MYSTERY WIRE — Ayahuasca treatments result in intensely personal stories. In some cases, we learn from celebrities about life-changing experiences.
What is it, exactly? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, ayahuasca is a psychotropic plant tea from South America. It is used for religious purposes and healing by people of the Amazon. It has gained popularity — to the point of creating a tourism market in South America — despite some known risks. Shaman are even known to travel to the United States to administer ayahuasca sessions.
It can create altered states of consciousness, and effects vary dramatically from one person to the next. For some, it is extremely hallucinogenic. For others, it presents only mild effects.
The active ingredient, dimethyltryptamine, is a schedule 1 drug. Ayahuasca appears to extend the duration of DMT’s effects. Is it safe? Research is ongoing, but the fact there’s an addiction hotline (888-722-3034) gives pause.
Some of the stories:
KERRY RHODES, NFL player
In one of the most detailed personal accounts, Rhodes recounts his first “purge” — vomiting into a bucket in his first 8-hour ayahuasca session with a shaman:
I wake up and I’m a baby in the crib, and I’m looking out, and I’m crying, and in that moment nobody picked me up.Kerry Rhodes, describing his ayahuasca experience
Rhodes tells British newspaper The Guardian of his efforts to come to terms with “neediness” — a word that some used to define his shortcomings as a football player.
Connecting with every living thing around him was the experience Sting talks about:
Each leaf, each flower, each insect called me. It was a feeling of being connected that fascinated me.Sting’s description of feelings he had during his ayahuasca experience
PAUL SIMON, musician
Simon not only talked about the inspiration of artistic creativity during his ayahuasca experience — he also reported that he experienced fighting off a giant snake in his vision.
OLIVER STONE, director
Stone believes in “LSD, mescaline, mushrooms and ayahuasca.” He discounted other controlled substances like cocaine, but his experiences reportedly inspired creativity.