Compilation of caapi & harmala only visions from the literature Options
#21 Posted : 7/5/2016 4:05:52 PM
Here is a short compilation of papers on harmaline/caapi/rue only visions.

The point of the papers (with hours devoted at the University Library to locate the 1967 and 1969 papers, which were not on-line) and quotes located below is an attempt to describe the role harmaline, tetrahydroharmine & harmine play in providing the "meat and potatoes" or "main course" for the visions, with even the smallest amount of "light" or leaf able to provide illumination of these dream-like sequences while providing entheogenic ideations in addition.

The 2 pages of visions from Benny Shanon (see post #24) is a good example of the general air of the he recited what he was seeing into a tape recorder for the first 40 minutes...when reading the rest of the literature cited below, you then start to see how these same types of collective conscious themes and visions are recorded from patients given pure harmaline by Naranjo, fascinating stuff...then we learn how 300mg tetrahydroharmine is possibly equivalent to 100mg harmaline in it's vision potential, etc....believe Naranjo did some remarkable research in his day.

Naranjo's use of EEG showed how the trance-like state generated by harmaline, somehow resembling sleep, is neuro-physiologically more like a state of alertness in that the EEG recordings show the disappearance of alpha waves when the subjects have their eyes closed.

The neurochemical evidence suggests that the harmala alkaloids are an analogue of pinoline which is produced in the pineal gland. Pinoline is made by the pineal gland at night time, produced during the metabolism of melatonin & may stimulate a dream type state of consciousness.

The recently discovered adrenoglomerulotropine (a hormone of the pineal gland, otherwise known as 6-Methoxytetrahydroharman) is an isomer of tetrahydroharmine, which is one of the main alkaloids in caapi.

If you google a molecular picture of Pinoline, you will notice it's similarity to the beta-carbolines (harmaline, tetrahydroharmine & harmine).

From reading the various papers & reports out there, a theory can be formed with no proof (all conjecture) as follows: It's theoretically possible that when a caapi or harmala brew is dreamed of even with no admixture, closed eye visions could possibly last from 1 to 6 hours (see Moss "rue document" several posts below) but disappearing when eyes are opened...theoretically the dream like visions might even be semi-fluorescent & bright when the tetrahydroharmine level in the caapi is perceived to be high. Harmaline theoretically might link one with the collective unconscious (see Jung's writings), as well as to the "Akashic record" which is theorized by some to be in the astral plane and contains a record of all past, present & future events that can be tapped into and read, perhaps explaining the Clairvoyance powers some report with Caapi & the harmalas...and harmine according to Terrence Mckenna binds tightly to human DNA, perhaps theoretically unlocking deep levels of stored information & interactive knowledge teaching, but this is a matter of debate. Tetrahydroharmine theoretically may act as a contrast and brightness enhancer as well as possibly adding boundless color to the visions. It theoretically may also link one to transcendence, vivid imagery, fantasy, creativity & feelings of well-being (see Naranjo's attached paper on Fantasy under naranjo_clin_tox on Harmaline's relation to fantasy). The three levels of alkaloids in caapi perhaps work together in unison somehow for best effects. THH due to it's mild coffee-like stimulation, may theoretically counteract the sleepiness of harmaline so that one does not fall asleep while viewing the harmaline generated dream like sequences of images. Since harmaline is found in such tiny amounts in caapi compared to rue, THH may theoretically (due to it's brightening abilities) allow the harmaline visions to be seen more easily, whereas they might have been invisible without the tetrahydroharmine. Rue contains less than 1% thh, see attached paper (rue alkaloids). The attached paper (callaway-decoctions & callaway-plants) describes the levels of THH & other alkaloids found in caapi.

Harmine: Mckenna "The Invisible Landscape" (1994): "Graph # 7 from Smythies and Antun, "Binding of Tryptamines and Allied Compounds to Nucleic Acid," Nature, 223: p. 1062, Sep. 6. 1969. shows that there is not much difference in the reduction in fluorescence of harmaline (-42) and tetrahydroharmine (-37) in reaction with DNA or RNA, but harmine with its bulkier ring system appears to bind better to DNA (-90). Smythies's model is supported by evidence that 5HT and many of its analogs, including LSD-25, N, N-DMT, and harmine can bond to DNA, RNA, or both."

Surprised to learn that Dr. Shulgin was planning to write a paper with Dr. Naranjo back in the day according to Shulgin's entry in TIHKAL under #44 6-MEO-THH. The recently discovered adrenoglomerulotropine (a hormone of the pineal gland, otherwise known as 6-Methoxytetrahydroharman or 6-MEO-THH) is an isomer of tetrahydroharmine, which is one of the main alkaloids in caapi.

The point where you have to work at the visuals and when they become existent on their own seems to vary just as Albert Moss states at the beginning of post #2 where he saids "The harmala alkaloids are psychoactive in man at oral doses of 25 to 750 milligrams." But side effects such as nausea and dizziness can increase in dreams at these upper levels, just as stated in the middle of post #3:

"Garden of Eden" and other imagery is more specific to yagé than any image pattern is to LSD, mescaline or psilocybin. The near-universality of many yagé images suggests that the beta-carbolines are a good deal closer than other psychedelics to being a "pure element" in a Periodical Table of Consciousness. These beta-carbolines, however, cannot be entirely "pure," as they are accompanied by many negative side-effects.

I was particularly fascinated by the story Naranjo gave of the patient with the compulsive character on page 216 of the attached 1st paper "Naranjo_clin_tox" from 1969. Apparently, the patient was given 300mg harmaline by mouth, and worked his way through 5 years of depression and anxiety to immerge problem free after the session in which he visualized a Nun who turned into a "stark naked with a beautiful body and large breasts and wide hips".

He gave a long dialogue of the visual story he witnessed with eyes closed to Naranjo about the Nun's conversion to a naked rebel. His depression, anxiety, and fear of others had disappeared. His violence, too, diminished gradually within 3 more months, without further psychotherapeutic aid. The session with harmaline was like a fairy tale, (quite un-related in it's superficial appearance) to his life and problem, yet it allowed him to immerge problem he had been in 5 years of psychiatric treatment before the session.

The attached difficult to find paper by Naranjo from 1969 (attached for download) is a detailed compilation of harmaline experiences.

And also this on harmaline experiences:
[quote]Psychological Aspects of the Yage
Experience in an Experimental Setting
by Claudio Naranjo

taken from _Hallucinogens and Shamanism_ by Michael J. Harner Copyright 1973, Oxford Press

When we consider the anthropological reports on the uses and effects of yage or ayahuasca among the different Indian cultures in South America several questions naturally come to our mind: What is peculiar to the natives' experiences or their interpretations of such? Would a white man in our culture share what the shamans report of themselves or would he experience the drug's effect according to his own values, expectations, and previous life history? In a way these questions are equivalent to asking what kind of drug this is, since we can only generalize about the effect of a drug seeing through and beyond personality and cultural differences that bear on it, after which we may either affirm its relativity or grasp a common core of experience behind the dis- parate interpretations and symbolizations of it in the individual reports.

An answer to these questions, interesting to pharmacology and psychology as well as to anthropology, can be sought in the study of the reactions to the drug among non-natives that are not in-

CLAUDIO NARANJO, M.D., was formerly an Associate of the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research of the University of California, Berkeley. He has conducted experimental and clinical work in psychotherapy both at the University of Chile School of Medicine and in the United States, to which he came as a Guggenheim fellow in 1964·

formed of the natives' accounts of theirs, so I hope that some in- sights in this direction can be gained from the following report on experiences from thirty-five such volunteers in Santiago, Chile. The contents of this paper will report on some features in the experience with harmaline, the active alkaloid of yage, as reported by thirty-five subjects who took it either orally or by intravenous injection, in different dosage levels and in some cases more than once (cf. Naranjo, 1967)·

I shall not go into details about the physiological aspects of the reaction or its comparison with the experience induced by other hallucinogens, but I may say that, on the one hand, the experi- mental subjects ingested either mescaline or LSD on a different occasion, and they all agree that their reactions to these drugs are very different from those brought about by harmaline. On the other hand, this difference partly lies in that yage (or harmaline) induces a more sleep-like trance; the person under its influence generally wants to keep his eyes closed, since the external world appears as of little interest and distracting from the world of visions and inner happenings that take place when it is shut off. Parenthetically I can also mention that this trance-like state, somehow resembling sleep or a self-contained reverie, is neuro- physiologically more like a state of alertness in that the EEG recordings show the disappearance of alpha waves when the sub- jects have their eyes closed.

But what can be of greater interest for the purpose of compari- son with the preceding paper by Harner undoubtedly lies in the content of the experiences, be this the description of visions, or, in some cases, pure feelings or thoughts.

In general terms it can be said that the great majority of these experiences were of the sort that is generally misnamed hallucina- tory. That is, the person would visualize with closed eyes--and rarely with open eyes--images that are not mistaken for reality (though they may be associated with intense feelings). In some of the subjects this went along with or was followed by an inclina- tion to think about personal or metaphysical problems with a feel- ing of unusual depth, insight, and inspiration. In only two cases out of thirty-five a person under a full dose of the alkaloid had no hallucinations at all but only an indescribable feeling of joy, lov- ing serenity. Most people became nauseous and some vomited pro- fusely or experienced a vague but intense malaise, which on two occasions led to the interruption of the session. It is difficult to decide to what extent this discomfort was psychological in origin, but it appeared to be concomitant with a state of diminished awareness of the psychological happenings of the moment, a sort of sleepiness in which the person seemed to take refuge and shut himself off from overwhelming visions or feelings that he could not recall again.

Before we examine more closely the content of these experi- ences I would like it to be understood that the mere description of one such session, lasting about six hours, would easily take an hour to convey. In fact, I have in my possession a forty-page report written by one of the subjects on his experience. Since illustration with case material seems indispensable if one is to convey the par- ticular duality of the content, in what follows I shall alternate be- tween excerpts of session notes and the discussions of such. This will be necessarily unilateral because of the limited space avail- able, so I have chosen to concentrate on the highlighting of some of what appear to be recurrent themes underlying the individual experiences. I think it will become apparent that almost any illus- tration for one of these themes could also be used to illustrate some other, since such motives converge and are condensed in a synthetic whole in the actual play of fantasy.

I have chosen as a starting point for the following discussion the first vision of a 25-year-old woman, born in Europe of Euro- pean parents, who has lived in Chile since late in her childhood. She says:

I went at a terrific speed. I came to a strange street. I only saw one side of it. It was an interminable row of two- or three-storied houses with pointed roofs and wooden beams, in the style of medieval houses or English country houses.

I suddenly saw a man running. ire was a messenger. I had to slow down and placed myself next to him. That is, next to his face, since in this dream only my soul participated. My soul is a sphere of some 7 cm. in diameter, pure energy, and it rotates on itself at such enormous speed that it would be the same if it didn't. It can displace itself in any direction at the speed it wishes. My soul sees, hears, thinks; it perceives odors, I believe, but has no sense of touch for the simple reason that it repels matter.

We must in the first place take notice that this is a dream of fantasy of her "soul," and this awareness of an entity which is regarded as a soul as distinct from the body is seen with the same explicitness in other experiences too. Consider the following de- scription by a al-year-old Chilean journalist:

I was going farther and farther away from myself. I was real- izing that my body and my mind were such autonomous forces that if they had ever converged in me it seemed pure chance. What during my entire lifetime I had sensed like mingled con- fusion now appeared to be divided in three precise domains: outside lay the world, people, buildings and noises (for which I cared less and less); closer, as a boundary, stood my organism, with those hands, that mouth and its laugh, now commanded by itself; inside, at last, in the innermost and recondite, warmly floating in the skin that was always with me, was I. That is, my mind.

It is perhaps this transition from everyday-like awareness to that of the autonomous self, soul, mind, or whatever name we may wish to call it, that might: perhaps explain recurrent images of fall- ing into one's body, or simply falling--leaving the everyday ground --entering one's body or some symbolic place. The process is also expressed as one of dissociating and leaving, as going unconscious (though this does not actually happen) or, more radically, dying. Eight persons in thirty-five experienced visions or feelings of their own death.

The same subject of the last quotation felt he was dying, too, and comments: "If I was going to leave the body, that didn't worry me. I knew that I existed in essence, and this was the ideal state, with no skin, no liver, no resentments, atemporal."

In one of the two subjects who did not visualize, the experience of death was present too, but as pure feeling and as a bodily sen- sation: "Physically 1 felt that I was dying and I feel that when my time comes I shall die well."

In the following excerpt both the theme of death and that of an independent soul can be noticed:

I saw my own death, with anguish; how I was carried across fields of rice in Korea or China, on a stretcher, between two men, coolies, perhaps, and I could see my face, once more from the outside and very close. It was like tanned leather, as in a suitcase, covered with droplets of blood or scratches on the temples. . . .

The observer in this scene is a point in space, and the subject has previously commented that there is a feeling to it like being a butterfly. But this can now lead us to a different theme.

If we now turn our attention once more to the image of that spherical soul flying at high speed I would like to point out that this speed itself tends to recur in other visions; the lack of tactile sensations perhaps has its equivalence in a feeling of benumbed- ness which is often reported, whereas its being suspended in space, soaring through it at some altitude appears or is implied in about one-third of the subjects' comments or reports.

Consider the following excerpt from the account of a male sub- ject who took a fairly large amount of harmaline with the addition of mescaline:

The first thing I did, involuntarily, was lift my hand. It seemed to lose weight, it rose, rose . . . and then I felt that it was no longer a hand but the tip of a wing. I was turning into a winged being. I then stretched my wings and felt extreme freedom and expansion. My wings were growing and as they did my feeling of freedom increased, as if I had been imprisoned during my entire lifetime and I suddenly had organs that made it possible for me to expand.,4nd I would say: "I have wings! I have wings! There is no space that can contain them, the air cannot contain them, they are immense!" I felt my wings grow above the earth, and had the image of a huge bird above the earth, with its extended wings beyond its limits, reaching in- finity. I then, timidly, began to move them. I felt the movements of flying clearly: how the wing rested on the resisting air, and how a wave of motion went from the tip to the other end per- mitting me to lift the body. And I said: "I fly! I fly!" And felt the air coming into my mouth, caressing my whole body, and saw the perspective of the earth. I didn't go anywhere. I just flew and the air passing through my body gave my breathing a special rhythm, a rhythm of flying which expressed not only the movement but the joy.

It may be related to this experience of flying that some subjects who do not report it as such nevertheless describe their visions as scenes viewed from above, sometimes from great altitude. Such evidence of an aerial viewpoint can be found, for example, in the following description:

I remember a Negro woman I saw from above ... I saw her from a distance of some 3 meters and then approached her further, from her right side. She carried a purple parasol of a very bright, almost luminous color, like a sea anemone, like em- broidery, and would twist it around its axis so that it unfolded like loose chiffon or in the form of an aurora borealis, and she laughed with a coarse and vulgar laugh.

It happens with this as with many other yage' visions that it contains more than one of the recurrent themes, and I would be tempted to elaborate on each. Here it is not only the physical point of view from above that seems typical but, too, the image of a geometric center for the happenings, the merry-go-round-like rotation, the Negro woman and the experience of being teased. For the time being I shall conclude the discussion of the flight- theme by mentioning the most common presentation of it, which is the mere visualization of birds. The following is not the most typical example, but may be interesting from many points of view:

Suddenly, a crucified Christ ascended moving his arms like wings. And then another, moving his arms with the crossed sticks. All these movements were at an incredible speed. I thought, in seeing it, that here was from where the idea had come of de picting the Holy Ghost as a dove. And then Christ turned into a sort of dove that ascended.

On the whole ten subjects mentioned at least one of the experi- ences related to flying.

I would now like to concentrate on another aspect of our ini- tial quotation, which is the spherical shape and rotating motion of the transparent flying sphere. I am mentioning both the rotation and the shape not only because the first already suggests the idea of circularity, but for the fact that both, in turn, imply the idea of a center of the form or movement. This center may be the most adequate symbol to refer to the theme we now want to discuss.

It may be recalled that this idea of a central element and the rotating motion were already encountered in that vision of the Negro woman with the turning parasol which unfolded into an aurora borealis. Now consider the following passage from the same person's report:

I saw tiny dots, like those on a television screen, transparent dots that agitated and turned (when I fixed the gaze on one point) around a cone forming a sort of funnel, like the whirlpool that is formed when one removes the stopper. They turned, rather slowly, and this funnel opened upwards from the floor I was gazing at, and extended to the sides into my entire visual field.... And in this swirl of particles lies all my visual ex- perience. It all comes from it, this is the foundation of the scenes I saw, this was their spirit, in the same way that the dots on the television screen are the ground of all the images; but even the meaning of this incessant turning was in everything, like a merry-go-round, or like fair-music; it was like circus music. Was the teasing already here! Something of a sardonic joke was in all of this, these changing situations confronting the spectator (me), these images in incessant transformation, never perman- ent, meaning nothing but change as such, like the whirlpool that turned and carried in it all these visions.

The "center" can appear in the different visions as a source of motion or the region to which motion flows, a source of light or a perceiving eye, a geometric region such as a circular pond in the middle of Heaven or Hell, a being at the center of the earth, of the universe, the skull or inside the subject's body. (In nine of the subjects this was a noticeable feature appearing in more than one image.) From the subject's experiences and associations, as from the context in which these images appear, I definitely believe that this contraposition of center and periphery, the core and the sur- face, the immobile and the incessant turning, the source, begin- ning and end, and the everchanging flow, is that of the deeper self and the multiplicity of experience, and it encompasses but tran- scends the duality of mind and body. More precisely, it is that of being and becoming, and it matches the traditional Hindu symbol for samsara and nirvana: the wheel of incessant death and rebirth, and its hub. Or, according to a remarkable passage of the tao-te- ching, the practical materiality of a jar and the enclosed void that constitutes its essence.

I still have to illustrate one of the most important and striking themes in the yage' experiences, but this time, if I am to illustrate it with the initial dream of the spherical soul I have to quote a bit further from it. After describing the messenger in what seems to be medieval clothes, the subject goes on:

I left him behind and proceeded onwards, skimming just above the ground. I met a very large man, a sort of giant with a bronzed skin, black mustache, leather jacket and pants made of leopard's skin, who looked at me in a rage, who knows why. He produced a very long whip and wanted to whip me with it, taking my soul for a top. But the whip would stop at one cm. from my soul and couldn't go further. The giant and the whip were furious about their failure. The whip then turned into a black serpent's head with no teeth, that opened its mouth want- ing to devour me. It could not. At the moment my soul's atten- tion was caught by a funeral procession so I didn't see the giant or the whip anymore.

So here we find, in a brief scene, rage, dark skin, hostile whip- ping, leopard skin, a black serpent, and the prospect of being swallowed. In this particular instance, too, the soul appears invul- nerable to the threats because of its very nature. Here, as in other instances, it can be a matter of choice how embracing a category we want to regard as a theme. Serpents certainly recur in the vi- sions, and crocodiles or reptiles in general, and so do tigers, leop- ards and cats; but fangs also do, and birds of prey and vampires, and perhaps all these are interrelated by their implication of dan- ger, and would also be related to the giant and the whip. Since it is not possible in the present circumstances to elaborate on the different elements of this complex, though, I shall choose to illus- trate the two which are striking enough at least for their frequency. Strangely enough, tigers, leopards, or jaguars were seen by seven of the subjects even though big cats are not seen in Chile. These are sometimes encountered as aggressors, sometimes as a graceful sight, a friendly companion or, in one instance, experienced as a true impersonation. Reptiles, too, were seen by six subjects. In three instances these were dragons, and in another there was a dinosaur. Snakes were reported by three subjects, and for one of them these were the most prominent element in the whole expe- rience.

The following excerpt is from the same lady of the spherical soul and the giant with the leopard skin:

At first, many tiger faces. Panthers and all kinds of cats. Black and yellow. Then the tiger. The largest and strongest of all. I know (for I read his thought) that I must follow him. I see the plateau. He walks with resolution in a straight line. I follow; but on reaching the edge and perceiving the brightness I cannot follow him. The dream vanishes. But above the luminescence rises a statue of the Virgin with the child in her arms, and as- cends from the hole into the sky.

At a still later stage she is able to follow the tiger further to the end of the plateau and look into the abyss which is Hell (see Fig. I). It is round and in it is fluid fire, or fluid gold. People swim in it.

The tiger wants me to go there. I don't know how to descend. I grasp the tiger's tail and he jumps. Because of his musculature the jump is graceful and slow. The tiger swims in the liquid fire as I sit on his back. I then suddenly see my tiger is eating up a woman. But no. It is not the tiger. It is an animal with a crocodile's head and the body of a fatter, larger animal with four feet (though these were not seen).All kinds of lizards and frogs begin to appear now. And the pond gradually turns into a greenish swamp of stagnant waters, though full of life: primi- tive forms of life, such as algae, anemones, and micro-organ- isms. It is a prehistoric pond [see Fig. II]. A shore appears, not with sand but vegetation. Some dinosaurs are seen in the dis- tance. I rise on the tiger on the shore. The serpent follows us. It catches up with us. I stay aside and let the tiger take care of her [see Fig. III], But the serpent is strong and my tiger is in danger. I decide to take part in the fight. The serpent notices my intention, lets the tiger loose and prepares to attack us. I hold its head and press on its sides so that it will open its mouth. It has an iron-piece inside, like the bit of a horse. I press on the ends of this bit and the serpent dies or disintegrates, it falls into pieces as if it were a mechanical serpent. I go onwards with the tiger. I walk next to him, my arm over his neck. We climb the high mountain. There is a zig-zag path between high bushes. We arrive. There is a crater. We wait for some time and there begins an enormous eruption. The tiger tells me I must throw myself into the crater. I am sad to leave my companion but I know that this last journey I must travel. I throw myself into the fire that comes out of the crater. I ascend with the flames towards the sky and fly onwards.

I have deliberately quoted more than what is strictly relevant to the mere illustration of the tiger motive so at least an intuition can be formed as to the complex relationships between the themes of tiger, serpent, crocodile, fire, destruction, and those of flying, ascending, disembodied existence.

Just One more example before we proceed to a different aspect, this time from the same person who felt like a huge bird flying beyond the limits of the earth:

I wasn't a fish anymore, but a big cat, a tiger. I walked, though, feeling the same freedom I had experienced as a bird and a fish, freedom of movement, flexibility, grace. I moved as a tiger in the jungle, joyously, feeling the ground under my feet, feeling my power; my chest grew larger. I then approached an animal, any animal. I only saw its neck, and then experienced what a tiger feels when looking at its prey.

This may be enough to show how the tiger by no means stands for mere hostility, but for a fluid synthesis of aggression and grace and a full acceptance of the life-impulse beyond moral judgment. It is now time to turn to an aspect in these experiences which is much more diversified than those discussed, and which, though expressed here and there through particularized images, can choose such a variety of images that it makes it more appropriate to speak of a trait or quality of the yak experience than of a "theme." This quality is what we may want to call the religious or the mythical.

If we choose to regard as religious those images which belong in this category according to common knowledge, or the feelings and concerns that the subjects express in explicitly religious terms, we find that these were reported by fifteen out of the thirty-five. Five persons saw the Devil or devils, three of them mentioned angels, three had a vision of the Virgin Mary and two of Christ; three spoke of Paradise or Heaven, and two of Hell, three of them described priestly figures, while others saw churches, altars, or crosses. Aside from these fifteen, two had ecstatic feelings which were described in religious terms.

It is probably an arbitrary matter where to trace the limit be- tween what is religious and what is not. One instance of this can be seen in the transition between the vision of "the Devil" or minor demons to monstrous images or horrible masks, and from these to horrible people or animals. References to Greco-Roman gods, sirens or nymphs are not uncommon, and we may wish to place them in the same category with the religious images of Christianity. And, again, we can detect a mythical quality in the atmosphere of the typical fairy tale, with castles, kings, and medie- val costumes, as has been reported in at least four of the experi- ences. One subject said he felt like a pharaoh, but in his written report two days later he did not mention the image or idea of a pharaoh, but said instead that this was a feeling of being God. If it were not for this additional information, the essential reli- gious implication of the image could have been overlooked. For these reasons I believe the mythico-religious element is more per- vasive in the experiences than what appears from their outward descriptions and may be completely unrelated to the visual im- agery. In one instance, for example, a subject had been instructed to imagine the depth of the ocean. Only a month later did I dis- cover, to my own surprise, the importance that this experience had for her:

The most important was descending to the bottom of the sea [she commented]. The feeling of being myself. The sea was in myself. There was a continuity of the external with the internal. I have recalled this when I have been unhappy. The sand and the plants were myself or something of mine. The idea of God was in everything. I think that must be what is called a mystical experience. I cannot describe it. I wouldn't have words. Beauty, joy, peace, everything I longed for was there. God in myself.

A familiar mythical character came to the fore during an experi- ence the most important aspect of which was the feeling the sub- ject had of not being the doer of his actions when he talked, laughed, or made a drawing. When he looked at himself in a mir- ror, too, his face seemed to him a mask while somebody else was looking through his eyes. This feeling of being, so to say, "pos- sessed" by another spirit developed into the notion that this was a dwarf inside of him. This dwarf, childlike and aged at the same time, bisexual or asexual, manipulator of the body and free from necessity but, at the same time imprisoned by the body, was part of his perception of different situations during the drug experi- ence, and the following excerpt refers to his viewing of a picture showing a sexual act:

... I thought eroticism would come next but it didn't. Never did I...
#22 Posted : 7/5/2016 4:27:37 PM
Paper continued:
... I thought eroticism would come next but it didn't. Never did I grasp the carnal side of the movements, and I saw it as an act as natural as any. Then, what was physically a genital turned into a communication tube, a bridge between two be- ings. The figures were communicating in the only possible way, interrupting during a fleeting interval the solitude of the spirit. Then, suddenly, the dwarf appeared in the bodies, laughing in amusement while he pushed out his obscene finger. He took de- light in it since this was his definitive, triumphant joke: while the body believed it was seeking its satisfaction it was really letting free the imprisoned dwarf. Love, it seemed, was the su- preme irony. Man and woman give themselves to each other in pleasure, the body instinctively seeks it, but, in the accomplish- ment, it ceases to exist, since the orgasm is a fleeting death. It being death, imprisonment and dependency cease to exist. In the battle between the body and tile dwarf this was the truce. But suddenly the dwarf's laughter vanished, and as if it were sucked by itself it grew smaller and smaller until it was only a light, an incandescent worm, a shining point, a microscopic and luminous spermatozoan. In this state it shot from the man's body to the woman's womb. In the midst of this truce the dwarf, too, was fooled. He was forced to abandon his inaction and was precipitated into doing something. A new human be- ing, to begin again the cycle with the duality of dwarf and body. This led me to the thought of a higher joke.

Even though the focus of this report has been descriptive, I think the different motives illustrated thus far almost out of their own accord fall together in an embracing whole. The complex of images discussed first as portraying the polarity of being and be- coming, freedom and necessity, spirit and matter, only set up the stage for the human drama. This involves the battle of opposites and eventually their reconciliation or fusion, after giving way to death and destruction, be this by fire, tigers, drowning, or devour- ing snakes. The beauty of fluid fire, the graceful tiger, or the subtle and wise reptile, these seem most expressive for the synthetic ex- perience of accepting life as a whole, or, better, accepting existence as a whole, life and death included; evil included too, though from a given spiritual perspective it is not experienced as evil any more. Needless to say, the process is essentially religious, and it could even be suspected that every myth presents us one particular as- pect of the same experience.

The themes I have illustrated are by no means the only ones that can be discerned in the sessions. As I mentioned in passing, Negro people appear very frequently, and this research was carried out in Chile where there are no Negroes. Landscapes and cities are often described (as the medieval houses in the first quotation) and these sometimes seem to be related to the experience of flying. Masks, especially monstrous or sardonic ones are often mentioned, and so are eyes. Not uncommonly robots, vehicles or a feeling of automation are reported, and so are mobs, caves, prehistory, pearls, and so on. It would take too long to illustrate all of them and more so to elaborate on their meaning. I think, though, that the themes discussed here are the central ones, and I would suggest that they invite us to regard some shamanistic conceptions more as the ex- pression of universal experiences than in terms of acculturation to local traditions.


Naranjo, Claudio

1967 Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids. In Ethno-
Pharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs (Daniel H.
Efron, editor-in-chief), pp. 385-91· Public Health Serv-
ice Publication No. 1645 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Depart-
ment of Health, Education and Welfare.

Part 2 Continued:

The 2011 book "Gnostic Visions" by Luke A. Myers, chapter 7 (Zoroaster & Peganum Harmala) states that "about 10 grams of seeds provides about 400mg of Beta-Carbolines, about the same amount in a typical dose of Ayahuasca."

Albert Moss document on rue:
The Harmala Alkaloids

The harmala alkaloids are psychoactive in man at oral doses of 25 to 750 milligrams. A small dose (25.50 milligrams) is a CNS stimulant. it increases mental activity and produces a pleasant dreamy state for several hours. The larger doses-- 200 milligrams up to 750 milligrams--yield the hallucinogenic effects. The experience usually begins within one hour and often lasts six hours or more,

The initial effects include nausea, vomitting, increased blood pressure and heart rate, profuse sweating, dizziness and body tremors. During this initial period you may hear humming or buzzing noises and you may notice a wave-like movement of the environment. You may feel alternations of hot and cold, You may even experience the feeling of sinking together with the sensation of flight.

These initial effects can be discomforting. They tend to produce anxiety and encourage a withdrawal from the external world. You will probably perceive environmental sights and sounds, especially other persons, as disturbing objects and wish to avoid them. Seek a dark, quiet place where you can enjoy the hallucinatory trance which follows.

The hallucinatory trance consists of three successive stages of hallucinations. You will know stage one when your sense of darkness is interrupted by bright flickers of light. These phosphene-based sensations first appear as colored dots, specks, stars or simple flowers. They give way to undulating lines, circles, grids, simple forms, abstract designs and multi-shaped geometrical patterns. Relax and enjoy a closed-eye contemplation of the floating, ever-changing pattern of these little images.

In stage two the abstract designs of stage one give way to slowly moving masses of shapes and colors. Larger shapes take form in a slowly developing pattern of hallucinatory images. These images acquire a personal character as your unconscious mind projects your fears and desires upon the shapes and colors of your visions. Do not be alarmed if the horizon seems to collapse in a bright flash of light or if your hallucinations turn into frightening animals. Huge birds of prey, large jaguars and snakes are common hallucinations with harmala alkaloids. Observe and enjoy the bright colored imagery as it changes continually in a flowing transformation of dream-like sequences.

Hours later, in stage three, this panorama of vivid fantasy fades into the slow movement of shapes and colors. These images disappear, in turn, as the last stage of the hallucinatory trance wears off. If your harmala experiment is part of a group experience, you may be surprised by the unusual similarity in the content of each other's hallucinations. The
harmala alkaloids tend to produce collective hallucinations--especially archetypal imagery--among group members. This access to "collective unconscious" is such an extraordinary effect that the harmala alkaloids have earned the name "telepathines". These unusual alkaloids are present naturally in harmala, the Hallucinogenic Herb of the American Southwest.

Important Considerations

Every psychedelic experience is chiefly a function of set and setting, of preparation and environment. The better prepared YOU are, the better the experience will be for you. Consider the following instructions:

* Do not drink any alcohol or take any drugs or medication when experimenting with MAO inhibitors (Ie, the harmala alkaloids).

REMEMBER: MAO inhibitors interfere with the bodys ability to detoxify certain drugs and fermented foodstuffs. Narcotics, barbiturates, tranquilizers, antihistamines, amphetamines, all forms of alcohol and foodstuffs containing tyramine are potentially LETHAL when used In
combination with MAO Inhibitors.

* Provide a comfortable setting which is as free as possible from unforeseen distractions and intrusions. Make sure you will not be disturbed for six to eight hours."

Specificity of Yagé Visions:

The harmala alkaloids, with and without accompanying DMT-like compounds, have fascinated psychologists and others because of the unusually wide incidence of particular images. Outstanding in this regard are visions of tigers, snakes and naked women (often Negro); the color blue seems to predominate when ayahuasca is taken without additives. Although this imagery is not universal, it is common, sometimes frightening, and is closely aligned to the archetypal symbolism that so fascinated Carl Jung.

When Naranjo gave harmaline and harmine in psychotherapeutic situations to city dwellers (people who had never been in the jungle), he observed that much of the imagery that was aroused had to do with snakes, panthers, jaguars and other large felines. The recurrence of such images led him to speculate about the action of harmaline on "the collective unconscious."

The anthropologist Michael Harner is one of those claiming to have seen what the Indians are talking about, after having doubted throughout his year of study among the Jivaros of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Four years later, in 1961, he returned and was "turned on" to yagé by another tribe. Marlene Dobkin de Rios recounts his experience:

"For several hours after drinking the brew, Harner found himself, although awake, in a world literally beyond his wildest dreams. He met bird-headed people as well as dragon-like creatures who explained that they were the true gods of this world. He enlisted the services of other spirit helpers in attempting to fly through the far reaches of the Galaxy. He found himself transported into a trance where the supernatural seemed natural and realized that anthropologists, including himself, had profoundly underestimated the importance of the drug in affecting native ideology ...."

Michael Harner and Claudio Naranjo made much of the "constancy" of both yagé and harmaline visions in separate essays in Hallucinogens and Shamanism. An essentially similar case has been put forth in Furst's Flesh of the Gods, where Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff writes of the Tukano Indians of the western Amazon region of Colombia. These were the aboriginals Spruce first observed using yagé Koch-Grunberg described their yagé practices again half a century later:

"According to what the Indians tell me, everything appears to be larger and more beautiful than it is in reality. The house appears immense and splendrous. A host of people is seen, especially women The erotic appears to play a major role in this intoxication. Huge multicolored snakes wind themselves around the house posts. All colors are very brilliant..."

The Tukanos still live in relative isolation. What caught the eye of Reichel-Dolmatoff was their use of representational paintings on house fronts, rattles and bark loincloths. The natives claimed that these designs were observed during yagé inebriation. During 1966-67 a number of adult males who frequently partook of this brew were offered sheets of paper and a choice of twelve colored pencils. "The men showed great interest in and concentration on this task and spent from one to two hours finishing each drawing."

The colors they selected spontaneously "were exclusively red, yellow, and blue, on very few occasions adding a shade of hazel brown." Certain design elements were regularly repeated. Here's Reichel-Dolmatoffs listing of the Top Twenty:

1. Male organ
2. Female organ
3. Fertilized uterus
4. Uterus as passage
5. Drops of semen
6. Anaconda-canoe
7. Phratry
8. Group of phratries
9. Line of descent
10. Incest

11. Exogamy
12. Box of ornaments
13. Milky Way
14. Rainbow
15. Sun
16. Vegetal growth
17. Thought
18. Stool
19. Rattles
20. Cigar holder

"Garden of Eden" and other imagery is more specific to yagé than any image pattern is to LSD, mescaline or psilocybin. The near-universality of many yagé images suggests that the beta-carbolines are a good deal closer than other psychedelics to being a "pure element" in a Periodical Table of Consciousness. These beta-carbolines, however, cannot be entirely "pure," as they are accompanied by many negative side-effects.

In the 1960's a Chilean psychotherapist, Claudio Naranjo (1973, 1978 ) used a variety of hallucinogens including harmaline (one of the harmala alkaloids) in the psychotherapeutic setting, and came to the conclusion that: "Harmaline may be said to be more hallucinogenic than mescaline . . . both in terms of the number of images reported and their realistic quality. In fact some subjects felt that certain scenes which they saw had really happened and that they had been as disembodied witnesses of them in a different time and place. This matches the experience of South American shamans." (Naranjo, 1967).

Ott (1993 ) considers that the harmala alkaloids are not actually hallucinogenic in their own right but that they permit the DMT in the ayahuasca mixture to be absorbed into the blood stream so that these create the entheogenic effects. This is still a matter of debate. There is extensive evidence from many anthropologists which suggests that the Banisteriopsis vine together with Psychotria Viridis is a psi-conducive drug, particularly with regard to remote viewing, clairvoyance and precognition but so far there has been no experimental test of these claims (Kensinger, 1973 ). Ayahuasca has recently been investigated by Don et al (1996 ) who suggest that its action is consistent with their other research into brain function and psi experience.

Thus, the anthropological evidence suggests that harmala alkaloids mixed with DMT stimulate a psi-conducive state of consciousness; the neurochemical evidence suggests that the harmala alkaloids are an analogue of pinoline which is produced in the pineal gland, noting that in the comparison between the action of the harmala alkaloids and pinoline it must be remembered that a one-position change in methoxy grouping can be profound in its action. The Yogic and occult teachings and common folk lore all say that the pineal gland is the psychic centre and I suggest that the pinoline made by the pineal gland at night time, through its action on serotonin, stimulates a dream type state of consciousness which is psi-conducive.[/quote]

Ja*ie (2011):

I wanted to start this thread to discuss peoples harmala only DMT, mushrooms or other admixtures here..I know that there are alot of people here that are into harmalas. I really really love all forms..I love caapi tea, rue tea and extracted harmalas. For me harmalas are visionary and transformative psychedelics all by themselves. Lower doses bring on a calm and euphoric medative state that is sort of dreamy and empathic. Larger doses I lay down in bed and get sucked into visionary dream sequences and astral sort or journies where I seem to meet with realistic people in other places etc that often have some sort of relevance to me and my life. There is a wonderful glow that accompanies the experience is like being rebooted.
ja*ie (2011):

Anyway I find rue to be just as visionary as caapi surprisingly..I used to not even want to touch rue due to all the bad stuff I heard about it. 250mg though seems like it would be alot for me..I think I would be astral traveling with that dose..same with 150g of caapi..Harmaline seems to be very powerful to me and I think rue alkaloids over all are active at lower doses than caapi alkaloids due to that harmaline content in rue. I havent gone as high with rue though as I have with caapi yet so I need to experiment more. I have only like 10 experiences with rue tea and maybe 10 with rue alkaloids in large enough doses to have not much compared to my caapi experience.

I like to take the 2 together as well..

There are differences though. Rue I find a bit more somatic than caapi, once on rue I could have sworn I ate mushrooms with how euphoric my body felt..caapi feels more of an easy or gentle teacher and very earthy, whereas rue doesnt seem to fuck around at all, but is definatily like some ancient alchemical warlord that can show you alot.

TIHKAL: (under Harmaline section):

[quote](with 2 g Peganum harmala seeds, ground, in capsules) "No effects."

(with 5 g Peganum harmala seeds, ground, in capsules) "At about 1:45 tinnitus was obvious. At 2:00 precise movements were problematical and nystagmus was noticeable. Mild nausea and diarrhea, but no vomiting. I was sensitive to light and sound, and retired to a dark room. Hallucinations were intense, but only with the eyes closed. They consisted, initially, of a wide variety of geometrical patterns in dark colors, getting more intense as time went on. They disappeared when the eyes were opened. Although the loose bowels and nausea were pretty constant through the first part of the trip, I was not afraid. It was as if the "fear circuits" in the brain had been turned off. The geometric shapes evolved into more concrete images, peoples faces, movies of all sorts playing at high speed, and animal presences such as snakes. It was like vivid and intense dreaming except that I remembered most of it afterwards. In another hour things became manageable and I could go out in public. My sex drive was pleasantly enhanced, and I slept very well."

#23 Posted : 7/5/2016 5:42:30 PM
Part 3 continued:

drui*dream (vine only):
The caapi-program is not all that snowy! I get perfectly high-resolution caapi visions, but they are in silhouette (black figures moving on a reddish background, especially with red caapi). But to see them in full living aya-color, of course, you need to add throw some "light" on them to see that they have patterned skin (for animals) or clothes (for people).

I guess I am much more sensitive to the plants than most.

For example, the minimum caapi I need to feel it very distinctly is 2 grams. 10 grams is enough to voyage with! This is far below what others are reporting (50 grams and up!)

Some varieties of caapi or some particular batches are unusually visionary, while others are merely "intense". The visions with caapi are not colorful, though. They are more like clear picture-narratives in red and black tones. The "additive" not only lights this picture up, but adds the brilliant colors.

1 gram rue is enough for me as well.

Meteor (vine only):
Absolutely-- cappi in and of itself is psycotropic.

And it is legal.

Double the dose for the tea. 60 grams instead of 30 to start (though higher amounts probably will not hurt)

The vine is powerful by itself, and the images that it can elicit are quite profound.

Dark, blues, greens-- jungle like landscapes with snakes, cats-- amazing things.

By contrast, Peganum harmala is more likely to make you sick before you have anywhere near the effects that cappi causes.

With all the discussion lately about how important DMT (illegal) is, (and we know that it is) the fact is that the Vine of the Soul (Ayahuasca) is the vine itself.

It is the core of the experience, its trunk if you will. Though P. harmala makes a good substitute when used with the admixture plants-- P harmala, in and of itself, is not the trunk, as only Banisteriopsis cappi (Ayahuasca) can be.

It is good to touch the trunk now and then.

And the images, insights and such are no less profound even if they lack the brightness that the admixture plants provide.

A dark jungle landscape can be a very interesting place to be.

Phalanx (40 grams caapi only):
I tripped well for about 30-40 mins. I kept seeing people of all sorts. Buildings in distant lands. Houses, fancy rooms, cars.

The hallucinations were weak in the sense that they were semi-transparent with weak colouring. However, their clarity and detail was ASTOUNDING. It was like looking at reflections in black marble or on a tv tube. Crystal clear.

in one vision, I was in a room with a tiled floor. i knelt down and looked at my reflection in a black tile. I could clearly see myself and the rest of the room. Now that is what I call clarity.

In another, I saw the back of the head of a man with long black hair, spanish, standing outside in a town square in the sun. I could clearly see the sunlight reflecting off his hair. i could see the individual hairs. The detail was exquisite.

On one hand i am disappointed i never got round to drinking the pv, but on the other i am thrilled to have experienced a proper pure vine trip for the first time.

Clearlight literature experimental reports with dmt freebase:
We did (our crew) quite a bit of work trying to get this to go.. We used either cappi or rue for the mao inhibitor.. gaakk that stuff is awful to taste ( as liquid). At about :20 min we'd get the soft glow sense that told us the MAOI was working.. then we'd drop the DMT freebase caps. We started at 40mgs (analytical balance used), boosted up by 60mgs to 100mg to try and fully launch.

No one got beyond a mild +++ (+3). We repeated this several times. The psychic, clarivoyant shaman experiences which were always there with Viridis(Hawaiian grown) or Diplot. were not there with the pharma... Something is missing for the full blown entheogenic experience. We never tracked that down, as it could have been various tryptamine analogs or 5meo-dmt in the plant that was not in the pharma.

Our conclusion was that it was a waste of good freebase to pursue this route and a much more complete and total experience was to be had with the botanical path. Not what we expected or wanted, but the reality for our experiments.

From Pinchbeck's book "Breaking Open the Head":
For many people,Ayahuasca-a slowed-down low-res interface of the DMT flash-seems to convey strong messages from the natural world, of nature as sentient energy and spirit matter, of the need to protect the planet we have been given.

Yag whispers that human beings are meant to be gardeners of this reality, journeyers, storytellers and singers, weavers of the sacred. DMT, on the other hand, conveys no overt human or humane message.
#24 Posted : 7/5/2016 6:06:44 PM
Part 4 (conclusion):

This last example highlites the visionary power of strong caapi + moderate light PV admixture:

~Shanon (from Antipodes of the Mind):
By way of conclusion, I present two additional examples. Unlike all other examples in this chapter, which consist of specific visualizations pertaining to specific content items, these examples are records of sessions. They cite or summarize the various visualizations experienced by one individual drinker in one setting. I bring them in order to give the reader a more direct feel of the visionary experience induced by Ayahuasca.

The first example consists of a 'real-time' verbatim report of what I saw in one session in which I partook of Ayahuasca by myself. I spoke aloud describing what I was seeing and notes were taken by the person who watched me. This session is not part of the core corpus and it is the only session of which I have such a recording. Overall, I would characterize this session as one of moderate strength. In it, there were no grand visions and most of the visualizations in it are snapshots and relatively simple scenes. Furthermore, in this session I had very few ideations and no special psychological insights or spiritual experiences whatsoever. Yet, I find this report to be especially valuable in portraying the general flavour of Ayahuasca visions. Manifest in it is a fairy tale-like ambience and an overall air of magnificence and enchantment. Also featuring in the report are several details that are character*istic of Ayahuasca visions in general—these include fire (note the various ways it is incorporated within the narrative of the vision), light-producing objects, carriages, and processions. Also recurrent in the report are turning movements, upward movements, and looking forward far into the distance. One comment made by a person seen in this visual sequence is a good example of how ideas relate to Ayahuasca visualizations. The entire sequence lasted about forty minutes:

A golden crystal chalice.

Flowers. In the flowers there are birds and insects and the birds go up and up.

A wheel is turning and there is a rod that is turning round and round. From it, a fire ignites.
An old man holds a taper and from it the fire climbs up and up.

A futuristic city.

A Chinese king is sitting and turning his parasol. Now he is in his study. In the background, birds are kissing one another.

A great hall—like an animated movie.

There is a code here—like that of Morse or the genetic code. The code is constituted by many, many dots, the density between which varies. All this is a language calling to be deciphered.

There is something that pushes up and up. It is like a mountain train. All the time it goes up and up.

A car from the 1920s. Delightfully magnificent. From it emerge light and flowers. Advancing with this light, we pass along gold-plated walls and come out through a staircase made out of gold and ivory. The steps go up and down and reach a theatre.

Up in the heavens there is a woman escorted by a man. In the woman's hand there is a torch that swirls. Lights come out of it in the form of flags and the flags turn into hats full of gems. The gems are sparkling.

A scene in Europe in the sixteenth or perhaps the eighteenth century. Knights are riding. They are mounted upon magic motorcycles full of colours and light. All is like a cartoon and enchanted. It is all part of big procession. There are also small dwarfs there. Two of them are holding a banner with the insignia of the sovereign.

An Indian is smoking a big pipe. Through an old telescope, a man is peering into the far reaches of the universe. A view of the planet Earth turning round and round.

Beautiful gardens like Versailles and the Tuilleries.

There are ballerinas there. Like a cabaret. Their thighs are exposed. One woman gets to the balustrade and is watching the audience.

The Indian is smiling. The message is that 'all of these are the expressions of the same source, a source of bounty and grace'.

In a King's reception hall. There are chalices full of wine. Long processions of carriages proceed further and further. Slowly, all the time, the horsemen are pushing forward. In the hall, the seats are made out of silver. There is a feast. A big pot is placed in the middle. A fruit salad is offered in goblets of finely polished, very clear glass. Slowly, the chef pours some sort of syrup or gooey topping. The sauce covers the fruit and then it ascends upwards.

An elephant lifts up its trunk high and looks far, far forward. Up there are birds and they are looking in my direction. There are flowers, and butterflies are flying from flower to flower. All are washed in the light of the sun.

Women are dancing. Carriages come one after the other and the wine flows. An officer approaches a carriage and salutes. The footman bows and opens the carriage's door. The Queen is stepping out."

"The second example was provided by a young man who partook of Ayahuasca in private sessions conducted in Europe. This individual is not amongst the informants whose data are analysed in this book; his report was communicated to me just when the typeset of this monograph was being sent to the publisher. I present this report as an illustrative example of the experiences of a first-timer. The following is a slightly edited synopsis of what this person saw during his first two sessions with the brew. I shall note that while the report is rich in details, the intoxication experienced was not especially strong; by the present structural typology, all items seen would be characterized as single, simple images.

Animals. Those seen most frequently were serpents, felines, and birds. Some of the serpents were ornate, like Chinese dragons; the felines included tigers and black pumas; the birds included parrots, peacocks, and toucans. Also seen were a galloping horse, dragons, monsters of all sorts, and evil beasts; with some of the latter blood was associated.

Many human persons were seen. Amongst these were Indians and a sensuous Caribbean dancer. A person present in the session appeared to have the face of a gorilla with the beak of a bird.

Palaces and mansions. Amongst the buildings seen were skyscrapers and pyramids. Also seen were interior decorations of buildings. These were very exquisitely ornamented; many were gilded.

Cities. Many different ones were seen; some had futuristic architecture.

Landscapes. These included forests, open deserts, river scenes, and scenes under water. Associated with the latter were corals and 'tornadoes offish'. Overall, the landscapes had an ambience of serenity and silence.

Especially frequent were disembodied eyes; many of these pertained to big cats. Other items noted: an Indian in a boat, an old woman turning white and transforming into a young girl, cars of the 1950s that were colourfully painted in a style which was 'rather kitsch', streams of gold.

The trees outside looked like goddesses.

Significantly, the items reported by this informant include all those that are typical of Ayahuasca visions. As such, this report, I find, is a good example supporting the cultural non-specificity of these visions.
#25 Posted : 7/6/2016 1:32:03 AM
Very difficult to find paper from 1967:

"Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids" by Claudio Naranjo
from "Ethnopharmacologic search for psychoactive drugs 1967":

Page 385:

Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids
Claudio Naranjo
Department of Anthropological Medicine University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

The use of plant materials containing harmala alkaloids is probably very old. Peganum harmala, a zygophyllaceous plant, the seeds of which contain harmine, harmaline, and harmalol, is thought to be native to Russian Turkestan or Syria, and has been used throughout the Middle East both as a spice and as an intoxicant. Its medical and psychotropic properties are known in India, where it was probably taken by the Moslems, and where the seeds may now be purchased in bazaars (h). It is also believed that it was the Arabs who took the plant along the African Mediterranean and into Spain, where it may be found growing wild at present.

The species of Banisteriopsis that constitute a source of harmala alkaloids are used in an area lying between the rain forests of South America and the Andes. This is approximately the area designated as the "montaiia" in the classification of South American cultures. It consists of a tropical elevated territory along the headwaters of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, where live some of the least known Indian groups.

Of much interest is the recent discovery of substances closely related to the harmala alkaloids in animals. One of these is adrenoglomerulotropine, ahormone of the pineal body, the chemical identity of which has been indicated as 2, 3, 4, 9-tetrahydro-6-methoxy-l-methyl-lH-pyrido(3, 4, 6)indole(5).

This substance is identical to 6-methoxytetrahydroharman which has been shown to be formed in vivo from 5-methoxytryptamine and acetalde-hyde (6). 6-Methoxytetrahydroharman is an isomer of tetrahydroharmine,one of the alkaloids in Banisteriopsis (7), and in the African Leptactiniadensiflora [8].

One more substance, 6-methoxyharmalan, has been shown to derive, at least in vitro, from melatonin (9), which in turn results from the methylation of acetyl serotonin. The enzyme which makes this methyla-tion possible, hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT), has only been found in the pineal body. (See Fig. 1.)

6-Methoxyharmalan is an isomer of harmaline differing in the position ofthe methoxy group, which is attached to the same point of the ring as the phenolic group in serotonin or the methoxy group in ibogaine, a demonstrated hallucinogen (10). (See Fig. 2.)As will be seen in the rest of the paper, I have found both synthetic 6-methoxyharmalan and 6-methoxytetrahydroharman to be hallucinogenic(11), a fact which invites speculation on the possible role of the metabolites on the psychoses. It is suggestive that the highest concentrations of serotonin have been found in the pineal glands of schizophrenics, and that 6-methoxyharmalan is a powerful serotonin antagonist.

Page 386:

diagrams and figures

Page 387:

It may be noted that the above reported finding constitutes the first demonstration of an endogenous hallucinogen, twenty years after the motion of apsychotoxic metabolite was proposed by Hoffer, Osmond and SmythieS (12).

Lastly, one may wonder whether the pineal body—associated by Tibetan traditions with higher states of consciousness—may not actually play a part in the regulation of attention or the rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. An indirect indicated of this is the demonstration of increased pineal HIOMT activity in rats kept in constant darkness for six days (13).

Studies carried out some 30 years ago by Gunn et al., showed that some synthetic Beta-carbolines had similar pharmacological properties, which inturn resembled those of quinine (H). Thus, both quinine and the harman derivatives were toxic to protozoa, inhibited the contraction of the excised muscle of the frog, caused relaxation of most smooth muscle, but contraction of uterine muscle, and caused convulsions followed by paralysis in mammals.

The only compound in this chemical group reported to have hallucinogenic properties, to my knowledge, is harmine (15), which may be regardedas identical Jo telepathine, yageine, and banisterine, and constitutes most of the alkaloid content in the Banisteriopsis extracts. Yet the question poses itself as to whether the qualitative similarity of harman derivatives, as evidenced by many pharmacological effects, would also apply to the psychological syndrome produced.

For instance, Gunn finds that harmaline is twice as active as harmine, judging from the lethal doses of both compounds forthe rabbit, and from their toxicity to protozoa.

I have indeed found harmaline to be hallucinogenic at dosage levels above 1 mg./kg. i.v. or 4 mg./ mouth, which is about one half the threshold level for harmine. It maybe interesting to note at this point that the onset of effects of harmaline or other derivatives is about one hour after ingestion by mouth, but almostinstantaneous after intravenous injection, if circulation time from elbow tobrain is taken into account. In this, harmaline resembles the chemically related tryptamines and differs from the slow-acting phenylethylamines.

Tetrahydroharmine, the reduction product of harmaline, is another substance studied by Gunn and shown to be similar to its more saturated homo-logs, but three times less active than harmaline.

Racemic tetrahydroharmine, up to the amount of 300 mg. by mouth, was administered by us to one volunteer, who reported that at this dosage level there were subjective effects similar to those he experienced with 100 mg.of harmaline. More trials would be required to assess the mean effective dosageof tetrahydroharmine as a hallucinogen, but this single experiment suggests that racemic tetrahydroharmine is about one-third as active as harmaline, corresponding to Gunn's estimation on the basis of lethal dosage.

The effect of relocating the methoxy group of harmaline was not tested by Gunn but was of special interest here, in view of a possible function of the 6-methoxy homolog in the body. 6-Methoxyharmalan was indeed shown to be hallucinogenic, as was anticipated, subjective effects becoming apparentwith approximate oral dosages of 1.5 mg./kg. The ratio between threshold doses of harmaline and its 6-methoxy analog is 3:2, 6-methoxyharmalan being the more active.

Page 388:

Methoxytetrahydroharman, probably identical with pineal adreno-glomerulotropine, was also shown to be psychoactive, eliciting mild effectsat a dosage level of 1.5 mg./kg. The relative activities of the two 6-meth-oxyharmans are approximately 1:3, the harmalan being more active than its unsaturated homolog, which confirms once more Gunn's statement as to the relationship between double bonds and pharmacological effect.

It would seem premature to make any statement as to whether there is aqualitative difference in the subjective reaction to the different carbolines tested. Such appeared to be the case, in that experiences with the 6-methoxycompounds happened to be of a less hallucinogenic nature in the strict sense of the word, their effect being more akin to a state of inspiration and heightened introspection.

Among the 7-methoxy compounds, harmaline seemed to cause more withdrawal and lethargy than harmine, but both substances showed a highly hallucinogenic quality in the visual domain. However, more systematic study would be needed to confirm differences such as these, in view of the variability which exists even between consecutive experiences of the same individual with the same chemical. This is well knownfor LSD-25, and was quite marked in four of the seven subjects to whom harmaline was administered more than once.

Yet it seems clear that the various fota-earbolines are similar enough in their effect to be told apart from mescaline, as was shown by the comments of persons to whom mescaline, harmaline and some other harman derivative were administered on consecutive occasions. The third compound, the nature of which was not knownto the experimental subjects, was invariably likened to harmaline rather thanto mescaline. The same can be said of instances in which harmaline was administered on a second or third occasion without divulging the drug's identity. Regardless of the differences between consecutive harmaline experiences,these were classified together as distinct from that of mescaline.

It is quite possible that further research with a larger number of subjects may demonstrate qualitative differences of a subtle kind between the different carbolines, analogous to those shown for variously substituted phenyl-isopropylamines (16, 17). Nevertheless, it may be adequate for the time being to regard the effects of harmaline as an approximately valid indication of a syndrome shared, with minor variations, by compounds of similar structure.

This information that I am presenting here on the effects of harmaline is based on the reactions of 30 volunteers to whom the drug was administered as a hydrochloride, either by mouth or intravenously, under standard conditions. One aspect of these was the absence of all information regarding effects other than those primarily psychological in nature.

As part of the interest lay in knowing the difference between the harmaline syndrome and that of mescaline, both drugs were administered to each volunteer on different occasions. In the case of every one of the 30 subjects it was evident to the observer that both the subjective and behavioral reactions of the person were quite different for the two drugs, and this was corroborated without exception by the subjects themselves. Yet the quality of the difference was not clealy

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the same in all instances, so that it is hard to find regularities to which no exception can be mentioned. Recurring differences between harmaline and mescaline can be observed however, and in what follows, the most salient ofthese are cited.

Physical sensations in general are more a part of the harmaline intoxication than of that produced by mescaline (or similar substances). Parasthesias of the hands, feet or face are almost always present with the onset of effects, and are usually followed by a sensation of numbness. These symptoms are most marked when the alkaloid is injected intravenously, in which case some subjects have likened them to those experienced under ether anesthesia. Distortions of the body image, which are quite frequent with mescaline or LSD-25, were very exceptional with harmaline. Instead, subjects indicated isolated physical symptoms such as pressure in the head, discomfort in thechest, or enhancement of certain sensations, as those of breathing or blinking.

Nausea was reported by 18 subjects and this sometimes led to intense vomiting. It was usually associated with dizziness or general malaise, which would in turn appear or disappear throughout a session in connection with certain thoughts or stimuli.

In the domain of perception, one of the most noticeable differences betweenthe drugs is in the visual appearance of the environment. While distortions of forms, alterations in the sense of depth and changes in the expression of faces are of frequent occurrence under most hallucinogens, these phenomena were practically never seen with harmaline. The same was true in regard to color enhancement, or perception of apparent movement—flowers breathing, shapes dancing and so on—frequently seen with LSD-25.

With harmaline, the environment is essentially unchanged, both in regard to its formal and its aesthetic qualities. Phenomena which most frequently occur withopen eyes are the superposition of images on surfaces such as walls or ceilings,or the viewing of imaginary scenes simultaneously with an undistorted perception of surrounding objects. Such imagery is not usually taken for reality but there was an exception to this in the case of a man who saw a cat climbing a wall, then turning into a leopard, when in fact, not even the cat existed.

Other recurrent visual phenomena were a rapid lateral vibration in the field of vision and double or multiple contours in objects, especially when these were in motion or when the subject's eyes turned away from them. Some described lightning-like flashes.

With closed eyes, imagery was abundant and most often vivid and bright colored, with a predominance of red-green or blue-orange contrasts. Longdream-like sequences were much more frequent for harmaline than for mescaline. Certain themes, such as felines, negroes, eyes, and flying are frequent and have been reported elsewhere [18].

Perception of music was not altered or enhanced with harmaline as is the case with mescaline or LSD-25. Yet noises became very prominent and generally bothersome. Buzzing sounds in the head were reported by more than half of the subjects.

Synaesthesias were not reported, and the sense of time was unaltered.

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Many of the differences between harmaline and mescaline may be related to the facts that the effect of the former on the emotions is much less than that of mescaline, and thinking is affected only in subtle ways, if at all.

Concern with religious or philosophical problems is frequent, but there is not the aesthetic or emphathetic quality of the mescaline experience. Thus,the typical reaction to harmaline is a closed-eye contemplation of vivid imagery without much further effect than wonder and interest in its significance, which is in contrast to the ecstatic heavens or dreadful hells of other hallucinogens.

Despite this lesser effect of harmaline on the intensity of feelings, qualitative changes do occur in the emotions, which may account for the pronounced amelioration of neurotic syptoms evidenced by 8 of our 30 subjects, as detailed in a separate report (19).

Desire to communicate is slight under the effect of harmaline, since other persons are felt to be a part of the external world, contact with which isusually avoided. Possibly related to this withdrawal is the extreme passivity which most subjects experienced in regard to physical movement. Most of them lay down for 4 to 8 hours and reported a state of relaxation in which they did not feel inclined to move a muscle, even to talk. In view of this observation, it is hard to understand how the Indians, according to someauthors (20), engage in dancing or even whip one another under the effects ofcaapi.

Summing up, harmaline may be said to be more of a pure hallucinogen than other substances whose characteristic phenomena are an enhancement of feelings, aesthetic experiences, or psychotomimetic qualities such as paranoid delusions, depersonalization, or cognitive disturbances. Moreover, harmaline appears to be more hallucinogenic than mecaline (the most visually acting drug in its chemical group), both in terms of the number of images reported and their realistic quality. In fact some subjects felt that certain scenes which they saw has really happened, and that they had been as disembodied witnesses of them in a different time and place. This matches the experience ofSouth American shamans who drink ayahuasca for purposes of divination.

The remarkable vividness of imagery viewed under the effect of harmaline,together with phenomena such as double contours and persistence of afterimages, had led us to suspect a peripheral, i.e. retinal, effect of the drug, and this was tested by the recording of electroretinograms in cats.

The suspicion was confirmed, in that harmaline causes a definite increase in the alpha wave and a decrease in the beta wave of the electroretinogram, both of which become apparent before any change is observed in the brain cortex.

It would be beyond the scope of this paper to deal with electrophysiological studies, but I will briefly mention some recent results we have obtained incat experiments at the University of Chile, which add to the general picture of the harmaline intoxication:

(1) Electrocorticograms recorded in chronically implanted cats showed either electrocortical desynchronization or synchronization in correspondence with the animal's behaviour, alternating between arousal and lethargy. In addition to this spindle bursts of high voltage and low frequency were observed in all instances and these did not seem to be related to the animal's behaviour.

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(2) Experiments performed in cats with a chronically isolated forebrain showed even more clearly the above mentioned spindle bursts in the brain cortex, and regular wave bursts of high voltage in the pontine reticular formation, which we have not seen described under other pharmacologicalconditions. These cats were behaviourally overactive.

These facts may be interpreted as an indication that harmaline acts as a stimulant on the midbrain reticular formation. The direct action of harmaline on the brain cortex is hard to interpret and seems more that of adepressant, but this is counteracted in the intact animal by the arousing influence of the reticular formation.

The neurophysiological picture matches well that of traditional yage "dreaming", in that the state we have described involved lethargy, immobility, closed eyes and generalized withdrawal from the environment, but at the same time an alertness to mental processes, and an activation of fantasy.

(1) Goebel, Annalen, 38,363,1841.(2) Fbitsche, Annalen, 64,365,1847.[8] Fischer, O., Chem. Soc. Abstr., 1901 (i), 405.U) Maxwell, M. M. "Caapi, its source, use and possibilities." Unpubl. MS., 1937.(5) Fabeel, G. and W. M. McIsaac, "Adrenoglomerulotropin." Arch. Biochem. Biophys.,94:443-544,1961.(6) McIsaac, W. M. "Formation of l-methyl-6-methoxy-l,2,3-tetrahydro-2-carbolineunder physiological conditions." Biochem. Biophys. Acta 52: 607-609, 1961.(7) Hochstein, F. A. and A. M. Pabadies. "Alkaloids of Banisteria Caapi and Prestonia Amazonicum." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 79,5735,1957[8] Pabis, R. R., F. Percheron, J. Manlil and Goutabel. Bull. Soc. Chim. France,750,1957.(9) McIsaac, W. M., P. A. Khatrallah and I. H. Page. "10-methoxyharmalan, a potentserotonin antagoinist which affects conditioned behaviour." Science 134, 674-675,1961.(10) Naranjo, C. Psychological effects of Ibogaine. In preparation.(11) Naranjo, C. and A. Shulgin. Hallucinogenic properties of a pineal metabolite:6-methoxytetrahydroharman. Science. In press.(12) Hoffeb, A., H. Osmond and J. Smythies. "Schizophrenia: a new approach II." J.Ment. Sci., 100: 29-45,1950.(IS) Axelbod, J., R. J. Wubtman, and S. Snyder. "Control of hydroxyindole-O-methyl-transferase activity in the rat pineal gland by environmental lighting." J. Biol.Chem. 240:949-954,1965.(H) Gunn, Arc. Int. Pharmacodyn., 50,793,1935.(15) Pennes, H. H., and P. H. Hoch, Am. J. Psychiat. 113,885,1957.(16) Shulgin, A., T. Sabgent and C. Nabanjo. "Chemistry and psychopharmacology ofnutmeg and related phenylisopropylamines." Paper presented at the Symposium"Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs." U. of Calif., S. F., 1967.(17) Nabanjo, C. MMDA in the facilitation of psychotherapy. Book in preparation.[18] Nabanjo, C. "Psychological aspects of the yag£ experience in an experimentalsetting." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American AnthropologicalAssociation, 1965.(19) Naranjo, C, Ayahuasca, the Vine of the Dead. Book in preparation.(20) Taylor, N., Flight from Reality. 1949.(21) Vilublanca, J., C. Naranjo, and F. Riob6. Effects of harmaline in the intact catand in chronic isolated forebrain and isolated hemisphere preparations. Psychopharmacologia.

Salvia divinorum expert | Skills: Plant growing, Ayahuasca brewing, Mushroom growingSenior Member | Skills: Plant growing, Ayahuasca brewing, Mushroom growing
#26 Posted : 7/6/2016 7:20:01 AM
harmalas alone just do not fit the bill IME. I have explored them rather heavily and while the experience can be visual yes, it is not entheogenic for me in the same way as other tryptamines and ergolines which the old world had access to. I think peganum harmala was more likely used with other plants/fungi.

The beta carbolines are interesting yes, but not really true psychedelics necessarily. Im not sure how to classify them, but I do not feel that they alone can fill the role of soma.
#27 Posted : 7/6/2016 10:15:19 AM
I don't know if the ancients were looking for a vision maybe a source of personal power instead.
I won't go into details but 10g of 3xboiled rue brew every day for a year has some very interesting effects on the body.
The more curious effects occur with the way people act around you. Particularly

An odd side effect is that my fingernails at the corners started going black and weird I went for a blood test and apparently I had a unusually high concentration of silver in my blood stream and this was causing the black on my finger nails.

#28 Posted : 7/6/2016 12:37:09 PM
SpiritofSpice said:
I don't know if the ancients were looking for a vision maybe a source of personal power instead. I won't go into details but 10g of 3xboiled rue brew every day for a year has some very interesting effects on the body. The more curious effects occur with the way people act around you. Particularly

An odd side effect is that my fingernails at the corners started going black and weird I went for a blood test and apparently I had a unusually high concentration of silver in my blood stream and this was causing the black on my finger nails.
Interesting, can't comment on every-day use as this dreamer only dreams once in a two week period at most--this allows for a peak experience in dreams...but appreciate your findings in daily use SpiritofSpice.

jamie said:
harmalas alone just do not fit the bill IME. I have explored them rather heavily and while the experience can be visual yes, it is not entheogenic for me in the same way as other tryptamines and ergolines which the old world had access to. I think peganum harmala was more likely used with other plants/fungi.

The beta carbolines are interesting yes, but not really true psychedelics necessarily. Im not sure how to classify them, but I do not feel that they alone can fill the role of soma.
Agree, and which is why I've changed the topic name from "was esfand possibly soma" to it's current title...even though the authors of "Haoma & Harmaline" believe it was actually SOMA.

Below is shown Pinoline, notice it's similarity to the beta-carbolines (harmaline, tetrahydroharmine & harmine).
tregar attached the following image(s):
Pinoline.1.png (3kb) downloaded 410 time(s).
harmine and harmaline.1.png (5kb) downloaded 409 time(s).
Moderator | Skills: Mostly harmless
#29 Posted : 7/6/2016 8:42:50 PM
This thread is a gold mine! Thank you so much for sharing all this research. Thumbs up
Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...

Visual diagram for the administration of dimethyltryptamine

Visual diagram for the administration of ayahuasca
#30 Posted : 7/7/2016 2:56:21 PM
Thank you dreamer042, much appreciated.

Part II:

Here are some detailed Ayahuasca reports...after reading the various papers by Dr. Naranjo on the harmalas, you can start to notice the influence of the harmala alkaloids on the dream-like sequences listed below from Shanon.

Dr. Naranjo is currently age 83. His most recent book (2010), "Healing Civilization: Bringing Personal Transformation into the Societal Realm through Education and the Integration of the Intra-Psychic Family", is both a continuation of and a turning point in Naranjo's lifelong work. For in this book, which has a foreword by Jean Houston, Naranjo explores what he sees as the root cause of the destruction of human civilization (as evidenced in the 2000s (decade) as war, violence, oppression of women, child abuse, environmental endangerment, etc.)—patriarchy—and brings both the problem and the solution home to an intra-psychic level.

Kusel, H. (1965). "Ayahuasca Drinkers among the Chama Indians of Northeast Peru." Psychedelic Review, 6:58-66.

This report is that of Kusel (1965: 64--65), a trader who lived in the upper Amazon for seven years and, in his words, 'was very skeptical and not interested in these low-class local manners'. Twice he partook of Ayahuasca and nothing happened; then there was the third time:

"The first visual experience was like fireworks. Then a continuously creating power produced a wealth of simple and elaborate flat patterns in colour. There were patterns that consisted of twining repeats, and others geometrically organized with rectangles or squares that were like Maya designs or those decorations which the Chamas [the Indians with whom Kusel partook of Ayahuasca , B.S.] paint on their thin, ringing pottery. The visions were in constant flux. First intermittently, then successively, the flat patterns gave way to deep-brown, purple or green depths, like dimly lighted caves in which the walls were too far away to be perceived.

At times snake-like stems of plants were growing profusely in the depths, at others these were covered with arrangements of myriads of lights that like dewdrops or gems adorned them. Now and then brilliant light illuminated the scene as though by photographic flash, showing wide landscapes with trees placed at regular intervals or just empty plains. A big ship witn many flags appeared in one of these flashes, a merry-go-round with people dressed in highly coloured garments in another.

At a certain point I felt, helplessly, that [the person administering the session] and his song could do anything with me, which made me slide... deeper and deeper into a place where I might lose consciousness. If, to reassure myself, I opened my eyes, I saw the dark walls of the jungle covered with jewels as if a net of lights had been thrown over it. Upon closing my eyes again, I could renew the procession of slick, well-lighted images.

The colour scheme became a harmony of dark brown and greens. Naked dancers appeared turning slowly in spiral movements. Spots of brassy lights played on their bodies which gave them the texture of polished stones. Their faces were inclined and hidden in deep shadows. Their coming into existence in the centre of the vision coincided with the rhythm of [the] song, and they advanced forward to the sides, turning slowly. I longed to see their faces.

At last the whole field of vision was taken up by a single dancer with inclined face covered by a raised arm. As my desire to see the face became unendurable, it appeared suddenly in full close-up with closed eyes. I know that when the extraordinary face opened them, I experienced a satisfaction of a kind I had never known. It was the visual solution of a personal riddle."

Arevalo Valera, G. (1986). El Ayahuasca y el curandero Shipibo-Conibo del Ucayali (Peru). American Indigena, 46: 147-61:

This report was written by a traditional Shipibo healer from Peru, Guillermo Arevalo Valera (1986: 156-7); it is taken from an article in which the process by which one is trained to be an ayahuasquero (an Ayahuasca shaman) is described:

The [master and the initiate] enter a marvellous world, passing through a path of gold, until reaching a very beautiful city with most good-looking men and women. They are introduced to a factory whose machines operate perfectly.

They exit through a secret door and they enter a bar where they drink a cup of black wine.... Then they reach the coast of a river or the sea and from the distance they see arrive a white boat, with a white flag. When the boat has reached the place where they stand, they climb up and they salute the chief. Thereafter they leave the boat and they continue walking.

There are many beautiful flowers and pretty hummingbirds. They continue walking. Here there are birds that know how to speak mysteriously and that know one's name. When they see that someone is coming they start to pass the word that so-and-so is coming, and soon they discover a small city whose forms are that of a circle.

In the middle there is a lagoon surrounded by flowers, nothing less than the horn of plenty. In order to return, one has to pass through a subterranean path. In the centre of the city one encounters a very big castle where there live the God of Ayahuasca along with some other gods. He who enters through the main gate of this castle will never return back.

In this city the master and the initiate are now led to a bar. Soon they meet the gods of medicine. The initiate is recognized as a future healer of high category and the gods reveal to him how much is left for the conclusion of his diet. They bid farewell and follow the road back.

A few short quotes from Benny Shanon's 'Antipodes of the Mind' for education:

The Contents of Visions

"I turn now to a consideration of the contents of the visions that Ayahuasca induces. The following survey is based on a systematic analysis of both my own experiences with the brew and those reported by my various informants. Whenever relevant, citations from the literature are presented as background material. This review, I should emphasize, is qualitative, not quantitative. In other words, my purpose here is to chart the space of various contents that usually appear in the visions. A numerical, quantitative analysis is presented in the Appendix.

Investigators of Ayahuasca in the indigenous context have noted that the visions induced by the brew reveal certain common elements. Thus, Der Marderosian et al. (1970: 11) observes that:

In spite of the individual nature of the hallucinogenic experience, there is a high degree of similarity in the content and frequency of occurrence of particular hallucinations from individual to individual during any one night of drinking. Certain themes also recur every time they drink Ayahuasca. The most frequent of these are: (1) brightly coloured, large snakes, (2) jaguars and ocelots, (3) spirits, both of Ayahuasca and others, (4) large trees, often falling trees, (5) lakes, frequently filled with anacondas and alligators, (6) Cashinahua villages and those of other Indians, (7) traders and their goods, and [8] gardens.
Similarly, reviewing the anthropological literature, Harner (1973r) states that the most common items seen in the visions reported by indigenous persons are snakes, jaguars, demons and deities, cities, and landscapes. Also noted are visions having to do with the resolution of unsolved crimes, flights of the soul, and experiences of clairvoyance.

A few short quotes from Benny Shanon's 'Antipodes of the Mind' for education:

The Contents of Visions

The following discussion sets itself to answer the question 'What kind of things do people see in Ayahuasca visions?' It is the first attempt to examine the contents of Ayahuasca visions systematically and on the basis of a sizeable corpus of empirical data. The survey is structured in terms of the following main categories-personal and autobiographical material, human beings, naturalistic and non-naturalistic animals, plants and botanical scenes, beings which are neither human nor animals [henceforth, 'beings'], cities, buildings, and architectural complexes works of art, objects and artefacts, vehicles of transportation, symbols and scripts' places and landscapes, historical and mythological beings and scenes, scenes depicting creation and evolution, celestial bodies, celestial and heavenly scenes divine and semi-divine beings, encounters with the Divine, scenes of light, Platonic ideas and mathematical objects, and episodes pertaining to death.

1. Personal and Autobiographical Material

First, one can see one's own life. In particular, one can see snapshots and scenes of one's personal past. The most elaborate visions of this kind reported to me are serials in which drinkers inspected different scenes of their life and as a consequence had a psychological insight of personal import to them. In one such case, the Ayahuasca drinker saw snapshots, each of which was depicting a certain moment of her biography. The shots were not ordered chronologically, but rather juxtaposed thematically. The juxtaposition revealed some patterns in the drinker's personality and conduct of which she had not previously been aware.

A special type of biographical memory I would like to highlight is that of snapshots of seemingly insignificant moments of one's life. The experience consists of the Ayahuasca drinker seeing himself or herself in the midst of an episode the likelihood of he or she normally thinking about is very, very small. For example, I once saw myself engaged in a conversation with an elderly English lady I met on a bus ride while travelling through the island of Malta. The event took place about ten years before I had the vision in question. During the entire intervening period, I never had any recollection of this episode nor had I thought about or reflected upon it. Yet, inspecting it in my Ayahuasca induced vision, I realized that I was gaining new insights regarding my own self. Similar experiences were reported to me by my informants.

2. Human Beings

Personal Acquaintances

In conjunction with the biographical material indicated in the previous section, one may see individuals whom one knows or has known in the course of one's life. These may be seen in isolation, as single apparitions, or in the context of memories of one's personal past. While, for me, seeing personal acquaintances is rare, for many others such visions are quite common.

Significantly, the most common episodes in which personal acquaintances appear are ones having to do with the actual death of a member of the drinker's nuclear family. Especially moving was the experience one European informant had at the very beginning of her first Ayahuasca session. She found herself at her father's deathbed. For reasons beyond her control, in her real life this informant could not attend her father's funeral; indeed, the last time she saw him she was not at all aware that she would never see him again. All this happened almost forty years before the Ayahuasca session took place and it all remained an unresolved, painful wound that my informant carried in her heart throughout the years. The Ayahuasca experience finally gave this person the opportunity to bid farewell to her father. This was a wonderful, unexpected gift for her, she said, and she was greatly relieved.

Famous Persons

One can also see people one knows of but does not actually know, or has never known, personally. For me, the most common such figures were royalty. Of these I shall mention King Solomon and Zedekiah, the last king of First-Temple era Judaea, as well as several Egyptian pharaohs and European monarchs. Other specific historical figures I encountered in visions included Moses, the biblical hero Samson, Plato, the apostle Paul, Cortes, Freud, and the Nazi Josef Mengele. Historical figures that informants told me they had seen included biblical figures, popes, Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, and Einstein. On several occasions I have also seen royal persons whom I associated with various ancient civilizations but who were not identified by name. Once I saw what seemed to me to be a high priest of the Incas. Many informants also reported seeing royal and religious figures of various cultures. Not necessarily famous, yet of special presence and fairly common, are warriors and strong men of all sorts. Notably, these include knights and muscular black men.

Guides and Teachers

A special category of human beings often reported is that of guides, guardians, teachers, and other wise men and women. Non-human beings (notably, fairies and angels) can serve in these functions too. In the Amerindian tradition, the most prominent of these is the Ayahuasca mama, the mother of Ayahuasca (see Luna, 1984a); in the Daime context such a figure is referred to as the Rainha da Floresta (Queen of the Forest) and the Holy Virgin (the two are often regarded as being the same persona). The seeing of such figures is usually associated with the reception of knowledge. Most notably, shamans have told me that they determine how to cure a patient on the basis of information presented to them by wise persons that
they encounter in their visions.

Once, in a private session I was listening to Verdi's Requiem, and the scenes that appeared before me seemed to be the ones described in Dante's Divine Comedy. Like Dante, I was escorted by a guide. He stood at the back, in a corner of the visual scene, without me being able to see him. This is in line with what I heard other people describe: most typically, the guides are not seen, they stand behind the Ayahuasca drinker and direct him or her, make him or her understand what is
going on, and protect him or her.

Also seen are persons one appreciates to be wise but who do not serve as guides or teachers. In my visions, these included a pre-Columbian high priest, an old man in Burma, and a magician from an unidentified ancient civilization.


An experientially distinct category is that of individuals who do not have a name but who do have a specific, well-defined identity. Often, the figures seen have a distinct presence and those who report seeing them feel an intimate link or identification with them. Invariably, in both indigenous and non-indigenous contexts, this phenomenon is attributed to the figures seen being reincarnations of the Ayahuasca drinker's past lives. Putting the interpretative speculations aside for now, I would like to underline the special force of the experience in question. The first time this happened to me was before I had heard of such experiences from other people, and it was clear to me, instantaneously and without any doubt, that the old man who appeared before me in the vision, a lonely shaman in the icy tundra of Siberia was, while still being himself, me. Other individuals I have seen and felt a strong identification with included a wise old man on a balcony in a Chinese town and a young Spanish aristocrat of the Renaissance. People in this category described to me by informants included Amazonian Indians and Incaic figures, women of the ancient Middle East, princely figures, monks and priests from various lands and cultures, a prostitute, and a beggar. More on this will be said in Ch. 13, where personal transformations are discussed.

Social Scenes

Very common are scenes in which many people appear. The scenes in my corpus of data fall into five categories: dances, pilgrimages and processions, rituals, gatherings, and street scenes.

The dances I have seen may be divided into two kinds. The first is of colourfully decorated women celebrating the Divine. Strikingly, some of the visions of this kind that I have seen are exactly like ones found in Amaringo's work, notably the vision depicted in Plate 18 of Luna and Amaringo (1993). The second kind is of orgiastic scenes with semi-clad women, often black. Invariably, the dance was erotic and lascivious but there was no malice in it. In my own visions, the women were usually looking halfway to the side; this occurs rather frequently in the visions of other people as well (see also the report of Kusel, 1965 which was cited in Ch. 1). As
reported in Ch. 7, twice I saw a serial of scenes whose theme pertained to dancing.

The scenes of pilgrimage and processions consist of lines of people marching forward. For me, the lines of people always ran diagonally from left to right, with the participants being the members of some ancient culture climbing towards a sacred place. Most of the processions that I have seen were royal processions. These include a series of scenes depicting kings and queens appearing before their subjects. Once I saw a procession of deities. A special subtype is that of people coming towards the drinker. For example, once I saw people climbing towards me in a procession so that I might cure them. They were poor, Andean persons and I received them with an understanding nod. Similar visions were repeated to me by many informants.

The rituals I have seen were usually pagan. Some seemed to be very ancient, and several included human sacrifice. The gatherings included receptions, feasts in palaces and mansions, and scenes in eating places and bar-like establishments. The street scenes were usually related to visions of villages and cities. Examples are market scenes in medieval Europe and a grand scene depicting the lives of farmers and fishermen along the Nile in ancient Egypt.

3. The Natural World


An inspection of the literature reveals that the items most likely to be seen with Ayahuasca are animals (for a review see Harner, 1973^). Indeed, there is no report in the anthropological literature that does not mention animals. In the data I have collected this is the case as well animals are the most common category of content;3 this holds true both for my core corpus and for the data provided by my informants. By far, the animals most frequently seen are serpents, felines, and birds. This is even though, obviously, both my own personal and cultural background and those of my non-indigenous informants is so different from that of the Amerindians studied in the anthropological literature. Below are some further descriptions and comments regarding the various animals that appear in the data I have collected.

Before proceeding, it is pertinent, I think, to cite observations made some thirty years ago by C. Naranjo (1973a). In an experimental setting, Naranjo administered harmaline (one of the chemical constituents of Ayahuasca) to thirty-five Chileans with no knowledge about Ayahuasca. Especially salient in the visions these subjects had were serpents, crocodiles, felines, and birds of prey.

The felines mentioned included tigers, leopards, and jaguars (but apparently, not lions). I find the similarity between these findings and those surveyed here striking.

Serpents and Other Reptiles

Traditionally, Ayahuasca is closely linked to serpents. Serpents are also extremely common both in my own visions and in those of my informants. Indeed, in both my data and those of my informants, serpents are the most common animal and, in fact, the most common single content item reported. As described in Ch. 1, the very first figurative items I saw with Ayahuasca were lizards and in my first major Ayahuasca experience serpents featured prominently. Subsequently, I have seen serpents on many occasions. On several occasions, I have also seen crocodiles, both natural and mythological, and dinosaurs. About a third of the serpents I have seen were mythical or non-naturalistic in one way or another. Some of the serpents were adorned with flowers or shining scales. Phantasmagoric and serpents like those of mythology were also reported by my informants. Amongst these were gigantic serpents, serpents characterized as 'cosmic', winged serpents, and ones made of or emitting spewing fire. At times, serpents appear intertwined in pairs, with one serpent coiling around another; this motif is discussed at length in Narby [1998]. My own experience is that, in general, serpents appeared either as the first figures in a session or whenever I was embarking upon a new stage in the session. Why serpents are so prominent in Ayahuasca visions is an intriguing topic that I shall discuss elsewhere. Here I will just note that the associations I had with serpents in my visions were of wisdom, enchantment, seduction, and healing. A grand vision in which I saw serpents in conjenction with disease and cure is reported in the next chapter.


In the literature, apart from serpents, the most common type of animal associated with Ayahuasca visions arre felines--notably, jaguars and pumas. This is also the case with respect to the data I have collected, both mine and those of my informants. Indeed, for all groups of my informants, as well as for myself, felines are by far the most common kind of mammal seen in the visions. On the basis of firsthand experience--both my own and that of persons who participated with me in sessions--I can testify that the seeing of felines also occurs in urban contexts which are distinctly non-Amazonian. Indeed, seeing jaguars and pumas was also reported to me by first-timers partaking of Ayahuasca outside South America. Overall, I would characterize the jungle cat as a manifestation of the energy of life in its full and pristine form. Seeing a feline is tantamount to an encounter with this potent energy. Indeed, my data reveal that many visions of felines exhibit a strong interactive aspect.

Of the felines, the most common are jaguars and black pumas. The prevalence of black pumas is especially striking. In my structured interviews I have asked my informants whether they have seen 'jaguars'. Again and again, the response I have received was 'Yes, but more frequently I have seen pumas, black pumas.' This detail was given even though my query did not specify pumas as such. Some of the cats are non-ordinary. Personally, I have seen jaguars with shining or flower-shaped spots. Once I had a glimpse of what I conceived to be the primordial Jaguar. One informant reported having seen a tiger of fire.

The seeing of felines may be coupled with an interaction with them. For example, once in a vision, I found myself confronted with a puma. Watching it, I experienced a transfer of energy the puma's energy was passing over to me. An identical experience was reported to me by one of my informants. As recounted in the previous chapter, still another informant reported a vision in which she engaged in a magic journey riding a jaguar.


Birds of all kinds constitute the one single category of content that appeared most frequently in my visions. However, as explained above, it should be borne in mind that this zoological group is far more heterogeneous than that of the serpents or the felines and that it comprises several well-defined species; dividing the group into these will, of course, result in lower values of frequency. I have also seen many birds that I could not identify or label. The most common birds are birds of prey, notably eagles and condors. Also common are waterbirds (especially, cranes and herons), pheasants, hummingbirds, and parrots. For both my informants and myself, white birds are especially common. Many of the birds are characterized as being enchanted; these are often blue-feathered. Also mentioned are golden and two-headed eagles. Lastly, birds are salient in experiences of transformation and of flight; these are discussed at length in Ch. 13.

Other Animals

Mammals I have seen on more than two occasions are horses, elephants, and bulls and cows. I have also seen a dog, a lamb, a deer, a camel, a monkey, a raccoon, a hippopotamus, and a pack of jackals. In addition, I have seen fish, bees, ants, butterflies, as well as various lower organisms. Animals reported to me by more than three informants were (in a descending order of frequency) fish, butterflies, horses, bulls and cows, monkeys, lions, dogs, bats, dolphins, crocodiles, frogs and toads, all sorts of insects, as well as animals characterized as evil beasts and as prehistorical. Of these, the first seven were indicated by eight or more informants.

Phantasmagoric and Mythological Animals

Phantasmagoric and mythological animals are especially common in Ayahuasca visions; some were already mentioned in the sections concerning serpents, felines and birds. As noted in Ch. 1, dragons appeared before me most powerfully, and totally unexpectedly, in my very first strong experience with Ayahuasca. Other non-naturalistic animals I have seen include golden bulls, winged horses, a winged elephant, a taurus, a phoenix, and what I would characterize as 'evil animals'. Enchanted animals reported by my informants included dragons, winged horses, and a winged lion. As indicated above, enchanted birds are quite common. Both for me and for my informants, many of the phantasmagoric animals are creatures that are half-human, half-animal; these are discussed below.


Botanical items are seen very often in Ayahuasca visions. These may be viewed either in isolation or in scenes, either in natural settings, phantasmagoric or mythological ones, as part of works of art or decorative designs.

Perhaps the most remarkable botanical item seen in isolation is the Ayahuasca vine itself. Interestingly, such visions and the insights associated with them often resemble ones encountered in the indigenous Amerindian lore. Thus, in his first and only experience with Ayahuasca, in a private session in Europe, one European informant was struck by the feeling that a plant being was in his body and that he had a strong, intimate relationship with it. This man felt that the plant was a being in its own right and that it was passing knowledge to him. This is in line with the indigenous conception of plants as teachers, a topic with which this subject was not familiar (see Luna, 1984^). Another informant recounted a vision in which a beautiful woman turned into a serpent which in turn transformed itself into the Ayahuasca vine. Such stories of metamorphosis are central in Amerindian myths on the origin of Ayahuasca. A vision I myself had of the discovery of the vine from which Ayahuasca is made is recounted below.

Half-way between isolated items and scenes are visions in which the drinker's visual field is completely filled with flowers. Flowers can also appear as ornaments or decorations; an example of my own is that of wall drawings in a classical (ancient) Roman style. I find it in place to add a clarification here. Quite likely, the label 'flower' may fail to capture the experiential qualities that some visions depicting flowers have. A vision may present 'only' flowers, all naturalistic, yet be extraordinary. Such, for instance, was the first vision of one experienced informant, a vision he characterized as one of the most powerful he has had. In it, waves of flowers appeared one after another. I once had a vision in which my visual field expanded and was all replenished with garlands and wreaths of flowers. Just that. And yet, the vision was grandiose and its impact exhilarating.

The botanical scenes I have encountered include views of forests, gardens, meadows, and savannas. Many of the gardens that I have seen were enchanted; in some of these, fountains, pools, and waterfalls were seen as well. One image that especially stands out in my mind is a very realistic panoramic view of a forest, similar to those in Rousseau paintings. There were palm trees lit by the bluish light of the moon under a very clear night sky. Another was a garden the likes of which I have never, ever seen. It was purple-blue, and large pheasant-like birds were strolling in it. Still another was what seemed to me to be the garden of God. I did not enter it, but only viewed it through the large metal grilles that surrounded it.

On two occasions I had visions consisting of glimpses of the Amazonian forest and its mysteries. In the first, I saw Indians hunting with the aid of Ayahuasca. They were running through the forest in the dark but there was a strong white light hovering in front of them and guiding them. In the second, I saw how the plants of which Ayahuasca is made were discovered. This vision was similar to the first: An Indian was marching through the forest, and light was hovering like a halo above the plants, marking them.

An item to be mentioned also in the section on landscapes below is that of open meadows and fields. Visions depicting these are extremely common and were reported also by many first-timers with no prior knowledge about Ayahuasca. Typically, the meadows or fields extend far into the horizon and seeing them is coupled with an ambience of infinitude and eternity. This often imparts subjective feelings of serenity, faith, and optimism.

#31 Posted : 7/15/2016 3:24:51 PM
A few short quotes from Benny Shanon's 'Antipodes of the Mind' for education:

4. Mythological and Phantasmagoric Beings and Creatures

Beings and creatures that are neither human nor naturalistic animals are common in Ayahuasca visions. Mythological and phantasmagoric animals were commented upon above; the other beings and creatures may be divided into several types.

First are mythological beings and creatures. The epithet 'mythological' is employed here to denote beings and scenes that are not part and parcel of ordinary reality, present or past, nor of realms interpreted as being heavenly or divine. The mythological beings and creatures at hand may or may not be drawn from the cultural heritage of the Ayahuasca drinkers. I myself have seen such creatures only on a few occasions. Mythological beings reported to me by many informants included little green men, gnomes and elves, fairies, and monsters of all sorts. Various creatures characterized as 'Ayahuasca beings' pertain to this type as well. Many times, the creatures seen are said to be playful and mischievous (but at the same time benevolent).

Second are chimeras (in the broad sense of the term) or hybrid creatures that is, creatures which are half-human, half-animal. Of these, by far the most frequent are mermaids creatures that are half-woman, half-fish. Also reported are hybrids of humans and felines, reptiles, birds, and canines. Interestingly, such creatures are also common in indigenous reports (see, for instance, Waisbard, 1958/9 as well as the paintings presented in Luna and Amaringo, 1993).

A special category is that of creatures with multiple faces. Usually, these creatures are encountered in heavenly scenes in which the drinker feels that some ultimate secrets are being revealed to him or her. These are reminiscent of the Divine beings described in the visions of the biblical prophet Ezekiel as well as in the Apocalypse of St John. Both I and several of my informants had such visions Especially remarkable is a grand vision in which one informant saw a creature with a great number of faces, each pertaining to a different animal. This creature was conceived of by the informant as the embodiment of all Life.7 The multiple faces may also appear sequentially. Thus, one informant saw a human face changing, in succession, to the face of a puma, a tiger, and a wolf.

Third are beings referred to as extraterrestrials. Often these are seen along with spaceships. For some individuals these are especially common.

Fourth are angels and other celestial beings. The term 'angels' refers to winged humanlike beings made of light. Indeed, several informants have explained to me that the wings consist precisely of this powerful light. Other, very common, supernatural humanlike beings are transparent figures. These are usually perceived as beings made of exceedingly delicate white webs of energy. Often they are explicitly described as 'beings of light'. Several depictions of these are found in the Amaringo paintings (see e.g. Luna and Amaringo, 1993: PI. 36).

Fifth are semi-divine beings, that is divine beings which are not God. The most prominent of these is the figure of a beautiful bearded man in the prime of life. The man is clad in a simple white garment whose margins are often finely embroidered. Invariably, the man is seen en face (relative to the viewer), he radiates good energy and is full of love. Many of my informants identified this person as Jesus Christ. Also very common is a benevolent female figure standardly taken to be the Virgin Mary. Conceivably, the great frequency with which these figures appear in visions of my informants may be attributed to the Christian and semi-Christian contexts in which Ayahuasca is often taken.8'9 I should note, however, that on several occasions, I too have seen both the male and the female figures of the type just noted. Other beings of the same category that I have seen are the Buddha and various Hindu and pre-Columbian deities. With open eyes, in the sky, I once saw the figure of the mischievous Hindu divine being Ganesh. Deities and divine beings reported to me by informants included ones pertaining to ancient Egypt, India, and various pre-Columbian cultures.

By way of example, let me present one grand vision in which a goddess characterized as the Great Mother appeared. This vision was seen by one independent drinker from Rio de Janeiro the third time she partook of Ayahuasca:

'She was the mother of all atoms and the matrix of all forms. All the atoms were dancing and the Mother was pure joy. She looked like an Egyptian Goddess who was covering, and protecting, all of creation with her body. 'Why do you look like an Egyptian?' I asked the Goddess. 'Actually, I do not have any form, but I appear as Egyptian because the Egyptians were the first to comprehend my secret,' she replied. Then the Goddess lifted up her arm and turned it so that the fabric unfurled. I saw that the cloth consisted of all the possible forms and I understood that the Great Mother is the creator of Everything and that what holds this entire immense Creation together was Cosmic Joy. In this process, suns and planets are created. What creates it all is Sophia, wisdom.'

The informant added that only later she found, in a book, a depiction of the Egyptian Goddess Nut which was very similar to what she had seen in the vision.

Last to be noted are demons, monsters, and beings of death. A vision of mine that especially stands out in my mind is the following:

'The Angel of Death presented itself in front of me. I knew that if I did not hold on to my life energy, he would take me. I also knew that as long as I sustained an unwavering will to live he could do me no harm. In other words, this angel will take me only if I manifested and/or conveyed a weakening of the will to live. 'But I do wish to live!', I reflected. With this, I summoned all my vital energies and the menacing figure in front of me retreated.'

5. The Cultural World

Ayahuasca belongs to the Amazonian rain forest, but my data reveal that, apart from beings and animals, the items that feature most frequently in the visions this brew produces pertain to culture: cities and architectural complexes, palaces and temples, and various works of art and precious objects all are very common for both me and the different groups of my informants. Indeed, palaces and objects of art and magic are, for some, the items most commonly seen in the visions. A perusal of the anthropological literature reveals that items pertaining to culture are also common in visions reported by indigenous persons.


Buildings appear very frequently in the visions; most of them are magnificent. Most notable are, on the one hand, palaces and other palatial complexes and, on the other hand, temples and religious sites; castles, mansions, and archeological ruins are also common. Often the palaces and temples seen are made out of gold, crystal, and precious stones. Here, for instance, are two descriptions taken from Polari (1984: 197-8, 264):

'I found myself in the salon of a castle illuminated by torches. The salon was oval, slightly oblong, with semicircular doors, placed at regular intervals. At the same time, I saw an atrium situated in front of the principal wall, and the hall of the throne.

Thousands of tunnels, galleries, corridors, secret doors, staircases, inclined planes crisscrossed in a composition akin to one of Escher's These led to sumptuous palaces, lofty halls, sarcophagi, caverns or temples. In some of these there were sentinels appearing as medieval figures.'

I myself have seen palaces and temples many times. As described in the previous chapter, the only time I consumed Ayahuasca in the midst of the virgin Amazonian forest, I saw a whole sequence of palatial and regal scenes. I hoped to get a glimpse of the mysteries of the Amazonian jungle, but instead I saw palaces and royalty from different cultures on both sides of the Atlantic. The most impressive of these were two visits to the throne hall of an Egyptian pharaoh. In real life, I have been to many of the famous archeological sites in Egypt, and I have also visited the Egyptian galleries of many museums, but what I saw in this and other visions surpassed them all. The Egyptian palaces revealed to me in my Ayahuasca visions appeared to be totally new and full of life, as if they had just been constructed.

Like Polari, on many occasions I saw corridors, one hall opening into another, marvellous wall-paintings, sculptures, and reliefs. Architectural details that especially impressed me included sculpted marble colonnades in the form of white elephants, staircases adorned with golden lions, and finely carved gilded wooden ceilings. Several times, I saw most beautiful painted tiles. In the reports of my informants mosaics appear frequently; an example was described in Ch. 6 when serial images were discussed.

The temples I have seen were both ones of ancient civilizations and ones of the more recent Christian world. One of the more impressive architectural visions I have had was of a grand cathedral. The edifice extended up to the heavens and its dominant colour was emerald. I have heard of very similar visions from my informants. Several informants told me that looking, with open eyes, at the hall or the maloca (Amazonian hut) in which the Daime or Ayahuasca session was,taking place, the whole place transformed into a holy edifice. In more than one instance, the actual roof seemed to disappear and the visioned construction reached up to the sky. Also reported by many informants are pyramids of all sorts, most either Egyptian or pre-Columbian.

As exemplified in the above citations from Polari, basements, hidden passages, gates, and doors are all very common. These often have a secret, enchanting allure.


Entire cities may be seen as well. Here I focus on cities qua architectural complexes; cities as a type of place are considered later in this survey. The cities seen in visions are usually exotic and most fabulous. Discussing the Amaringo paintings Luna comments that: 'About one third of the visions presented contain... cities. Their architecture is either diffusely Eastern Chinese, Arabian, Indian or futuristic, or both. They may be located in the underwater world or on another planet' (Luna and Amaringo, 1993: 41; see also Harner, 1973c).

My own experiences corroborate this general statement: Most of the cities I have seen seemed to belong to ancient civilizations whereas others were futuristic or magical, whose identity I could not determine. The reports of my informants reveal the same pattern. The most impressive city I have seen was that described in the Prologue whose buildings were made of gold and precious stones.
#32 Posted : 7/15/2016 3:26:09 PM
A few short quotes from Benny Shanon's 'Antipodes of the Mind' for education:

Works of Art

Works of art and artistic objects are very common both in my visions and in those of my informants. Items I have seen many times include pieces of sculpture, pieces of furniture, chandeliers, ceramics and articles of gold, masks, carpets, tapestries and rich fabrics, embroidery, jewellery, crowns and sceptres, as well as swords and shields. All these were also reported by my informants. The materials of which most of these items were made were gold, brass, gilded wood, crystal, precious stones, and fine textiles (most of which were white and/or finely embroidered).10 Usually, the items seemed to be exceedingly precious and some seemed to be endowed with magical powers. Once I saw an entire exhibition of the works of arts and crafts of one specific culture. Manifestly, all the items I saw belonged to the same culture, one that I could not associate with any particular culture I had ever known. Similar experiences were reported to me by two other persons.

Artistic works are also frequently encountered in the buildings one sees. As described above, often these are embedded in the architectural structure itself. An example drawn from my own experience are elephants of white marble that served as pillars to the front hall of a palace. On several occasions I have seen ornate frescoes. In many cases, these were in the art-deco style; on one occasion they were of the Roman Pompeian style, and on another they were eighteenth-century Baroque. As mentioned above, several informants have reported seeing all sorts of mosaics. Also common are carved wooden figures, engravings, and ornamental reliefs. Some of these were seen in conjunction with vehicles--notably sculptured prows of boats.

Especially to be noted are items pertaining to religious rites, be they generic or associated with specific services or occasions. Those I have seen include the Caduceus, the Golden Calf, the biblical choshen (a divination plaque with twelve precious stones, used by the ancient Jewish High Priest), and various idols. As noted above, objects endowed with magical powers are also common.

Vehicles of Transportation

The most common category of artefacts is that of vehicles of transportation. These may be of land, sea, air, or space. Of those that I have seen, the most frequent ones were on the one hand, carriages, mostly royal, and on the other hand, boats and ships.11 Twice I have seen what I recognized as space ships. Some individuals seem to see these quite often. On many occasions, even if the vehicle was technologically standard (e.g. a train or a car), it would be fabulous in its decor, adorned with gold or wonderfully painted. Once I saw a joyous elephant playfully riding a scooter. On several occasions I have seen visions in which wheels or other revolving parts were central. Once, I saw a grand vision in which futuristic technology was prominent. Such scenes have been reported to me by my informants as well.

Musical Instruments

Another special category of objects pertaining to culture is that of musical instruments. These are often associated with the hearing of music. By far, the most common instruments seen by me or reported by informants were trumpets.

Books, Scripts, and Symbols

Many people report seeing inscriptions of letters, numerals, or other signs. Both in my case and in that of my informants, on some occasions the characters seen were made of, or engraved in, gold or silver. Often these are in scripts or languages that the Ayahuasca drinker characterizes as ones he or she cannot decipher or understand. Some informants say that they do manage to decipher and understand messages in scripts and/or languages that actually are not familiar to them. I could not substantiate any of these claims (especially to be noted are cases when the language in question was Hebrew, my own native tongue) and I prefer to regard them as reports of genuine subjective experiences, not facts. Mandalas and flags are also very common.

A vision of special significance to me was the following:

'I was seeing what was clear to me was the Torah of God. It was a scroll of red fire on ice. As 1 examined it further, serpents came out of the fire. As the image developed, the serpents crawled within the boundaries of the scroll in horizontal lines of alternating courses from left to right, and from right to left. And then I realized that letters were engraved on the serpents. But the serpents were moving, and this scrambled the text. It was fine, I thought, what really matters in the holy text are the single letters, not the prose.'

A year later I found the following description taken from the Zohar, the principal book of the Kabbalah: 'In the beginning, two thousand years before the heaven and the earth, seven things were created:... The Torah written with black fire on white fire, and lying on the lap of God' (Ginzberg, 1909: i. 3). As reported in the Prologue, one of my first visions consisted of a triangle with a hand inscribed inside it. On other occasions, I saw the entire zodiac, astronomical-like figures, and the primordial letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

6. Places and Landscapes

Cities and Sites

Above I mentioned cities in terms of the architectural complexes in them. Here I refer to cities as a special category of place. The cities I saw were usually not familiar to me from real life. Only on a very few occasions have I seen a city that I had actually visited. Most of the cities I have seen in my visions belonged to ancient civilizations; most were of ancient Egypt and the civilizations of pre-Columbian Central and South America. Other civilizations that featured in my visions included ancient biblical Judaea, Assyria, ancient Persia, the Hellenic world and classical Rome, medieval Europe, and the Far East. On several occasions I have seen what seemed to me to be futuristic cities. These featured skyscrapers, hi-tech constructions, and many neon lights. All these kinds of cities have been reported by my informants as well.


In the present terminology, landscapes are places that seem to be real but do not have a particular geographical or historical identity. It will be noted that the landscapes may be seen either from outside or from within. The landscapes seen from the outside can be either glimpses or broad panoramas. The landscapes I have seen included open vistas of meadows and grassland, panoramic views of mountains and of the sea, as well as scenes of lakes and riverbanks. All these were also commonly reported by my informants. My informants' data also include scenes of waterfalls and of the desert. Significantly more rare are underwater scenes. I myself felt that I was going under water only once, but I was worried that I might drown and I did not let myself go in further. A special category is that of the views one sees while flying; I shall say more about these in Ch. 13. Finally, snapshots of exotic places may be seen. Ones encountered in my own data include small pastoral mountain towns, an island in the South Pacific, and the African savanna.

Other places

Lastly, there are places of entertainment. These seem to fall into two main subtypes. One is that of places such as bars and cabarets, often lascivious and somewhat lewd. The other may be characterized as ludic. In these, the atmosphere is gaily frivolous; they include amusement parks and circuses. The frequency Q facilities pertaining to amusement parks in the visions is, it seems to me, disproportionately high. Especially noted are carousels and Ferris wheels. Interestingly a merry-go-round is also mentioned by Naranjo (19730) in his experimental study of harmaline.

A puzzling question that arises is whether one can see real places that one does not know or know of. Kensinger (1973) reports that there were some Shipibo Indians who claimed to have seen the town of Pucallpa although they had never been there (see also Morton, 1931; for further discussion and references the reader is referred to Ch. 16). Campa Indians I talked to said exactly the same thing that Ayahuasca enables them to travel and see foreign places. A lower-class, simple resident of the far west of Brazil told me that he had visions in which he found himself in Russia and Japan. In real life, this man had never left the Amazon region. Further, he assured me that he had never seen any pictures of these places. I have no means to check the veracity of these reports. Writing this summary survey, I wish I could have returned to the Amazon and shown art books of various civilizations to residents who have reported to me having had visions of foreign places and civilizations. Unfortunately, I do not know when, if at all, it would ever be feasible for me to do this. More on the alleged paranormal powers of Ayahuasca is said in Ch. 16.

#33 Posted : 7/15/2016 3:28:09 PM
A few short quotes from Benny Shanon's 'Antipodes of the Mind' for education:

7. History and Evolution, Religion and Myth

Historical Scenes

Scenes from different historical periods are very common. My impression is that in all cases events were seen as being in the process of their happening in a particular place at a particular time. In general, it is not that with the outset of the Ayahuasca vision a special event begins and with its fading off it terminates. Rather, it is as if out there life goes on and the intoxicated person is presented for a moment with the opportunity to witness a scene of other times, and other places. In glimpses this fragment of time is very short, in full-fledged scenes it may be long. The historical scenes may depict major historical events or episodes of daily life. The most common instances of the former are wars, coronations and royal pageants, and episodes in the lives of famous historical figures. Images of the latter kind that stand out in my mind are a market scene in medieval Europe and a very colourful street scene in China.

Especially impressive scenes in which I found myself in the position of a witness were of the Holocaust of the Jewish people in the Second World War, various biblical scenes, and scenes of daily life and rituals in various ancient civilizations. On several occasions I have also experienced scenes of prehistoric people and of prehistoric animals roaming savannas.

Of special significance are panoramic historical visions. These depict several historical episodes which together present a moral regarding the human predicament. As noted in the Prologue, one of my very first visions included a panorama of human history: the injustice it manifests on the one hand, and the bounty of culture and art notably, religious it produces. One informant told me that in the first vision he had with Ayahuasca he witnessed human suffering throughout history. With this, he understood the forces of evil, pride, and greed that make empires fall, and he came to the realization that the only hope for humanity is spiritual.

Religious Rites

On several occasions I have seen prehistoric sacrifices of both animals and humans, shamanic rituals, pagan rites, religious services in various cultural contexts, as well as processions and pilgrimages (these latter have already been described above). Religious rites mentioned by my informants included ones in the Amazonian forest, in ancient biblical Israel, pre-Columbian America, and in pagan and medieval Europe. An experience I myself had, and which was reported to me in identical terms by several other persons, consisted of a non-ordinary perception of the very Ayahuasca session in which I, or my informants, were participating. In all cases, the session was experienced as a very primitive (in the historical, chronological sense of the term) ritual often a dance in which the drinker him- or herself was actively taking part. Often it was commented how extraordinary the strong group feeling associated with these rituals was; some reports also alluded to a summoning of the forces of nature. In all cases the experience was described as exceedingly powerful.

Evolution and Creation

Akin to the grand, panoramic historical scenes are scenes of biological evolution. A Brazilian with extensive and varied experience with Ayahuasca reported:

'I was looking into the mouth of a cauldron. Within the circle defined by the rim, a cinematic presentation of evolution unfolded. Outside of the boundaries of the rim, everything looked utterly normal. This was the most powerful of the very many Ayahuasca visions that I have had.'

I myself once looked at a tree, and, with open eyes, saw a reptile. The reptile grew and changed shape, sequentially transforming into several animals. First there were prehistoric, extinct species and later, modern ones.

Some of the most spectacular visions that can be experienced with Ayahuasca are those interpreted as depicting the Creation of the universe. Usually, these are shrouded in mystery and in general are characterized as being ineffable. Also
characteristic of these visions is the great impression of harmony and bounty that they impart. One such vision I experienced myself consisted of a stupendous emanation of light which was bountiful and full of love. From the light emerged a multitude of flowers and with them the entire world rejoiced in the wonder that is Life. A European woman with extensive Ayahuasca experience told me of a vision in which she felt she was joining the Demiurge, the God who was creating not one but many universes. Similarly, Reichel-Dolmatoff (1975) reports that indigenous users of Ayahuasca say the brew enables them to visit the place of creation, witness the act of creation, participate in the creation story, and comprehend the moral concepts it contains. Three of my informants related the creation of the universe to geometric forms.


In the indigenous context, Ayahuasca visions are intimately related to myths Indeed, the visionary state is often regarded as that in which myths are revealed Mythological scenes reported to me by my non-indigenous informants were akin to Amerindian myths, to Celtic ones, as well as to fairy tales. These portray beings already mentioned: heroes and supernatural beings; enchanted animals and creatures which are half human, half animal; fairies and gnomes; spirits and demigods. A vision that especially impressed me was one in which it seemed to me that I was understanding how myths are actually created.

8. The Divine

Celestial and Heavenly Scenes

Of special impact are what may be called celestial or heavenly scenes. In these, the heavens part and the Ayahuasca drinker witnesses scenes akin to those described in the book of Ezekiel (ch. 1 and 10), the book of Isaiah (ch. 6), and the Apocalypse of St John. In such scenes drinkers encounter realms full of light which emanate great bounty and bliss. Celestial and heavenly scenes I have witnessed included chariots with magnificent white horses, a ring of animals around an expanding sky, and an opening of the heavens which might be called the entrance to the Kingdom of God. Both I and half a dozen of my informants have had visions in which a ladder was reaching the heavens and angels were going up and/or down it. For obvious reasons, I refer to such visions as 'Jacob's ladder'.

Related to the above are scenes in paradise. In these, the Ayahuasca drinker may see enchanted gardens and orchards, fountains and brooks, angels and other benevolent beings. Perhaps more significant is the general ambience which is characterized as paradisiacal. Typically, it is described as one of serenity and bliss in which the supreme Good reigns.
In conjunction with the origin of myth, see the reflections of the anthropologist-philosopher Levi-Strauss (1964) and my comments on them in Ch. 23.

Encountering the Divine

The Indians say that Ayahuasca enables them to see God (see Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1975; Taussig, 1987; Payaguaje, 1983). I would rather use such phrases as 'encountering the Divine', 'being in the presence of God', or the traditional Jewish one 'being under the wings of the Sfiekhina'." I shall discuss this experience further both in Ch. 9 and in Ch. 16.


Last but definitely not least are visions of light. Because of their special subjective significance and varied phenomenological complexity, these visions will be discussed separately in Ch. 17.

9. Other Categories of Special Import

In the last section of this survey, I shall mention several content categories that stand apart. I place them together here only for editorial considerations.

Celestial Bodies and Planetary Voyages

Both I and my informants experienced visions in which the sun, the moon, and/or the stars featured centrally. An example is presented in the next chapter, where themes of visions are discussed. In this conjunction let me note that one of the most important hymns of the Santo Daime Church is called 'Sun, moon, stars'. Likewise, these three entities feature centrally in the decoration of the halls in which sessions of the UdV are held.

Often Ayahuasca carries one higher and higher above the planet Earth and far into the cosmos. On several occasions I felt I was flying upwards. On one of these voyages I saw, from above, the whole planet. Similar interplanetary voyages have been reported to me by my informants. Some indicated having reached a particular astronomical body, such as the sun or a specific planet. Such voyages are also depicted in some of the paintings of Ayahuasca visions in Luna and Amaringo (1993); see, for example, pis. 21 and 37.

Anatomy and Physiology

Traditional healers and medicine men are famous for their (alleged) ability to see, under the intoxication, the insides of patients' bodies (see, for instance, Gebhart-Sayer, 1986). The shamans I have interviewed expressly boasted of having this ability too. I myself have experienced visions of the inner parts of my own body on several occasions. On one such occasion I caught a glimpse of the internal parts of my upper leg, and on another I travelled inside my cranium. Travels within the body were also reported by several of my informants. The most common of these are ones in which the drinker was getting an inside view of his or her own brain and ones in which individual cells in the body were said to be seen; informants also reported seeing their own DNA [for a related discussion, see Narby, 1998].

Platonic Ideas, Archetypes, and Mathematical Objects

One special feature of Ayahuasca visions is the encounter with what may b referred to as the world of Platonic-like Ideas.14 There, one sees not the particular and contingent but rather the generic. My first experience of this kind Was reported in Ch. 5: a villager was passing by at a distance and I saw him as the Farmer; it will be noted that this happened with my eyes open. Other visions of this kind that I have experienced depicted the archetypal Man and Woman and the primordial Jaguar; both visions were seen with my eyes closed. Several informants reported identical experiences to mine.

Abstract entities may be seen as well. One informant told me he had a grand vision of perfect geometric bodies. Another reported a scene in which he spontaneously came to the appreciation that the physical world is harmoniously governed by mathematical laws. Three informants reported grand visions in which the manifold of all forms was seen. Several informants, all with an academic education, explicitly commented that Ayahuasca brought them to the world of Platonic Ideas.

More on this topic will be said in Ch. 15 and 23. One of the most impressive visions ever recounted to me was that seen by a South American man of mixed race, a labourer with only three years of primary school education. This person has had extensive experience with Ayahuasca and the vision he described as the most meaningful he had ever had was comprised of mathematical formulae which he understood as conveying the basic laws of the Universe.

Birth, Death, and Rebirth

Birth and death, the two momentous events in human life, are both encountered with Ayahuasca. I shall begin with death, for it is the more common and the more characteristic of Ayahuasca. In the indigenous context Ayahuasca is intimately related to death. After all, this is what the name Ayahuasca means the vine of the spirits, or of the dead spirits. I have seen death scenes twice, both times with my eyes open. The first time was at a Daime concentration session. Suddenly all the (real) people around me seemed to be dead. I was horrified and did all I could turning my head, shaking myself to stop this vision. The second time was in the midst of the forest. There were dead persons suspended on and from the trees. As noted earlier in this survey, once I had an encounter (fortunately, not consummated) with the Angel of Death. With my eyes closed, on several occasions I saw prehistorical rituals in which human beings were sacrificed. Seeing blood was reported by several informants.

Reports of my informants included scenes of self-death, scenes in which the drinker saw him- or herself as a victim in a ritual of human sacrifice, horrible scenes of wars, funerary ceremonies, as well as scenes in which skeletons, spirits, and sarcophagi featured prominently. Reports of self-death furnished by my informants are presented in Chs. 9 and 13. As will be described in more detail there, experiences of self-death are often coupled with experiences of rebirth. Drinkers feel that they almost die and then experience themselves reborn while gaining salvation and enlightment.

My informants also reported visions of birth. Both were reported: visions in which a woman was giving birth, and a vision in which the drinker herself experienced delivering a baby.

Small Details

Lastly, I would like to mention several small details that seem to feature rather often in the visions. What characterizes them is precisely their being details. In terms of their content, the items to be noted pertain to different semantic categories and are not of special significance in their own right. What is special is that they are disproportionally recurrent in reports of Ayahuasca visions. I have noted them in my own visions, and then was struck by their appearance, unsolicited, embedded in reports furnished to me by other people; at times I have found them mentioned also in descriptions of visions cited in the literature. What I am referring to are specific visual details seemingly without any psychological or cultural significance. Indeed, it is precisely the apparent insignificance of these details that makes them important with regard to the issue of interpersonal commonalities in the Ayahuasca experience. True, it could be argued that some items that are especially common in visions have been heard of by people, or read about, prior to their personal experiences. This might be true for serpents and felines, Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, but not for seemingly intrinsically unimpressive items such as those to be indicated below. Likewise, some prominent items, such as angels and palaces, may be associated with archetypes that are deeply rooted in the human condition; but again, this cannot be said with respect to the small details indicated here.

The first small detail I would like to mention is disembodied eyes. These are eyes seen floating in the visual space without there being either a face or a body of which they are part. The eyes may be those of human beings, of felines, or without any particular identity. Often, a great multitude of such eyes is seen. These are reported very commonly. Notably, they are also encountered in the most spectacular vision reported in the Bible�the prophet Ezekiel's encounter with the Divine (see, in particular, Ezekiel 1: 18; for a discussion of the motif of disembodied eyes in the context of pre-Columbian Mexican culture, the reader is referred to Ott, 1986). Also commonly reported are detached faces, that is, faces without bodies; bodies without faces are also reported. Interestingly, heads without bodies are also mentioned by Karsten (1935) in his report of what indigenous Amerindians experience with Ayahuasca. Especially prevalent are faces with slightly slanted somewhat mocking or sardonic smiles and grimaces. Several informants specifically said that the faces approached and teased them (see Harner, 1980). Anoth frequently reported item is mouths of animals that open and from which some thing for example, flames or other animals comes out. These are encountered in several of Amaringo's paintings too, as well as in the early report of Harne (1980) of his first experience with Ayahuasca. Also to be noted are persons with tilted heads and ones whose torsos are inclined; especially marked are women who raise one arm and brush it up against their ear (see, for instance, the report \ Kusel in Ch. 1).

As already mentioned, scenes of people usually groups of women dancing are very frequently reported; a beautiful depiction of such a scene, one which very much resembles a vision I myself had, is found in pi. 18 of Amaringo's paintings (Luna and Amaringo, 1993).

A recurrent detail in my own visions that impressed me quite a bit was that of a person looking forward, scrutinizing vast distances or gazing into the open and unknown. Typically, the act was associated with reflective serenity and the atmosphere encompassing it had a touch of the eternal. On several occasions the person had the allure of a sage, on others it was a valiant young man who seemed to probe optimistically towards the future. Once it was a group of small children who were engaged in the act of looking; in this scene, the entire ambience was of fresh hope. On still another occasion it was a chimpanzee. It was positioned way up on some very high boulder looking in the manner described above but not cognizant of the meaning of the act. To me it seemed that the ape was peering into the future progress of evolution.

Concluding Remarks

Having focused on details, let me now take a broader perspective and comment on the global picture that emerges from the foregoing survey. In their totality, the data we have surveyed define the semantic space of the visions seen with Ayahuasca. Embracing an alternative world-view, these data may also be regarded as defining what traditional users refer to as 'the world of Ayahuasca'. The semantic space, or world, in question comprises four main domains. The first is the domain of nature. As noted throughout the foregoing discussion, animals especially serpents, felines, and birds are some of the most common items in the visions. Natural landscapes and scenes of forests and gardens are also very common. Also common are scenes of heavenly bodies and the far reaches of the cosmos. The second domain is that of culture. Its prime manifestations are magnificent cities, the majesty of the royal, various products of artistic creation, religion, and magic. Usually, what are seen in the visions are not contents pertaining to the drinker's own socio-cultural milieu but rather ones associated with ancient civilizations. The majority of the constructions, objects, and artefacts that appear in the visions are either precious or wonderfully ornate or both. Further, most of the buildings seen in the visions are palaces or temples, and many of the human beings are either kings and queens or religious figures and persons with spiritual prominence.

Third is the domain of fantasy. It comprises enchanted and magical lands and it is populated by all sorts of creatures which are neither human beings nor naturalistic animals. As just indicated, the objects and scenes that appear in the visions are usually not mundane; often they are associated with mythology, fairy tales, and magic. Fourth is the domain of the spiritual and the supernatural. Ayahuasca visions often reveal before one celestial and heavenly realms. In these, divine and semi divine beings often appear. The supernatural domain is usually associated with spiritual and metaphysical meanings. Related to this domain are the items and scenes pertaining to death.

In addition to the specific contents that are typical to them, Ayahuasca visions are also characterized by the extraordinary beauty that they manifest. Time and again, drinkers report that what they see in Ayahuasca visions surpasses in magnificence anything they have ever seen either in reality or in works of art. As further indicated above, objects and artefacts that appear in these visions are usually extremely rich and wonderfully ornate. Many of the landscapes are fantastic, and even when strictly speaking they are utterly naturalistic, the landscapes often emanate special qualities such as eternal presence, divine bounty, or pristine meaningfulness. And then, when the visions lead one upwards, to the realms of the planets and beyond, what one sees can be utterly stupefying. Not infrequently a point is reached when the marvel is such that one feels that what is presented before one is overwhelming and that its scrutiny is beyond the grasp of one's human cognitive faculties. In the literature, the word 'ineffable' is often used, marking the limitedness of language. At times, however, one also experiences the limitedness of one's mind and one's heart. Especially powerful visions may impress one as being totally beyond one's mental reach. On such occasions, one feels that what one sees is too wondrous to be grasped and one finds that one's mind simply cannot contain the marvels revealed to one. In extreme cases one may feel it is too painful to watch what the visions present it is all just too sublime, above and beyond the realm of the human.

The special character of the semantic space of Ayahuasca visions may also be marked by way of contrast. Comparative and contrastive analyses that I have conducted indicate that the content items that appear in these visions are different from items often seen in dreams. As further described in the Appendix, I have compared the content items of my dreams to those seen in the corpus of my Ayahuasca visions. Very little overlap was found between the content items that appear in the two sets of data. None of the content items characteristic of the visions are encountered in the dreams nor are those that usually appear in the dreams found in the visions. In particular, in my dreams I have never seen tigers or serpents, palaces or scenes from ancient civilizations, royalty or other special beings. Never have I seen places that may be characterized as phantasmagoric or magical, nor have I ever seen historical or mythological scenes or ones having to do with the meaning of either the human predicament, Life and Creation, Nature, or the Cosmos. Furthermore, my dreams never had any religious or spiritual quality nor did they ever seem to convey a message or serve as a vehicle for instruction. Rather, by and large, the content items that appear in my dreams are common place. In them, I usually see persons who are significant in my life, scenes echoing events that happened to me in real life, images incorporating details often insignificant, such as telephone numbers that I have encountered during the course of the preceding day or two, scenes that reflect my personal conflicts, issues with which I am especially concerned, my fears, my wishes and desires. In general, these do not appear in the visions I have had with Ayahuasca.

Having said all this, let me also note that what may be seen in Ayahuasca visions is, in principle, unbounded essentially, there is no limit to it. The unboundedness pertains to both the types of content seen and to the tokens (that is, specific instantiations) of these types. With respect to the types, let me cite what, on two different occasions, I have been told by two very experienced drinkers. Checking whether they had seen the various items on my structured questionnaire, these informants answered in the affirmative for all items queried. Doing this, they smiled and said 'Well, you see, I have seen everything.' With respect to the tokens, the unboundedness manifests itself in people never seeing the same vision twice. I say this both on the basis of my own experiences with Ayahuasca and the repeated observations of many other individuals; no one has ever reported a case that counters this generalization. The generalization holds even though there are many items that are especially common in Ayahuasca visions. In terms of their type, the items seen do exhibit various patterned regularities, but the tokens associated with these content types display unbounded variation. Thus, I have seen palaces and interior decorations thereof many, many times; yet, each vision of these was totally novel not even twice did I see the same building or decoration. Coupled with the fantastic nature of the contents of the visions and their extraordinary magnificence, I find this state of affairs to be truly remarkable. In sum, all things imaginable and non-imaginable can be seen with Ayahuasca. One can see all the moments of one's life, all the people and places that one knows, Nature and the Cosmos in all their manifestations, human history and the different cultures that it has and has not produced, and scenes that lead one above the planet, to the far reaches of the cosmos, to the heavens. One can see the inner parts of one's body and the deeper strata of one's soul, one can encounter the infinite richness of myth and fantasy, meet fairies and dragons, angels and devils, taste the nectars of the Eternal, be washed by the bounty of the Supreme Good, witness the perennial light, encounter the Divine. But then, if everything and anything is possible what sense is there to list and enumerate the 'contents of Ayahuasca visions'? I shall give several answers to this question; these answers are not mutually exclusive.

The present work is based primarily on reports that might be characterized as pertaining to a first stage in one's Ayahuasca schooling. By now, I have partaken of Ayahuasca more than 130 times and only very few of my informants have had a more extended experience with the brew. With long-term experience the quality of the visions may change. Some (but definitely not all) Ayahuasca users say that after about two years of regular exposure to the brew, they see fewer and fewer visions. In contrast, long-term drinkers report increases in experiences of great insight, spiritually uplifting ambiences of light, and special performances with the brew. I myself have noted that after about 90 sessions a new phase in my Ayahuasca experience seemed to begin. In my more recent sessions, some of the more frequent items I have seen in the earlier sessions no longer appeared; this is especially true of serpents and jaguars. On the other hand, all sorts of new items appeared. With this, the set of content items that I have seen only once greatly increases with time. How then do I square the two? I would say that the items reported here are the ones most likely to be seen in what I would characterize, indeed, as a first cycle [see Ch. 18] in the school of Ayahuasca.

Two years after these last lines were written, I met an indigenous shaman whom I asked, as I had done with so many other people, why serpents and jaguars are seen in Ayahuasca visions. He responded that these two are, indeed, very common but that this is especially the case in the early stages of drinkers' experience with Ayahuasca. 'At first Ayahuasca shows one the natural worlds, later it reveals other worlds to one,' he said (see also Richman, 1990/1).

Let me put this in other words. In principle, it does indeed seem to be the case that given sufficient exposure to the brew, anything and everything can be seen with Ayahuasca. However, not all things are seen with the same probability. The foregoing survey seems to me to present a fair depiction of the types of content that are most likely to be encountered in Ayahuasca visions. Indeed, as already noted in Ch. 3, it seems to me that, as it stands, the corpus of data I have collected is robust; correspondingly, my assessment is that the survey presented here (as well as all other general data summaries in this book) is quite stable. At this stage, whenever I hear or read new reports of people's experiences with the brew, I do not find items that I have not heard of before and which are not included in my survey. Indeed, over and over again I am struck by reports of visions that are very similar to ones I have experienced myself or which I have heard about from my informants.

I would like to close with a comparison with the domain of literature. The question 'What does one see in Ayahuasca visions?' can be compared to the question 'What can be written in literature?' or 'What can be depicted in art?' Some, especially traditional, forms of both literature and the visual arts can indeed be associated with a relatively well-defined set of content items. Fairy tales are most likely to describe kings and queens, princes and princesses, good fairies and gnomes, wicked witches, dragons, and magical objects. Greek mythology often talks of deities and various types of heroic figures. Similar lists of most frequent items may be defined for other literary genres. But there comes a point when the question is meaningless: one can write, or draw, anything one fancies. There might be items that are more likely to be written about or drawn, especially in the more realistic genres of art, but in principle, the human imagination is withou limits--eventually, anything is possible. The situation with Ayahuasca visions is, I think, very similar.
#34 Posted : 7/15/2016 4:05:21 PM
A few short quotes from Benny Shanon's 'Antipodes of the Mind' for education:

Open eyed visuals (seeing-in category):

"A somewhat more complex pattern is the following one that I experienced as I was observing a wicker shopping bag with an interlacing pattern of tan and black. I saw two alternating figures: at certain moments the wicker bag looked to me like a jaguar, and at others like the face of my niece. Later, when the intoxication was over, I approached the bag and examined it closely. The pattern was the simplest one possible. There was nothing in it that I could see as generating either the figure of a jaguar or that of a human face."

"By way of further example, I shall mention two other cases of superpositions which are visually complex, semantically elaborate, and dynamic. Twice, during sessions of UdV, I was gazing through the open doors. The bush that was seen through the door was full of beings. I might say that the beings I saw were "tree-people', for their figures were all made of leaves of the bush outside. What I saw was so rich: there were many figures, and their faces were distinct and expressive. At times it seemed that the faces expressed attitudes; for example, when the Master of the session spoke, the figures appeared to display interest and curiosity. Furthermore, it appeared that they were extending their heads towards the door so as to hear better, to be closer to what was going on inside the hall."

"An individual's general constitution and personality have a great effect on what will happen to him or her during a session. The relationship between these and the particualrs of the Ayahuasca experience are not simple to describe for, in principle, every and any personality trait and stance can be relevant. As a rule, people who are psychologically solid, whose souls are 'clean' and whose minds unperturbed are more likely to have good sessions. Characteristic of such sessions are powerful visions, revelatory insights and ideations, and spiritual uplift. In such cases nothing menacing happens and the session is felt to be meaningful and rewarding.

By way of example, let me mention a good friend of mine, a very pious woman of about 60 who--in the good sense of the term--has kept her innocent inner child alive. She partook of Ayahuasca only twice; on both occasions I was also present. Invariably, she had fairy tale visions--enchanted gardens, beautiful singing birds, angels, and nature all in a dance. It seems clear to me that what this woman experienced in her visions is directly related to the type of person she is. The numerous conversations I had with people before and after Ayahuasca sessions repeatedly revealed to me how extremely important are parameters pertaining to drinkers' personality. As I have heard said repeatedly in all contexts of Ayahuasca use -- with this brew, each person receives exactly what he or she merits. Over the years, I have come to appreciate how perfect this match is. At times it manifests itself in ironic ways, and often its perfetion might be characterized as cruel.
The End.
#35 Posted : 7/16/2016 2:10:36 PM
One of my favorite quotes from the "7. History and evolution section" above:
One informant told me that in the first vision he had with Ayahuasca he witnessed human suffering throughout history. With this, he understood the forces of evil, pride, and greed that make empires fall, and he came to the realization that the only hope for humanity is spiritual.
"The only hope for humanity is spiritual."

A few short random quotes from Shanon's 'Antipodes of the Mind' for education:

random (1): The Style of Ayahuasca Visions

The first style was commented upon spontaneously by many people I have interviewed. Even without being asked about the style of the Ayahuasca visualizations, informants mentioned that what they saw resembled cartoons and animated movies as well as images similar to those encountered in pop art. Quite a few indicated that the visions reminded them of Disney-like designs. Usually, the images in question are described as two-dimensional, static, and having well-defined boundaries and homogeneous clear colouring. Often they are seen in sequence, as in comics strips. I too have experienced such visions several times.

Related to these observations is the characterization of some visions as kitsch or slapstick. Some informants explicitly expressed discomfort or embarrassment with this. Some thought this reflects their own taste in the arts, which is apparently not sufficiently cultivated. Yet, it appears that the phenomenon is not idiosyncratic: some visions are indeed of this style.

Second is the element indicated above in conjunction with powerful geometric designs-- marked lines demarcating the boundaries between small colour elements in the manner of the metal divisions in stained glass windows. Such marked dividing lines can also be found in visions with semantic content. Visually, such visions will be composed of the same fluorescent colour elements of which the powerful geometric designs are, but like vitrages, they would define figurative elements, notably magnificent architectural complexes. Similar observations were made by both Harner (1980) and olmatoff (1990) with regard to their own firsthand experiences with Ayahuasca; interestingly, they are also encountered in reports of subjects to whom harmaline was administered in an experimental-clinical setting (see Naranjo, 1973).

The third style will be denoted by the term "expanses". I am referring to visions of wide expanses of open landscapes of either land or sea and to panoramic visions of the entire planet, the solar system, or the cosmos. In these visions one does not see the lines noted in the previous paragraph. Rather, the scenes have a realistic air and the overall atmosphere they induce is of eternal, profoundly meaningful serenity. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1975, 1978b) marks this as characteristic of what he defines as the third stage of the Ayahuasca intoxication.

The fourth stylistic characteristic is "enchantment". I am referring to the quality that is especially salient in paintings such as those by the French painter Henri Rousseau. It seems to me that one special feature in these paintings is the secretive light. An example from my own visions is a scene of a forest with the moon shining over the trees in a special bluish light. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1990) makes the same observation with regard to his own visions.

Fifthly, there are visions which may be characterized as having a Baroque flair. These typically depict scenes that may be characterized as fairy tales. For actual examples of such scenes the reader is referred to the drawings of Ayahuasca visions by the Brazilian artist Ademir Braga de Oliveira shown in Meyerratken and Salem (1997).

Finally, let me comment on what may be referred to as the general ambience that the visions exude. Many informants told me that when having visions, they felt that they were "coming back home". Even though the visions were phantasmagoric and "out of this world", there was something in them to which informants felt very much connected. Furthermore, scenes in the visions were often characterized as "inviting". In addition, several informants said that beings in the visions told them they had been expecting them and/or waiting for them.

random (2): A Structural Typology of Visualizations: Designs with figures

As described in the Prologue, my very first Ayahuasca-induced visualization was of lizards popping out of arabesques. The lizard images were repetitive and embedded within the geometric pattern. Patterns that are very similar to this are seen in some Escher drawings.

random (3): Kaleidoscopic Images

The arabesque may change from a purely geometric pattern into a multitude of figures. This results in fast-moving kaleidoscopic images that usually consist of many items of the same kind. Patterns of this sort which I have seen several times are lines of semi-naked dancing women and of flowers. My experience has been that while in movement, images of this type are not subject to rapid transformations.

random (4): Interaction and Narration

With full-fledges scenes, however, drinkers need not remain passive towards what they see. Indeed, the more involved a drinker is with the visions he or she has, the more powerful the experience tends to be. In this conjunction, it is pertinent to cite a statement made by Amaringo (Luna and Amaringo, 1993:27):

"It is only when the person begins to hear and see as if he/she were inside the scene, not as something presented to him, that he is able to discover many things. There is nothing that she/he is not able to find out. I saw how the world was created, how everything is full of life, how great spirits intervene in every aspect of nature and make the universe epand. I was like a tourist, always asking the spirits what is this and that, asking them to take me from one place to the other, demanding explanation for everything."


The most impressive type of control is a dynamic interaction in which one actually determines the ongoing development of the scene. Here the drinker may be likened not only to an actor in the scene but also to its director, as in a play or a film. This happened to me only once:

"There were seven men in front of me, each holding a black panther on a leash. At one instant the panters were freed and moved towards me. I knew I had to act fast. And then it happened: a brook appeared between me and the panthers and I placed beautiful water lilies in it. The panthers were attracted to the flowers and they came to the river and drank. Having done so, they forgot about me and they all turned back and went away."

After this session, I felt a deep satisfaction, it seemed to me that I had advanced a grade in the school of Ayahuasca.


The second progression vision was recounted to me by an Amazonian Shaman as being one of the two major accomplishments he has had in his entire lifelong experience with Ayahuasca:

"In my vision, I entered a most beautiful mansion. It was Incaic or Mexican. I passed through the gate and there was a hall. I went on walking and found myself in front of a door. I entered it and there was a second hall. There was another door, and I passed through it too, thus entering into still another hall. I passed hall after hall until I arrived at the tenth. The hall was all gold--the floor, the walls, ceiling. Bearded old men clad in white sat in two lines along the walls. As I entered they applauded saying "Congratulations! You have made it!" In front was their leader. He was holding a great tobacco pipe. I advanced and when I reached him, he invited me to sit down. He passed the sacred pipe to me and blessed me. I felt immensely gratified and honoured andd so emotionally moved that tears of happiness poured from my eyes."

random (5): Interaction and Narration: Serial Thematic Variations

The first time I experienced this type of vision was on the only occasion I partook of Ayahuasca in the midst of the virgin Amazonian forest:

"I saw a series of 6 visions presenting monarchs in their throne halls. The most spectacular of these were the first two scenes which depicted ancient Egyptian pharaohs. In all cases I was invited to step in, stay in the corner, and witness the monarchs as they ruled. I was given the chance to observe the challenges and difficulties that absolute power presents. I appreciated the potential pitfalls as well as the grandeur associated with such power."

On another occasion, the theme of the series was the dancing woman. At least eight scenes passed consecutively before my eyes in which a woman or a group of women danced. These included a prima ballerina in a ballet performance, a hyper-modern discotheque scene, a pas de deux of metal figurines, a parade of lascivious dames of ill-repute, and a very formal dance of a group of aristocratic ladies.

Still another series concerned the animals of the night. Even though the hall in which the session took place was highly illuminated (the occasion was a festive Daime session), whenever I closed my eyes there was darkness--darkness of the night, one which, when one accommodates to it, actually turns out to be very far from being pitch black. The different visions that appeared all pertained to one common theme--the life of nocturnal animals. In each vision, a different species appeared: jaguars, jackals, several kinds of birds, insects, and organisms smaller than insects.

In each case, I was shown how the animals in question behave. My eyes accommodated and I could see what the animals themselves saw. In effect, the entire set of visions was a very instructive course on animal behaviour.

Lastly there is one of the most marvellous Ayahuasca sessions I ever had--it consisted of two interlacing thematic series. The first series presented various scenes depicting the glorification of the gods in different contexts--scenes of religous rituals in varous ancient civilizations as well as scenes of adoration by supernatural beings and by animals.

The second series presented various scenes of dance. The first series was the primary one, and between every two successive scenes pertaining to it there appeared, as an intermezzo, a scene of the second series. The entire sequence consisted of about 17 scenes extended over a period of almost 3 hours.

random (6): The Themes of Visions: Artistic and Cultural Creation

Especially impressive are visions that may be likened to visits to galleries or museums. As already mentioned in the previous chapter, once I found myself shown an exhibition displaying the works of an entire culture. Various works of art and artefacts were displayed. They were all of a style that resembled nothing that I had ever seen in my entire life. What was striking was that the different objects on display all defined one coherent style. Similar visions were reported to me by several other persons.

random (7): The Themes of Visions: The Religious and Spiritual Dimension

Many Ayahuasca visions lead one to an appreciation of the Divine and of the sacred dimension of being. The drink introduces one to the dimension of the Sacred.

random [8]: Ideas, Insights, and Reflections: General Considerations

Overall, Ayahuasca makes people think and reflect. Many individuals with whom I conversed said that under the effect of Ayahuasca they find themselves thinking faster than normal and that they become more insightful. Many further say that the brew makes them more intelligent and that it bestows upon them special lucidity and mental clarity. It seems to me that the inebriation also renders people more involved with deeper psychological analyses and with philosophical contemplation.


The Ayahuasca experience forced ontolgoy on me. Often, the things I saw under the intoxication impressed me as being so real that the conclusion seemed to be unavoidable: truly existing other realities are being revealed. Believing that this is the case is very common with the drinkers of Ayahuasca. Both during the course of the intoxication and afterwards the question repeatedly forces itself: Does this really exist? over and over again I have heard people express the same feelings of puzzlement and intrigue:

Where do all the wondrous things revealed in the visions come from? What do they mean? The things seen with Ayahuasca often strike people as so different from anything they have seen or known that they cannot be the products of their own intellect.

Universally, drinkers of Ayahuasca feel that these things are too fantastic to be merely the products of the imaginative power of their own mind. If a supernatural realm [the term usually employed is "the astral"] exists in any sense, many further questions ensue. What is the relationship between this realm and the physical world? What is the relationship between it and the human mind, between it and the brain? Does the supernatural or transpersonal consists of only one realm or of many?


Like traditional mystical states, the Ayahuasca inebriation is associated with a strong noetic feeling: under the effect of the brew people often have the impression that they are gaining access to new knowledge.

I will note that personally, Ayahuasca brought me, for the first time in my life, to doubt the validity of the Western world-view. With this, again for the 1st time in my life, I began to wonder whether science as we normally understand it suffers from some fundamental limitations and that, in fact, it may hinder and inhibit us from understanding some crucial aspects of reality. I begain seriously to entertain the possibility (still unproven) that there are other, complementary sources for knowledge, ones that do not employ the instruments and methodologies developed by modern science. A full discussion of this extends beyond the scope of this book (but see Tart, 1972; Roberts, 1983; Vaughan, 1983).

random [9]: Ideas, Insights, and Reflections: Aesthetics

Beauty is unique in that it has the power to reveal to us humans the existence of an ideal world beyond the world of sense. This, in turn, is a prime source for happiness. Again, these feelings and insights are very common under the Ayahuasca intoxication.

Lastly, Ayahuasca is intimately related to artistic creation. The anthropologist Reichel-Dolmatoff claims that one main reason indigenous people partake of Ayahuasca is to gain inspiration for their artistic work. In his works, he argues that the geometric designs that appear in Tukano art are direct reflections of the designs seen with Ayahuasca. Similarly, the designs encountered in the ceramics, textiles, and house decorations of the Shipibo-Conibo are directly linked to the geometric figures seen in the visions, and so too in the case of the Cashinahua.

Personally, during many sessions, I felt I understood that the source that great creators gained their inspiration from was the cosmic source of plenty. It was all there--the artist "only" had to be sensitive so as to be in touch with this source, to grasp what it offers, and then, of course, to know how to translate it, or rather--how to create from it, to crystallize what he or she saw or heard into the particular medium that he or she masters. Several informants--notably ones who are artists themselves--have recounted similar reflections to me.

random (10): Ideas, Insights, and Reflections: Esotericism and the Paranormal

The Ayahuasca experience is miraculous. Amerindian legends associated with the brew typically contain elements of the supernatural and the non-ordinary. The doctrine of the Santo Daime Church proclaims that the brew makes one enter another reality, the astral.

The UDV characterizes the brew as cha misterioso, mysterious tea. With this, people are prone to entertain ideas and reflections of an esoteric nature. Time and again, informants have reported to me that Ayahuasca made them appreciate the existence of a hidden reality to which human beings are normally blind. With this, people claimed, hidden forces were revealed and hidden meanings recognized. With this, questions regarding the paranormal and the possibility of miracles become especially pertinent. Indeed, having undergone the Ayahuasca experience, most people--including ones with higher levels of Western education--tend to believe that all sorts of paranormal phenomena are actual.
The End.
#36 Posted : 7/30/2016 3:10:18 PM
69ron on harmalas:

Ayahuasca is Banisteriopsis caapi. It contains mostly harmine. B. caapi itself contains no DMT and can be used as is to produce visionary states that are like mental day dreams which lack true visual content. Often admixtures are used to increase the visual content of the ayahuasca dreams. Most admixture plants contain DMT.

Harmine used alone, can produce a mild dreamy psychedelic experience in which daydreams or lucid dreams can be experienced if the user chooses to do so. These dreams from harmine alone are vague and lack visual content, but usually have story lines and can be quite complex just like a real dream. Harmine allows one to go in and out of dream consciousness at will. It takes some practice to learn how to enter a lucid dream with harmine alone. Harmine won’t make you enter a lucid dream. You have to do it yourself by allowing your mind to drift off into a lucid dream.

DMT used alone, produces an intense visual experience, often very chaotic and fast moving, and quite amazing to watch. The visions of DMT alone usually lack meaningful content. The DMT visions are often just constantly morphine colors and shapes. Most of it makes absolutely no sense. Rarely will the visuals present to you a full blown dream with people, places, a story line, etc. But this does sometimes happen. But usually you just get a bunch of bazaar visions that are difficult to understand.

When combined, as in ayahuasca, the harmine brings a dreamy quality to the DMT experience that makes it more like one is experiencing an actual dream, not just a bunch of fancy colors. With the two together, you have the visuals of DMT, plus the dream content of harmine. Harmine is the boss here in this combination if used in ayahuasca proportions where harmine is not just used as an MAOI but is used specifically to allow dream consciousness to be entered by the user. DMT is just an additive used to increase the visual portion of the harmine induced dreams.

Using harmine in very low doses, just as an MAOI, is not the same as using properly made ayahuasca. If harmine is used in low doses just for it’s MAOI effects, the trip lacks dream content and is just a bunch of bazaar DMT visual effects. This is not ayahuasca-like, it’s just orally activated DMT. That’s not the same. Its true that some ayahuasca is prepared this way, but such ayahuasca is considered inferior by most natives. With ayahuasca, the DMT is just an additive, not the main course. This is why ayahausca made with only caapi is still called ayahuasca and considered nearly as powerful as ayahuasca made with additive plants containing DMT.

This is something a lot of people don’t get. Ayahuasca is not simple orally activated DMT. It is the dream consciousness effects of harmine that are at play in ayahuasca. In order to experience lucid dreams from harmine without DMT, you need to practice a lot. But once you know how to do it, you don’t need DMT added to it anymore, unless you want the extra visual depth that DMT adds to the dreams.

So, “Dmt Or Ayahuasca?”, well that question is a personal question. Some people prefer DMT-less ayahuasca. Some people prefer just orally activated DMT. Some people prefer ayahuasca with a side order of DMT. Some people prefer the truly bazaar effects of smoked DMT alone.

My personal opinion is that DMT alone is FUN and can be quite frightening. It’s like a roller coaster ride and I like roller coasters. But don’t expect a deep meaningful life changing experience from it. Its pure visual FUN and nothing more. If I want a more meaningful experience I’d use an oral ayahuasca extract, or a smoked Yopo extract (not as effective as ayahuasca because Yopo is low on harmala-like alkaloids).

Authentic ayahuasca, high in harmine, and low on DMT, is like entering a full blown 3D dream with dream characters, storylines, etc. This can be a life changing experience. It’s more like sitting in a theater for several hours absorbing a story that’s meaningful because its about you. You leave with memories of places, things, people, etc., and possibly a new view on life.

Sachahambi (in response):

This is a really excellent description of the effects of Vine and DMT separately and together. (I'm not sure that the Vine's effects can be completely attributed to one chemical, though, but I am not a biochemist.)

"These dreams from harmine alone are vague and lack visual content, but usually have story lines and can be quite complex just like a real dream."

They may or may not have visual content, but when they do, the visual images are shadowy and monochromatic, silhouette-like and very slow-moving compared to DMT. This is why you hear in the Amazon about "different colors" of Vine based on the color of the visuals they tend to produce, since they are usually only in one color: red (actually a sort of dark maroon), yellow (sort of tan), black (a sort of dark charcoal), etc. No one would describe DMT plants with a single color! But the point is, whether visual or not, they have content and storyline, like a lucid dream... and messages and insights.

Claudio Naranjo, M.D. from "Psycotherapeutic Possibilities of New Fantasy-Enhancing Drugs (1969)":

The author proposed to re-introducing the term Oneirophrenia, first employed by Meduna, to designate drug-induced states that differ from the psychotomimetic by the absence of all symptoms of the psychotic range and yet share with the psychotomimetic experience the prominence of primary process thinking. Harmaline and ibogaine characteristically elicit such a state, for their psychological effect is one much like the bringing about of dream phenomena without the loss of consciousness, changes in the perception of the environment, delusions, or formal alterations of thinking and depersonalization.

In short, we may speak of an enhancement of fantasy which, remarkable as it may be, does not interfere with ego functions. Such an enhancement of fantasy, as we will see, is in the nature of both an increase in vividness of visual imagery (which takes on an eidetic quality) and an increased spontaneity of content, which resembles that of true dreams more than that of ordinary daydreams.

In a way, neither harmaline nor iboga may be said to be new. Of course, each has been used for centuries by people in Asia, Africa, and South America, mostly as a part of rituals intended to bring the individual into contact with the realm of myth.

Reichel-Dolmatoff (1975:30):

When I have partaken of Ayahuasca, my head has immediately begun to strain, then I have seemed to enter an aerial voyage, where I thought I saw the most charming landscapes, great cities, lofty towers, beautiful parks, and other delightful things. Then all at once I found myself desrted in a forest and attacked by beasts of prey against which I tried to defend myself. I began to come around, but with a feeing of excessive drowsiness, headache, and sometimes general malaise.

Various quotes from Shanon's "Antipodes of the Mind" for education:

random (1) transformations: flying as a Bird

On a third occasion, I flew as a seagull. I was sitting in my chair, towards the end of a Udv session, and there I was--a seagull in the air:

"I was high above a long stretch of coast, between sea and white cliffs. La Manche (The English Channel), I thought. I circled up and down, soared, and even performed acrobatics in the air. During this entire time I had views of the land and sea down below; the experience was both very realistic and wonderful."

Several informants have reported experiences of flying to me. The most common of these was flying as an eagle. For example, a European taking Ayahuasca for the first time experienced himself as an eagle which flew up above the hut in which the Ayahuasca session took place. The man experienced himself high in the sky looking down at the people participating in the session. He discovered that his eyesight was very acute and that even though he was observing from a great distance he could detect the most minute details. The experience was, he said, exhilarating.

Wolf (1992) reports a similar experience. Experiences of flying were also reported by C. Naranjo (1973a) in his study of the psychological effects of harmaline.

random (2) atmosphere & general effects

Usually, the harshest symptoms of the Ayahuasca inebriation occur during the first 90 minutes following the onset of the effect. During this time, visions can be very strong and the entire experience may be tough and even frightening. Often the feeling is that the drinker has little or no control over what is happening. Thus, the initial phase of the inebriation is likely to present drinkers with moments of intense struggle. At times, the person who partakes of Ayahuasca feels he or she is losing his or her senses and even going mad. Quite commonly, people feel that they are about to die. With experience, however, the fear can be better managed and the Ayahuasca drinker learns to gain more control over the intoxication.

The initial difficult phase is usually followed by a period in which the impact of the brew is strong but more manageable. In general, this period lasts from about one and a half to two hours. It is at this stage of the inebriation that drinkers usually begin to come to terms with the Ayahuasca experience and even enjoy it. Indeed, people may find that this experience presents them with moments of exhilaration and great wonderment.

The last phase of the Ayahuasca inebriation is usually melllower and is often accompanied with sentiments of serentity, extreme peace of mind, and bliss. One may still have visions, but normally, as time goes on the preponderance of visions diminishes and their strength and intensity are reduced. During this phase the experience is that of great happiness, harmonious well-being, and spiritual uplifting.

random (3) methodology and General Structure

In all of places in which I have partaken of Ayahuasca (135 times), the constituent plants were Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. In the various contexts of Ayahuasca use, it is often said that the vine gives "power" whereas the leaves give light.

random (4) Concluding Philosophical Reflections, Status and Veracity

Most users of Ayahuasca conceive of the Ayahuasca experience in extra-psychological terms. This is true both of indigenous persons and non-indigenous ones, and surely it is true of all the new syncretic Brazilian sects that employ the brew. The specific attributions offered vary, but in essence, all refer to non-naturalistic sources of knowledge and/or non-human entities and beings that impart knowledge.

The explanations usually invoked by users of Ayahuasca highlight the super-natural, paranormal nature of the other realities seen in the visions. As noted earlier, these realities are generally conceived of in a very concrete manner and often referred to as constituting "the astral".

At times, an eternal storehouse of information is invoked in which all information--past, present, and future--is kept. According to this hypothesis, Ayahuasca brings those who partake of it to realms that are not dependent on time. In these, it is believed, all that has been known and all that will be known is co-present and potentially available for people in the visionary state to access.

Significantly, the first time I ever thought of this option was under the effect of Ayahuasca. Afterwards, in the course of my interviews, several informants reported having the very same realization under the intoxication.

random (5) Contextual Considerations

On the basis of extended observation, I can attest that extraordinary as the Ayahuasca visions are, they do fit what might be characterized as the mindset of the individual drinker. A person who is religiously inclined is more likely to have visions pertaining to the Divine, one who is adventure-minded is more prone to have phantasmagoric voyages, one who has a light-hearted, playful character may have ludic-like experiences. Similarly, persons normally interested in philosophy are more likely to experience metaphysical visions and ideations. All these statements are based on actual, concrete cases I have interviewed and observed. Further, an inspection of the data furnished by the interviews I have conducted reveals that some of the richest visions reported were furnished by people who are either professional artists or artistically inclined.

random (6) Contextual Considerations

Perhaps the foremost reason for the consumption of Ayahuasca, for both Amerindians and others, is to transcend ordinary existence and come in contact with the Divine. In essence, what Ayahuasca does is place drinkers in a special state of being. For a couple of hours the person partaking of the brew is granted the gifts of heightened sensitivity--both sensory and psychological, of increased intellectual and psychological insight, of enhanced vital stamina and well-being, of spiritual uplifting.

It is up to each person to decide what to do during these hours of grace. He or she may employ it in order to question the inner self, for direction with respect to specific problems that currently concern his or her life, to gain psychological or intellectual understanding and insight, to heal body and soul, to grow spiritually, to have a wondrous multi-modal aesthetical experience, to enjoy well-being and shared communion in the sacred, to be able, even if for a brief time, to transcend the normal confines of human existence.
#37 Posted : 10/23/2016 9:17:41 PM
From ****** (closed eye visions with Ayahuasca):
In dreams with decent to large amounts of Caapi & very low amounts of Hawaiian Psychotria (less than 15g), have experienced flying over what looked Los Angeles, viewing the trees, streets, and swimming pools below, with the eyesight of a bird, have seen chalkboards full of mathematical equations and scientific discoveries, fairy tale lands made of candy canes, scenes from the renaissance period of the homes and a woman inside who had lost her ring, and was looking for it, then she peared through the open window at the expansive view outside, totems on distant islands, very intricate with all the details seen, pretty & inviting disembodied female faces, a magnificent decorated elephant, beautiful semi-clad dressed women seen quite often, spinning geometrics, architecture made of precious stones, etc. The visions are extremely detailed with super fine resolution as if from some other world, impossibly beautiful and transcendent. The things seen with closed eyes are indeed remarkable and are always different every time, nothing repeats. One of the most remarkable visions I had was being shown the circular island city of Atlantis as it existed, I was taken on a tour of the city from sky view to inside of it's center. With open eyes, the world is beautiful, beauty seems to go on for infinity and music is heavenly, all the senses magnified.

As stated in the last paragraph below from Naranjo, visions are possible for as long as 6 hours (and confirmed with a 2nd dose of caapi in my dream experience) in which case even less "leaf" or light is needed, about 8 grams or less of Hawaiian psychotria. The visions can last a very long time with closed eyes at this point, have experienced this several the caapi force really comes alive, don't dream this very often, only a few times a year, as the 2nd dose or brew is more challenging, as sides can increase like not wanting to move at all, possible dizziness, etc. takes much practice, not for a beginner.

As can be seen from these studies on harmaline and thh (components of caapi) back in the 1960's, brightly colored visions were possible on these alone without any "leaf" or "light" added. Researchers found subjects in the 1960's had closed eye visions on just specific caapi or rue alkaloids alone at around 4 to 5 mg per kg which lasted 6 to 8 hours. The visions disappeared when the eyes were opened. Moss puts this figure for the larger combined doses-- 200 milligrams up to 750 milligrams--yielding the hallucinogenic effects. The experience usually begins within one hour and often lasts six hours or more.

From Page 389 of "Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids", Claudio Naranjo, Department of Anthropological Medicine University of Chile, Santiago, Chile:
With harmaline, and by association tetrahydroharmine, Other recurrent open eye visual phenomena were a rapid lateral vibration in the field of vision and double or multiple contours in objects, especially when these were in motion or when the subject's eyes turned away from them. Some described lightning-like flashes.

With closed eyes, imagery was abundant and most often vivid and bright colored, with a predominance of red-green or blue-orange contrasts. Longdream-like sequences were much more frequent for harmaline than for mescaline. Certain themes, such as felines, negroes, eyes, and flying are frequent and have been reported elsewhere [18].

The open eyes effects match what Suicybe said in 2010:
I've had several hundred milligrams of THH taken orally, the THH caused extreme ghost tracers and shutter like perception almost like glitching with open eyes.

Trips (from nexus forum here on 12/2/2011):
As to how the THH altered the experience -> I find rue extract+DMT to be very similar to mushrooms I found the THH added to the rue+DMT to shift the experience to a state much closer to that provided by LSD. It was more clear, more energetic, more focused, more euphoric, and when confusion struck it was definitely more "acid-like".

From the book "Ibogaine, proceedings of the first international conference", edited by Kenneth Alper, New York University School of Medicine, 2001 Academic Press:
Recent work by Grella and colleagues (page 71), taken together with our findings, support a role for the 5-HT2A receptor subtype in the stimulus effects of ibogaine and harmaline.
Interestingly, even though harmaline is sleepy & dreamy it was still found to be a 5-ht2a agonist.

Attached "Concoctions" paper from Dr. Callaway (chart on page 2) shows the levels of thh, harmaline, and harmine found in 30 brews that were studied. Multiply each figure x 100 to get the milligram level of each in the 100ml brew.

examples from the chart:

UDV---brew 1: 183mg thh, 9mg harmaline, 172mg harmine
UDV---brew 18: 163mg thh, 30mg harmaline, 180mg harmine
Shuar-brew 29: 163mg thh, 0mg harmaline, 180mg harmine

When Dr. Callaway took an average of all 30 brews he found to his amazement that there was a consistent near equal ratio of thh to harmine in the "vegetal brews" as opposed to a 1:5 ratio of thh to harmine in the actual plant itself (see page 4 of study). Harmaline was found to be present at around 1/10th the value of harmine. The 3 alkaloids obviously work together in mutual benefit, and as we all know 3 drugs together can be more powerful than just one, perhaps the secret of caapi?

From page 390 of of "Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids", Claudio Naranjo, Department of Anthropological Medicine University of Chile, Santiago, Chile:
Moreover, harmaline appears to be more hallucinogenic than mescaline (the most visually acting drug in its chemical group), both in terms of the number of images reported and their realistic quality with closed eyes. In fact some subjects felt that certain scenes which they saw had really happened, and that they had been as disembodied witnesses of them in a different time and place. This matches the experience of South American Shamans who drink Ayahuasca for purposes of divination.

The remarkable vividness of imagery viewed under the effect of harmaline, together with phenomena such as (with open eyes) double contours and persistence of afterimages (closed eyes), had led us to suspect a retinal effect of the drug, and this suspicion was confirmed with brain cortex readings.

From page 387 of "Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids", Claudio Naranjo, Department of Anthropological Medicine University of Chile, Santiago, Chile:
Tetrahydroharmine (THH), the reduction product of harmaline, and one of the major components of caapi, is another substance studied by Gunn and shown to be similar to its more saturated homo-logs, but three times less active than harmaline. Racemic tetrahydroharmine, up to 300mg by mouth had subjective effects similar to 100mg of harmaline. A single experiment suggested that racemic tetrahydroharmine was about 1/3rd as active as harmaline.

From "Psycotherapeutic Possibilities of New Fantasy-Enhancing Drugs" Clinical Toxicology, 2(2), pp. 209-224, June 1969: Naranjo describes the oneirophrenia differences between harmaline and ibogaine as follows:
It is the harmaline and ibogaine intoxications that are of greatest interest from the point of view of psychological exploration or of psychotherapeutic endeavor. At the dosage level of 4-5mg/kg both harmaline and ibogaine elicit subjective reactions such as will be described in the following pages, which last for approximately 6 hr. In addition to this, about 50% of the subjects receiving either drug experience dizziness, incoordination, nausea, and vomiting at some point or other in the session. (page 219): Compared to the effects of harmaline, those of ibogaine seem less exotic.

Albert Moss document on rue:
The Harmala Alkaloids

The harmala alkaloids are psychoactive in man at oral doses of 25 to 750 milligrams. A small dose (25.50 milligrams) is a CNS stimulant. it increases mental activity and produces a pleasant dreamy state for several hours. The larger doses-- 200 milligrams up to 750 milligrams--yield the hallucinogenic effects. The experience usually begins within one hour and often lasts six hours or more,

The initial effects include nausea, vomitting, increased blood pressure and heart rate, profuse sweating, dizziness and body tremors. During this initial period you may hear humming or buzzing noises and you may notice a wave-like movement of the environment. You may feel alternations of hot and cold, You may even experience the feeling of sinking together with the sensation of flight.

These initial effects can be discomforting. They tend to produce anxiety and encourage a withdrawal from the external world. You will probably perceive environmental sights and sounds, especially other persons, as disturbing objects and wish to avoid them. Seek a dark, quiet place where you can enjoy the hallucinatory trance which follows.

The hallucinatory trance consists of three successive stages of hallucinations. You will know stage one when your sense of darkness is interrupted by bright flickers of light. These phosphene-based sensations first appear as colored dots, specks, stars or simple flowers. They give way to undulating lines, circles, grids, simple forms, abstract designs and multi-shaped geometrical patterns. Relax and enjoy a closed-eye contemplation of the floating, ever-changing pattern of these little images.

In stage two the abstract designs of stage one give way to slowly moving masses of shapes and colors. Larger shapes take form in a slowly developing pattern of hallucinatory images. These images acquire a personal character as your unconscious mind projects your fears and desires upon the shapes and colors of your visions. Do not be alarmed if the horizon seems to collapse in a bright flash of light or if your hallucinations turn into frightening animals. Huge birds of prey, large jaguars and snakes are common hallucinations with harmala alkaloids. Observe and enjoy the bright colored imagery as it changes continually in a flowing transformation of dream-like sequences.

Hours later, in stage three, this panorama of vivid fantasy fades into the slow movement of shapes and colors. These images disappear, in turn, as the last stage of the hallucinatory trance wears off. If your harmala experiment is part of a group experience, you may be surprised by the unusual similarity in the content of each other's hallucinations. The
harmala alkaloids tend to produce collective hallucinations--especially archetypal imagery--among group members. This access to "collective unconscious" is such an extraordinary effect that the harmala alkaloids have earned the name "telepathines". These unusual alkaloids are present naturally in harmala, the Hallucinogenic Herb of the American Southwest.

Important Considerations

Every psychedelic experience is chiefly a function of set and setting, of preparation and environment. The better prepared YOU are, the better the experience will be for you. Consider the following instructions:

* Do not drink any alcohol or take any drugs or medication when experimenting with MAO inhibitors (Ie, the harmala alkaloids).

REMEMBER: MAO inhibitors interfere with the bodys ability to detoxify certain drugs and fermented foodstuffs. Narcotics, barbiturates, tranquilizers, antihistamines, amphetamines, all forms of alcohol and foodstuffs containing tyramine are potentially LETHAL when used In
combination with MAO Inhibitors.

* Provide a comfortable setting which is as free as possible from unforeseen distractions and intrusions. Make sure you will not be disturbed for six to eight hours."
#38 Posted : 10/24/2016 12:13:25 AM
From Page 389 of "Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids", Claudio Naranjo, Department of Anthropological Medicine University of Chile, Santiago, Chile:
With harmaline, and by association tetrahydroharmine, Other recurrent open eye visual phenomena were a rapid lateral vibration in the field of vision and double or multiple contours in objects, especially when these were in motion or when the subject's eyes turned away from them. Some described lightning-like flashes.
This is exactly the thing i experienced with ibogaïne. Ask anyone who's ever done ibogaïne, and they will all tell you that these effects are characteristic for iboga.

With closed eyes, imagery was abundant and most often vivid and bright colored, with a predominance of red-green or blue-orange contrasts. Longdream-like sequences were much more frequent for harmaline than for mescaline. Certain themes, such as felines, negroes, eyes, and flying are frequent and have been reported elsewhere [18].

The open eyes effects match what Suicybe said in 2010:
I've had several hundred milligrams of THH taken orally, the THH caused extreme ghost tracers and shutter like perception almost like glitching with open eyes.

From "Psycotherapeutic Possibilities of New Fantasy-Enhancing Drugs" Clinical Toxicology, 2(2), pp. 209-224, June 1969: Naranjo describes the oneirophrenia differences between harmaline and ibogaine as follows:
It is the harmaline and ibogaine intoxications that are of greatest interest from the point of view of psychological exploration or of psychotherapeutic endeavor. At the dosage level of 4-5mg/kg both harmaline and ibogaine elicit subjective reactions such as will be described in the following pages, which last for approximately 6 hr. In addition to this, about 50% of the subjects receiving either drug experience dizziness, incoordination, nausea, and vomiting at some point or other in the session. (page 219): Compared to the effects of harmaline, those of ibogaine seem less exotic.
So it looks like harmaline and ibogaïne have simmilar effects. This is great news from a research-perspective. Maybe harmaline has simmilar medicinal properties as well.

This realy could be important stuff. I think we should do something with this in our nexus collaborative research departement. This realy could be big news!!!
#39 Posted : 10/25/2016 1:22:58 AM
From Page 389 of "Psychotropic Properties of the Harmala Alkaloids", Claudio Naranjo, Department of Anthropological Medicine University of Chile, Santiago, Chile:
With harmaline, and by association tetrahydroharmine, Other recurrent open eye visual phenomena were a rapid lateral vibration in the field of vision and double or multiple contours in objects, especially when these were in motion or when the subject's eyes turned away from them. Some described lightning-like flashes.
Dragonrider said:
This is exactly the thing i experienced with ibogaïne. Ask anyone who's ever done ibogaïne, and they will all tell you that these effects are characteristic for iboga.
Thanks for sharing Dragonrider.
#40 Posted : 11/5/2016 2:23:38 PM
From page 416 "Antipodes of the Mind". These are some of the most commonly seen various content items (the core corpus) that Benny Shannon found that he himself and hundreds of interviewers saw with closed eyes on the Caapi/harmala brews: The use of these plants span many thousands of years of history, back to a time where it was once consumed and revered for its ability to bring someone into contact with spiritual realities, the obtaining of secret inner knowledge, and visionary experiences of a divine world.

Human beings
Natural animals
Personal biography


Objects of art and magic
Royal and religious figures
Palaces and temples
Non-natural animals
Heavenly scenes
Divine beings


Objects of gold
Dancing women
Semi-divine beings
Royal figures
Enchanted cities
Open landscapes
Angels and transparent beings
Royal objects


ETs and spaceships
Royal figures
Royal objects
Chimera and winged beings
Enchanted cities
Religious figures
Angels and transparent beings
Objects of gold
Guides and guardians
Egyptian scenes
Personal acquaintances
ancient civilizations
celestial scenes
creatures and beings
Encounters with the Divine
Sea creatures
Celestial voyages
Heavenly scenes
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