Articles, Blog

Integrating the Modern Practice of Traditional Ayahuasca Shamanism – Joe Tafur

December 24, 2019

[applause] Thank you very much. I want to thank MAPS. It’s really an honor to be here at MAPS. I get credit towards my medical license for doing this, which is really a gift. I want to thank Bea, I don’t know if she’s here, but I really want to thank her for including me, and thank the people from my ayahuasca community that are here. I have a lot I would like to say. I have 30 minutes. I’m going to probably bleed into the question time. Twenty minutes exactly, so I’m saying I’m going to bleed into the question time, but I’m going to do my best. There’s some things I want to say. So this is my talk. First, quickly, peyote medicine is how I got my start. I’ve got my friends at the Peyote Way Church of God. They were going to be here, they couldn’t be here. Maybe one day we’ll have a peyote track at MAPS. That would be nice. In the United States of America. I’m going to kind of explore the developing role of traditional spiritual medicine, not just ayahuasca, in modern society from the perspective of myself as a doctor. What’s driving ayahuasca medical tourism? I’m not talking about just psychonautics and explorers, but there are a lot of people who are going down there for healthcare, and that’s what we see primarily at our center. Why do they come? What aren’t they getting from the healthcare system here? What are we providing at centers like Nihue Rao? What might be the role of our medicine and other traditional spiritual medicines in the future of healthcare? I also promised Anderson DiBernardio I would plug him; this is his artwork and his website. Check it out. This is my background. She went over it. I had this great video with icaros in there, talking about how for the last few years I am training under Ricardo Maringo in Shipibo shamanism. Trying to fit this talk, I got back from the Amazon on Sunday. We’re working very hard there for the people there, running four ceremonies per week and I’m assisting in that for over half the year with my prior background and this is what I’ve come up with. Too bad; it was a really cool video montage. It doesn’t work on the system. This is my main message, since I have this anxiety that I will not be able to get my message across. [laughter] [laughter] I’m just giving you the punchline and then we’ll race towards the question period. So it’s a little techinical but I’m going to try to explain it. Traditional ayahuasca ceremony offers an opportunity for rapid limbic revision, resulting in profound healing, likely in part through epigenetic revision, in the limbic system and related structures and beyond. Traditional cultural technologies are particularly well-suited to address our limbic system, which is largely subconscious. This has great implications for repairing limbic dysfunction and related psychoneuroimmunologic dysfunction. So then I say: Psychedelic treatment with proper set and setting, which integrates things like tribal and shamanic ceremonial concepts, like the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may work through similar mechanisms. So here we go; the race begins. First, this is our center. This is our website; please come visit us. Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual: traditional Amazonian healing center founded in 2011. We practice traditional Shipibo medicine, plant medicine, shamanic medicine. The Shipibo people are of the Ucayali region of Peru, not from Iquitos. They come to Iquitos for the tourism, to treat people from all over the world. One day people eventually will go to Pucallpa. We heal through plant medicine, through traditional Shipibo diets, with master plants, which Steven touched on, and we are especially interested in traditional ayahuasca ceremony. This is Iquitos here in Peru, Pucallpa is here in the middle. That’s the Amazon. So we’re in our third year as a healing center. We’ve treated a few hundred people now, and so I’m trying to share my perspective as a doctor watching this whole process. These are my partners. This is Ricardo Maringo. He’s a master Shipibo healer with extensive experience. He is guiding all the treatment at our center, and he is the majority owner of our center. We are a Shipibo-run center with gringo associates. This is our other partner, Svita Mamic. She is a Canadian artist and also [an] up-and-coming healer. We do a lot of integrative things. There’s an art maloca, there’s art therapy. We have other healers come through: bodyworkers, yoga, energy healing, acupuncture. We’re very open to moving forward into integration. So like I [said] here is me and Ricardo back in the day when Ricardo had long hair. It’s traditional treatment that we offer, with Western integration under the guidance of a Shipibo master. When you come to our center, the typical treatment course, just to give you an idea: You’re going to show up, you’re going to take a vomitive on arrival, throw up, then you’re going to review your intentions of why you’re there with the shamans. [laughter] What can we do for you? How can we help you? Then you’re going to be assigned a master plant…then you’re going to be on a diet, a vegetalista diet, kind of along the lines of what Steven described. A little more strict in the Shipibo tradition under Ricardo. You may be in isolation, that’s a possibility. There’s also going to be additional plant treatments involved: topical plant treatments, possibly, plant vapor steam baths possibly, plant baths. And so, ayahuasca, in the traditional indigenous [system], as people keep touching on this topic, is part of a larger traditional Amazonian plant medicine system, like traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurveda. Ayahuasca is one of the pieces of that story. So we practice with the diet, with the master plants, with all these other elements. And yes, we do do [the] ayahuasca ceremony, and that happens four nights a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. During those ceremonies, you are going to be treated by the icaros, mystical healing songs which [are] integral to our treatment. In this tradition, as opposed to some other traditions, the patient is not obligated to drink ayahusaca. And so, the shaman drinks ayahuasca to make connection with the spirits and the plants and then sings to the patient, and the patient is coming to receive healing song. We do offer ayahuasca to our patients but it is not a requirement of experiencing our ceremony. Then we do a lot of post-ceremony conversation and counseling. There is a lot of dialogue. That’s what we promote. We are into dialogue, and integration through dialogue. A lot of people have the idea that the indigenous community is not into talking. That’s due to a language barrier. That’s why people think that. The Shipibos, I live with them. I work with them; they talk all the time, including during [the] ceremony. So then, you’re going to continue your diet and you go through your process, until it closes. That might be days, that might be weeks, it can be months, and we do offer a one-year diet as well. This is… Ricardo works in ceremony with 2 to 3 shamans, always. We have 2 to 3… this is our other shaman that’s a staple right now, Estela Pangoza Sanacay. We’re also working with Ricardo’s uncle-in-law, Oscar Peña Vasquez. Ricardo believes in a lot of discussion and understanding. Here is him giving a lecture, teaching an icaro to a group of people in the maloca. So, back to the questions: What is driving ayahuasca medical tourism, the healthcare-driven side like I said? Pretty clearly it’s the problems that are not responding well to our typical healthcare approach. So this is kind of a little overview of the family of problems that we see a lot at our center. This is the kind of problems people are coming for, and the kind of problems that people are hearing about, word of mouth, from our patients, that this is how they got help. So then we keep getting more of this kind of thing. So emotional and psychological trauma is a core and central issue that we deal with. So then you have a lot of associated things: Anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, autoimmune disease, which at least in part is related to some psychosomatic components, and then psychosomatic illness, things like chronic fatigue, chronic cough, post-[infection] immune dysfunction. Somebody who had mononucleosis, we just treated somebody last week. So we’re not treating the edgy, the blah blah blah. We just treated a Norwegian family, very conservative family. The dad is not into any kind of psychedelics; they’ve never done anything. Their daughter is a national karate team member who had all this malaise and fatigue after mono that she suffered last year, and the doctors can’t help her. There’s nothing to do. I’m a doctor; I know. We just kind of shine them on and say, you know, you’re going to get better. That’s where she’s at. They’re wealthy, they’ve been to all this stuff. She’s going to compete again. You know? She was with us a couple weeks. She’s ready to go back; she’s ready to compete. So how are we able to make progress with these cases through these so-called primitive techniques? What do these cases share with each other from a Western perspective? Do they share some common physiology? So I get asked a lot, “How do you make sense of it, Joe?” “As a doctor, in academic experience, in that world, and then you’re in there, in [the] ayahuasca ceremony,” “all the time and you do it with the shamans. How do you compute, you know? Doesn’t it” “make you crazy?” And no, it doesn’t at all. And I think the easiest way to make sense of, to integrate philosophies is around some purpose. And so the patient tells the story of integration. If somebody wants to understand what happens, how do you mix it, well, somebody showed up, the doctor said this is what’s wrong with them. They said they had this mono problem, this fatigue. She came to us, the shaman said this, we went through a treatment course, this is what the shaman described, this is what [I] as the doctor observed, this is what the patient described, happened to them, and you come out the other end and you also review the three perspectives. And if there’s a healing, then we have something to talk about. We have a story to explore. So, to explore one story, [here] is a 32-year-old female who came to us with a long-term history of depression and really struggling with low back pain and knee pain, associated with some serious obesity that she had fallen into. But she’s only 32, [and] now she’s having serious mobility problems. She can’t walk around. She can’t participate in life. And so she’s really kind of retreating. She came to us…for one month. So our treatments can get quite extensive, and some people do make really big progress in one week, in two weeks, in 10 days, and [for] other people we request at least a month, and some people need a lot more than that. So she came and dieted one month with us and had [an] ayahuasca ceremony. In the process of dieting, she of course lost weight. She went home and decided to keep dieting for three months. And then she wanted to come back for another month to finish. So she did that. So like I said, yes…in the discipline and removal from her social situations, she was able to organize her life and get physically healthier, but there was a lot of emotional healing that happened in the process, and a lot of things that came to the surface. Beyond the abuse and things that she had suffered, verbally, physically, she realized that she had been molested by her father. She was able then spiritually to resolve that issue in ceremony and move forward and now she is flourishing. So… this prolonged cleanse likely had many implications. It’s really hard from a scientific perspective to try to pick apart what exactly it was. But she saw dramatic improvements in all aspects of her health, and at the end of her treatment she handed me this book. And she said, “Joe,” “this is what you guys did for me. They explain everything right here. You healed my limbic system.” And this is this book, General Theory of Love, which I think is pivotal in this work, pivotal in our understanding, I think it’s a breakthrough genius work, and I think it’s fantastic. This UCSF psychiatrist put this together, Thomas Lewis and his colleagues. I don’t know if anyone knows them; I would love to meet them. I would love to invite them to our center. So they talk about a lot of things. So one of the things they talk about is the limbic system. How’s my time? What are we at? Just to get serious here. [woman’s voice] You have like 7 minutes. Seven minutes, okay, we’ll keep going. The limbic system. It’s our emotional system, basically, and it’s open-loop as it turns out. It’s regulated by our relationships to other people. That’s the thing about our limbic system. So we learn to regulate our emotions through subconscious interaction with, initially, our parents through emotional cues, through facial recognition, through the voice, through the eyes, through all these things. We don’t even have to think about it. This is an instinct of human beings, a subconscious thing that happens to us, and it’s a window of development during childhood that’s particularly important. And then there are other areas of life [where] severe emotional trauma can also make an impact and imprint this system. Problems in this process, for example in the childhood development stage, result in long-term emotional difficulties and difficulties coping with stress. This is very well-documented. The limbic system, just to describe a few elements, is linked to for example, episodic, autobiographical memory, associated with a sense of the self and the past, a mental reliving of an experience, emotional processing, social processing, dreams, sexuality. You know, wow, this sounds like an ayahuasca ceremony. This sounds really familiar. So here’s the limbic system, and the idea is you have this reptilian system, the fight-or-flight, survival, territorial system, at the base of your brain. Then, over that is the limbic system, which we share with mammals, which is pivotal in our social relationships, and then the neocortex, which is our thinking brain, the human brain, which is more evolved in us and separates us from the other mammals. So they bring up these three concepts. First: limbic resonance is the capacity for sharing deep emotional states. What it is is emotional attunement. So two people, I can look [at] you, I can connect with you, boom. I know his emotional state, he knows mine. It’s a natural process. Next step: limbic regulation. So, as you resonate with someone, over time, that has a subconscious effect on your system and that is what happens to the child with the mom. They see some problem, they look at the mom. “What should I do?” “The mom’s calm? Okay, we calm down. The mom’s scared? Oh, I want to stay scared.” So we do that with each other all the time. I see somebody crying, I look at them, my eyes water. I hear laughter, maybe I’m going to laugh. This is an open-loop system that we have, and it’s been overlooked. So, there’s limbic regulation, subconsciously, we have these subconscious imprints on our personalities and moods affecting our future lives, our choices in relationships, perhaps our desire for a substance to regulate our emotions, and then there’s this process of limbic revision, which is the therapeutic alteration of the limbic system. So they give the example, they’re psychotherapists. So they say, [what] you can do in psychotherapy [is] you limbically resonate with your patient. Over time, you get this regulation, and eventually you revise them. It’s a subconscious process. It really doesn’t matter what you talk about. That’s what it is. So, the issue is that the psychotherapeutic model takes like 3 to 5 years. That’s what they recommend. So this 32-year-old female with…our approach felt like she was able to get to that place much faster. There were two months of her treatment that were focused on ayahuasca. So her limbic function improved, as she understood it, more emotional stability, improved habits and relationships, improved stress coping, etc. People primarily come to us for emotional healing (I say “limbic revision”) which is then treated through a larger spiritual approach and context. So psychotherapy, I’m saying, is working through the same kind of thing: limbic revision. For me in many cases, anecdotally speaking, traditional uses [which] include the ritual use of ayahuasca can be much faster. So here’s Ricardo chilling in the maloca. So I say that also I think this is happening through epigenetic processes, and I’m going to try to squeeze that in. [Here’s a] quick thought on integral psychology, Ken Wilbur, and spiral dynamics, talking about stages of development. Let’s say we talk about physics and then we go to the biology phase. Biology includes physics. We don’t need to forget about physics because we’re talking about biology, and so on. So then we have these other stages of development that they link up in spiral dynamics and integral psychology. Check it out; I don’t have time to get into it. For instance, the development of the brain, the reptilian brain, limbic brain, to the neocortical brain and all those stages, they’ve correlated it to all kinds of things. And one of the things they’ve correlated it to was stages of development of the society. So they’re saying that the tribal, shamanic stage of society is actually very closely correlated to that limbic world. It’s about emotion, social community, feeling. We’ve kind of like bypassed…We see this photo of Celestina, shaman who visited us. A lot of people would say, “oh, this is National Geographic. I don’t have anything to do with that.” “Who is that character?” It’s like, no, all of us are from tribal roots, all of us, and we have walked away, and forgotten and turned our back on people all over the world, pretending that we have nothing to do with them. It’s that lack of integration of that limbic phase of our humanity that is a big part of why we’re suffering today. So we are in this neocortical brain phase, ego, individuality, scientific achievement and technology. So we’re trying to apply methods from that world onto this limbic world and it’s not that effective. And that’s why they end up coming down to Peru. So now, I say it’s time for our culture to integrate all this stuff. We’ve got a French guy doing a year of diet training to be a Shaman at our center, and then the burners over at Burning Man doing what they’re doing, reliving the tribe. So I’m saying, [this] family of problems, [from] our perspective, from a shamanic perspective, [which] is kind of a spiritual illness perspective, and I’m saying that that is manifested in limbic dysfunction. What do the shamans say is wrong? They say this person has accumulated too many dark energies, dark spirits, and that what they’re coming for is cleaning. So if we don’t clean and treat these energies, the person gets sick. So what do we do? This is our maloca. We clean, we clean, we clean. So there [are] similar ideas throughout all the traditional cultures actually, here and with the Zulus and Gomans of Africa recently, they do ritual bathing, plant baths, favor treatments. They’re all about ritual cleansing and cleaning, that that is a key to health. Do we have anything that parallels that in Western science? It turns out [that] we do. In the psychoneuroimmunologic world we have the concept of allostatic burden and load. So it’s basically that our stress response system, which is very well defined and described at this stage by psychoneuroimmunology, is burdened over time by accumulated stress, modified, and sometimes overburdened and sometimes maladaptive. I’m going fast, because I got to go fast. So they have conditions, this is the kind of thing. Just multiple stresses. How do you measure allostatic load? They have a measurement. There’s cortisol levels, adrenaline levels, inflammatory markers. These are all [linked to] the immune system being overburdened by accumulated stress that’s sitting and weighing on the system. PTSD [is a] great example of [an] overburdened stress response system. Pretty clear. This is Russ. He came to the…center a while back, [was] treated, got better. From the shamanic perspective, cleaning all the energies and the spirits of the war, that’s what we did. So migraine, you know, is looked at as a maladaptive response to stress, injury to the stress coping mechanism. Again, chronic fatigue syndrome and high allostatic load. Here we see it taking shape in all these illnesses that kind of look kind of spiritual. This [is] childhood, kids that have their parents die. Here’s all the measurements: The HPA axis, the hypothallic pituitary adrenal axis, stress response system, is marked. Psychoneuroimmunology, this is [the] study of all this. Here’s the brain; it’s all very well described. This is the autonomic nervous system, very well described, connected to the whole thing, connected to digestion, connected to erectile dysfunction and all these other emotionally related problems that are…everywhere, connected to our emotions, very directly, and expression of our subconscious body, controlling our tears, our laughter, our digestion, our upset stomach, our nausea, our vomiting, our diarrhea. Sounds like an ayahuasca ceremony. [laughter] Here’s the limbic system again. There’s the hypothalamus sitting in the middle, heading up the stress-response system in the HPA axis, and if you go to these other talks, the psilocybin, they’re saying [something about the] hypothalamus. [With] these other people, there it is. So, accumulated energy, stress from childhood, maltreatment and psychological trauma leads to increased allostatic load, allostatic load represents maladaptive functioning in our psychoneuroimmunologic apparatus. [It] leaves us with less capacity to cope with stress, etc., etc. So then I’m talking about the stress response system. For us, ayahuasca in a proper ritual setting and icaros can be effective in cleaning accumulated stress, damage, allostatic load/burden, often resulting from emotional trauma. Epigenetics: I just want to touch on this. Epigenetics [is] the coding of the genes. This is the coding of the genes, not the genes themselves. [This is] very suspectible to lifestyle, nutrition, environmental toxicity, psychosocial stress. So now we see, this is what gets imprinted. Here’s them. Oh, it looks like…where is the imprinting happening, during maternal imprinting, childhood trauma? Oh, it looks like it’s the epigenetics. Attachment theory: these neglected monkeys, what’s wrong with them [is] their epigenetics, you know? Early life adversity [is associated with] a broad scope of life-long health and behavioral disorders. This study examines whether randomized blah blah blah. [laughter] It’s basically epigenetics. That’s what I want to tell you. There’s a growing thing. Epigenetic mechanism in depression antidepressant action. [laughter] So I think we should explore tha possibility that we at the ayahuasca healing centers are cleaning allostatic load/pathologically imprinted epigenetics from our emotional centers, which by the way are hard-wired into our tears and our vomit (rapid limbic revision). That’s what I want to say. And [the] last thing I just want to say is, spiritual health, you know, where the rubber hits the road in embodied consciousness, the emotional health is there. So we see that. And so …Jacques Mabid is going to get much more into the spiritual technologies, as other people have talked about, what we do in shamanism and technology, but in a way that the larger community is going to understand. Emotional health is a place where that’s marked. And our limbic system is there and the epigenetic imprinting of the limbic system is there. So I think this should be a focus of some research. It seems interesting to me. [applause] [woman’s voice] Thank you very much, Joe. We do have time for a couple of questions, so if you have a question, please come up to the microphone in the center of the aisle. Q: Thanks, Joe, that’s a wonderful presentation. I see you mentioned, I’ll get the pronuncation right, icon..spondylitis? The first word is… A: Ankylosing spondylitis. Q: Yeah. That results in quite a severe deformation of, maybe, the upper vertebra. In the treatment you guys have done, have you seen any reversion back to normal state with that condition? A: Yeah, our experience with that condition was that one individual who was suffering a great deal for most of his life. So we don’t have long-term results or further X-ray results, but he did have a great alleviation of his symptoms and ability to return to a lot of functioning. It was done primarily through cleansing in the maloca, hardcore shamanic cleansing, and a lot of emotional trauma cleansing. That contributed to the improvment of what is the underlying…has genetic tendencies towards that. But these other factors are undoubtedly related to the progression of the disease. Yeah? Is that…okay. Q: Hi, that was a great presentation, I have to say, and very rapid; I was impressed. I’m really excited that your center is largely owned by Shipibo. I spend a fair amount of time in the Amazon. I have to say, sadly, that is not usually how it goes. My question, as someone who’s spent a lot of time in a maloca, I often wonder to what extent people with a medical or scientific background believe that the tools and the analysis that they have available to them is adequate to describe these types of experiences. And since you seem to run to both worlds, I’m very curious about your perception [of] that. A: Yeah, it’s not adequate. I mean, you have to integrate philosophies to describe both. Both phenomena are there. Neither model can fully describe what’s going on. From a shamanic perspective, all kinds of other stuff is going on, psychological stuff, so the physiologic stuff, the embodied consciousness, as I would say, has….you can see marks of this other thing. They’re related, right? That’s what this whole conference is about. They’re saying, well, if we take these hallucinogens and then we have spiritual experiences… somehow, in the flesh, those molecules are related to this spiritual machinery. So we have something inside. So it’s not adequate, but it’s important. So if we can show that, like, going through some treatment course with singing and shamanism and exorcisms and all the rest of it ends up with lowering cortisol levels, normalizing adrenaline levels, changing inflammatory markers, that’s very important. Because that’s something that everyone can relate to. And now that’s my point, is that if we have this family of illness… I’m trying to say, this limbic problem that’s so widespread because of the ignorance of our society, it needs to be addressed. So this PTSD is like a classic issue. So they’re trying to do it with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and it’s fantastic, and they’re getting great results. So if we’re getting great results with these problems, and if the technologies that we have are not adequate to help these problems, then we’re holding back valuable healthcare [from] people that could use it, that are suffering. So that’s…what I want to make a point of. It’s like this is a policy moment. We’re misguided in this area and we’re hurting because of it. The proof is in all these people that are coming down, and they’re getting some rapid results. Most of our people are getting a lot of improvement, and there’s people here that bring it to our center, and let them tell you. Don’t hear from me. But we’re helping people, and a lot of people down there are helping people. Yeah, there’s some witchcraft and all the rest of it, but there are healers. There’s nothing worse than this: some witch doing something is nothing compared to drone bombing Pakistan. [laughter, applause] …This is the evil empire, man. Everyone wants to tell these guys, for causing a little diarrhea, and some nightmares…I don’t know. Q: Joe, I’m going to ask you a question and I…came in a little bit late on your lecture, and I’ve talked to you a lot. What can we do to change the dialogue in western science, because we both do science…to where the model is more receptive to a larger paradigm that’s more perceptually friendly to a lot of phenomena that [have] occurred for 50,000 years plus, that now is being abnegated as…not existing, when we both know that it does exist. A: I would say…my first move is to look at a system, namely the psyconeuroimmunologic system. Use that as a guide. First problem in medicine is [these] organ systems that are breaking up the whole body, and you see the kidney doctor and if it’s not a kidney problem, who cares? And that’s kind of how it’s working right now. So then, that model has actually come up with this system, psychneuroimmunology, the brain connected to the nerves, connected to the immune system, connected to the endocrine system that breaks down all those walls. All the molecules that are supposed to be neurotransmitters are also hormones, as it turns out, and they’re also cytokines of the immune system. So I would say that is a system that goes across a lot of barriers in the model. And…it touches these other areas, spiritual areas, and stress-related areas. So for me, that’s one area to focus on in medicine, that’s going to…help us talk to these larger themes. Q: In terms of autoimmune disease, which you know quite a bit about, they have a kind of idiopathic pathology to them, and no one has really been able to really understand that. So…in my opinion, there’s a science component to this conference. There [need] to be medical practitioners like yourself that [are] willing to open up to other possibities, [so] that we can talk about certain neoplasias that may not have a real clear-cut etiology that’s inducing these all of a sudden mutagenic phenomena in different cells. …In Western medicine, as we both know…no one talks about it. They just say, “well, it’s occurring,” “but we don’t know why.” But I think that we can open up the dialogue to other perceptual models that would actually be favorable to understanding why certain people all of a sudden get autoimmune disease, or they get neoplasia. There’s certain events that are occurring, or as you and I have talked about, certain energy perturbations that might be actually inducing changes in cytokine activities, like IL-1 or IL-6 or IL-7 or TNF-alpha, that [are] actually being motivated by other factors that we can’t explicate in our Western model. So I think what you’re doing is actually awesome. A: Thank you. …I’m down there, and we’ve had medical students come down and rotate underneath me. We’ve had naturopathic students come and rotate underneath me, and… we are with the MAPS researchers. I can facilitate researchers with Shipibo shamans. You want to put [an] EEG cap on Ricardo, you know, I can convince him to do it. [laughter] So you want to study qualitative results of what’s going on, you know, I’m there. I can help facilitate this. So that’s one way, you know, is to have people come through the experience. Go ahead. I’m sorry. I’m very sorry; we need to stop the questions here and make space for the next speaker. I ask Brian Anderson to come up, please. [applause]


  • Reply Jason Bunting May 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Wow, that was awesome – I love how he used "Western" (allopathic) terms to explain how ayahuasca-based medicines work.

  • Reply Zoe Helene May 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Dr. Joe Tafur and his colleagues at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual are doing amazing work.

  • Reply Jeffrey Backstrom May 31, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks, Joe!

  • Reply 1979john1979 June 6, 2013 at 4:15 am

    This is great ,but why is he so pressed for time?

  • Reply Brandon Nelson April 17, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    i love that joe is an md but is completely committed to this traditional shamanic cosmic medical practice.

    also it becomes clear to me that the ayahuasceros (wow, youtube has a very psychedelic spellcheck) are solving the problem at the deepest possible level…because it operates beyond the intellect (to which modern medicine is desperately attached). i feel more comfortable with the deeper shamanic level of practice.

    but i love that he always connects it to science.

    and i'm especially interested in his hints about epigenetics. an idea whose time may have come (back to). i always felt that lamarck was right, but mainstream biology refused to look for any mechanism because epigenetics didn't fit the old model (see koestler's "case of the midwife toad").

  • Reply alberto roman October 26, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Few presentations offer the experiential clarity, philosophical sophistication, scientific veracity, and spiritual sensibility as this.  Pura Vida.

  • Reply OfficialHankIII April 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I respect maps SO dont take this the wrong way.
    No disrespect but should't a true Shaman be doing these kind of talks.Hate to say it but a white mind/USA/Candian will never truly understand it.
    Whites are young minds trying to explain a plant and history they really don't know nothing about if they are talking about Ayahuasca from a USA Candian Stance?
    If you really do the math on the generations raised with the Ayahuasca medicine true natives will always know way more then any white man can try to interpret. Always keep that in mind. Its not a put down but its just facts of history with this plant. Any thoughts?

  • Reply Lando Cartel April 25, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Great talk

  • Reply Dr. Joe Tafur October 7, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Please support our crowdfunding project investigating epigenetics and

    psychedelic psychotherapy, learn more at

  • Reply Dr. Joe Tafur October 7, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Please support our crowdfunding project investigating epigenetics and psychedelic psychotherapy, learn more at

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