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Keywords:

  • ayahuasca;
  • shamanism;
  • healing;
  • creativity;
  • spirituality

Abstract

Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychoactive shamanic brew that often elicits spontaneous, intense, and meaningful imagery narratives related to psychological and physical healing, problem solving, knowledge acquisition, community cohesion, creativity, and spiritual development. My EEG and phenomenology ayahuasca research found it caused the greatest changes in EEG beta coherence from 25 to 30 cycles per second compared to a resting state before ayahuasca ingestion. Enhanced beta coherence indexes significantly greater information exchange between cortical regions and is congruent with the reported enhanced richness, complexity, and profundity of ayahuasca experiences. I developed the creative cycle processes model that identifies in ayahuasca reports distinct experiential change processes and describes how these processes, neuroscience, psychotherapy, mythological, and other transdisciplinary evidence can be coherently integrated to explain ayahuasca benefits. The model suggests three change process stages together underlie one emergent dynamic creative cycle process. The sequential stages are Form dismantling and healing processes, form creation processes, where novel forms spontaneously combine, and form expression processes, where emergent experiences are embodied. The model suggests that these three stages repeat cyclically in human development in an ongoing process of dismantling and generation producing more creative experiences and expressive forms.