EDITORIAL: NEON: In Search of Ayahusca
For centuries shaman in the Amazon have been using the hallucinogenic Ayahuasca as a gateway to the soul, believing it capable of curing anything that ails you. In the last few years it has gained popularity worldwide, primarily from young travelers seeking a new spiritual experience.
People who have tried ayahuasca say they have undergone spriritual revelations, including giving them greater understanding as to the meaning of life and their purpose on Earth. After purging (vomiting that occurs shortly after consuming the medicine that is believed to be a purging of negative energy) many claim to be visited by the plants goddess who leads the participant on their discovery.
For some it can be a dangerous experience. Ayahuasca tourism has exploded. From sellers in the marketplace to lodges popping up literally overnight – there are indeed the unscrupulous looking to take advantage of this craze. Rape and molestation have occurred as well as a handful of deaths.
In September I travelled with writer Alard Kittlitz of NEON Magazine to Iquitos, Peru – through the markets of Belen and deep into the Amazon jungle – in search of this experience.