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Posts Tagged ‘ayahuasca’

In 1998, I was working with my erstwhile fiancé, a gifted graphic designer, on a book-length project filled with art, essays and interviews. Previously I had edited two well-received ‘zines including The Eulessynian Hot Tub Mystery Religion, which netted me dozens of new friends. In the subsequent years I had accumulated a wealth of material intended for the new project. Reaching out to artists and writers I admired, I was overwhelmed with contributions. Sadly, the project never came to fruition and a few years later my creative partnership ended in an equitable divorce. Of the material I had accrued, almost half was lost irrevocably in a computer crash. Until last week I thought that my interview with post-porn artist and feminist Annie Sprinkle, who had been very kind and accommodating in responding to emailed questions, was lost. Last week I uncovered a cache of documents, including said interview which, after 13 years, appears here for the first time. After so many years, I want to thank Annie Sprinkle for her time and thought.

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Yup'ik shaman exorcising evil spirits from a sick boy, Nushagak, Alaska, 1890s

Traditionally, a culture’s shaman is the neurotechnician of a tribe. A shaman is the bridge between the physical world and the spiritual world, the psychopomp of mystical journeys. Often a shaman will induce a trance, either through the use of psychoactive drugs (traditionally this means anything from ayahuasca, to marijuana, to DMT, and to the many fungal avenues of pharmakognosis such peyote, amanita muscaria, ergot, etc.) or physical methods such as throat singing, fasting, dancing, flagellation, etc. In some traditional cultures, the entire tribe goes on a vision quest together, everyone from babies to the elderly. As the shaman Bear Heart asserts, “Peyote is used for healing. Our people say we don’t hallucinate with peyote; rather we see visions that teach us.”

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