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An exploration of the chemical, biological, psychological, and experiential dimensions of ayahuasca

• Details the scientific discovery of ayahuasca’s sophisticated psychoactive delivery system in the brain and body and its potential applications in medicine and psychology

• Includes contributions from Dennis J. McKenna, Ph.D., J. C. Callaway, Ph.D., and Charles S. Grob, M.D., on the ethnopharmacology, psychology, phytochemistry, and neuropharmacology of ayahuasca

• Provides 24 firsthand accounts of ayahuasca experiences and resulting life changes

Widely recognized by anthropologists as the most powerful and widespread shamanic hallucinogen, ayahuasca has been used by native Indian and mestizo shamans in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador for healing and divination for thousands of years. Made from the Amazonian vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the DMT-laden leaf of Psychotria viridis, ayahuasca is regarded as the embodiment of intelligent plant beings who can offer spiritual teachings and healing knowledge to those who respectfully engage with them. Many Western-trained physicians and psychologists now acknowledge that ayahuasca allows access to spiritual dimensions of consciousness, otherworldly realms and beings, and visionary experiences indistinguishable from classic religious mysticism.

With contributions from leading psychoactive scholars Dennis J. McKenna, Ph.D., Charles S. Grob, M.D., and J. C. Calloway, Ph.D., on the ethnopharmacology, psychology, phytochemistry, and neuropharmacology of ayahuasca, Ralph Metzner provides a comprehensive exploration of the chemical, biological, psychological, and experiential dimensions of this Amazonian hallucinogen. He includes more than 20 firsthand accounts from people who have participated in ayahuasca rituals and experienced major life changes as a result. He details the scientific discovery of ayahuasca’s sophisticated psychoactive delivery system in the brain and body as well as the deep psychological impact of this potent entheogen. He concludes with his own findings on ayahuasca, including its applications in medicine and psychology, and compares the worldview revealed by ayahuasca visions to that of modern cultures.

  • Publisher: Park Street Press (March 2, 2014)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620552629

The Ayahuasca Experience is a most valuable resource, encompassing the history, psychology, spirituality, scientific understanding, and raw experience of the Amazonian ‘vine of the spirits’ now entwining itself into the Western psyche. Metzner’s work is particularly recommended to those first encountering ayahuasca, who require an authoritative, user-friendly guide to the mysterious terrains opened by this traditional, sacred medicine.”

– Robert Tindall, author of The Jaguar that Roams the Mind and The Shamanic Odyssey

“Thought provoking, wide ranging, and well reasoned, Metzner’s collection of essays and self-reports contains an extraordinarily wide representation of subjective effects of, and scientific findings regarding, ayahuasca in the modern West. It provides ideas for future research and is essential for beginners and veterans in the field.”

– Rick Strassman, M.D., author of DM T: The Spirit Molecule and clinical associate professor of psychi

“Ralph Metzner, world-famous pioneer of psychedelic research and consciousness explorer, brings together a masterful collection of writings exploring the nature of this extraordinary sacred potion, from its chemical and biological properties and psychological effects to its enormous healing and spiritual potential. This book will be an inspiration for lay audiences and a treasure trove of information for scholars studying consciousness and the human psyche.”

– Stanislov Grof, M.D., author of LSD : Doorway to the Numinous, Healing Our Deepest Wounds, and When

“The Ayahuasca Experience is a classic in the enthogenic literature genre.”

– Ruth Parnell, Nexus, June 2014