Author: Georgi

Traditional Usage and Benefits of the Coca Leaves

The coca leaves are one of the seven sacred master plants of America - Ayahuasca , Yopo , Peyote , San Pedro, the magic mushrooms and the tobacco . They have been used in rituals and ceremonies for thousands of years .


coca leaves


The first evidence of ceremonial usage of coca leaves can be traced back to 2500 B.C.  This sacred plant is part of the tradition of the tribes alongside the Amazon rainforest and the Andes . They has an important role as a medicine and as an offering to the spirits-guardians of the nature and the forest .


The indigenous tribes of south America use the coca leaves as a tool


A tool for provoking an open and honest conversation among the members of the community . When taken together with the Ambil tobacco paste , mambe(dried and powdered leaves of coca plant) positively influence the throat chakra . The people consume this mixture in the context of an ancient conversational ritual usually held after sundown . In this ritual the elders share their wisdom and knowledge with the younger generation . An interesting fact is that the women also attend these ceremonies , but they don’t consume coca leaves . This ancient tradition connects the people to one another and strengthen their connection with the nature and the spirits .


coca leaves


The preparation and the ceremony in which the coca leaves are consumed differ depending on the region and the shamanic tradition


The inhabitants of the Andean highlands chew fresh leaves , mixed with small doses of alkaloids . They don't swallow the leaves however , only chewing them until the juice comes out . Then what is left is placed down on the ground as an offering to the spirits . Furthermore , they use the the sacred medicine not only for its spiritual properties . There is another aspect to this special plant - his affects on the human body . The leaves increase the levels of oxygen in the blood and by doing so , prepare the human's body for proper functioning  on high altitude . The leaves are a perfect remedy for preventing altitude sickness . Above all the coca leaves can help overcome fatigue , hunger and thirst . These properties of the coca plant are essential for the indigenous population of the Andes . 


Unlike the highland people, the inhabitants of the rainforest use Mambe


Mambe consist of dried and powdered coca leaves mixed with Yarumo leaves ash  . This form of preparation and usage is preferred by them , as dried leaves are much easier for conservation it the humid environment of the rainforest . Mambe is poured in the mouth and later swallowed .

 coca leaves - preparation of mambe


The traditional healers apply the coca leaves for centuries as a painkiller . They also use the sacred medicine in cases of fractures, as it is calcium rich . It constricts the blood vessel and reduces bleeding . Curanderos and shamans prescribe the plant in cases of digestive problems , asthma, ulcers and malaria . It also improve longevity .


Many of the beneficial effect of the coca leaves are confirmed by the mainstream science and medicine


Beside the calcium, the coca leaves are rich on vitamins and minerals like B1, B2, C, and E , potassium, and phosphorus , as well as proteins and fibers . A gram of coca leaves contains five times the amount of proteins found in the red meat .

 coca leaves gathering


The Indigenous people of South America use coca leaves and the rest of the seven sacred plants , for their numerous spiritual and health benefits . Important part of almost every ritual , these plants has proven their good intentions . If approached with respect and reverence they can help us establishing a strong connection with the spiritual realm .They teach us how to live in symbiosis with the nature . And above all they can show us how to become better human beings .


Related Literature

Andean-Amazonian Shamanism, Master and Master Plants of Power - Coca, Ayahuasca, San Pedro

by Yanaanka Tasorinki


History of Coca: "The Divine Plant" of the Incas

by M.D. W. Golden Mortimer

Plants of Power: Native American Ceremony and the Use of Sacred Plants

by Alfred Savinelli


The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community

by Catherine J. Allen


Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann and Christian Rätsch

Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul

by Ross Heaven, Howard G. Charing and Pablo Amaringo(Foreword)


Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness

by Pam Montgomery and Stephen Harrod Buhner

The DMT Molecule and the Pineal Gland

What actually is the DMT molecule ?


DMT molecule


DMT(N,N-DMT) or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine is a molecule from the tryptamine family . The DMT molecule can be naturally found in many animal and plant species including humans .


In his book "DMT:The Spirit Molecule" , Richard Strassman says that DMT , one of the most powerful naturally occurring psychedelics , can establish a constant and reliable connection between different realms of existence . That it can carry our consciousness to other dimensions and parallel universes . The native South American population has a long lasting connection with the DMT molecule . It is an important part of the spiritual practices and shamanic traditions of the indigenous population . The spirit molecule is the main ingredient in the sacred brew of Ayahuasca and the Yopo sniff . It has been their portal to the divine realms and their way to communicate with the spirits . The DMT molecule possesses unique properties . It tunes our minds differently . It can open our eyes for the world and to teach us how see it differently .


In regard with the DMT molecule and its effect Alexander Shulgin wrote in his book “Tryptamines I Have known and Loved”  :

“How long will this last, this delicious feeling of being alive, of having penetradet the veil which hides beauty and wonders of the celestial vast? It doesn’t matter, as there can be nothing but gratitude for even a glimps of what exists for these who can become open to it ”


What is the pineal gland ?


DMT molecule and the pineal gland


The French philosopher Rene Descartes called it the “seat of the soul”. The pineal gland is positioned on the best and the most protected place in our heads . Right in the middle of the brain . Furthermore it is the only part of the human brain that doesn't have its specular projection in both hemispheres . The pineal gland may look small and insignificant , but the studies has found that it is crucial for the physical , mental and the spiritual health of the individual . This small cone-shaped gland also releases melatonin , which regulates the sleep cycle . Many believe that the pineal gland is the so called Third Eye . The invisible organ that can pierce to realms beyond our own . 


The relation of the DMT molecule and the pineal gland .


According to Sergio Felipe de Oliveira , doctor of science at the University of San Paulo, and director at the Pineal Mind Clinic, the activation of the pineal gland is closely related to consciousness altering experiences like these in visionary and meditative states .


Richard Strassman suggests that the DMT molecule is naturally produced by the pineal gland . It produces DMT in large quantities during mystical experiences , dreaming , birth and death . In his research on the DMT molecule Richard Strassman has worked together with the British scientist David Deutsch - a theoretical physicist at the University of Oxford and author of the book: “The fabric of reality” . They discussed the possibility that the DMT molecule can alter the brain functions in such a manner , that the consciousness as to become capable of entering parallel universes . The physicist doubted this possibility , as accordingly to him such thing would require a quantum computing .

“could distribute components of a complex task among vast numbers of parallel universes" he says "and then share the results. One of the conditions required for quantum computing is a temperature close to absolute zero.” 


However Strassman notes that the DMT molecule is a key substance that alters the physical properties of the brain . Because of that it may be is possible the quantum computation to occur in a regular temperature.


DMT molecule


According to the scientific studies the pineal gland becomes visible in the human fetus on the 49th day .


This is also when the gender of the fetus is determined . Accordingly to the Tibetan Bon - 49 days is the time needed for the soul to reincarnate to the next life . Strassman goes even further in his suggestions and connects the DMT molecule with a significant event in the life circle :

“When our individual life force enters our fetal-body, the moment in which we become truly human, it passes through the pineal and triggers the first primordial flood of DMT.”


Many describe the DMT experience as a journey . A journey to other dimensions , a meeting with entities unfamiliar to us . These who has worked with the spirit molecule , describe it as something real , rather than just simple hallucination . The DMT molecule has changed the lives of many . It has showed them a different path . It has brought them to places otherwise unreachable .


The pineal gland and the DMT molecule exist in close collaboration .


They are responsible for many of the most sacred experiences we have . Together they form a sort of organ with unique properties . We still don’t have the scientific answer on what the DMT molecule really is , why it is produced in the pineal gland and how this affect us as human beings . Later studies proved that the DMT molecule has a variety of applications . It has proven quite successful in treating mental problems like PTSD , anxiety and depression . Furthermore , everyone can now buy DMT online . This gives a whole new field of opportunities for explorers and psychonauts to work with the Spirit molecule and to analyze it from another perspective . A perspective rather different than the pure scientific approach .


Maybe the truth about the DMT molecule and the pineal gland lies beyond science , beyond reason , beyond our universe …



Related Literature

DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible

by Rick Strassman M.D.___________________________

Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT

by Graham St John , foreword Dennis McKenna___________________________

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead

by Timothy Leary


The Pineal Gland: The Eye Of God

by Manly P. Hall


The Dimensions of Paradise: Sacred Geometry, Ancient Science, and the Heavenly Order on Earth 

by John Michell


Third Eye: Third Eye, Mind Power, Intuition & Psychic Awareness: Spiritual Enlightenment

by Alex McKenna

Herbal Incenses and How to Use Them

A single herbal incense can make a significant difference in our lives as long as we know when and how to use it . They are used since ancient times for their numerous properties and benefits .


Each herbal incense has its unique effects on the human body and consciousness .


They have positive influence over the aura vibrations and are a perfect tool for cleansing the negative energies . The herbal incenses are used in religious and spiritual rituals , to honor the spirits and to pray to the gods . The fume of the incenses is a vessel that can carry our sacred thoughts and prayers to other realms of existence .  

 herbal incense


The herbal incenses also possess healing properties . They are widely applied as a form of remedy for variety of mental and physical issues . The Incenses are inseparable part of almost every shamanic ritual and a tool for establishing a deeper connection with the spiritual realm .


Here are some of the most beneficial herbal incenses that we can use in our everyday life.



Carnation herbal incenseThe carnation is one of the most ancient herbal incenses used for their healing properties and its positive effects . In medieval times the carnation essence is used for anointing sick or dying people . In England the carnation has been carried as a protection charm . The carnation stimulates the metabolism and has positive effect on our energetic fields . It rises the aura and this makes us less venerable to negative influences and energies . It can also cleans the negative thoughts .



Cedar herbal incenseThe cedar herbal incense is used for cleansing and protective features . The Egyptians believed that the Cedar is eternal and that it can preserve the human body . The Solomon temple has been build completely out of cedar . The cedar herbal incense also possesses relaxing properties . It can be used against bad dreams . It is suitable flavor a child’s room for example , as it can bring comfort in their dreams . The cedar also boosts the body’s defensive properties . This incense can mix well with other herbal incenses , because of its boosting qualities . Its scent provokes positive thoughts and rises the sensation of hope . It can help you overcome fears and worries and is great tool for cleansing .



Eucalyptus herbal incenseThe eucalyptus herbal incense can be used for calming in cases of over excitement . Its flavor can smoothen the ages of the emotional bursts and also can be a great tool for improving your dreams . It can be used for dealing with fears and anxiety . The eucalyptus herbal incense is also a great stimulant for the immune system .



Frankincense herbal incenseThe Frankincense is an ancient sacred incense and is widely used for cleansing and healing . It can help you achieve deeper states of mediation and to see your fears more clearly . This herbal incense can teach us how to overcome these fears more easily . It can also rise the sensation of wellness and health . By doing so it additionally improves the mental and physical condition . The Frankincense is extremely helpful for cleansing , for chasing away the evil spirits and protecting from negative influences .



Gardenia herbal incenseThe gardenia can be used as an emotional and energetic shield . The Gardenia herbal incense is perfect for people like doctors , healers , social workers , advisors … In general it can be really beneficial for people that must work with many people on more emotional level , as it protects us from an emotional influences of others . The gardenia does that by rising our own energetic fields and forms a sort of shell that can keep us safe from the negative energies generated by the emotional problems of others .



lemon herbal incenseThe lemon herbal incense works really wonderful for cleansing . Since ancient times people like shamans , mediums and all forms of psychic practitioners has used lemon to cleans their working spaces before seances . It fragrance and energy invites the good spirits . The lemon incense provokes a clarity of thought  and gives us a clear perspectives . It can help us see clearly even through our fears and uncontrolled fantasies . This herbal incense is perfectly suitable for daily use , as it relieves the stress and relaxes the mind . This property of the lemon is extremely beneficial as the stress can be quite harmful, both for the body and the soul .



rose herbal incenseThe rose herbal incense is maybe the most gentle spiritual incense and quite powerful in the same time . The rose can be used as booster to almost every form of healing . It is used for balancing and repairing the chakras . In ancient Rome a rose essence is sprayed over the walls of the meeting halls , so that everything said during the meeting , stays inside these walls . The rose herbal incense is the perfect tool to protect your privet plans and thoughts and to keep it yours and save from negative influences .



sage herbal incenseThe sage is probably among the most powerful and beneficial cleansing herbal incenses . In the ancient ritual of smudging , practiced for centuries among the native American population , the shaman burns a sage bundles often mixed with other sacred herbs . These bundles are used in smudging rituals for cleansing , protection and blessing . The bundle is lit on fire and let to just smolder . The shaman uses feather or his hand to spread the smoke around the person and his home , especially near the doors and the windows , in order to cleans and bless the place . The sage enhances our spiritual energy and strengthens our connection with the spirits and their planes of existence . In the same time this herbal incense grounds and protects the physical body and improves the inner balance , by calming the energetic fields and reliving  the stress and tension that is building up in us .


The good thing about the herbal incense is that today they are widely reachable and no special training or preparation is required . The nature has provided us with an easy way to control our energetic flows and to set our mental state right . The herbal incenses are an easy way to improve our live and health . To protect ourselves for the negative influences and to set our minds right .


Related Literature 

Incense Magick: Create Inspiring Aromatic Experiences for Your Craft

by Carl F. Neal


The Book of Incense: Enjoying the Traditional Art of Japanese Scents

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Herbal Alchemist's Handbook, The: A Grimoire of Philtres. Elixirs, Oils, Incense, and Formulas for Ritual Use

by Karen Harrison


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The Incense Bible: Plant Scents That Transcend World Culture, Medicine, and Spirituality

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Native American Sweat Lodge Ceremony

The Native American sweat lodge ceremony is an ancient ritual for cleansing the body and the soul .

 sweat lodge ceremony


The traditional sweat lodge is hemisphere-shaped hut build of saplings and covered with blankets or animal skins . The small entrance to the sweat lodge is large enough to enter crawling . The entrance usually faces east .


The women are first to enter the sweat lodge . They crawl clockwise until reaching the other end of the door . A fireplace is positioned in the center of the hut . The shaman enters last . All the participants are handed sage springs . The sage is a sacred plant for the native Americans . The participants the chew the sage until the turns to homogeneous smear , with which the participant must rub to his face hands and ears . This is done to protect the skin from the high temperature .


The sweat lodge ceremony is divided in several different stages .


During the first stage few pre-heated stones are brought in and placed in the fireplace . The stones are then drizzled with sage and other sacred herbs and sprinkled with water . Then the shaman starts singing chants . These chants are a form of warm greetings for the ancestral spirits . The sweat lodge is hot and completely dark . The only light is thrown by the smoldering fire .


Sweat Lodge ceremony sacred sage


Due to the high temperature and the divine essences the participants are falling in a state of trance . During that state they don’t feel the burning heat .


The chants are an indivisible part of the sweat lodge ceremony .


The shaman and the participant sing these chants , accompanied by the hide drum . Between the different stages of the sweat lodge ceremony a fresh water is brought .


During the next stage the shaman prays  to the spirits . He also makes offerings to them , usually  tobacco and some other sacred plants and herbs rolled in fabric .


The third stage is the healing stage . They shaman prays to the spirits to heal and aid the participants in their life journey . There is a special breading technique . These breading techniques are different for each participant . The shaman gives the breading instructions on each participant at the beginning of the sweat lodge ceremony . The instructions depend on the person’s problems and needs .


In the last stage of the sweat lodge ceremony the sacred pipe is brought in .


Sweat Lodge ceremony sacred pipe


Then all must smoke from the pipe , as a symbol of a gratitude to the spirits and their help and guidance . Then the shaman passes the words of the spirits. These words are in a form of instructions and guidance and are different for each of the participants . The exit of the sweat lodge is done in the same manner as the entering . One after another , clockwise and crawling . After the sweat lodge ceremony is over and everyone get out they are given food and water .


This unique and profound experience cleans your body of the toxins , alleviates the stress and the negative energy . It improves the metal condition and the overall emotional and physical health . But most importantly , the sweat lodge ceremony is a way to connect with the spirits , to acquire their wisdom , their guidance and their blessings .


Related Literature

The Lakota Ritual of the Sweat Lodge: History and Contemporary Practice

by Raymond A. Bucko


The Native American Sweat Lodge: History and Legends

by Joseph Bruchac


Comanche Medicine Man: Kenneth Coosewoon's Great Vision, Blue Medicine, and Sweat Lodge Healings

by Clifford E. TrafzerBeverly Sourjohn Patchell and Ronald Ray Cooper


Shamanic Healing: Traditional Medicine for the Modern World

by Itzhak Beery

Kava Tea - The Nature's Weapon Against Stress and Anxiety

The Kava tea is a beverage prepared from the roots of a plant with the same name . Its native habitat is the western Pacific  . The different cultures has different names for this sacred plant . In Hawaii for example is it called ‘awa , which translates bitter .


kava tea preparation


The Kava tea is well known by the pacific cultures, used for millennia to relive stress and anxiety . The historical data shows that the plant has been traditionally used for at least 3000 years .


The Kava tea is known for its sedative euphoriant and anesthetic properties . The active compound in it is the ingredient called Kavalactone .


The Kava tea is part of almost every religious ritual or cultural ceremony . The particular Kava ceremony depends on the occasion . The full Kava ceremony however is performed for the honored guest only . Usually young people , dressed in ritual costumes bring a blow of the beverage . The bowl is placed in the middle . A selected individual takes a cup facing each visitor and offering the Kava tea . The guest must then take the cup with both hands and drink from it . When the cup is drained the cup bearer takes the cup and proceed to the next guest . Of course the first to be served is the most important guest .


kava tea cup


The naturalist Johann Georg Adam Forster was the first to mention the Kava tea .


The Kava tea tradition was unknown to the rest of the world until 1777 when James Cook first reached the pacific . He named the plant “intoxicating pepper” . Georg Forester was the first who brought the sacred plant to Europe . What he has found fascinating and in the same time disgusting in the Kava tradition was the way the Kava tea was prepared .


In his journal he writes:

"Kava is made in the most disgustful manner that can be imagined, from the juice contained in the roots of a species of pepper-tree. This root is cut small, and the pieces chewed by several people, who spit the macerated mass into a bowl, where some water of coconuts is poured upon it. They then strain it through a quantity of fibers of coconuts, squeezing the chips, till all their juices mix with the coconut-milk; and the whole liquor is decanted into another bowl. They swallow this nauseous stuff as fast as possible; and some old topers value themselves on being able to empty a great number of bowls." 

Although it may look disgusting the traditional way of preparation has been practice until recently , when the government forbid it , as it increases the risk of transmitting deceases .


kava tea ceremony


Of course the Kava tradition was not well accepted by the majority of the colonists .


The missionaries tried to suppress the Kava tea use as much as possible . Louis Lewin , a German pharmacologist also know by his studies on peyote , writes in his book Phantastica : “The missionaries did all they could to suppress the use of kava, probably not to the benefit of the natives. The violent campaign against kava by the Presbyterian missionaries cannot be justified in the least. It bears witness to the gross ignorance of missionaries, who have made many a mistake elsewhere. Reason, hide thy face!”


kava tea plant


The stress and the anxiety are some of the biggest problems of the modern society .


They lead to variety of health problems including cancer . The mainstream medicine deals these conditions with chemicals and drugs , which leads to addictions and internal damages to the human body . The Kava tea is the alternative on all these harmful drugs . In the last decade , the Kava beverage and all the Kava products are getting more and more popular . The beneficial effect of the plant are a subject of examination and studies . The sacred plant of Kava has revealed itself to the world and is ready to help us and to make us happier . It depends on us if we will accept this offering .


Related Literature

Phantastica: A Classic Survey on the Use and Abuse of Mind-Altering Plants

by Louis Lewin M.D.


Kava: The Pacific Elixir: The Definitive Guide to Its Ethnobotany, History, and Chemistry

by Vincent Lebot, Mark Merlin, Lamont Lindstrom


Kava: The Most Effective Natural Supplement For Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

by Get Ahead


Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise: The Pursuit of a Natural Alternative to Anti-Anxiety Drugs and Sleeping Pills

by Christopher S. Kilham


Kava: From Ethnology to Pharmacology

by Yadhu N. Singh


Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 120 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness

by Scott Kloos

Salvia Divinorum – The Seer’s Sage

Salvia Divinorum has many names . It literally translates as "sage of the seers", but it is also goes by a number of other names. Shka Pastora ("Leaves of the Shepherdess"), Diviner's Sage, ska María Pastora, yerba de Maria, Magic Mint, Sally-D, or just salvia .


salvia divinorum plant


Salvia Divinorum is a sacred plant possessing visionary properties .


This innocent-looking herb is well known by the Mazatec people . The Mazatec are indigenous people who inhabit Sierra Mazateca in the Mexican state of Oaxaca , as well as some parts of Puebla and Veracruz . Salvia Divinorum is used by their shamans and healers for millennia . The plant facilitates altered states of consciousness essential in divination rituals performed by the shaman and crucial for the connection with the spiritual realm . The sacred plant is also a healing herb used in most of the healing rituals performed by the curanderos (healers) .


a shaman gathering salvia divinorum


In their rituals the Mazatec shamans use fresh leaves of Salvia Divinorum . They crush the leaves to extract the juice . Then the shaman mixes the juice with fresh water . The result is the sacred tea used in shamanic ceremonies  .  Another method of taking the medicine is by chewing it . 


The species  hasn’t been known by the western civilization until 1939 .


Jean Basset Johnson who was studying the Mazatec shamans and their spiritual traditions was the first to mention it . Years later in 1957 Arturo Gomez-Pompa accidently discovers the plant , while collecting fungus for a pharmaceutical company . It has been identified as an unknowns species of Slavia , but as the plant wasn’t flowering , more deeper research hasn’t been performed .


In 1962 the explorers Robert Gordon Wasson (The Wondrous Mushroom) who studied the psychedelic mushroom usage and Albert Hoffman , the founder of LSD brought the first flowering sample of Salvia Divinorum . They received a whole bundle of the flowering specimen of the plant from an old curandera called Natividad Rosa . She only give them the plant, but didn’t wanted to perform a ceremony, nor to tell them where the sacred plant grows . She told them that she was too old to take the shamanic journey . A journey that would take them to far-away places . Places where “the wise-women gather their powers; a lake above which the sparrows sing, and where objects got their names” (quote from "LSD My problem child") . 



salvia divinorum ritual


After the analysis of Salvia Divinorum it has been concluded that this is a totally new species of Salvia .


Terence McKenna was probably the first westerner to start public discussions about Salvia Divinorum and its properties . The known active constituent of Salvia divinorum is a trans-neoclerodane diterpenoid known as salvinorin A (chemical formula C23H28O8) . The active compound in the plant is not an alkaloid , unlike most opioids . It the first recorded diterpene hallucinogen .


salvia divinorum molecule


Salvia Divinorum is another of the priceless and mysterious gifts our holy mother Earth . Although its effects are considered unpleasant by some , the lessons learned are priceless . The sacred plant is cherished by the Mazatec for many generations . It is an ally to the indigenous people and their tool to deal with the challenges . It is their medicine and their teacher . The Mazatec are filled with respect for the sacred herb as they know its value . When a shaman dug up the plant he places a coffee-bean in the soil as thanks to the spirits . Maybe we can all learn from them and the lessons of Salvia Divinorum – the seer’s sage .




Related Literature

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Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, Christian Rätsch


The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica

by Robert Gordon, Wasson


Shamanic Plant Medicine - Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers

by Ross Heaven


Psychedelics Encyclopedia

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Embrace of the Serpent by Ciro Guerra

Embrace of the Serpent is an international co-production by the director Ciro Guerra . Winner of the Art Cinema Award , Best Ibero-American Film and the Best Foreign Language film at the 88th Academy Awards .


 "Embrace of the Serpent"


Spain has build a vast empire in South America taking advantage of native population and forcing Christianity . Slowly but steadily decimating their culture and the nature , so precious for the indigenous population .


Embrace of the Serpent tells the story of Karamakate(Niblio Torres) , a young shaman , the last survivor of his tribe .


Acquiescent with his fate he lives in solitude on the banks of the Amazon river . The German explorer Theodor Koch-Grunberg (Jan Bijvoet, "Borgman") and his companion Manduca (Yauenku Migue) appear as unexpected guests in his life . The first one very sick and his companion bagging the young shaman for help .


Embrace of the Serpent screen shot


In Karmakate’s eyes , Theodor is a member of the white race , which is responsible for eradicating his tribe . At first he denies help to the couple , but then  he realizes that leaving his broken hearth to take such a decision , would deprive him of his humanity .


Years later in 1940 Karamakate (played by Antonio Bolivar) is visited by another explorer Richard Evans Schultes (Brionne Davis, "Avenged") , a plant enthusiast , who seeks the mysterious sacred plant Yakruna . Many years have passed since the Karamakate’s first encounter with the white man . The shaman has now replaced his anger with fatigue and has been sunken in oblivion . He has forgotten the ways of his people and the only thing left as a distant memory are the petroglyphs he draws on the rocks .


Embrace of the Serpent screenshot


Embrace of the Serpent is a touching story about the indigenous people and their simple gracious approach to life and existence . Ciro Guerra's masterpiece is focused on the Native Americans and their culture . Their spiritual practices and their symbiosis with the surrounding environment  .


Embrace of the Serpent is also a story about two life changing voyages .


The movie explores the ideas of the so called civilized man , the controversial progress and the Christian’s way . At the end of his first voyage Karamakate meets a sadistic priest offering a “salvation” to orphans , by flogging and punishing them . He denies their right to speak their native language by calling it the devil’s speech . Years later during the second voyage Karamakate and his companion Evans once again visit the mission to find that it has been occupied by a vicious cult . The leader of that cult thinks himself as  Jesus , fostering self-abuse and ritual suicides .


Embrace of the Serpent screenshot


The characters of the two white man in Embrace of the Serpent are based on actual people . The work of Richard Evans Schultes in the Amazonian rainforest greatly exceeds what has been shown in the movie . His studies led to many discoveries in the medicine . His exploration of the psychedelic plants has given a base for future researches and studies . In 1979 he cooperates with Albert Hoffman(the founder of LSD) and publishes the book „Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers” .


Embrace of the Serpent  depicts two unforgettable voyages . Somber and in the same time beautiful image of times past . The movie is a deep and touching experience describing the best and the worst of both worlds .


Related Literature

Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

by Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hofmann


The Lost Amazon: The Pioneering Expeditions of Richard Evans Schultes

by Wade Davis and Richard Evans Schultes


Where the Gods Reign: Plants and Peoples of the Colombian Amazon

by Richard Evans Schultes


The Healing Forest: Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazonia

by Richard Evans Schultes and Robert F. Raffauf

Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline

by Richard Evans Schultes and Siri von Reis

Vine of the Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants & Rituals

by Richard Evans Schultes and Robert Raffauf


Gut Ritual - The Spirits , The People and The Shaman

One of the most important rituals of the colorful Korean shamanic tradition is the so called Gut ritual .


gut ritual


In the Korean Gut ritual the shaman makes a sacrifice in the spirits favor . The music and the dances are vital part of the ritual in which the shaman prays on the spirits for their aid for solving a particular problem . During the Gut ritual the shaman is dressed in a racy costume , which often is colorful , decorated with various metal objects . They produce jangling sounds which is very important for the successful communication between the shaman and the spirits . In the course of the Gut ritual the shaman changes his outfit several times .


During the Gut ritual , the shaman often speaks strange and unintelligible .


This altered state of consciousness in which he falls in , is  part of the ritual . In that state the shaman is able to establish a strong connection with the spirits and to communicate with them .


The Gut ritual is a sort of symbiosis between the three sides involved . The spirits , the people and the shaman - the mediator between the spiritual realm and the humans .


The Gut ritual is conducted differently depending on the region and the goals . The individual character and skills of the shaman also define the way the ritual will be carried .


The Korean Gut ritual is divided in three general types . Naerim-gut , Dodang-gut and Ssitgim-gut 


The Naerim-Gut  (내림굿) the initiation ritual . In this ritual the suited for a shaman is initiated in the sacred traditions . This ritual is related to the so called shamanic illness (shinbyeong) .


Dodang-gut (도당굿) can be defined as a communal ritual . Often conducted in the countryside and the central and southern Korea . This type of Gut ritual is performed to ask the spirits to provide wealth and prosperity for the village or the region . The ritual takes place annual or even more frequently if needed . Most often the Dodang-gut is held in the days around New Year , during the spring or the fall . In this Gut ritual major role is played by the female shamans .


gut ritual


Ssitgim-gut (씻김굿)  is a shamanic ritual which is conducted for cleansing the spirit of a deceased person . Since time immemorial the Koreans believe , that when somebody dies , he cannot pass to the realm of the spirits , as his soul isn’t pure . This is why the Ssitgim-gut ritual is really important . The ritual cleanse everything negative of the deceased person's soul , so that he’d be able to enter the spiritual realm calmly . This Gut ritual is most often performed in the South-West provinces of Korea .


A major part of the Korean shamanic tradition is the banishment of the evil spirits .


The Salp’uri dance is part of these rituals , which translated means to cleans the evil spirits . The Salp’uri is the beautiful conclusion on the shamanic rituals . This sacred dance is common for the region of Honam and is called Ssitkimgut(a ritual for cleansing the deceased soul) . This ritual is considered to be in the foundation of the modern Salp’uri . Surviving during the ages , the ancient dance , now has more than a ritual meaning . The dance puts an aesthetic and artistic accent on the Gut rituals . The main figure in the dance is a female .



The dance is performed under the sounds of the traditional Korean Shinawi (시나위) . During the dance , the female shaman falls in to state of trance . The Salp’uri dance starts slowly and builds up . An important part of the dance is the apparel of the dancer , which in most of the cases is white . During the performance the dancer uses a scarf . She swing the scarf in a wave-like movements , leaded by the rhythm .


No matter where do we live and how advanced we think our society is there always is a place for spirituality . The ancient shamanic and spiritual teaching are deeply rooted in our consciousness . Shamanic rituals like the Gut ritual are a portal to ancient times . They are a window to our past and a way to communicate with our ancestors . To learn from them and to share their and our experience .


Related Literature

Gut, Korean Shamanic Ritual : Songs Calling Spirits

by Kim Soo-nam


Korean Shamanist Ritual: Symbols and Dramas of Transformation

by Daniel A. Kister


Shamanism: The Spirit World of Korea

by Richard W. I. Guisso

Shamans, Nostalgias, and the IMF: South Korean Popular Religion in Motion

by Laurel Kendall


Korean Shamanism: Revivals, Survivals, and Change

by Keith Howard


Korean Shamanistic Rituals (Religion & Society)

by Jung Young Lee


Black Elk: The Sacred Ways of a Lakota

Wallace Black Elk(1921-2004) was a traditional Lakota shaman and a Channupa (sacred pipe) bearing . Wallace is straight descendent of the famous Nicholas Black Elk (Black Elk Speaks) . He was born and raised in South Dakota and has been trained since childhood in the sacred ways of Lakota .



Wallace Black Elk photograpy


At first look “Black Elk : The sacred ways of Lakota” is just another book about the life and the messages of a North American shaman . We know the books the James Welch's "Fools Crow" and the “The Seven Visions of Bull Lodge” told by his daughter – Garter Snake, and many others . Each of these books , however is unique , as the paths we all walk through our lives . Paths that leads us to knowledge , enlightenment and the skills we develop . On the other hand these books are like pieces of a puzzle completing with each other , letting the reader to build an almost complete picture of these native american people and their sacred traditions .


Authenticity and details , bright presence , decorated with subtle humor . Genuine wisdom and deep concern for the future of the humanity and Mother Earth . These are the aspects over which the brilliant work of William S. Lion and the Wallace Black Elk , is focused on . The book provides the opportunity to get even deeper understanding of the shamanic practices of the Lakota . To learn the ancient teachings , guided by the Wallace Black Elk’s words .  


“Black Elk : The sacred ways of Lakota” is a book that you can't just rent from somebody and to read once .




It is a book that you must own . Book filled with priceless lessons , and knowledge of the old ways . This is a book that will constantly inspire and guide you . Well help you find new worlds and will taught you how to deal the old ones better .


William S. Lyon is bachelor in Mathematics (1963) and a doctor of anthropology graduated in the Kansas university (1969) . In the last decades a subject of his studies are the shamanistic practices of the North America’s indigenous people and particularly the Lakota tribe . Currently Dr. Lyon is a professor in the Center for Religious studies in the University of Central Missouri . In 1990 as a result of long term collaboration with Wallace Black Elk the book “Black Elk : The sacred ways of Lakota” was published . Few years later William published two more books on the subject . “The Encyclopedia of the Native American Healing” and “The Encyclopedia of the Native American Shamanism” . Dr. Lyon is also a consultant on Native American culture of Michael Harner’s  “Foundation of shamanic studies” . He is also known as an associate in the “Shaman’s Drum” magazine .



Related Literature

Black Elk : The Sacred Ways of Lakota

by Wallace Black Elk and William S. Lyon


The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux

by Joseph Epes Brown


Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

by Black Elk and John G. Neihardt


Kambo Frog Medicine - The Spirit of the Rainforest

Kambo frog medicine is the name given to a specie of a tree frog, inhabiting the North-western territories of Amazon . The Kambo , Campus , Sapo , Vacion da Floresta , these are some of  the names of this curious amphibian creature . The scientific name of the frog is Phyllomedusa bicolor , also known as Giant Monkey frog .


kambo frog medicine


A deep examination of the Kambo frog medicine is first carried by the Nobel award nominee Vittorio Erspamer . He describes the sacred frog as :” Fantastic chemical cocktail with potential medical applications unequaled by any other amphibian” .


The Kambo Frog medicine is part of the indigenous traditions of dozens of Amazonian tribes .


A medicine that helps treating snake bites , malaria , yellow fever, epidemics and most importantly , deals with the panama . Panema is the bad luck, and the negative energy responsible for most of our emotional and health problems . The sacred frog is also used in a variety of rituals and ceremonies , as these for good hunting for example . The frog is rather hard to catch . The tribe members are going to frog “hunt” mainly at night , when Kambo sings her songs . In some tribes however only the shaman has the right to hunt for Kambo .  The frog has no natural enemies in her habitat and doesn’t fear the people when approached .


kambo frog medicine harvesting


In order to harvest the secretion , the frog is stretched by her legs with strings . Although the it looks quite painful , Kambo is considered sacred and no harm is caused . After the harvesting is done , the  frog is released  unharmed . The secretion is then dried on wooden sticks .


The Kambo frog medicine is applied by making small burns on the patient's skin using glowing stick .


The effect is immediate as the medicine enters the bloodstream directly . The body heathens, the heartbeat becomes more intense . Then the person starts vomiting the water that he has drunk at the beginning of the ritual . It all lasts for 15-20 minutes .

The Kambo frog medicine like the rest of the native medicines is based on the principal of transmitting energy from the shaman to his patient . Every tribe has a different approach in regards to the usage of Kambo . The tribes Katukina and Matses for example are making Kambo burns few times at night when preparing for hunt . The main reason they use Kambo frog medicine is to get rid of the penema . The word penema the symbol of everything bad in our lives . Bad luck , bad health , bad thoughts , the state of the mind that causes illness and misery .


When everything goes wrong is a perfect time to use the kambo frog medicine .


The indigenous people are saying that Kambo is the spirit of the forest and must be treated with  respect . To hurt Kambo frog brings bad luck and misery . The Matses tribe usually takes Kambo frog medicine in combination with nu-nu , a snuff which the hunters use to initiate visions . These visions will show them where and when the pray will offer itself . They are saying that the shamans are seeing the Kambo frog in their visions and communicate with her .


As the author Peter Gorman (Ayahuasca in My Blood , Sapo in My Soul) says , Kambo is a sacred medicine healing both the body and the soul . It is a fire medicine , which combined with water triggers alchemical reaction . This reaction helps the body to get rid of the old toxins stacked in our system .This sacred ritual however , does not only cleans the body . The Kambo frog medicine is a tool for connecting the person with his natural wisdom .

A tool that is meant to show us our negative habits , to teach us what to avoid and what to improve in ourselves .

 kambo frog medicine application


During Kambo ceremony the people receive insights . These insights are messages of the sacred medicine . Messages which guides us to the changes we must make in our ways of life . The Kambo frog medicine unleashes the healing powers of the human body . It helps to let aside the bad habits and provides priceless lessons on how to act and think in particular situations . Kambo cleans the Panema , the negative energy that stacks above us . The Kambo frog medicine also works very well in a combination with other sacred plants like Ayahuasca and Iboga .


The sacred frog medicine gets more and more popular in South America and the world . The healing tradition is no more closed tradition to the indigenous tribe of the Amazon . The Kambo frog medicine is now spread by people taught by the natives in the ways of the sacred tradition . Kambo is another priceless gift of Mother Earth . If treated with respect and reverence the sacred Spirit of Kambo can make wonders with our lives .


Related Literature

Sapo in My Soul : The Matses Frog Medicine

by Peter Gorman


The Jungle Detox: Kambo The ultimate way to detox and cleanse your body

by Allen Percival


Rainforest Medicine: Preserving Indigenous Science and Biodiversity in the Upper Amazon

by Jonathon Miller Weisberger


Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest

by Mark J. Plotkin

Miracle Medicines of the Rainforest: A Doctor's Revolutionary Work with Cancer and AIDS Patients

by Dr. Thomas David


Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way To Heal Your Body and Replenish Your Soul

by Rosita Arvigo