AYAHUASCA AND ITS PHENOMENOLOGY
Ayahuasca as a “Psycho-connector”:
To define the nature of Ayahuasca from the point of view of the experience, I prefer the term “psycho-connector”, since that in fact is what the tea does, connecting in a single experience mental “contents” which were previously disassociated, along with elements of experience which are naturally and culturally dichotomised, such as the subject/object division for example.
Another interesting term, “entheogenic”, suggests the capacity to stimulate the experience of the divine; but numinous feelings are not automatically brought about by the tea. In some tribes (see Michael J.Harner, “The Sound of Rushing Water”, Natural History, July 1968), belief systems establish a very pragmatic use of the potion in an attempt to influence even trivial happenings – both to remedy and to enchant.
In general the experience of the divine, even with the use of Ayahuasca, is not a rule and depends on the previous experience of the subject, his intention and effort, his “contents” and the suitability of his environment.
In modern times the term “psycho-integrator” has come into use to define the general effect of Ayahuasca and other psychedelic substances. In our view, this is a more suitable term – it seems to imply that some type of integration or resolving dialectic is part of the experience. And in fact this does sometimes happen. But in our view, neither the tea nor the experience guarantee this effect of integration – although it is a possibility. Some “contents” need to be integrated by one’s own effort, decision, persistence and desire to change.
Both the numinous effect and the integration of the elements which are revealed depend to a great extent on the intention and willingness of the individual, as well as on the spiritual process which goes alongside this. In other words, it depends on the triple interaction described above, of the use of the tea in a ritualistic environment dedicated to spiritual growth and evolution.