The Globalization of Ayahuasca Shamanism and the Erasure of Indigenous Shamanism

Anthropology of Consciousness 27 (2):151-179 (2016)
Abstract
Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic plant mixture used in a ceremonial context throughout western Amazonia, and its use has expanded globally in recent decades. As part of this expansion, ayahuasca has become popular among westerners who travel to the Peruvian Amazon in increasing numbers to experience its reportedly healing and transformative effects. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in and around the area of Iquitos, Peru, the epicenter of ayahuasca tourism, this paper focuses on some of the problematic aspects of western engagement with indigenous spiritual traditions. This engagement is usually based on idealized and romanticized notions of indigenous shamanism and an inability to digest its less palatable aspects, such as sorcery. Through ethnographic examples and ethnohistorical evidence, I show that the romanticization indigenous peoples is not benign. In fact, this one-sided romantic image hides the complexity of indigenous peoples’ situations by erasing the injustices that they have experienced and continue to experience. I propose a more holistic approach to ayahuasca shamanism that views indigenous peoples not living in a fictitious harmony with nature but as people embedded in larger struggles and facing important challenges not the least of which is the recent commercialization of indigenous spirituality.
Keywords indigenous peoples  Shamanism  Amazonia  cultural appropriation  Ayahuasca
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/anoc.12056
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,062
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Shamanism and the Eighteenth Century.Gloria Flaherty - 1995 - Diderot Studies 26:305-306.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Fear No Spirits: A Pilgrim’s Journey Through the Brazilian Churches of Ayahuasca.Robert Tindall - 2005 - International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 24:61-68.
“Only Slaves Climb Trees”.Allyn MacLean Stearman - 1994 - Human Nature 5 (4):339-357.
Exploring Shamanism.Hillary S. Webb - 2003 - New Page Books.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-09-16

Total views
3 ( #905,289 of 2,312,817 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #340,585 of 2,312,817 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature