Last week I watched a video by Graham Hancock on TED Talks in which he talks about his Ayahuasca experience.
Then, around the same time, one of my viewers asked me about my take on the video, especially since I’d recently done a video on the relationship between marijuana, drugs and bipolar disorder.
So, even though I´ve talked about the necessity of stopping all drug and marijuana use if you wish to completely recover from so-called bipolar disorder, I think that adding a little extra detail regarding Ayahuasca is important. After all, if you watched Hancock’s video (and just about everything else you will find on the internet) you will know that Ayahuasca has been experienced by many people as a transformative, life changing experience. But the question is,
“If you´ve got bipolar disorder, would Ayahuasca be good for you?”
In Graham Hancock`s video, he shares a number of supposedly ‘controversial’ opinions regarding the use of Ayahuasca within the context of Amazonian shamanism. In truth, I found his perspectives on the whole thing to be nothing new. Just as Terrence McKenna talked about 20 years ago, Hancock sees it a sacred plant which carries within it the spirit of Mother Ayahuasca who comes to teach us about the meaning of life, healing our souls and our planet along the way. Hancock feels that he has had a number of profoundly spiritual experiences on the sacred root. He also says that, one particular time, Mother Ayahuasca cured him of his 24-year addiction to marijuana.
He also says that the “healing” message of Mother Ayahuasca is one that is “received by almost everyone”. Then, going even further, he says that sacred plants like Ayahuasca are illegal because our “society” (I assume the government) wants to deny us access to them, in order to keep us under their control. We live in an insane, sick society, Hancock tells us, and that the solution is for people to be allowed to reconnect with Spirit through the sacred plants. He also says that we will never be able to call ourselves a “free society” unless our governments grant us legal access to using the sacred plants which allow adults to enter sacred states of consciousness in a responsible way.
Now, I have no doubt that Hancock has had a number of therapeutic sessions with this plant. The question is, “Is the beneficial, healing experience of Mother Ayahuasca universal?”
To start, Ayahuasca is legal here in Brazil, where I live, as it has been used in spiritual and religious practices for centuries; so many people here have experience with it. I know some people who have had very positive, spiritual experiences taking it, but also others who have ‘sworn off it’ due to very difficult, often frightening experiences which they felt were of no therapeutic value at all.
Personally, I was interested in taking trying it about 15 years ago, when I visited Peru. However, I chose to stay clear of it after meeting a number of people that had had very disturbing experiences.
Has Ayahuasca been associated with psychiatric hospitalization?
Yes. In fact, we have two members of our Brazilian social network, Alma Bipolar, who, during different Ayahuasca ceremonies, entered into spiritual `psychosis` and were then hospitalized. I don`t know all the details, but one of these guys returned to another Ayahuasca session some time later and – guess what happened? He entered into psychosis again, and was hospitalized again. In both cases, it was the Ayahuasca sessions that triggered their so-called bipolar disorder. Both guys are on psychiatric medications today.
— D.H. Lawrence