Beware ye pilgrims who be messing with the sacred medicina!
It is well past time to call this out: real people ARE dying in ayahuasca ceremonies – and not all those deaths are accidental. The Vine of the Dead always came with a curse, so beware the cup you drink from!
This time it came by email:
Another one is dead. Hundreds are in trouble and they do not understand. Thousands have been lured into black magic!
There is war in the spiritual worlds, we are losing the trust of the Great Goddess.
Help us! We have no voice!
… this, from one of the leading healers using the powerful, psychotropic San Pedro cactus in all Ecuador. And the third such message to find me in three decades.
For the second time in all the years I have been working with traditional healers in the plant medicine world, I am stepping into this story to beg for caution and respect among those of you using sacred plant medicines for any reason.
On behalf of jungle healers and curranderos, I send this as a warning to the ‘ayahuasca community’, and all those seeking ‘ceremony’. The covenants are breached, the chemistry gone bad – the dark omens around the sacred plants of South America are well in force so beware the cup your drink from!
** ~ **
In late 2012, the 18-year-old body of American, Kyle Nolan, was scratched out of a shallow jungle grave in the remote jungle of Peru. The man who had hastily and secretly stuffed the corpse into the ground, shaman Jose Manuel Pineda, who also calls himself Maestro Mancoluto, was the same one who handed the troubled teen the dose of ayahuasca that led to to his lonely and unimaginable death.
But Kyle’s was not the first death in ayahuasca circles. And it certainly wasn’t the first to be lied about. Kyle Nolan, who went to Peru in search of direction, meaning and help in his young life, is most certainly not the last one who will die in a shamanic ‘healing’ ceremony.
Others have already, and many more will follow them as murder, mischief, abuse, injury and rape contaminate the so-called ‘ayahuasca community’.
British teen, Henry Miller, was found dumped by the side of a jungle road after paying 50 pounds to join a tourist adventure drinking the brew, yage, in Colombia in 2014. The gap year traveler is believed to have taken ill, been removed by the tribal ‘shaman’ and disposed of while the other tour members were kept out of sight. His story is reported by The Guardian here.
Two men died after consuming ayahuasca in a massive “purification” ceremony in the north of Colombia in 2011. Prosecutors said the two were part of a group of at least 80. They were said to have ‘passed out’ but when taken to hospital, believed to be ‘in trance’ doctors declared them to be dead.
A 71-year-old Canadian, Jane Maiangowi, died after being served ayahuasca by Ecuadorian shaman, Juan Uyunkar, in Canada. He was tried and given 150 hours of community service.
And Leslie Allison, a fit, vibrant young woman traveling in Ecuador suffered horrific injuries during an ayahuasca ceremony near Vilcabamba in Ecuador in 2016. She died in that ceremony, with many people watching. The cause and surrounding events remain unknown because even the other tourists there, Western participants, mostly refuse to speak up.
This is hardly surprising, given what is passing for normal in this, and other ‘medicine’ towns. You can see the sort of ‘club’ that prospers in places like this, here, in article about silence, secrecy and violence in Vilcabamba, and here, in a story about how the indigenous are persecuted for fighting back.
You can be pretty certain that here, as well as in most places where you can dabble in ‘sacred ceremony’, if things go wrong, NOBODY WILL HELP YOU! And if things go really badly wrong, you will be abandoned. This will likely be interpreted as a special experience for you to meet your angels, fate, karma, animal spirit, whatever….
In Leslie’s case, despite s0 many witnesses, her case remains unsolved and a close secret. What is known is that, on January 14th something went seriously wrong at a ceremony facilitated by persons of extremely dubious character and history from the afflicted gringo village of Vilcabamba.
These people were already known to have been involved in a myriad of misdeeds. Leslie was participating in some sort of shamanic ‘exercise’ by which she possibly received her fatal injuries and may have ultimately been left alone, suffering an agonizing death while others watched on. Some later said it had been beautiful. And that she had turned into a butterfly.
The shaman, Miguel Chiriap, a Shuar ‘healer’ who is feared by other medicine workers, and well-known across the region, refuses to comment and remains at large, pending investigations. His team did, however, post this comment on his website.
But Leslie’s case is what inspired long-time, highly trained and experienced workers with plant medicines to contact me in an appeal to get the word out – that things have gone very wrong. That even ancestral ayahuascaros are scared.
That it is possible that the plants and the spirits they summon have become malicious. That people are being ritualistically sacrificed. That there is a very dark story in the lucrative skirts of ‘ayahuasca tourism’ and its New Age shamanic cult.
In Kyle’s case, as in many others, the details were at first hidden. It is likely that other dead bodies remain undiscovered. And it is a fact that sexual abuse, possession and other serious problems are rife in ‘ceremonial’ circles.
After Kyle’s ceremony, no mention was made by anybody that the journey had gone bad, that Kyle was dead, or even missing. It wasn’t until the shy triplet failed to make his return flight to California that his family knew something was wrong. When his mother and sister flew to Peru to find him, they headed to the Shimbre Centre, 9 miles from Puerto Maldonado, where Kyle was last heard of, and were told, to their faces, by the men who had disposed of his dead body, that he was last seen wandering off into the jungle.
The shaman shrugged his shoulders.
The center owner, Roberto Velez, a derivatives broker from New York City, had been warned already that Maestro Mancoluto had gone maverick, that people were at risk, that the ayahuasca ceremonies were dangerous. But he just shook his head.
Crazy kid! Just… “wandered away, disconsolate, walking down the dirt road out, pulling his wheeled luggage.”
Mixed up Americans!
Yeah…… we get a lot of em.”
But that wasn’t how it went down.
After Peruvian police got involved Mancoluto broke. He fessed up to the death. He told authorities that he was a direct descendant of aliens from Mars, and had sent Kyle out into the jungle by night, under the effects of ayahuasca, to make a quest which he would oversee telepathicly from the shelter of his hut. He told them Kyle had died. He told them he had dragged his dead body out into the jungle to get rid of it. He took them to the shallow grave.
Velez closed the centre, though you can still see it online and apparently book a ‘transformational tour’ here. Maestro Mancoluto got 3 years’ probation for secretly burying a body, and who knows what hell Kyle’s family went through, but you can read a message from his dad, Sean Bruce Nolan, here.
Meanwhile, loud, apparently stupid, and unfathomably cruel people from the ‘ayahuasca community’ had a field day on social media, saying Kyle should have been more careful, being out in the jungle. If you follow the comments here, you can see how deluded and viscous this cult has become. You will likely see a similar thread following this story too.
Why? Easy. Money! Influence. Power. Those are the main reasons the ‘community’ so viciously defends itself, and why it is not more transparent.
And why do people even venture down this path? That’s easy too: because it works.
There is no doubt that ayauasca, its associated ceremonies, allied plants and ‘shamanic’ care do work. I can attest to it myself. And I have the medical evidence to prove it.
In 2008, by sheer accident, I ended up in the care of an ayahuasca healer – on advice of American medical doctors, after a 3-year health crisis that ended up as crippling arthritis, systemic swelling, loss of muscle mass, welts, depression and ‘irreversible’ joint deterioration, chronic fatigue, memory loss and extreme pain returned while I was at work in the Amazon.
The plant worker diagnosed me in hours, cured me in a week, and in nearly 10 years I have never had a remission, despite being assured by professors of Medicine from three different disciplines at three leading hospitals in Australia and the USA, that I would never be cured.
He never called himself a shaman. He made most of his earnings as a photocopy repair guy.
But this stuff works.
It works like a plane can fly – in the hands of a pilot, and not just in the hands of somebody who has, you know, flown alot. In the same way that getting a heart transplant does not make you an expert on doing a heart transplant. But that’s not what the new wave of ‘shaman’ seem to think. They propose that taking the plant medicines or hanging out with the powerful healers who use them actually entitles them to step up and market their own new powers, cashing in on the massive depression, addiction, illness and brag value of ‘ceremony’.
People – sensible people, hopeful people, and many vain and lost people – in their hundreds and thousands go to ayahuasca ceremonies all over the world – looking for cures for physical, emotional, spiritual and social pain. It is also why thousands of people ‘dressed’ as healers prey on their hopes and dollars, and why things are going extremely bad in the plant medicine scene.
But there are deeper, darker and more ancient reasons too. As the true plant workers themselves have warned, and as I have been asked to write about, to warn all of you playing with the plant medicines, or considering taking your own quest to seek their powers – the medicine is dangerous! She does not suffer disrespect.
The rules have been broken.
The sacred circles breached.
The goddess is on the warpath ~ and she is taking her revenge!
Not all of which will be deadly.
Shaman, several of whom made contact with me to ask me to write this, are all too well-aware that the powerful sacraments they have used for generations to heal, inspire, educate and initiate their communities are themselves alive. They are living liquids, alive with the intelligence and also the character of the Goddess – the prime creator. She has the face of an anaconda, and sometimes a puma. She has the body of a bird, and sometimes an alligator. She turns up as fairy, demon, devil or virgin, and she does not like to be messed with.
Ayahuasca, it is NO secret, has a relish for revenge.
And the curranderos who work with her include among her punishments for misuse, disrespect, or breach of etiquette such
things as madness, bad luck, confusion, accidents, delusions of grandeur, lustiness, perversion, sickness, and a headlong plunge into the sometimes hardtoputafingeron realm of the deadly sins; avarice, greed, sloth, lust, anger, pride. Surprisingly, perfectly correlating with the Christian and even Buddhist pathways to suffering and evil.
They say that while people posing as shaman, even if they really believe they have that gift, are putting others at severe physical risk. They are exposing them to a ferocity of magic, degradation of character, and profound spiritual violence. They warn of a psychic war well beyond what the Western imagination is prepared to cope with ~ no matter how many tattoos it boasts.
They say those who use the sacred medicines for profit, for cultivating beauty, influence, attention, power or the allegiance of other narcissistic energies or entities are making pacts with a force of darkness likely beyond their worst nightmares. And they are sucking everybody they work with down the same hell-hole. Let’s call it the A-hole.
In short, they warn there is a war over souls that has avalanched into ayahuasca circles, once a safe and scrupulously defended ritual ground.
They say that incompetent, uninitiated, power-focused imposters are being used by forces beyond their capacity to suck hundreds of thousands of unwitting souls into a dark spell of confusion, vanity and malice that is ignored as silly and hysterical and anti-competitive by the very same charlatans who got us into this mess.
You can take it or leave it. But I am here to warn you – not all is anything like what it even remotely seems in the fantastic, powerful, mysterious world of ritual ethnogen use. In the years’ of research I have made into plant medicine and the horrific emergence of the plant medicine tourism industry, and it’s twisted cousin, the New Age ayahuasca cult, I have heard countless stories of molestation, of terror, abuse, meddling with sacred recipes by adding speed, acid, mushrooms and alcohol to the mix, and stories of people fleeing ‘ceremonies’ in Bali, Australia and the US for fear of their lives or sanity.
If you believe these plants have the power to help you, then you need to consider that they are equally able to harm you – and the worst fate might not be death.
For those who have lost a child, sibling, loved one to the dark side of plant ceremony, there may be no greater loneliness. Cases are unreported, unpunished and ‘shaman’ are profoundly, gob-smackingly UNaccountable, despite their grand promises.
Here’s a simple case study of how some ‘shaman’ are created.
In 2009, American lawyer, runaway dad and pancreatic patient, Scott Fisher, (now selling himself as a ‘yoga teacher; in Wisconsin, USA) left his partner and one-year-old son secretly, overnight, to make a quest for health and vision in Peru.
He had been experiencing hostile encounters with aliens, sickness and loss of meaning. He had been profoundly addicted to pot for a long time. He indeed got well in Peru. He became strong, well and ambitious. He went to Australia where his vision for his life as a shaman and worker with plant medicines crystalized more and more as real employment began to seem less likely.
By 2015, Fisher had returned to Ecuador, where he did set himself up as a ‘shaman’ giving the hallucinatory cactus, San Pedro, to tourists and expats for US$50.
He was never trained by any shaman or even met an actual shaman. All his experience came from experimenting with recreational drugs, and associating with gringo-turned-shaman as a living. He was becoming increasingly remote, violent and paranoid. But he was making the threads of a living.
In that year I went with him to make ceremony, after having worked with plants and been healed and inspired by them for more than 2 decades, and had one of the most violent, miserable, dark experiences of my life.
Here are the images of what Scott looked like before and after the two years he got involved with entrepreneurs in the healing movement, and began working with plants – so judge for yourself. And know that it is not only those who take the medicine, but those who give it who put themselves in danger if they do not understand the boundaries.
What I want you to consider, and what many others with deep respect and confidence in the powers of ayahuasca and the other plant medicines is that there is no doubt that extremely dark and dangerous realities are afoot in the mystic realm.
You have been warned.