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Ayahuasca in My Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1452882901
ISBN-10: 1452882908
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Editorial Reviews


A wild mixture of adventure, horror, spirituality, tenderness, and insight, Ayahuasca in My Blood is most highly recommended! --Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D, President, Amazon Conservation Team and author of Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice.

About the Author

Peter Gorman has been medicine dreaming with ayahuasca for 25 years. He is also an award-winning investigative journalist who has covered stories from the streets of Manhattan and the slums of New Delhi to Peru's Amazon.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (May 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452882908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452882901
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award-winning nvestigative journalist Peter Gorman has spent more than 25 years tracking down stories from the streets of Manhattan to the slums of Bombay to the jungles of Peru. Specializing in Drug War issues, he worked for High Times magazine for 14 years, during which time he was a Senior Editor, Executive Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He is credited as the primary journalist in the medical marijuana movement, the hemp movement and in property forfeiture reform, where his early 1992 series came to the attention of Senator Henry Hyde and was a catalyst in Sen. Hyde's fight for forfeiture reform. His groundbreaking story on a missionary plane shootdown in Peru in 2000 led Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney to call for congressional hearings which led to a reform in way the US identifies suspected drug planes in Colombia and Peru.

But Peter Gorman's body of work is not restricted to the Drug War. He has also written about the Amazon jungle, ayahuasca, art, architecture, bars, camel fairs, cowboys, crocodile farms, Dallas nightlife, day labor, education, environmental issues, Earth First!, floating slums, frogs, gas-drilling, immigrant smuggling, indigenous peoples, iron workers, Moroccan hashish harvesting, Plan Colombia, plant medicines, police work, poverty, prison sentencing, rat catchers, sculpture, sharks, snake charmers, sports and street artists, among a host of other topics.

Peter Gorman's love affair with the Amazon jungle is well known to people in the field. Since 1984, Mr. Gorman has spent a minimum of three months annually there--as well as all of 1998-2000--generally using Iquitos, Peru as his base of operations.

During that time he has studied ayahuasca, the legendary visionary and healing drink of the jungle, with his friend, the late curandero Julio Jerena, as well as the San Pedro, the sacred cactus of the highlands, with the healer Victor Estrada.

He has also collected botanical specimens for Shaman Pharmaceuticals and herpetological specimens for the FIDIA Research Institute of the University of Rome. He was the first person to ever work with the medicinal knowledge of the remote Matses Indians of the Peruvian-Brazilian border, and his description of their use of the secretions of the phyllomedusa bicolor frog has opened an entire field devoted to the use of amphibian peptides as potential medicines in Western medicine. (His initial writing on the effects of the secretions is the first description of a human taking an animal substance directly into the bloodstream ever recorded.) His work with the phyllomedusa bicolor has been the subject of an article in Science magazine and several scientific journals; his work in Peru in general was the subject of a Newsweek feature, a recent Men's Journal feature and numerous other newspaper and magazine articles

He has also collected artifacts from the Matses for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, several of which are on permanent display in that museum's Hall of South American Peoples.

In 1997, Mr. Gorman and his wife Gilma discovered the only fossil bed ever found in the Iquitos area. Their preliminary dig exposed three identifiable animal fossils dating from 3-30 million years old when examined by the Department of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. They are currently working on funding to have it properly explored.

To do his work in Peru, over the years Peter Gorman has rebuilt several boats, traveled thousands of miles of jungle waterways, hiked across the Peruvian jungle on numerous occasions, suffered from malaria and a botfly infestation, been bitten by ants, rats, spiders, vampire bats and other scary things, and generally had a rollicking good time with it all. Penthouse magazine once referred to one of his expeditions as rivaling "a real Indiana Jones' adventure."

Mr. Gorman's feature writing has appeared in dozens of major national and international magazines, including Airone (Italy), Americas, the magazine of the Organization of American States, Buzzworm, Elle, GEO (Spain), Geographical (England), Geo Mundo (Mexico), Modern Maturity, Omni, Panorama (Holland), Penthouse, Playboy, Sette (Italy), Shaman's Drum, Spy, Suisse Familia (Switzerland), Trip (Brazil), VSD, Wildlife Conservation, World (England), Zeit Magazin (Germany) and ZOOM (France).

His newspaper features and editorials have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, New York Newsday, The New York Daily News, the Times of India, the Fort Worth Weekly, the Earth First! Journal, the Orange County Register, the Santa Fe Reporter and elsewhere. In 2007 he was named Print Journalist of the Year in Texas by the Houston Press Club.

He has also written a number of video pieces, including work for the United Nations and the Salvation Army. He has consulted for both National Geographic's Explorer series and the BBC's Natural World.

As a speaker, Mr. Gorman has lectured at the Boston Museum of Science, the New York Open Center, at Axiom and Mind/Biz/Spirit conferences, and has been a featured speaker at each of the first four Shamanism Conferences held annually in Iquitos, Peru. He has appeared as a guest on numerous television shows, in several documentaries and on hundreds of radio shows, including an all-nighter with Art Bell.

Mr. Gorman is a former recipient of a Blue Mountain Fellowship in investigative journalism and a grant from Conservation International (then-headed by Mark Plotkin) to do a study of indigenous peoples on the Napo River.

Peter Gorman currently lives in Texas on a small ranch with his three kids and when not there can be found investigating Drug War stories, taking occasional groups out into the deep jungle or looking for a new location in Iquitos for the currently defunct Cold Beer Blues Bar.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I could not put this book down! Peter Gorman isn't just writing about ayahuasca experiences -- he's telling tales of 25 years of traveling and living in the Amazon. The chapter "Chepa and the Pirates" alone is worth the price of admission. He explains how ayahuasca is used to treat physical ailments as well as psychic ones. One thing is missing from the book: any trace of ego. Quite the contrary, the writer is quite willing to reveal his fear, weakness, uncertainty. This serves him well. I just wish he had 50 years of experience so that he would write a sequel. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Amazon, native healing, mind-expanding plants. And people who don't care about those things will find a ripping yarn.
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Format: Paperback
This book incorporates some of Gorman's articles for Shaman Drum Magazine with a wealth of new material. It tells the story of his 25-year evolution from tourist to researcher to tour leader to reluctant healer. I didn't think a book about ayahuasca could be such a page turner, but it was by turns fascinating, scary and emotionally moving. I didn't want it to end, but I had to see how it ended.

It gives us interior struggles related to substance abuse and relationship issues; a cast of fascinating personalities, vividly evoked -- Peter's family, friends, employees, clients, and, perhaps, a couple of enemies; descriptions of Iquitos and the surrounding rainforest that are worthy of the highest standards of travel writing; and fantastic psychological adventures in which the dark and bright miracles of the ayahuasca are detailed with a poet's eloquence.

Another excellent book on ayahuasca that was published recently is Singing to the Plants, by Steve Beyer. Beyer's book gives an eagle's perspective: he takes the reader high above the phenomenon of mestizo ayahuasca practice in Peru, and shows its major patterns, and the different peoples who practice it, and their ideas about it. The material is presented coolly, clearly, and encyclopedically with various well-organized topics. Peter's book, in contrast, gives an anaconda's perspective, swimming deep in the dark rivers of an individual's very personal experience as he reluctantly takes on some of the functions of a curandero while struggling to keep his family together.
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I absolutely love this book! Its truly a work of high art....A phenomenological memoir of sorts rich with insight and wisdom......Gorman renders his visions and relays his experiences with precision and intelligent detail, all with an air of honesty, humbleness, and clarity. I am new to Ayahuasca shamanism, but feel that its safe to assume that this book would be accessible, engaging, and relevant to a wide range of people with all levels of familiarity and experience with Ayahuasca.....

I read a lot in general, but usually put down most books as I get bored with them at some point during the process......This one however, I could not put down and even had to force my self to read only a little at a time towards the end just to extend my enjoyment of reading it...........I am keeping my fingers crossed that Gorman will release a sequal(s) or some kind of writings that follow up where he left off.......Eagerly waiting and in full support....and yes....once again....highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
I first met Peter Gorman in 1999 after being stranded with Iquitos guide Carlos Grande with the Mayoruna 'Cat People' Indians deep in the Amazon. Carlos split, and I 'rented' at machete point a child's hand hewn canoe and paddled like Indiana Jones to the Brazil border and was medevac'd to Iquitos for the hospital, but decided to drop into Peter Gorman's waterfront Cold Beer Blues Bar to tip some medicine. 'They're my friends!' he shouted of the Mayorunias. 'Next time just tell them Peter sent you.' I did, and would discover that Peter knows and is known throughout the Amazon as 'Ground Zero' of Ayahuasca, the first to introduce it and other medicines from the green pharmacy to North America in the June, 1986 High Times cover story 'Mindbending drug of the Amazon'. It initiated Ayahuasca Tourism to Peru, and Peter's friend Alan Shoemaker read the piece and followed him down to Peru and struck out alone around the globe as the Johnny Appleseed of ahahuasca.

Three years ago, I was able to repay Gorman for nursing me back to health in the Cold Beer Blues Bar by advising him to write up his ayahuasca adventures. In fact, I importuned him over the course of a year, as he had me to heal my jungle injuries, to keep churning out the colorful and educational shaman, plant medicine and jungle lore sketches and putting them into a book he finally titled Ayahuasca in my Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming. The books came off the self-publish press in 2010 two months before the annual July Iquitos International Shaman Conference where he had totted and sold the first copies to the conventioneers.

The narrative weaves wonderful, honest and horrifying anecdotes in and out an educational journey through the personal and public evolutional of ayahuasca tourism, and much more.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book and couldn't put it down! Peter Gorman's 25 year personal journey with ayahuasca reads like page-turning, action-adventure story, and his exquisitely described experiences with the sacred jungle juice certainly stretched the boundaries of what I thought was possible into paranormal realms. It's hard for someone raised in the West, with a materialistic mindset, to read Gorman's book and not shake one's head in disbelief, wondering, how could this really happen? He describes absolutely incredible encounters with non-human spirit entities and transcorporeal shamans, psychic experiences with remote viewing and telepathy, contact with the dead, and striking synchronicities that confirm his ayahuasca visions. The wise and generous shamans that Gorman worked with, the spiritual allies that he gained, and the plant teachers that challenged and educated him are all described in fascinating detail, intimately woven into his personal story about the many years that he's spent living in the Amazon. Beautifully written, with unusually honest self-reflection, this book is truly a masterpiece, and I couldn't recommend it more highly.
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