Cosmovision: An Aya Odyssey
The following is an excerpt from Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey now available from Icaro Publishing.
“The vine has spread her tendrils across the world and a genuine archaic revival was underway. My bags were packed; South America beckoned, and the ancient mysteries of the rainforest awaited. I wanted in on it…”
Iquitos, Wednesday July 5th., 2006
IQUITOS IS ELECTRIC WITH NOONDAY HUMIDITY as Vance, John and I wade through the horde of locals hustling trinkets outside the Parthenon gates and join the other ayahuasca gringos amassing by the pool. It’s Bowman’s birthday — he’s twenty-four today — and drinking with Guillermo is going to be his present.
We’re waiting for Alexis, a blond, twenty-ish dude from Washington D.C. who’s going to help translate the interview with Guillermo I’ve lined up. Alexis is a Princeton dropout who’s backpacking around on a spiritual path, drinking ayahuasca with shamans and asking critical questions to deepen his own understanding. He’s drunk with Guillermo four times now, and calls him “a fucking Jedi.” When he turns up an hour late, wearing a Corey Feldman School of the Arts t-shirt, I know he’ll fit right in with our media crew.
Vance wants to get out to the Espiritu de Anaconda, Guillermo’s ayahuasca retreat to take some shots before we lose the afternoon light, so we pile into two motorcarros and speed away from the front of the Hotel Parthenon before the touristos bus has even arrived. But our motorcarros get bogged down on the dirt road turnoff from Km 14, a long undulating strip of mud from recent rains, and we get out to walk. The local villagers are busy building a concrete footpath to run from the highway past their village and towards the ayahuasca retreat a few miles in, and part of me wonders if this will facilitate t-shirt and refreshment stalls springing up wherever the gringos go, like mushrooms after a fresh rain.
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