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Anthropology of Consciousness

Healing with Plant Intelligence: A Report from Ayahuasca

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Abstract

Numerous and diverse reports indicate the efficacy of shamanic plant adjuncts (e.g., iboga, ayahuasca, psilocybin) for the care and treatment of addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, cluster headaches, and depression. This article reports on a first-person healing of lifelong asthma and atopic dermatitis in the shamanic context of the contemporary Peruvian Amazon and the sometimes digital ontology of online communities. The article suggests that emerging language, concepts, and data drawn from the sciences of plant signaling and behavior regarding “plant intelligence” provide a useful heuristic framework for comprehending and actualizing the healing potentials of visionary plant “entheogens” (Wasson 1971) as represented both through first-person experience and online reports. Together with the paradigms and practices of plant signaling, biosemiotics provides a robust and coherent map for contextualizing the often reported experience of plant communication with ayahuasca and other entheogenic plants. The archetype of the “plant teachers” (called Doctores in the upper Amazon) is explored as a means for organizing and interacting with this data within an epistemology of the “hallucination/perception continuum (Fischer 1975). “Ecodelic” is offered as a new linguistic interface alongside “entheogen” (Wasson 1971).

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