Non-Native Ayahuasca Use




Kosovych, Danylo

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This thesis explores the use of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic plant concoction from the Amazon, by people from the English speaking world. This thesis argues that there is no “original” or “typical” use of ayahuasca; it is a dynamic practice that has undergone massive change. In order to show this change, this thesis describes the different roles that shamans have had as a result of colonialism and modernization. Fieldwork was carried out at a healing center in the Peruvian Amazon. The motivations of informants and the effects ayahuasca had on them are compared with previous research on non-native ayahuasca use. The motivations of non-natives for taking ayahuasca are different from native motivations. The two main reasons are a desire for an end to alienation and a resolution of emotional trauma. Nearly all participants reported positive experiences from taking ayahuasca. The ayahuasca intoxication produces a liminal period, in which participants are able to reflect upon the issues affecting them.



Ayahuasca, Shamanism, Tourism, Amazon, Spirituality, New Age