Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, is a psychoactive hallucinogen that is considered a classical psychedelic. Consumption of this compound can cause vivid hallucinations, mind-altering thought patterns, and even out-of-body experiences in different worlds. DMT works because our bodies naturally (at least hypothetically) produce DMT in certain cases.
The most frequent citing of this production is during near-death experiences, which can explain the tunnel of light and vivid flashbacks that people have during these intense traumas. DMT can be made artificially into a vaporizable or smokeable form, but the most common method of consumption is the South American psychedelic brew Ayahuasca. While the artificial drug only lasts about 45 minutes, Ayahuasca is naturally synthesized from plant fibers and can last from 4-6 hours.
Ayahuasca trips are very different than classical psychedelics, as traditionally these trips are guided (unlike psilocybin mushrooms or LSD). One is guided by a shaman who brews the liquid in a process that mixes both the Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis plants to create the final brew.
This brew extends the DMT trip via the Banisteriopsis caapi plant which produces MAOIs (Which are MAO inhibitors) that slow the enzymatic breakdown of DMT (the DMT is produced by the Psychotria viridis plant) in your brain. A tripper is then given the brew to drink and is watched carefully and spiritually guided by a shaman.
Unlike most psychedelic trips, Ayahuasca is very much a ritualistic journey. According to former alcoholic Mike Pond, his journey with Ayahuasca is very closely tied with nature, who explains, “We’re all anxious as we sit in a circle in the maloka, an impressive large open-roofed circular structure thrust up into the jungle on a wooden foundation. A lot of love and thought went into its design. The sky dips inky black above; and below, the slow, soothing burble of mountain streams, creates the feeling we are immersed in nature.”
Additionally, candles are lit and tobacco is smoked, and shamans chant and sing to guide Mike through what seems like an intense and mystical journey. He even has an out-of-body experience: “Now my body shoots straight up into the sky into what I think is the stratosphere and I burst into trillions of tiny particles of light and energy. I’m nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I have no sense of a body, just infinite energy.”
Throughout Mike’s journey, these shamans guide him and help him through this incredible and intense journey. This guided experience allows one to not only be safe in their experience but also to grasp a full understanding of the trip. The group of trippers also get to discuss their trip the morning after about their experiences and what they went through in order to get a better grasp of the abstract messages. and more importantly. the healing that comes through this process.
Mike isn’t the only person to go take an Ayahuasca journey. In fact, a more famous Micheal has taken Ayahuasca. The host of YouTube science and philosophy channel Vsauce also known by his real name, Micheal Stevens, has also gone on his own journey. In this video, Micheal travels to Peru to participate in an Ayahuasca ritual which is recorded by both Dr. Robin-Carrhart Harris and a camera crew. Dr. Harris also takes medical measurements to document the ritual as a whole. For this first time, an outsider gets to see what it’s like. You get to see the brew, hear the chanting and see Micheal react to the psychedelic effects.
Micheal makes two discoveries after taking Ayahuasca. One is a more philosophical stance on the feelings of psychedelics and mystical experiences as a whole. “I’d always been frustrated by the difficulty people had describing what it feels like to have a psychedelic experience and now I know why. It’s a different state of mind and trying to describe it is like trying to describe anger to someone who has never felt it. Or what colors are like to a blind person.” This sentiment is typical of people who have been through psychedelic trips in general, and Ayahuasca guided trips, specifically.
However, there were not only philosophical insights gained from his experience, as FMRI scans show more neural connectivity in Micheal’s brain. This provides a scientific backbone to the positive insights and growth that people experience after taking this ancient medicine. In fact, there are a few studies that suggest that DMT can prevent neurodegeneration and even boost memory.
If there is anything to be learned about these guided Ayahuasca trips, it’s that the two worlds the scientific/clinical and the shamanistic/mystical, need to synergize in order to obtain balance in the world of modern medicine. If we can find a way to do that we can figure out how to bring these effective treatments into light and give people a larger quantity and quality of options for treatments.
According to Jan Ögren, a licensed psychotherapist, international author and “resident shaman” at EarthRise, it is absolutely possible to view modern science through a mystical lens and that lens is Consciousness. Ögren describes the idea of “Gathing”. “Gathing” (Guided on your path) is another core principle of Psychological Shamanism. It’s a method of tuning into our fear, criticisms, and culturally non-affirming messages so that we can listen deeply to our intuition and follow a sense of our unique path in life.”
From this perspective, psychedelics can be simply a vehicle for altering consciousness so we can finally rediscover our past and discover a true connection between the past and the present and in the process bring about true healing.
At Newsweed.com, we adhere to three simple principles: truth, balance, and relatability. Our articles, podcasts, and videos strive to present content in an accurate, fair, yet compelling and timely manner. We avoid pushing personal or ideological agendas because our only agenda is creating quality content for our audience, whom we are here to serve. That is why our motto is ”Rolling with the times, straining for the truth.”
Your opinion matters. Please share your thoughts in our survey so that Newsweed can better serve you.
Charles Bukowski, the Los Angeles beat poet that captured the depravity of American urban life once said, “There is something about writing poetry that brings a man close to the cliff’s edge.” Newsweed is proud to stand in solidarity and offer you a chance to get close to the cliff’s edge with our first Power of Poetry Contest. Are you a budding bard, a versatile versifier, a rhyming regaler? Do you march to the beat of iambic pentameter, or flow like a river with free verse? If so, here’s your opportunity to put your mad poetic chops to the test. Enter our poetry contest for bragging rights and an opportunity to win some cash!