Ayahuasca Religious Movements

Ayahuasca, or yagé, is an entheogenic (psychoactive substance used in a religious context) brew ritually used by at least 70 tribes in the greater Amazon rainforest since prehistoric times. The word ayahuasca in Quechua means “vine of the soul,” connoting its spiritual usage. It is made by boiling a jungle vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) with various admixture plants in a unique synergistic combination that renders it strongly psychoactive. Since the 20th century, ritual use of the brew has spread from indigenous groups to mestizo healers and to organized syncretic churches (those formed from the combination of different beliefs) that have attracted members throughout the industrialized world.

Each of the native tribes has distinct traditions, but most use ayahuasca in small ceremonies at night accompanied by chanting and ...

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