World Ayahuasca Conference 2016 | Foro principal
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The relationship between humans and plants are as old as the origin of our species, involving habitation, alimentation, clothing, medicine, ritual and pleasure. Ayahuasca is just another plant preparation among the diverse plants used in the Amazon with magical, therapeutic a ritual purposes. In the amazonian context, several plants are used not only in the preparation of ayahuasca, but also in the healing and ritual processes associated with this botanical preparation. The presentations of this panel will describe some of the contexts where ayahuasca and other plants are used, demonstrating the botanical variety that accompanies the use of ayahuasca.

Chaired by Rafael Guimarães dos Santos.


Glenn H. Shepard Jr.

Shamanism, sensation and the gates of perception

Ayahuasca is a total sensory experience: the existentially bitter taste of the brew; the giddy alternating waves of nausea and euphoria; the showers of rainbow-colored fractals; the ethereal resonance of the shaman’s chanting; a speechless sense of mystery and wonder; the unshakeable sensation of being transported to a place beyond time, reason, and the laws of physics. Ayahuasca and other ritually-used psychoactive plants generate a multifaceted synesthesia, or mixing of the senses that is manifest in shamanistic concepts. Among the Matsigenka people of Peru, healing sessions take place in absolute darkness: by banishing ordinary sight, Matsigenka shamans open their perceptions to “true vision” (nesanotagantsi), while songs and other auditory cues guide participants through the collective trance. Among the neighboring Yaminahua and Yora/Nahua peoples, shamans pass around a decoction of a basil-like herb for participants to sniff while chanting “fragrant” songs in order to attract the perfumed Xoma spirits and dispel foul-smelling demons. This paper explores indigenous understandings and experience of ayahuasca and other psychoactive plants from the perspective of sensory anthropology, and reflects on the limits of sense perception and scientific reason in exploring altered states of consciousness.


Moacir Biondo

The importance of Ayahuasca in assembling the traditional knowledge landscape

The traditional knowledge of people in Amazonia about herbs and plants with medicinal power has been progressively forgotten along the past years due to a series of reasons. Nevertheless, the use of plants, which reveal the interaction of local population with Nature, is still alive and can be preserved. Inspired on Ayahuasca seeings and considerings, which are boosted by the use of the tea, it can be observed a distance from the actual sacred, from the core beliefs related to the traditional use of plants in the Amazon, and from their importance and relevance for the world. That put, and touched by a superior force sourced by a direct relationship with Ayahuasca, we would like to introduce you to the Assembling the Landscape of Knowledge met hod, which pursues to rescue, value and protect such local and traditional knowledge. This participatory method considers mainly three moments: a) a participatory survey on the community knowledge status on medicinal herbs and plants; b) technical external inputs about medicinal herbs and plants; and c) Production of homemade remedies from medicinal herbs and plants identified. With that we understand the work appreciates the local and traditional knowledge, at the time of boosting the importance of such knowledge in the Amazon way of life, its local population self-esteem and their relationships with the sacred in nature.


The hegemonic paradigm of nature as an entity without will, different from humanity and under its purposes, will be opposed in this table to alternative models. On the one hand, the theory that plants, both individually and globally considered as Gaia (or Nature, or Biosphere), are intelligent and develope strategies in their enviroment to preserve their existence. On the other hand, the example offered by the amazonic rainforest’s inhabitants, who lived in balance with their enviroment for millennia, until the definitive establishment of the market economy. In this context ayahuasca, intelligent plant par excellence, that so often provides mystical experiences of oneness with nature, and which emerges as a symbol of a new ecological awareness, has become, paradoxically, a commodity object: the growing international demand has involved an unpublished overexploitation, and it is getting increasingly difficult to find its principal ingredients.

Chaired by Beatriz Caiuby Labate.


Dennis McKenna

The Mind(s) of Gaia: How Intelligence Manifests in Nature at Every Scale from the Biospheric to the Submolecular

The concept of ‘plant intelligence’, and by extension the notion that Nature itself displays qualities that are best described as intelligence, has gradually gained acceptance in some segments of the scientific community, while these ideas continue to be vigorously resisted in others. A considerable body of evidence has accumulated regarding the intelligent strategies that plants utilize to mediate their relationships with other organisms, and to achieve optimal adaptation to their environments. For example complex networks of mycorrhiza, symbiotic root/mycelial networks, function in the ecosystem to maintain the stability of rainforest biomes. These hyperconnected networks function much like neural networks in animal nervous systems. There is a general consensus that to the degree that animals display intelligence, those functions depend on hyperconnected networks such as exist in the neural networks in the brain, and in the central and peripheral nervous systems. But are brains really necessary for intelligence? Brains are complex neural networks that enable an animal to optimize its relation to its environment and communicate with other organisms, largely through complex homeostatic feedback loops and signal transduction processes. But the Biosphere, or the planet-sized super-organism that is sometimes termed Gaia, utilizes similar mechanisms of signal transduction and homeostatic feedback networks that has enabled it to create and maintain an environment compatible with the existence of life, for at the last 3.8 Billion years. In this presentation, we will examine the mechanisms by which intelligence manifests at all levels of biological organization, from the Gaian super-organism, to forest ecosystems, to brains and nervous systems.


Carlos Suárez

Nature in the market

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon are not environmentalists nor live in harmony with nature. Traditionally, the forest is considered a source of disease and threat, and must be cured ritually and fought daily to ward off dangers and seize gifts. The fact that for millennia they lived in a (precarious, fragile) balance with nature was only possible in the context of an economy without productive specialization or accumulation, a non-hierarchical political organization and an important demographic control. All these features guaranteed abundance of food, medicine and shelter without harming the forest. The European invasion and the implementation of its productive system (specialized, hierarchical, with accumulation) has meant drastic changes in the relationship between humans and other species of the forest. After the extractive waves of the nineteenth century, which decimated diverse animal and plant species, in the second half of the twentieth century proliferated in the Amazon urban-comercial centers, and schools were widely established to “civilize” and integrate “savages” in the market economy, promoting an extractive use of nature and a logic of specialization and hierarchy. The result: a degraded forest that does not meet the needs of people who are forced to sell the dwindling resources in order to get money. This particular context should be understood before analyzing the process of commodification of ayahuasca in places like Iquitos, where the influx of tourism exerts an unprecedented pressure on the plants of ayahuasca and chacruna, generating typically capitalist dynamics: shortages, inflation, complex networks of production and collection or marketing.


Thiago Martins

The Ayahuasca that you drink, is it sustainable?

The sustainability of human activities becomes important every time we ask ourselves about the future of our planet. Currently, there are increasingly alarming concerns about the sustainability of the two species (Banisteriopsis caapi y Psychotria viridis) more used by the main Ayahuasca religions for their sacrament, Ayahuasca tea. Every center/traditional church that uses this sacrament in its ritual is aware of the need of planting to be able to take the plant. In this scenario, the state of Acre in 2010 and more recently the state of Rondônia in 2015 published a specific legislation about the issue with the aim of regulating the extraction, harvest and transport of this forestal species with just religious interest. Do these laws ensure the perpetuation of rainforest’s native species? Does the regulation restrict or limit the right to freedom of religion enshrined as fundamental in the Brasilian Constitution and inviolable by the International Conventions? Is the right to freedom in conflict with the need for environmental sustainability? Is it posible to support the expansion of Ayahuasca use as well as its use by native people of Amazonas? These are topics that we are going to discuss in this conference.


The expansion of ayahuasca utilization has brought the need to raise their legal and political treatment in non-native contexts, where it lacks the traditional social means of controls that regulate many issues surrounding its use. The high number of arrests and court cases related not only to ayahuasca but also with other traditional psychoactive plants is posing a significative challenge for law enforcement and the justice system in many countries. It has also encouraged that ayahuasca and other traditional plants are an increasingly important part of the discussions around drug laws and policies. This panel will present a discussion of these issues by combining several levels of analysis, visions and experiences where each of the three speakers will bring their background in identifying challenges, building frames for analysis and proposing alternatives to move towards more just and more humane legal and policy frameworks.

Chaired by Benjamin de Loenen


Constanza Sánchez

The legality of ayahuasca: from criminalization without prohibition towards cultural heritage of Humanity

The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it intends to provide an overview of the multiple international legal frameworks applicable to the legal status of ayahuasca: drug control, human rights and freedom of religion, rights of indigenous peoples and intangible cultural heritage. Particular emphasis will be placed on the difficulty of adopting a single legal framework for the use of ayahuasca, given the enormous diversity of types of uses and contexts in which it takes place. Second, it intends to extrapolate experiences of legal regulation or self-regulation de facto developed for other plant origin psychoactive substances, assessing the feasibility of its application to the case of ayahuasca. The central argument is that, contrary to the mainstream narrative, which has placed ayahuasca within the framework of national and international drug laws, there is a set of alternative legal frameworks that are applicable and in fact have been taken into account in legal cases both in courts of first instance and in higher and international courts. In particular, the paper will address the suitability of adopting a framework focused on the protection of cultural practices that incorporate ayahuasca, inspired by the regulatory framework applicable to intangible heritage offered by UNESCO.

Jair Facundes

Jair Facundes

The freedom of religion as a political trump: the ayahuasca in the world

The religious use of ayahuasca was and is theme of decisions in several countries with diverse legal traditions (common law, civil law and so on). The exam of such decisions allows to identify the theory or method of the decision used by the interpreter and the concept, strength and characteristics that are attributed to the freedom of religion as a fundamental right in the society. The identification of the decision-making method and the concept of religious freedom adopted in the decisions allows more transparency and rationality in the debate about the theme and will evidence the bigger or smaller (in) coherence of the decision internally, with the remaining of the legal order and with the political principles that inspire each society, with emphasis on the protection that each legal order confer or should confer to the political minorities, social, ethnic, religious, gender etc., in compliance with the values expressed in their constitutions and charters of rights. This study will be made based on the analysis of judicial and administrative decisions in several countries of the world involving ayahuasca, seeking to evidence its theoretical structure and its evaluation by the light of paradigms susceptible of discursive consensus. The exposition will try to offer some elements that a decision involving fundamental rights must refer in order to be accepted as justified and not arbitrary in a society that intends to organize itself from democratic principles and that demands policy coherence in the government acts.


Gillian Maxwell

From Harm Reduction to Psychedelics: Community Engagement and Advocacy in support of Ayahuasca's Sacred Journey

This presentation departure from the standpoint that laws that governs our communities and socie-ties do not occur on a vacuum. It addresses the societal context within which laws are made and considers parallels with other shifts in public opinion and consequent laws and regulations. It will draw from the author’s personal experience of being part of a multi-sectoral group in Vancouver, British Columbia, who were able to influence the perceptions of their community, and advocate for a significant change in Canada regarding people who use currently illegal drugs. What is there to learn from these lessons in the context of ayahuasca? The presentation will review the continuum of mind altering substances: their use in order to reduce physical, emotional and spiritual pain and suffering, their use in therapeutic settings to alleviate depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress, and their use in helping us come to understand the cosmos and to find our place in it. What can we do, through community and advocacy, in order to protect and honour these plant medicines and their spirits, while given every opportunity to flourish and usher in the new paradigm of consciousness in which our inter-connectivity is fully understood? This reflection will end with some general remarks on ways that we can try to bridge the worlds of drug policy and psychedelics.


Ever since the first backpackers, hippies, scientists, and seekers discovered Ayahuasca, its forms and contexts of use have multiplied in places far beyond the shamanic brew’s place of origin. In the “neo-ayahuasca” scene, spirituality, therapy, religion, indigenous shamanism and even artistic elements can be found mixed together, generating surprising new alliances and ritual forms, where almost anything can fit into a seemingly limitless extension of the sacred. Faced with this phenomenon, however, “traditionalists” warn about a loss of identification with the true purpose for consuming the brew. At the same time, debate rages among mental health professionals between those worried about risks and negative incidents, and those who find in Ayahuasca an unequaled psychiatric tool. Meanwhile, health [and law enforcement???] authorities have focused their attention on the phenomenon, and are in the process of deciding and defining how far Ayahuasca will be allowed to penetrate into urban social life.

Chaired by Jerónimo Mazarrasa.


Rosa Giove

Ayahuasca, Globalized Heritage?

Etymologically, the word “Patrimonio” (heritage in Spanish) refers to what has been received from the father, goods, rights, and obligations that were inherited and are heritable; the capability for holding something, pertaining to a family or a group. Cultural heritage, material or immaterial, is related to this concept, characterized by a sense of identity and continuity, held by the communities that UNESCO considers the keepers of this heritage. These intangible values lean on a body of knowledge or world view, technologies, and resources, which interact with nature and history, having been transmitted from generation to generation. The resulting creations, which are based on said traditions that embody cultural diversity and safeguard the creative flux of living cultures, can be seen as the heritage of humankind. However, globalization tends to homogenize and standardize diversity, separate traditional practices from their cultural roots, modifying and adulterating them in that process. We see that distinct practices are merged, procedures and resources are hybridized and taken out of their context. At the same time, traditional resources and knowledge are expropriated in favor of a diffuse type of universality bound to hegemonic culture. With good intentions but poor knowledge, rituals and medicines are being desecrated, and elements foreign to the original world view and understanding are being imposed. The declaration of Cultural Heritage represents a means for defending such endangered knowledge and practices, safeguarding the survival of ancestral practices and customs, which begins through an evenhanded dialogue with actors from the communities in whose territory the asset is located. We can take the “Declaration of the Ayahuasca Ritual as Cultural Heritage of Peru” as an example for this type of procedure.


Deyvesson Gusmão

The Register of Ritual Uses of Ayhuasca as Brazilian Cultural Heritage: The Process, the Meanings and Possible Paths

It has been almost 80 years since cultural heritage began to be officially recognized in Brazil. During this time, many theoretical and political perspectives have been taken into account during the processes of selection of cultural goods. In the last three decades, mostly after the implementation of the National Policy for Immaterial Heritage and the institution of the Register as a tool for the recognition of intangible cultural goods, social participation has been being a major principle orienting patrimonialization processes, which have even more constituted themselves in loci for the negotiation of meanings among various actors involved in the attribution of values to those goods. Not uncommonly, experiences with the Register have been showing that there are different expectations between the so-called holders of cultural goods, and the possibilities shown by public policies and their tools. That said, the aim of this presentation is to discuss the process of “Register of the ritual uses of Ayahuasca” as Brazilian national cultural heritage, showing the variables of the negotiations related to the process, the differences in expectations of the results among distinct interest groups, as well as the paths seen by public policy heritage officers for the resolution of the main dilemmas of such process.


Edward MacRae

Culture, politics and religious identitity in the Daime

Mestre Irineu founded the Daime a Black religious community and started a spiritual movement where elements of different cultural origins were interwoven. Much of his life was spent in resistance to social and racial prejudices and other forms of persecution directed against him , his community and their religious ideas and rituals. This led him to establish friendship networks and political alliances in order to strengthen himself and the Daime. This also enabled him to further divulge the values and practices of his doctrine, reaching different sectors of the population of Rio Branco and to exert a notable impact on the local culture. Thus we see that from the beginning politics and Daime have always come together and this presentation proposes to take this as its starting point in our discussion of the current debate in Brazil on whether or not aspects of the religious use of ayahuasca ought to be protected as a national immaterial cultural heritage.

Jean Langdon

Esther Jean Langdon

Yagé practices as patrimony in the multicultural context of the Putumayo region of Colombia

This article describes how the Siona Indians have valued their shamanic practices and yagé rituals as the basis of their identity and culture. It examines the role of yagé rituals and artistic expressions in two periods: that in which Indians occupied a subaltern position in a Colonial situation and that of today in which the Indian is recognized as a full citizen in a multicultural state. Siona shamans today are identified with ecological preservation, traditional medicine and community well-being, and their yagé rituals have become highly valued for their beneficial effects throughout the country. The changes and consequences of this new status of yagé as cultural patrimony are explored.


The rapid popularization and upsurge of Ayahuasca on the global stage is increasingly accompanied by important political, legal, (inter-)cultural, social, economic, environmental, scientific, philosophical and human rights challenges, all of which are interrelated. Furthermore, as the international ayahuasca community expands, evolves, diversifies and self-organizes, ‘internal’ challenges arise due to differences in perception, vision, ethics, worldview, ideas about strategies to advance this field. This panel aims to map out some of the different challenges we are facing both ‘externally’ and ‘internally’, connect the dots to put them into perspective, and discuss strategies to address them comprehensively.

Chaired by Constanza Sánchez


Kenneth W. Tupper

Global Expansions of Ayahuasca: Philosophical and Political Issues

The growth of ayahuasca drinking outside of South America is presenting significant challenges to liberal democratic states trying to balance competing interests of human rights, public health, criminal justice, scientific inquiry and free-market capitalism. The construal of ayahuasca as a “drug” by governmental authorities—due to the presence of trace amounts of the controlled substance DMT in the brew—has generated reflexive responses of suspicion and fear about its use. However, the expansion of the Brazilian ayahuasca religions into places such as Europe and North America is raising questions about the role of spiritual experience in religious practices, and the limits of religious freedom when such experiences can be reliably produced through a psychoactive sacrament. For academics in various fields, ayahuasca is proving to be a fascinating object for scientific inquiry, provoking new lines of thinking in psychology and medicine but also methodological challenges for researchers. At the same time, attributions of both deep healing and, more rarely, troubling harms associated with ayahuasca drinking are increasingly circulating through social media and mainstream news. With increased popular awareness, however, has come a correspondingly increased demand for opportunities to drink ayahuasca; this includes through overt commodification, especially of indigenous-style and hybrid ceremonial practices, which gives rise to concerns about economic and social justice. This presentation will explore these various interconnected issues attending the globalization of ayahuasca as both philosophical and political matters.

Jeffrey Bronfman

Jeffrey Bronfman

Reflections on the UDV’s process of legalization in the US and current global ayahuasca challenges

Since 1990, Jeffrey Bronfman has been in the forefront of the Ayahuasca globalization movement. After visiting Amazonia and encountering the use of Hoasca (the sacrament of the União Do Vegetal – UDV) he was inspired to establish the first temple of the UDV religion in the United States. Despite more than 10 years of strong legal opposition from the United States federal government, in 2005 the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided in favor of the UDV. Acquiring authoritative knowledge and scope of domestic and international law, Bronfman, working directly with federal authorities in the United States, was able to achieve a context for the legally approved and licensed use of Ayahuasca outside of South America for the first time. This model consisted in balancing the interests of personal and religious freedom with legitimate governmental public health and drug policy concerns. Supported by a background of 30 years in environmental activism, focused on the preservation of indigenous cultural traditions, this presentation offers a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary perspective to the often complex interrelated issues being considered.


Benjamin de Loenen

Ayahuasca: Turning challenges into opportunities

This presentation will focus on the presenters’ experience over the last 6 years as Director of ICEERS on developing strategies to deal with different challenges we are facing as ayahuasca glob-alizes. In particular the increased political pressure and situation of legal prosecution of ayahuasca practices around the world has been an important social need that emerged. How we utilize language, science and the human processes that are inherent to ayahuasca utilization is an important part of fostering a good understanding of this phenomenon on behalf of policy makers, authorities and the general public. Equally challenging is the development and implementation of responses to unsafe, irresponsible and unethical ayahuasca practices, issues like cultural appropriation or exploi-tation and other behaviors that put at risk members of the ayahuasca community as well as the reputation of this phenomenon. Education, risk-reduction, psychological support and developing policy models for responsible ayahuasca practices are some of the lines of work that are crucial, and are some of the key points addressed.



The expansion and globalisation of ayahuasca has created a market in which goods are at risk of being trivialize. Ayahuasca tourism has led to a new sincretism where tradicional rituals are adapted to westerners’ beliefs about how the «original» contexts are. And the shamans, healers, vegetalists, etc., somehow incorporate the performance that is expected from them. The same happens when they tour to the West. Ayahuasca has colonized a niche in the insatiable market of espirituality, getting connoisseurs day by day. And some opportunists have found in the ayahuasca ceremonies a new chance to win what is seeked by loads of gurus: money, power and easy sex. But ayahuasca isn’t innocuous. It is a very powerful tool of healing. And like any powerful medicine, that same power, when wrongly used, can produce damage of similar magnitude to the eventual benefits pursued.

Chaired by Beatriz Caiuby Labate.


Marc Aixalà

Intervention in cases of adverse effects with ayahuasca: The ICEERS Support Service

The globalization of the use of ayahuasca has enabled people of different profiles to become interested in it, as well as promoted the emergence of new centers offering ceremonies and retreats. This evolution of the general context around ayahuasca has brought important challenges that healers, facilitators and psychologists need to address. A percentage of people who consume ayahuasca experience unwanted reactions, either during the session or in subsequent weeks, and some of them require additional support and seek resources that may be helpful in their situation. With this intention the ICEERS Support Service was created, a service where this cases are attended since 2013. In this talk it will discussed both the type of requests received, as well as different profiles of those who contact us, the nature of the adverse reactions, the necessary interventions and the implications this has to promote greater security in the phenomenon of globalization of ayahuasca.


José Carlos Bouso

The risks of ayahuasca and the risks of the ayahuasqueros

The expansion and globalization of the use of ayauasca is causing, among others, at least three distinct phenomena: 1) greater diversity of contexts of ayahuasca use; 2) proliferation ayahuasca ceremonies providers without adequate training; 3) greater access to experiences with ayahuasca for the general population. This talk will discuss each of these three phenomena, explaining their origin and evolution, as well as the possible consequences of each on health. For each of these phenomena concrete examples based on clinical and research experience of the author will be presented. The final propose of this talk is to open a debate that may serve to reduce the likelihood of accidents on people interested in taking ayahuasca.


Alhena Caicedo Fernández

Uses and missuses of the ritual consumption of yage

In Latin America, consumption yajé or ayahuasca has spread from various forms of use according to different national contexts. In countries like Brazil the religious use is recognized, while in countries like Peru and Colombia, has been the therapeutic use, which has allowed the recent expansion of ritual consumption. Despite the process of commodification and transnational expansion of this practice, legality and legitimacy of the uses of yajé are still inscribed in social and legal frameworks at the national level. This presentation explores one of the risks that nowadays has the ritual consumption of yajé and that relates to allegations of sexual abuse. This phenomenon, on which there is not many research yet, is currently a known and persistent problem that has been presented in multiple contexts. This presentation focuses on a case study on the recent arrest of a recognized neoshaman by the Colombian authorities, accused of sexually abusing several women from a therapeutic-religious movement. Our interest seeks to understand this phenomenon in a broad sense recognizing the characteristics of the contexts in which the consumption ritual practices take place. It also seeks to account for the evolution of certain tendencies of that consumption, and the risk of sectarian drift that some movements legitimized through forms of indigenous authenticity, have shown. Social and legal effects of such cases test and put at high risk the legitimacy and legality of consumption yajé, and legal recognition of indigenous and mestizo populations as producers and users, and the possibilities of recognition of the potential yajé treatment of other scenarios.


Scientific research with ayahuasca can be set in 1996, when the first study on the effects of ayahuasca in a group of members of the UDV in Brazil was published. This research was the result of a collaboration between Brazilian researchers and an interdisciplinary team composed by researchers from other nationalities. Since then, the field of the scientific research of ayahuasca has grown steadily. Brazil is one of the countries where ayahuasca originate and this has resulted is one of the leading countries in terms of anthropological and social science research related to ayahuasca. Paradoxically, despite this early pioneering study, Brazil has been a country that only recently biomedical research regarding ayahuasca is standing at international level. The good news is that it looks like this is finally happening. Because this AYA2016 is made in Rio Branco, we wanted that this table of science is only composed by Brazilian researchers to tell us their recent advances.

Chaired by José Carlos Bouso.


Luís Tófoli

The therapeutic use of ayahuasca and its ethical and scientific dilemas

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic plant preparation (a decoction or ‘tea’ from Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) that is used in rituals. Its therapeutic potential has been studied for some time by anthropology and, more recently, also by biomedicine. The results of these studies have been encouraging, although preliminary. Nevertheless, in Brazil, only ritual and religious use is allowed, while scientific research is encouraged. This presentation aims to provide an overview of anecdotal and scientific evidence of the therapeutic use of ayahuasca, especially in the field of drug misuse, and point to future uses and research. In addition, we intend to discuss how the potential authorization for therapeutic use of ayahuasca would impact on the legitimacy of its ritual and religious use. Risks and projections of possible scenarios will be discussed based on this assumption. The importance of a interdisciplinary understanding, and the search for more equitable and rightful solutions will also be discussed, in order to allow both therapeutic and ritual use, maximizing benefits and minimizing risks. We’ll explore the potential contributions of anthropology, medicine, bioethics, law, agronomy, pharmaceutical sciences, ecology, among other disciplines for the construction of a possible regulation of the scientific and therapeutic use of ayahuasca. Last but not least, we will examine the important contribution that the ayahuasca communities could bring to this field and how they could contribute to consolidating the right to ritual use.


Draulio de Araujo

Acute, lasting and antidepressant effects of the psychedelic Ayahuasca

Our previous fMRI studies during the acute effects of Ayahuasca were focused on the mental imagery system and on the Default Mode Network (DMN). We have found that Ayahuasca changes the activity of the frontopolar cortex (BA 10), occipital visual areas, and the medial temporal lobe. We have also found decreased activity, and functional connectivity changes, of the Default Mode Network (DMN). In the last few years, we have also been studying the potential antidepressant effects of Ayahuasca. Preliminary evidences, from an open-label study, suggest that Ayahuasca is well tolerated by patients with depression, and indicate a significant lasting antidepressant effect after a single dose of Ayahuasca. Besides these studies, in this presentation we will also show preliminary results, from a single-blind placebo controlled experiment, which indicates lasting effects of Ayahuasca (24h after) over biochemical markers of the HPA axis (cortisol), the immune system (Interleukin-4 and 6), and BDNF.


Rafael Guimarães

Anxiolytic effects of Ayahuasca

Animal studies, case reports, and observational, experimental and clinical studies suggest that ayahuasca and its alkaloids have anxiolytic properties. In this presentation it will be presented an overview on the scientific evidence that demonstrate such effects, from behavioral studies in rodents involving the administration of isolated alkaloids, to studies in patients using neuroimaging techniques to investigate the effects of ayahuasca.


Since its origins, ayahuasca shamanic practices have been closely related to healing processes, both physical and psycho-spiritual, and many of the people that nowadays come in contact with ayahuasca continue to do it with the intention to heal particular disorders. Current science is researching therapeutic applications of ayahuasca in fields such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and addictions treatment, and there are many reports and documentaries about people who relate their healing process through the use of ayahuasca. While the scientific evidence on the therapeutic potential is still small, ayahuasca clinical practice has developed in recent decades and is a nuclear dimension in the context of use of ayahuasca. This has caused a mismatch between the limited available scientific evidence and the extensive clinical experience in the treatment of various disorders. In this table various aspects of clinical intervention with ayahuasca, in particular the treatment of addictions and application in the reintegration of prison inmates will be addressed.

Chaired by Marc Aixalà.

Jacques Mabit

Jacques Mabit

¿Coca and ayahuasca, the same fate? The Peruvian paradox.

Whilst Peru built the magnificent Inca civilization aided by the wisdom provided by balanced use of the coca leaf, it has now become the largest producer of the toxic by-products of the profane use of this plant. Today again Coca leaf permits the treatment of cocaine addiction, as is shown by the experience of the Takiwasi Center. Similarly, over a few decades the healing use of ayahuasca has been discovered, and resulted in an explosion of usage worldwide. Will the accelerated desecration of this medicine reach the same extremes of misuse as that of Coca? What can we learn from the tragic path followed by Coca abuse in relation to the use of Ayahuasca? What are the answers regarding the use of Coca in the West, and how can that inform the use of Ayahuasca?


José Oliveira Muniz

Recovery and Reintegration of People addicted to Alcohol and Other Drugs in society

This work takes place through participation in mutual help meetings, individual consultations, added to the practice of spirituality and educational, recreational, industrial, professional or agribusiness activities. Its mission is to:

• Provide more worthy material condition in
treatment of chemical dependency and social reintegration
to the residents
• Seek partnerships to assist in the sustainability of the units / branches;
• Adapt the Host homes to compliance with the DRC 29/2011 ANVISA;
• Create and implement mechanisms and new projects.

Currently our organization runs six unities of treatment: 2 in Rio Branco, 1 in Bujarí, 1 in Acrelândia, one in Senador Guiomar, 1 in Epitaciolândia.


Edilsom Fernandes

The Use of Ayahuasca in the Sacred Field in Treatment and Recovery of Convicts and Ex-Convicts

Three years ago we were approached by an NGO, the Association of Culture and Development of Convict and Ex-Convicts (Associação Cultural e de Desenvolvimento do Apenado e Egresso, ACUDA in Portuguese), to spiritually treat convicts and their families, in addition to the psychological therapies and labor that the NGO provides. Consistent with our Christian and Franciscan doctrine, we readily accepted the challenge. We required that the convicts come to the headquarters of the Spiritual Regeneration Center – Casa de Jesus e Lar de Frei Manuel, a religious institution in the city of Ji-Paraná, Rondônia, which we manage. Fortunately, the project gave splendid results. New visitors were offered the same spiritual content that had been offered to our fellowship, but with a universal spiritual perspective, in order to respectfully welcome the religious diversity of the convicts without any religious indoctrination. Our emphasis has been to focus on spirituality and consciousness, seeking a reassessment of life and acceptance of new concepts, in addition to exercises and the daily practice of therapies at the headquarters of the NGO. According to the project ACUDA, ayahuasca can be used with therapies such as Gestalt, Enneagram, Family Constellation,Transformational Theatre, Reiki, Ayurvedic massage and medicine, and conventional psychological treatment, to obtain highly satisfactory results. We argue that using ayahuasca with therapy is an effective option; the use of ayahuasca in therapy, for example, administered individually in an office, as well as in a group, outside the sacred context, is a not a desirable option.

social Sciences


Historically, both in practices and discourses related to ayahuasca, women have been relegated to second place. Sexism, discrimination or prejudice are increasingly common elements in a field in which usually tolerance equality and spiritual growth is promoted, while traditional stereotypes about gender roles are so prominent. Often, when incorporating arguments related to the perspective of gender in analyzing this field, the relationship between the sexes and the inherent inequalities become visible. Incorporating the perspective of gender is more than just giving visibility to the role of women; it facilitates a transformative process of shedding light on discrimination and working towards inclusivity. In this session, different experts will share insights from their research, experiences and personal trajectories on this subject matter.

Chaired by Esther Martínez Ibars

Vera Frçoes

Vera Fróes Fernandes

Santo Daime and the sacred feminine

If over the last 2000 years History made sure to exclude the role and the power of women, nowadays the feminine energy is finally emerging. In this new era women are breaking taboos, recreating traditions, leading spiritual works using plants of power, recalling occult botanical ancestral recipes, cultivating protection gardens, thus contributing with their gifts and natural talents for the preservation and evolution of life on Earth. Within the universe of the sacred feminine, Ayahuasca plays a leading role among other plants of power for being connected to the myth and mystery of giving birth. The “midwifery”art using botanical preparations dates back to 2000 B.C., when indigenous midwives (archetype of the wild woman) taught the midwives from the Amazon basin practices that have been passed on from generation to generation, accessing the unconscious, receiving the secrecy of the use of plants, working with profound psychology and developing techniques for dying and reviving, having Ayahuasca as a teacher, integrating the traditions of the caboclo populations. The relation between the midwife and the shaman can be perceived in the symbolism of birth, developing the ability of reconnecting a woman with her most deep feminine vital basis, a true rite of passage. Keeping alive the tradition of humanized childbirth is not only an act of resistance against the monopoly of health practices and drug companies, but also a way of valuing our cultural heritage, contained in the traditional wisdom and intuitive and empirical doings of the use of the plants.


Daiara Tukano

Gender issues and traditional healing of indigenous spirituality

Traditionally, in indigenous societies, medicine women have always existed, though in less number or more limited spaces than male. However, these civilizations, as well as any other, are dynamic, contemporary and always changing. Currently, we have witnessed a growth in the interest of women in starting the traditional spiritual learning of their people, as well as joining the non-indigenous education. An example is the remarkable increase in the number of indigenous women in higher education in Brazil. Violence against women in the context of indigenous genocide practiced for more than five centuries is also a considerable factor in the low number of women in ayahuasca healing paths. We note that in this new historical moment the woman’s role in strengthening and autonomy of indigenous peoples occupies more space, and this is no different in the field of spirituality. Thoughts on the sacred feminine in the learnings of ayahuasca, added to the voices of the grandfathers and grandmothers teaches that the vine does not live alone: he embraces the tree, and this sacred union of masculine and feminine contained in all of us this one of the mysteries of life.


Luisa Elvira Belaunde

The gender of bleeding: relationships between ayahuasca and ritual bodily restrictions in indigenous thought and practice

The text examines the implications of blood on gender, knowledge and cosmology amongst ayahuasquero people of the Andean foothills. Drawing from a comparative study of indigenous conceptions of bleeding and ritual bodily restrictions, such as dieting, I show how spirits, thoughts and strengths constitute gender differentiated bodies. I argue that the blood flow is conceived of as a relationships, since it transports knowledges all around the body and outside the body, genderizing and, at the same time, differentiating human beings from other beings of the surroundings and the cosmos. On the one hand, the blood flow inside the body is the vital axis of a person´s life cycle. On the other hand, the blood that comes out of the body has potentially dramatic cosmological consequences and precludes the practice of chamanism. The difference between men´s blood and women´s blood does not reside in an immutable gender essence but on the memory of personal experiences, what people learnt, eat and did, and with whom; the powers and spiritual names they receive, and from whom; the company they shared and the dreams they had. All these lived experiences are incorporated in the blood, differentiating men from women as well as differentiating one person from the other in a unique way beyond gender. Through the study of the ritual practices of dieting and seclusion, my aim is to show that the management of blood is inseparable from ayahuasquero shamanism and indigenous notions of the jealousy of powerful beings “owners” of master plants, such as ayahuasca. Keeping in mind the core place of bleeding, especially menstruation, in the cosmology, I suggest that ayahuasquero shamanism should be characterized as a shamanic-reproductive complex. To study shamanism as though it existed outside blood management practices amputates its scope. Even when women do not attend shamanic sessions, due to the restrictions imposed by their bleeding, they manage their blood flow with their partners. Similarly, men cannot practice shamanism when they carry the smell of blood or semen, which is considered a blood derivate. The couple´s joint blood management is therefore inseparable from their cosmological agencies.

National and International Expansion of Daime Lines

This panel will address the outward movement of different Santo Daime factions, starting in the 80s in the Amazon and the rest of Brazil to continue, in the 90s, to the rest of the world, including its benefits, challenges and dilemmas.

Chaired by Edward MacRae


Solon Brito do Nascimento

Eclectic Centre Illuminated Lotus Flower

The Eclectic Centre Illuminated Lotus Flower -CEFLI, founded in 1998, is located in the municipality of Capixaba in the community called Fortaleza  and has as its priority  the principles underlying the doctrine of Santo Daime and the legacy left by its founder, Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra-Juramidam. CEFLI has an annual religious calendar of spiritual works with rituals of bailados, concentration sessions and healing works, in addition to frequently receiving people from various parts of Brazil and the world, in search of guidance on the Santo Daime doctrine. The flow of visitors becomes more intense during the New Horizon Meeting, an annual Ecumenical festival lasting approximately 15 days, held between the  30th of December and the  14th of January. Since 2002, the  Fortaleza community has made great efforts raising the plant species used to make ayahuasca Bannipsteris caapi (Jagube) and Psychotria viridis (Rainha) in the community. Much care has also been given to environmental preservation and to family farming. CEFLI maintains exchanges with other institutions related to the Santo Daime doctrine , when Mr. Luiz Mendes do Nascimento, General Manager of CEFLI and an entourage hold spiritual religious sessions, thus helping to disseminate the  teachings of Mestre Irineu and the basic principles of the Daimista doctrine.


Juan Carlos de la Cal

The first news that we have about the arrival of Santo Daime in Europe dates from year 1987, when a Spanish journalist, Francisco de la Cal (who, by the way, is my brother) appeared in Madrid with a bottle of the beverage for the first time. Half a dozen people shared that first, and for me, unforgettable, experience in a house on a mountain range near Madrid, amid silence, Pink Floyd’s music, and tapes with hymns of Mestre Irineu recorded in Ceu do Mapiá. From this moment on, more meetings would follow that, although they didn’t reach the excellence of that first occasion, allowed us to understand the basis of what is, today, our adopted spiritual movement. At the time, we Spaniards in our twenties were getting of the shadows in a country afflicted by the Catholic rigidity of our childhood, which didn’t help us to assimilate the precepts of this new ayahuasca religion. So we, dedicated hippies, started to hold some rituals that several people from different backgrounds and trainings–mystics, musicians, journalists, executives seeking new experiences, and so forth–joined during these years, with various results. In 1992, coinciding with the celebration in Spain of the 5th Centenary of the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus, a group of people close to the Santo Daime–some of us already fardados who knew about the reality of the Brazilian Amazon–decided to invite the spiritual leader of this church, Padrinho Alfredo, the son of the recently deceased Padrinho Sebastião Mota de Melo, to Spain.The impact of these meetings, with more than 100 people, was huge, and it meant what Padrinho Alfredo called “a return trip for the spiritual re-conquest of the West.” Santo Daime offered structure and an enthusiastic organization to its new followers, and became an initiation school for many of us, thanks to its complex rituals, the teamwork, and the hierarchical arrangement of the participants. Padrinho Alfredo’s second visit to Europe, a year later, spread Santo Daime to the rest of the country and also to other nations, such as Italy and Holland, establishing the church in a similar way. Step by step, and thanks to the emergence of more or less charismatic leaders, several groups were created, attended by comitivas of the Padrinhos: musicians and singers from Brazil who help spread the spiritual practice internationally. The visits of foreigners to Brazil increased, creating strong links between us that are currently very solid. Legal attacks by the authorities helped to structure and organize these groups in their fight for their rights to legally use the drink in their rituals, and provided a platform for other users of the plant to join us in the big expansion of ayahuasca into Europe. Currently, there are approximately 600 fardados in a dozen countries in Europe, and a much higher number of visitors and supporters.


Ever since the first backpackers, hippies, scientists, and seekers all discovered Ayahuasca, its forms and contexts of use have multiplied in places far beyond the shamanic brews place of origin. In the “neo-ayahuasca” scene, spirituality, therapy, religion, indigenous shamanism or even artistic elements can be found mixed together, generating surprising new alliances and ritual forms, where almost anything can fit into a seemingly limitless extensions of the sacred. Faced with this phenomenon, however, the “traditionalists” warn of the loss of identification with the true purpose for consuming the brew. At the same time debates rages among mental health professionals between those worried about risks and negative incidents, and those who find in Ayahuasca an unequaled psychiatric tool. Meanwhile, health [and law enforcement???] authorities have focused their attention on the phenomenon, and are in the process of deciding and defining how Ayahuasca will be allowed to penetrate into urban social life.

Chaired by Juan Carlos de la Cal.

Enio Staub

Enio Staub

Solidary Environmental and Social Network from the use of Ayahuasca Ritual

This presentation will address new scenarios of ayahuasca use in the contemporary world by analyzing the “shamanic diplomacy” and its local and global representations. The incursions of the forest people with their medicines in major cities in the world have generated a huge range of cooperation activities and exchanges that go beyond the feel good or “cured” using entheogens. These raids are becoming more frequent and intense and produce major changes, both in traditional communities, generated by exchanges, as in informal communities (intentional and not based on territory) that spring from the ceremonial use of entheogens. The use of ayahuasca has proved a transforming element of life and a glue generator that brings together people from different social strata and interests worldwide to gather for cultural, environmental and empowerment actions in remote and urban communities.


Josep Mª Fericgla

Ayahuasca: A Psycho-integrating Bridge between Cultures

Surprisingly, ayahuasca has become a global symbol, and its use a practice that is bringing together two, once very separate, minority cultures: the western psychedelic and the Amazonian shamanic traditions. Although minorities within their societies of origin, both traditions have been crucially important in shaping the contemporary world. In the West, consumers of visionary psychotropic substances are not a large group in percentage terms, but the psychedelic experience from the second half of the twentieth century onwards has given rise to a profound renovation of cultural values that has affected all aspects of life (aesthetics, sexuality, morality, law, anti-psychiatry movement, among others). Likewise, the traditional use of ayahuasca is a minority practice among indigenous groups, but it has shaped all aspects of shamanic societies (medicine, idiosyncrasy, symbolism, family relations, among others). Its growing use throughout the world despite prohibitionist laws in various states begs the following questions: What is the role of ayahuasca consumption in the current global cultural framework? What is the typology of the people who are interested in and get together to take ayahuasca in the West and East? What unmet needs lead them to seek fulfilment through the consumption of the Amazonian brew? How is the indigenous world changing as a result of growing demand for ayahuasca? How is its consumption being culturally transformed so that it can make the transition from animist to post-industrial societies?


Santiago López

Forms of Knowledge and Contexts of Use of Ayahuasca: Is Dialog a Utopia?

The premise of this paper is that the practices of the indigenous or aboriginal peoples of the Upper Amazon around ayahuasca constitutes a type of knowledge about the nature of reality analogous to the knowledge of Western Science about Matter. The essence of this form of knowledge refers to the animist dimension of reality. It is a worldview that considers ayahuasca, tobacco, and many other psychoactive and non-psychoactive plants as Teacher Plants, i.e. which have a spirit or ‘mother’. The ayahuasca expansion inside and outside the Amazon Basin tends to be linked to notions as tradition, authenticity, identity, invention, appropriation, adaptation, imitation, legitimacy, etc., as it happens most of the times when diffusion of cultural practices are studied. However, the use of ayahuasca is seldom analysed from an animist perspective, and from the shamanic knowledge involved. Therefore, some questions arise: All contexts of use of ayahuasca are based in an animistic conception of reality? Do we know when we are in front of a shamanic use of the ayahuasca, and when we do not? Can we study the ayahuasca as medicine to heal, and the ayahuasca as medication to cure from the same theoretical framework? Do we know and respect equally the spiritual knowledge and the pharmacological knowledge associated with ayahuasca? Can a westerner go beyond his naturalistic worldview, and acquire an animistic one? This paper makes an attempt to explore possible responses to these questions starting from the fieldwork made in Spain with native shamans from the Amazon region and from neighbour Andean areas, as well as with European shamans trained in the jungle. In this sense, Spain is constituted as a sort of Upper Amazon’s periphery and a privileged place to observe, participate and study different contexts of use of ayahuasca – associated with different forms of knowledge: ethnic or indigenous, mestizo or vegetalista, religious, neoshamanic, therapeutic, pharmacological or in an experimental setting.

Evgenia Fotiou

Some Considerations on Shamanic Tourism in Western Amazonia

This paper, examines the cultural construction of ayahuasca and shamanism, their manifestations in the western imagination and experience, and their localized experience in the city of Iquitos, Peru, in the context of the phenomenon of shamanic tourism. Shamanic tourism has flourished in the last few years and is promoted internationally by several agents both local and western. Iquitos, Peru was chosen as a research site because as a gateway to the eco- and shamanic tourism serves as a location where different cultural constructions of ayahuasca co-exist, namely the urban mestizo and western, it can offer a better perspective on the appropriation of ayahuasca by westerners. I place the phenomenon of shamanic tourism within the historical context of the relationship of the West with the exotic and spiritual “other”, a history that has gone hand in hand with colonialism and exploitative relationships. I argue that shamanic tourism is not an anomaly but is consistent with the nature of shamanism, which has historically been about intercultural exchange, as shamanic knowledge and experience has been sought cross-culturally. In addition, in the West, esoteric knowledge has often been sought in faraway places, thus this intercultural exchange is also consistent with Western tradition. However, while the existence of the phenomenon of shamanic tourism is not problematic per se, I present some of the problems in the ways Amazonian shamanism is perceived by westerners; mainly the dangers of further essentializing and marginalizing indigenous cultures and their knowledge.



The knowledge and ancient indigenous practice of ayahuasca has sunk a root in the Amazon jungle itself; peoples of various countries share a spiritual knowledge through the frontiers of its various languages, keeping a reverence for its practices and traditional identities in a real intercultural dialogue. In this section, renowned curanderos from Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru participate in an interactive dialogue, sharing their cosmovisions and regional realities and debating intercultural relations with the indigenous and non-indigenous societies in the twenty-first century.

Chaired by Daiara Tukano.


Kumú Benedicto

People, jungle and plants: all of them necessary to weave a culture

The Tukano Oriental Indigenous Peoples live in the Amazon Basin, Vaupés Department, where they still preserve one of the most complex and majestic shamanic traditions known as the Yuruparí Cultural Complex. In the first part of our speech we will present some aspects of the geographic, environmental, social and cultural conditions. We will be showing some of the threats they are facing especially against heir cultural and physical survival, as well as some of the processes they have embraced to defend and strengthen their political and territorial rights as well as their traditions. Secondly, we will show how this traditional knowledge system functions, its implications towards individual and collective human health, for the traditional planning and management of the territory and for the maintenance of the biological and cultural diversity. Thirdly, we will try to show how the use of sacred plants, in particular coca, tobacco and caapi do not have coherence or efficacy if they are not used within the frame of the ritual ceremonies: shamanism without plants is not possible; but plants without shamanisms lose their profound meaning and efficacy. Finally, Benedicto Mejía, an authentic Tukano Oriental kumú (shaman), will present on his behalf and that of his peoples’ his reflections and a call to the world to help them protect their territories, culture and traditional knowledge systems.


Germán Zuluaga

People, jungle and plants: all of them necessary to weave a culture

The Tukano Oriental Indigenous Peoples live in the Amazon Basin, Vaupés Department, where they still preserve one of the most complex and majestic shamanic traditions known as the Yuruparí Cultural Complex. In the first part of our speech we will present some aspects of the geographic, environmental, social and cultural conditions. We will be showing some of the threats they are facing especially against heir cultural and physical survival, as well as some of the processes they have embraced to defend and strengthen their political and territorial rights as well as their traditions. Secondly, we will show how this traditional knowledge system functions, its implications towards individual and collective human health, for the traditional planning and management of the territory and for the maintenance of the biological and cultural diversity. Thirdly, we will try to show how the use of sacred plants, in particular coca, tobacco and caapi do not have coherence or efficacy if they are not used within the frame of the ritual ceremonies: shamanism without plants is not possible; but plants without shamanisms lose their profound meaning and efficacy. Finally, Benedicto Mejía, an authentic Tukano Oriental kumú (shaman), will present on his behalf and that of his peoples’ his reflections and a call to the world to help them protect their territories, culture and traditional knowledge systems.

Carlos Lleneras

Carlos Llenera

Like a Flower Slowly Opening: Traditional Use Of Plants in the Amazon Jungle

This presentation will approach the dieta, its process and purposes. The dieta, or diet, consists of a treatment using different kinds of plants; for example, mucura, piñón, renaco, anacaspi, and ayahuma, among others. These plants are selected depending on the illness a person manifests. Before the diet starts, it is necessary for the patient to tell the healer about his emotional state and health issues, and also of important events in his life. This process is a deep treatment; everyone feels the effect of the plants differently, according to how sensitive their bodies are. When you start the diet, the body is closed. The first step is to cleanse the stomach; that assures the medicine will enter a clean body. During a ceremony, the healer chooses the kind of medicine the patient will ingest. The diet has restrictions, as the plants can be jealous. I will introduce the rules of the diet, such as abstaining from salt, sugar, alcohol, chili peppers, red meat, fats, sex, recreational drugs, and prescription drugs. The importance of the post-diet period will also be discussed. During this period of from 20 to 25 days, the person must avoid pork, chili peppers, alcohol, and drugs. Why? Because the plants are still active in the body, completing their healing cycle. It is important to note that all of these plants carry a risk; they can be dangerous, and they shouldn’t be ingested without the supervision and expertise of an experienced healer. The diet implies an enormous responsibility for the healer. Nevertheless, we have observed very good results when the rules are followed.


This painel examines the Ayahuasca tradition and the associated types of knowledge from the indigenous perspective. Based on indigenous discourse, an attempt is made to establish the role of Ayahuasca in the sociocultural universe and religion of each indigenous people in the south-western Amazon region, which is fundamentally made up of the Pano and Arawak cultural and linguistic traditions. Experiences with Ayahuasca, rituality and shamanism in the Yawanawá, Shanenawa, Hunikuin, Katuquina, Jaminawa, Manchineri and Ashaninka indigenous peoples are related by protagonists from these groups.

Chaired by Biraci Brasil.

Francisco Alves de Sousa Manchineri

Kamalampi from the Manchineri Perspective

Almiro Melendez Jaminawa

Shori and Religiosity among the Jaminawa

Pedro Silvino Shanenawa

The Shanenawa Experience of Honi

Moisés Pianko

The Ashaninka Tradition in Kamalampi

Raimundo Macario (Kustê) & Aldair Silva Katuquin

The Katuquina Knowledge of Honi

Ozélia Sales Kaxinawá(Bixmani)

Hunikuin Knowledge and Curing

Afonsinho Manduca Mateus (Kupi)

Ayahuasca and Pajelança [The Skills of the Shamans]

Raimunda Luiza (Putani)

Women and Yawanawá Shamanism


Ayahuasca is considered by Indians themselves from the perspective of cultural change and modernity. The assertion of ethnic identities and the use of Ayahuasca, reinterpretations of rituality, renewal of worldviews, integration into new contexts, and indigenous socio-cultural backgrounds represent a signifi-cant part of the thematic corpus of these expositions. In the scenario of new intersocial relations, this ses-sion discusses the transformation of the current world and the use of Ayahuasca both within and outside the indigenous universe and how native practices are reinterpreted in the context of modernity.

Chaired by Saba Manchineri.

Fabiano Sales Maia Kaxinawá (Txana Bane)

Ayahuasca, Dialogues, Integration and Modernism

Haru Kuntanawa & Osmildo Kuntanawa

Honi in the Emergence of the Kuntanawa

To be defined

The Introduction of Ayahuasca among the Guarani

Nozinho Gonçalves da Silva Apurinã

The Integration of Ayahuasca in Present Day Apurinã Culture

Francisco de Assis Mateus de Lima Kaxinawá (Ninawa)

Reelaborating the Hunikuin Rituality of the Huni Nixi Pae

Sebastião Alves Rodrigues

Kamalampi in the Manchineri Cosmovision

Valdemir Shanenawa (Nainawá)

Shanenawa – Rituality and Culture

Maldete da Silva Pianko (Benqui)

Kamarampi in the Ashaninka Culture

Francisco Bardales (Shané)

Huni Nixi Pae and the Hunikuin Sociocultural Tradition


For indigenous peoples the use of Ayahuasca is part of their cultural universe and is associated with rights and worldviews. This implies demands for public policies to defend its use and to strengthen it as a socio-cultural expression of indigenous origin. The debate over its cultural recognition, the appropriation and valuation of traditional knowledge, patrimonalization, gender participation, and original rights, gives Ayahuasca an important role in the cultural universe of the Amazonian indigenous peoples.

Chaired by Ninawa Inu Pereira Nunes Hunikuin.

Ninawa Inu Pereira Nunes Hunikuin

Law and Policies on Ayahuasca in the Amazonian Indian Universe

Siã Kaxinawa

The Universalization of Ayahuasca

Fernanda Kaingang

Traditional Knowledge and the Law

Levino Katuquina

The Patrimonalization of Honi

Kátia Luiza (Hosharu)

Huni and the Female Universe

Joana Munduruku & Ubiratã Wapixana

Indigenous Knowledge and Derivative Rights

Joaquim Paulo de Lima (Joaquim Maná)

Recognition of Ayahuasca as an Indigenous Patrimony

Alvaro Tukano

Ayahuasca and Public Policies



In the indigenous history of southwestern Amazonia, ayahuasca comprises a tradition rooted in the Pano, Arawak and Arawá cultures, configured through mythologies and ritualizations closely interconnected with the cosmovisions of diverse peoples. In the context of interethnic contact established with the surrounding Brazilian and Peruvian societies, ayahuasca has emerged as a manifestation of resistance to the process of domination and power to which indigenous  peoples have been subject over recent centuries, transforming and expanding their sociocultural domains and meanings. This roundtable debates the sociopolitical relations and cognitive practices that enable the affirmation of both differentiality and intercultural dialogue.

Roundtable organized by the Federal University of Acre


Andrea Martini

Aspects of ayahuasca use among Indians from the Pano linguistic family in Acre, Brazil

In this presentation, aspects of ayahuasca use among indigenous groups from the Pano linguistic family, currently residents in the state of Acre, Brazil, will be described. Information on modern day ayahuasca and its mythical counterpoints. Aspects related to elaboration, fruition, organization and apprehension derived from the drink in an indigenous context are highlighted. During the course of extraction, planting, handling of species used, drink preparation, preparation of ritual spaces, so many other related services such as carrying water, singing and keeping the fire lit or keeping it out are inconspicuous and necessary. There are also relative and created hierarchies based on this knowledge. The establishment of norms and behavior at collective or family reunions used to pass on information and learning opportunities isn’t similar to schools. There are temporary sexual and diet restrictions on coming and going. Complementary plants and other activities related to the act of drinking ayahuasca and getting to know the connections between specialized knowledge, specialists and their learners. Who, or better yet, who to invite and how to do it. There are distinct attributions, roles and functions, systems of transfer far beyond description by pen and paper. However, they need conceptual, mythical and artistic foundation to adapt and survive over time. Current access mechanisms resulting from ayahuasca and distribution of effects, goods and benefits deriving from its ritual and religious use as well as its commercialization are debated.


Jaco Cesar Piccoli

Ayahuasca e resistência sociocultural dos povos indígenas na Amazônia Sul Ocidental brasileira

As relações entre a sociedade nacional e povos indígenas na Amazônia Sul Ocidental brasileira foram marcadas por uma história de dominação e resistência, com confrontos, contradições e integrações. Ao projeto de conquista e dominação os povos indígenas opuseram resistência, às vezes aguerrida, outras vezes estratégica, integrativa e reorganizativa. Nos diferentes contextos as sociedades nativas ficaram sujeitas a impactos nos seus sistemas econômico, social e cultural. O presente estudo debate as relações de integração no campo cultural considerando que a sociedade dominante não assimilou ou eliminou totalmente as sociedades nativas. Apesar de incorporadas à economia de mercado e até ao sistema de estratificação social como subalternos e marginalizados, os povos indígenas permanecem enquanto grupos distintos definindo-se pelo reconhecimento de suas identidades socioculturais. As sujeições e perdas podem ser mais ou menos intensas de acordo com os graus de integração pelas quais foram compelidos a atravessar. No âmbito da cultura, as línguas, as práticas terapêuticas, os rituais e as manifestações religiosas sofreram influências e um ritmo crescente de desculturação. Por outro lado, também revelam formas de resistência remanescentes, geralmente, nas instâncias da organização sociocultural como a tradição da Ayahuasca (Honi e Kamarampi dos povos e culturas pano, aruak e arawá), que continuam sendo elementos de valoração e restauração dos grupos indígenas da região. A tradição da Ayahuasca, além de símbolo de resistência identitária para os povos indígenas, evidencia relações de integração sociocultural, que conduz a um redimensionamento das relações históricas do contato interétnico. Elas revelam e dão significado às apropriações e reinterpretações históricas dessas práticas por parte dos grupos, comunidades e religiões ayahuasqueiras.


Leonardo Lessin

Ayahuasca and indigenous cosmopolitics in the Amazon

The main objective of this is work is to highlight the relationship between the use of ayahuasca and cosmopolitics in the indigenous Amazon. According to Viveiros de Castro, the “pespectivist” and “multinaturalist” ontologies of Amerindian Amazonian groups are based on a mythological worldview that has objective political implications. The ayahuasca shaman can, as we intend to demonstrate here, be seen in his “cosmopolitic praxis” as a legitimate traditional authority which controls the passage that allows access to other dimensions of the cosmos. Focussing on mythological perception, this work hypothesizes ayahuasca as a “hyper-food”, following the considerations on tobacco consumption reported by Levis-Strauss in his “From Honey to Ashes”. We also focus on the contributions of Mircea Eliade’s work, especially his basic conceptual developments for apprehending shamanism in its cultural diversity. Our understanding is that ayahuasca is a potentializer element of the cosmopolitic practice of amerindian shamanism. The ayahuasca shaman can then be understood as a kind of diplomat, as a strategist on foreign policy, not in an international global level, but in an interdimensional cosmological dimension.


Diverse manifestations of the ayahuasca religious culture are developed in the Acre region of Amazonia. These manifestations generate their own organizational and ritualistic structures and identities that work to consolidate and continue the religious use of ayahuasca in regional, national and international non-indigenous spaces. In this context, syncretic formulations like the Santo Daime theology, themes like tradition and modernity, and the relations with the region’s cultural movements enrich the debate and deepen our knowledge about the religious and cultural phenomenon of ayahuasca, as well as fostering a variety of associated socioanthropological approaches.

Roundtable organized by the Federal University of Acre

Clodomir Monteiro

Clodomir Monteiro

Pensamento Alto Santo Navegando Barquinha e União da Luz


Wladimyr Araújo

O Continuum do Uso Religioso da Ayahuasca em Religiões Ayahuasqueiras

A ayahuasca é uma bebida milenar utilizada por indígenas, religiões, caboclos/ vegetalistas e também por grupos mais contemporâneos designados de neo–ayahuasqueiros. A mesma é consumida ritualmente em diversos lugares do mundo e, especialmente na América do Sul e Brasil. No estado do Acre, surgiram três religiões que utilizam a substância de maneira religiosa: o Santo Daime, na década de 30, a Barquinha em 1945 e a União do Vegetal no final da década de 60. Todas elas englobando um repertório simbólico e cultural extremamente peculiar. Este trabalho pretende abrir uma discussão sobre a noção de continuum religioso do uso da ayahuasca. Para isso, abordaremos duas noções que julgamos essenciais para a sua compreensão: a essência e o sentido de uso destas religiões.


Fernando Peixoto

Notes for a theological antropology of ayahuasca

Ayahuasca transcended its natural habitat: the amazon forest and the indigenous world; today it is the sacrament of a cosmopolitan spirituality willing to overcome political and ethnic boundaries and replant holy doctrines. Outlining the personality of this religious phenomenon is the subject of this comunication.


Geovânia Corrêa Barros

Tradition and Modernity in the ayahuasca field: an analysis from the regulatory processes and patrimonialization of ayahuasca in Brazil from 1986/2016

This conference discusses the dynamics of social and political articulation in the ayahuasqueiro field in Brazil through the analysis of the broad process of public recognition of ayahuasca, which includes both its normalization and its definition as a cultural patrimony. This process involves representative actors of the religions present in this field, the State, as well as groups and individuals outside the field identified with the use of ayahuasca in the state of Acre, in Brazil and in the world. The two processes, standardization and patrimonialization, were thought as potentially relevant to the sociological analysis. Their study demonstrates, through the analysis of the discourses of the actors involved, the disputes between social actors (from the field theory of Bourdieu) and their intentions and struggles to contemplate them. In addition, we will detail the establishment of differentiated settings (in the sense proposed by Elias), exploring the dynamics between tradition and modernity. The survey included a documentary analysis, a set of semi-structured interviews carried out with significant actors in the ayahuasqueiro field, with members of the judiciary, the Culture Ministry and with legitimized interpreters of the ayahuasca story (or Daime), as well as life stories of significant religious actors affiliated to the religious traditions present in the studied field. Our main work is that the processes analyzed represent times when tensions arising from the desire for recognition and legitimacy – understood in relation to the dialectic between tradition and modernity in the Brazilian ayahuasqueiro field – produce results intended and not intended by the actors in the field.


Fatima Almeida

Santo Daime: a Colônia Cinco Mil e a Contracultura (1977 – 1983)

Uma comunidade rural no município de Rio Branco que utiliza um chá de origem indígena, a ayahuasca, considerado sagrado sob o nome de Santo Daime, no Acre, que atingiu a mídia nacional após Padrinho Sebastião Mota de Melo, seu líder religioso, receber e aceitar os “hippies”, jovens que vinham de toda a parte para ter experiência com o chá sagrado. Este fato permitiu um contato singular de comunidade alternativa com a participação desses jovens da contracultura e os agricultores tradicionais, em sua maioria ex-seringueiros. Neste contexto ocorreu fato inédito: a disseminação da Cannabis sativa (maconha) na referida comunidade, tornando-se também sagrada e recebendo o nome de “Santa Maria”. Neste sentido, falarei dos resultados deste encontro destes jovens de classe média com trabalhadores da floresta e do campo que eram, em geral, semi-analfabetos. Finalmente, queremos dizer que a abordagem deste trabalho está baseada em conceitos como micro-políticas cartográficas do desejo de ROLNIK, Suely e GUATARI, Félix, depoimentos e minha experiência de vida com a comunidade.


The history of the founding Mestres of traditional ayahuasca communities

One of three panels organized by the Câmara Temática de Culturas Ayahuasqueiras of Rio Branco’s City Council on Cultural Policies on the topic of religion at AYA2016. To learn more:

Chaired by Onides Bonaccorsi Queiroz

antonio alves

Antônio Alves

About Mestre Raimundo Irineu Serra


Rosana Martins de Oliveira

About Mestre Daniel Pereira de Mattos


Ana Maria de Lima Souza

About Mestre José Gabriel da Costa

The construction of the social credibility of traditional ayahuasca communities: legalization, achievements, and legitimacy

One of three panels organized by the Câmara Temática de Culturas Ayahuasqueiras of Rio Branco’s City Council on Cultural Policies on the topic of religion at AYA2016. To learn more:

Chaired by Marcos Vinicius Neves



Mestre Irineu lineage


Hildo Cezar Freire Montysuma

Mestre Daniel Pereira de Mattos lineage

Luis Felipe


Mestre José Gabriel da Costa lineage

Stories and tales about the founding Mestres of traditional ayahuasca communities: principles and values as observed in daily life

One of three panels organized by the Câmara Temática de Culturas Ayahuasqueiras of Rio Branco’s City Council on Cultural Policies on the topic of religion at AYA2016. To learn more:

Chaired by Flávia Burlamaqui