Millennials on Spirit Quests Are Ruining Everything About Ayahuasca
Ayahuasca has been steadily been gaining in popularity as the internet and drug culture brings tourists from around the world to remote jungles to take part in the sacred practice. But are these so-called "psychonauts" destroying a sacred experience?This article originally appeared on Motherboard
From Brooklyn to Australia, there’s a growing demand for ayahuasca, a tribal, hallucinogenic tea said to have both spiritual and curative properties. But, like any globalization fairy tale, the world’s embrace is threatening to suffocate the tradition at its source.
“The sacred art of Indians has been transformed into entertainment,” said Moises Pianko, a member of the Ashaninka tribe of northern Brazil.
The herbal tea, made by combining a rare vine and shrub found in the thick of the Amazon, has become the “it” drug for celebrities like Sting and Lindsay Lohan, who rave about its spiritual properties. But for the Amazonian tribes that have used ayahuasca for 5,000 years to communicate with God on matters ranging from politics to medicine, the trend is dangerous.
Sudden local and international demand for the brew has put the ayahuasca vine used to make the tea at risk of eradication in parts of Peru, and tripled its price in the last seven years to $250 a liter. The vine is almost impossible to plant, as it only thrives in the thick of the jungle and takes four years to grow, so the natural reserves are limited.