be seen in the material world. If I hadn’t had the experience, I would not be able to believe that a tree could have its own world or have a spirit. But when you begin to discover these dimensions personally, little by little you begin to recognise and accept the mystery of it.”

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Ayahuasca Brewing – Video Clip taken on Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreat Nov 2007


Ayahuasca Brewing – Video Clip taken on Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreat Nov 2007

Our group participating in the brewing of Ayahuasca, with Huitoto shaman Lucho. The background voice is Eugene Bersuker who has joined our team facilitating our Retreat Programme.

Ayahuasca Brewing - Video Clip taken on Eagle’s Wing Ayahuasca Retreat Nov 2007 - Eugene BersukerEugene is a Russian-American Yoga teacher, trained in India, Shivananda Saraswati School of Yoga. Traditional Hatha and Yoga for Healing. Yoga postures and meditations used to relieve tensions, purify mind/body, and raise vibrations. An instructor in Chi Gong, and Eugene is also a Licensed Massage Therapist – Swedish and Shiatsu.

Eugene will be offering Yoga and meditation classes, with individual massages available (fee payable) during our Retreats at Mishana.

Visit our website for details on our Amazon Ayahuasca and yoga Retreats

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