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Ayahuasca Medicine: The Shamanic World of Amazonian Sacred Plant Healing Paperback – February 1, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Ayahuasca Medicine is a revealing journey on the Western shamanic path with one of the most preeminent gringos on the Iquitos frontier. Alan Shoemaker’s apprenticeship with the medicine ayahuasca is rich in wonder, frank in detail, and embodies the cultural metamorphosis those of us who connect with the power plants must undergo. And as a new generation of Western seekers comes to the jungle in search of the mystery, Alan’s greatest wisdom may be his understanding that true healing comes from within. As well as the plants and the curanderos, Westerners are being groomed to be their own teachers, and Alan Shoemaker stands foremost among them.” (Rak Razam, author of Aya Awakening: A Shamanic Odyssey)
“Alan Shoemaker has had more adventures than most people can even dream of, and he has written a fascinating book of both stories and ideas. The stories are brash, revelatory, and filled with self-deprecating humor; the ideas come from an immense knowledge of ayahuasca shamanism. This is a memoir of twenty years of experience with shamans and seekers and rogues of all kinds--an honest and deeply personal take on Amazonian shamanic practices and beliefs.” (Stephan V. Beyer, author of Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon)
“Ayahuasca Medicine is a highly readable collection of incredible stories about miraculous healings and life with indigenous healers sure to entice anyone with an interest in ayahuasca and other psychoactive plants used in Latin America. Cautionary advice admixes with infectious enthusiasm for the topic, and provides a valuable contribution to the literature on practical applications of psychedelic plants’ effects.” (Rick Strassman, M.D., author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule and coauthor of Inner Paths to Outer Space)
“Alan Shoemaker has seen it all, and done it all. In this book he narrates his life story with humor and passion. A read sure to be of interest!” (Dennis McKenna, Ph.D., ethnopharmacologist and author of Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss and coau)
About the Author
Alan Shoemaker is a formally trained ayahuasquero, curandero, and writer. He is the host of the annual International Amazonian Shamanism conference, administrator of the “Vine of the Soul Intensives,” and founder and director of the Soga Del Alma church of ayahuasca. He lives with his two children in Iquitos, Peru.
Top customer reviews
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The controversy, and irony, is in the fact that the true, or older Sacred ways of the Shamans are dying out, and it seems that outsiders, or "gringos" are the ones interested in preserving these ancient sacred ways. So... the irony being that the culture that threatens these ways is also, maybe....its last hope in preserving a truly sacred path!! Hats off to Mr. Shoemaker, in documenting these accounts, providing some knowledge, and sharing his experiences, and above all, his work in preserving a way that the world would surely miss if it were to vanish !! a truly delightful read !!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!
An easy read and a real page turner. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. No fluff. No fill. No droning on and on about things we don't care about. It's just right.
Alan Shoemaker is candid in his approach and speaks with authority. Clearly, he has walked the walk and there is much we can learn from his experiences.
A few lines that caught my eye...
pg12. "A quick glance through the book showed that his roots were also firmly entrenched in Krishna consciousness, of which he was a devotee."
pg13. "You can feel the psychotropic medicine moving through your body, lingering in areas that need attention, activating the immune system to rectify the problem, he explained."
pg23. " For example, I refuse to mention the name of...the _____, and I hesitate to say it here for you now, just to underscore my point, because I believe to do so feeds that energy, it gives it live." (thanks Alan, me too)
pg77. " The languages that come with an icaro can be incredibly complicated and can contain more than one tongue"
pg81. "The only other accoutrement was a white towel that he placed around his shoulders. Before he began the ceremony he placed it over his head with only his face exposed, which gave him a saintlike appearance."
pg97. (on spirits) "Some may also desire to use your body."
pg97. "This is why you shouldn't fall asleep during any ritual."
pg100. "A spirit that will perform something for you that is unethical or immoral, is evil."
Pg102 " ...you must diet for a minimum of a week, following the same prescription of no salt, oil, sugar, o sex."
Thanks again Alan for taking the time to write out your story and share it with the rest of us. I am sure this was no easy task. Writing books is hard work. I liked this book and rank it among the best aya books right up there with "Aya in my Blood", Gorman, and Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss",D. McKenna.
Beautiful and inspiring art – full color - is included in the book, and that gives that extra illustration that words can’t convey.
The foreword by Peter Gorman, a journalist and gifted writer and storyteller, immediately pulls you into the story of Alan’s past in Iquitos. It’s honest, very honest, and I like that.
Alan effortlessly continuous with a pleasant writing style, describing his search for a 'maestro' with whom he can apprentice and learn about the Sacred Power Plants.
He describes his own unique path, sharing with his readers both his lessons and achievements, but also his honest mistakes and doubts. While you are drawn further into Alan’s adventure, he shares a treasure of facts and knowledge about these Divine medicines and the way of the shamans, curanderos and ayahuasqueros.
I valued Alan’s honest and modern view of the use the Sacred Power Plants, and his down to earth advice to aspiring visitors to the Iquitos area, in search for the ‘Divine within’ and maybe even the ‘Healer’ within, eventually able to ‘heal’ others, if called by the spirits.
Sometimes I thought that Alan was cutting corners with a story, and I personally felt I missed a few more details, a conversation, or an intimate emotion. But other than that this book gives a refreshing and very authentic look on the world of Sacred Power Plants. I should not have expected any less from a man who has dedicated his life to the research of the medicinal plants of the Amazon, sacred or not.