The fashion world recognizes ayahuasca – “Maybe it’s because the world is going there,” says one stylist and creative consultant, "and fashion people are the first people to catch those things because they’re more connected, because fashion people are always catching things beforehand.” Another says, "The creative class is generally drawn to such things — it’s probably not surprising that it’s happening in fashion.” At last! Validation by the creative class.
Here is a parody of current hip ayahuasca use by the always funny JP Sears. There is a lot of criticism in the comments -- be sure to check them out -- by what seem likely to be the objects of his humor. It is, in my view, about time someone poked some fun at the ayahuasca scene.
CNN gets on board -- CNN reports on a forthcoming television special in which Lisa Ling goes inside an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru and talks to the people "drinking this potent brew in hopes that it will alleviate their mental and emotional traumas." The article includes "six things to know about ayahuasca," both good and bad. This is a surprisingly straightforward and informative mainstream-media account. Apparently Ling -- on orders from her boss -- abstained.
MMA fighter Kyle Kingsbury drank ayahuasca, became a happier person, and -- “at peace the entire time” -- had the crap beat out of him in the octagon. He explained: “You don’t have to fight angry, but you do have to have some anger inside you in order to really throw punches with aggression and really want to hurt someone else. I don’t have that anymore.” He has also given a more prosaic explanation. “It didn’t make sense to get beat up anymore.”
Finally! Ayahuasca hits The New York Times. In the Fashion and Style Section, no less -- "One fashion insider hallucinated a snake coming toward her that she perceived as representing a difficult work colleague.... One of her friends wasn’t so sure of what she had just experienced. 'It was cool, but what did I learn from it?' she asked." So in just a few years, ayahuasca has morphed into a semi-therapeutic recreational trip for fashion insiders.
Another semi-celebrity does ayahuasca, changes life! -- James Scott has quit Days Of Our Lives after, as the article says, "smoking ayahuasca" in Peru. "It was the single most positive experience of my life," he says. "I came back a very different person.” He apparently also called his fans "f**ing idiots." There are now so many minor celebrities changing their lives with ayahuasca that I am having trouble keeping up.
Not just for women's magazines any more -- Ayahuasca makes its second appearance in the Men's Journal, which promotes itself as a guide to men's health, fitness, food, drinks, adventures, and style. "It is the opposite of a party drug," the article says, "a viscerally intense, multihour journey and ordeal in which, veterans say, 'you earn what you learn.'"
What is ayahuasca? Lindsay Lohan's 'cleanse' is probably illegal, causes vomiting
At last! Another celebrity drinks ayahuasca -- Lindsay Lohan says it helped her cope with her miscarriage. The experience was "really intense," and she saw herself die and being born. The experience encouraged her to let go of "the wreckage of my past." The author of the article snarks, but has the good sense to talk to my friend Brian Anderson, who knows what he's talking about.
Another ayahuasca tourist death -- A nineteen-year-old ayahuasca tourist died in the Putumayo area after taking part in an ayahuasca ceremony."He kept saying, 'What's going on, oh my God' and holding his face." Apparently the shaman attempted to hide the body by dumping it by the side of a road.
Why Evangelical Christians Are Right To Be Angry About 'Noah'
Ayahuasca as inside joke -- In the religious blockbuster Noah there is a scene in which a shamanic Methuselah enables Noah to hear the voice of the Creator in a ritual that looks a lot like an ayahuasca ceremony. Noah drinks a cup of dark brown liquid, has a vision, and vomits. Hmmm.
Uh oh -- Legal columnist and law professor Marci A. Hamilton thinks that a unanimous US Supreme Court was just plain wrong in granting an exemption under RFRA allowing the UDV to use ayahuasca in its ceremonies -- or, as she puts it, "holding that a small religious group has rights to use an untested and illegal drug." Because the State knows best.
Mainstreaming ayahuasca -- You know a meme has arrived when it hits the women's fashion magazines. Abby Aguirre writes about what she calls"the ayahuasca power trip" in Marie Claire. "It's this willingness to remain in the mainstream, rather than flee it," she says, "that differentiates the current ayahuasca culture from the LSD-based psychedelic movement of the '60s." What?
Can ayahuasca cure addictions? -- Olivia LaVecchia interviews ethnopharmacologist Dennis McKenna in the Minneapolis City Pages. "If we can bring together the best of shamanism and the best of psychotherapy, I think we can offer a new paradigm for healing," says McKenna. "What we're really trying to do here is revolutionize psychiatry."
Another transmission of the ayahuasca meme -- On the November 13, 2009, episode of Ugly Betty, series character Daniel Meade, distraught over the death of his wife Molly, falls into the hands of a cult whose leader gives him a very bitter drink "used by South American shamans for thousands of years" -- clearly a reference to ayahuasca, which is never named. This was the second lowest-rated episode in the history of the series.
At last! Homeopathic ayahuasca -- "When taken in the potentized form can be of immense value in clinical practice. This drug definitely needs to be explored more so that it can be successfully applied by the entire Homeopathic fraternity to produce more cures and better results." And it's probably legal, since it contains no actual molecules of ayahuasca. Why didn't anyone think of this before?
The California trio Carousel Beach — Colin Studybaker, Joseph Hurt, and Katrina Lenk — offer a frolic-y summer-y super-fun psychedelic pop song entitled, of course, Ayahuasca, with lyrics like “Entangled in the vine, with the wisdom that unties. It’s hard to face what you buried deep inside. It’s time to see the truth, it’s hidden inside you.” Everyone is happy. Nobody vomits.
A superhip Village Voice blog notices the infiltration of the ayahuasca meme into popular music. "Ayahuasca is increasingly popping up in music, having been name-checked by everyone from Father John Misty to Alchemist to Ben Lee," the article says. "What's the big deal?"
Robin Quivers, co-host of The Howard Stern Show, famously described her ayahuasca experience in Peru to Howard Stern on April 25, 2011. Kevin Lofton of Kevina.TV Animation was asked to make the narration into a video for the show, which was completed in late May of 2011. It was tucked away for more than a year until Stern brought it up on air, and asked for it to be shown on Howard TV. Please note that some may find this cartoon to be offensive.
Ben Lee -- award-winning rock musician and devoted follower of Swami Narayani Amma -- says his performances aim to lead audiences to a spiritual high through music; he calls himself a “peak experience generator.” He has now been influenced by his use of ayahuasca, which, he says, facilitates symbolic death and embodies the benevolent mother goddess of his guru. All of this is the theme of his latest album, Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work. Here are an interview and two songs from the album.
It has happened. The word "ayahuasca" has become a metaphor for... Well, I'm not exactly sure. But here is a guy who is selling his Internet marketing system as "The 'Ayahuasca' of Wealth and Success Building."
Lots of novels -- by Isabel Allende, Peter Matthiessen, Paul Theroux, Alice Walker -- have had ayahuasca as part of the plot. The latest is the novel Rage is Back by Adam Mansbach (author of the famous Go the F**k to Sleep), in which the hero wanders in the Amazon, studies with shamans, and drinks “an entheogenic resin made from the essences of four different plants cooked together” whose recipe was given to him by a shaman who received it from a very wise tree called El Purga [sic]. Hmmm.
"Increasingly often their trip becomes a nightmare, and some of them don't go home at all" -- Men's Journal reports on the dark side of ayahuasca, including the tragic death of Kyle Nolan, in the first extended media treatment of molestation, rape, and negligence at the hands of predatory and inept shamans.
Let’s say you are seeking financing for a “mind-bending, high-octane thriller” about a successful executive who finds that terrifying hallucinations are taking over his sanity and his life -- nightmarish visions, the promotional materials say, taking a toll on his psyche, his friends, and his own reality. What would you name your production company? Why, Ayahuasca Films LLC, of course. What else?
Poet Josie Hyde puts on a multimedia solo performance piece entitled “Wind in a Mirror...Ayahuasca Visions,” accompanied by surreal art video and the music of Tom Lackner and shamans don Agustin Rivas Vasquez and don Jose Campos. The performance is, we are told, about death, guilt, and transcendence -- a search for enlightenment culminating in an ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon. Its opening performance in San Francisco received a standing ovation.
There are probably a thousand tracks out there entitled Ayahuasca, most of which are instantly forgettable. This one is different. RDG is a 22-year-old bass maverick from Copenhagen named Ruben Dag Nielsen who runs Surfase Records. After releasing three vinyl records in 2012, he’s celebrating the new year by giving away this tribal-inspired track. Click through to stream or download.