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Ayahuasca in Cross-Cultural Perspective (2005)

Ayahuasca in Cross-Cultural Perspective (2005)

  1. Jatelka
    The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 2005 Jun;37(2):119-21

    de Rios MD, Grob CS

    The anthropological record on the use of ayahuasca is clear. Data shows that when hallucinogen-induced man­aged altered states of consciousness have been used under optimal conditions, positive and salutary outcomes have resulted (see Dobkin de Rios & Grob 1994; Grob & Dobkinde Rios 1992). lhis contrasts historically with Euro-American culture, where altered states of consciousness have been associated with negative and antisocial behaviors. From a sociological perspective, such states have been synonymous with alienation, excessive introspection, rebelliousness as well as illegal behaviors. This has carried over into the gen­eral population of Western nations to the point that there is a strong feeling of rejection of any substance or drug that promotes these stages of awareness, as well as fear and distrust of such substances. In the study of UDV adoles­cent ayahuasca use, scholars examine the incorporation of a powerful hallucinogenic decoction into ritual and ceremo­nial events of the UDV church. This sacrament attempts to offer spiritual, emotional and ethical support to those who ingest the tea. As individuals drink the tea, they become part of a religious congregation and part of a religious event that has as its major goal the development of spirituality in adherents. Since the late 1980s, the UDV has had permis­sion from the Brazilian government to use hoasca as a sacrament in their religious rituals. People who drink the tea participate as family units and include their adolescent children.