By: Rak Razam
“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…”
When Rak Razam, an ‘experiential journalist’ for Australian Penthouse magazine sets out to document the booming business of Amazonian shamanism in the 21st century, he quickly finds himself caught up in a culture clash between the old world and the new. Braving a gringo trail of the soul, he uncovers a movement of ‘spiritual tourists’ coming from the West for a direct experience of the multi-dimensional reality shamanism connects one to. Central to this is ayahuasca–the “vine of souls”– a legal South American hallucinogenic plant that has been used by Amazonian people for millennia to heal physical ailments and to cleanse and purify the spirit, connecting it
to the web of life.
In researching the mystery of ayahuasca, Razam undergoes his own shamanic initiation, undergoing numerous tests and trials in the jungle and the psychic landscapes the vine reveals. On the way he encounters a motley crew of characters from rogue scientists that conduct DMT-brain scans on jungle psychonauts; brujo-black magicians wielding their psychic darts; and dozens of indigenous and Western shamans that
slowly unravel his cultured mind and reveal the magical landscape of the spirit world.
Razam lyrically documents his experiences with the vine and his burgeoning relationship with the plants. He cleverly juxtaposes his story with the history of Amazonian shamanism and the current surge of Western interest, using advances in modern physics and consciousness research to provide a definitive overview of this fast-growing global subculture and the impact it is having on the world. And the more he drinks this potent jungle medicine the deeper it leads him: from the wet jungle where the ayahuasca vine grows, to the middle of the Amazon, and on into the raging heart of consciousness itself.
Razam’s journey culminates in Andes with an illuminating climb of Machu Picchu, where secrets of the ancient Incas are revealed to him and the true nature of the global resurgence in shamanism is brought to light. This book is for the millions of people across the world that are interested in not just shamanism, but what it represents – a direct connection to the planet and a spiritual way to see the world. Razam’s journalistic eye for detail captures a unique adventure that echoes the archetypal Western quest, propelling the reader on a cosmological travel memoir that is at turns beautiful, terrifying, mind-blowing and ultimately, cathartic.
Title: Aya: a Shamanic Odyssey
Distributor (US/UK): Ingrams
Title: The Ayahuasca Sessions: Conversations With Amazonian Curanderos and Western Shamans
By: Rak Razam
“To live in the rainforest is to live in harmony with the plants and the plants are communicating with the humans.”
– Guillermo Arravelo, indigenous curandero
“I see ayahuasca as all vines. The vine it starts growing on something and it just starts trying to take over everything. And ayahuasca is also a vine. And through us, every ayahuasquero, we’re like another limb on the vine. And she’s trying to embrace the world.”
– Ron Wheelock, Western shaman
“I consider myself an ayahuasquero, just a user of ayahuasca… But over time and with the number of ceremonies I have done, I know I have been driven by the Shipibo healers on a journey that I wouldn’t have been able to go on alone.”
– Jan Kounen, director of “Renegade/ Blueberry”
“I think the world is in serious need of healing and in serious need of waking up. [And] some very positive trends like the global ayahuasca movement and the rediscovery of the Archaic… is an encouraging thing…”
– Dennis McKenna, Ph.D, ethnobotanist
THE AYAHUASCA SESSIONS: Conversations with Indigenous Curanderos and Western Shamans is the companion volume to the critically acclaimed non-fiction memoir, Aya: a Shamanic Odyssey by Rak Razam. Richly illustrated with over 100 black and white photographs, this is a seminal collection of 24 interviews with
native Amazonian curanderos, Western shamans, ayahuasqueros and spiritual
seekers that drink the potent jungle medicine “ayahuasca”.
Ayahuasca – the “vine of souls” – is a South American hallucinogenic plant that has been used by indigenous people for millennia to heal physical ailments and to cleanse and purify the spirit, connecting it to the web of life. Over the last 20 years a new gringo trail – this one a journey of the soul– has been blossoming in the jungles of South America. Seekers and thrillseekers alike have been coming from the West for a direct experience of the multi-dimensional reality ayahuasca
connects one to.
Includes interviews with Guillermo Aravelo, Percy Garcia, Norma Panduro, Ron Wheelock, Kevin Furnas, Scott Petersen, Carlos Tanner, Dennis McKenna, Ph.D, Jan Kounen, Alan Shoemaker, and more. These dialogues reveal a fast-growing global movement partaking of a central mystery that is at turns beautiful, terrifying, mind-blowing and ultimately, cathartic.
A classic text for those interested in the booming business of ayahuasca tourism, entheogens, spirituality, anthropology and counter-culture studies.
Rak Razam is a magazine feature writer and editor, specializing in counter-culture, spirituality and technology issues. He has traveled the world writing for Australian Penthouse; the Age; Dazed and Confused magazine and Dazed Digital; Disinfo.com; High Times; Filmmaker magazine and many other publications, and understands how to craft alternative issues to mainstream and niche audiences.
In 2006 he visited Peru on a feature magazine assignment to see what the almost mythical archetype of the shaman was really like in the 21st century. Excerpts from AYA have been published in Australian Penthouse (Sept 2006); High Times (Aug 2007); and Filmmaker magazine online (Oct 2007). He was also interviewed and appears in the CBS (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s) 2007 audio documentary In Search of the Divine Vegetal (www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/2266458) talking about his ayahuaca experiences, which has been broadcast twice due to special demand to millions of people throughout North America.
A founding editor of Undergrowth (www.undergrowth.org), Australia’s leading counterculture arts and literature magazine, Razam is an “experiential journalist” that participates in the experiences he writes about, giving his global audience an intimate familiarity with his subjects (see www.vivecoolcity.com/episode/209). This has made for some rollicking adventures on the fringes of the counterculture, which have been published globally and recounted in his writings (www.rakrazam.com/features).
He is also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology of psychedelic writing, The Journeybook: Travels on the Frontiers of Consciousness (www.thejourneybook.com) from Undergrowth Inc.
The author is available for interviews about the book and to talk about the resurgence of ayahuasca use and global shamanism. For more information Contact him via his website: www.rakrazam.com