The Brazilian Amazon is a very special place for me. It’s the place where I connected with my soul’s purpose and mission while I was working with visionary plant medicines in the jungle. It was there I received a message from the Forest:
“Lorna, your mission, should you choose to accept is this: To leverage emerging technologies to preserve indigenous traditions, so that ancient wisdom can benefit the modern world, and technology can empower indigenous people.”
I spent the past 12 years pursuing that mission and mastering emerging technologies so I could tell the stories of the people of the forest – the indigenous people, the anthropologists, the activists – about why we should care about the Amazon.
Now, that journey is coming full circle, and I want to invite you, members of my beloved tribe, to join me in Brazil for the World Ayahuasca Conference, which takes place October 17-22, 2016 in Rio Branco, Brazil.
The World Ayahuasca Conference is the first conference ever where leading ayahuasca researchers and activists will be joined by indigenous leaders and regional Brazilian anthropologists. Some of my beloved indigenous friends will be there, speaking about the issues around the globalization of plant medicines and why we – the nawas – should care about the people of the forest and their fate. Leading researchers will share their findings on the latest scientific advancements and share the latest legal and political developments around the globalization of ayahuasca.
Not only will this conference be epic, you will have the opportunity to have a life-changing experience of Brazilian Amazonian culture. Here are 8 reasons you should consider going to the World Ayahuasca Conference if you have been profoundly touched by this plant medicine, owe your life to this medicine, and want to make a bigger difference.
1. Experience Brazilian Ayahuasca Shamanism, Which is Very Different from Peruvian Curanderismo
Peruvian curanderismo is what most Westerners tend to relate to when thinking about ayahuasca. Due to the rise of ayahuasca tourism, it is considerably easier to experience Peruvian ayahuasca culture than Brazilian. Many indian tribes in Brazil use ayahuasca, and while there are similarities, drinking medicine with the Brazilian tribes is a totally different experience.
For one thing, I think the music is better. It’s different. Peruvian icaros are shamanic songs and chants with specific purposes. Brazilian ayahuasca songs are the songs that everyone can get into, learn and sing. Check out this video of my friends singing a modern version of a traditional rapé chant, with guitar and drums. This video alone has gotten 150K+ views and I can tell you, it’s from people trying to learn how to sing the song themselves.
2. Join Epic Ayahuasca Ceremonies with Brazilian Shamans from Different Tribes
There will be unofficial ayahuasca ceremonies happening around the conference, organized by other groups. Looking at the lineup of incredible indigenous leaders and shamans who will be speaking at the event – several I have sat in ceremony with, and whose villages I’ve visited – I’m pretty sure that a multi-tribe ceremony will occur because these shamans have co-hosted ceremonies together before.
Here are some of my friends who will be there:
Ninawa Pai da Mata, a Huni Kui shaman from the Kaxinawa territory of Upper Humaitá.
Shaneihu Yawanawa, son of the cacique Biraci Yawanawa of Novo Esperança. The Yawanawa Festival will be taking place the weekend after the World Ayahuasca Conference, so try to .
3. Experience Kambô – Frog Medicine – in the Amazon
Kambô is frog medicine from the Phyllomedusa bicolor tree frog, otherwise known as the “Giant Monkey Frog”. Kambô is a traditional Shamanic frog poison cleanse that is used to strengthen and heal mind, body and spirit, and is taken like the Amazonian version of a flu shot. It is mildly psychoactive and was traditionally used to heal sickness, invoke prescience in hunting (the Indians believed kambô would show you where your next meal was going to be), and to cure laziness in children.
A shaman will burn the tip of a thin stick and then use it to burn points into your arm or ankle. He will then scratch the wound open with his fingernail and apply either the dried or fresh kambô medicine to the open wound, where it will enter your bloodstream. In a few minutes, you’ll feel the effect of the frog venom. It will make you projectile vomit. It will also make you want to purge out the other end. That’s the cleansing part. The goal is to get to the bile. Then the shaman will wash the venom off your skin, and you can clean yourself up.
Here are some tips to ensure a successful kambô cleanse:
- You will need to drink a lot of water or caiçuma (a fermented mandioca drink) before your kambô session in order to have something to projectile vomit out.
- If you are vomiting doubled-over (not sure of how to do this any other way), your face will swell up like a frog for 2-3 hours.
4. Try a Variety of Medicinal Rapés – Sacred Herbal Snuff You Blow Up Your Nose
Rapé – pronounced ha-PAY – is a powdered medicinal snuff that the Indians take up the nose. The sharing of medicinal snuff is an indigenous practice that goes back to pre-Columbian times, and still takes place in all aspects of life, from formal ritual use in rites of puberty, initiation, festivals, to simply hanging out with friends.
Rapé is traditionally consumed in a ritualistic way. This is because the medicinal plants used to make the rapé blend are considered to be both sacred and healing. Also, depending on the specific blend of medicinal plants in the rapé, the experience can range from fragrant, to highly stimulating, to totally psychoactive.
The art of sacred rapé making has been been passed on outside the tribes, so that you will encounter groups of non-Indian rapé enthusiasts all over the Brazil. The epicenter of rapé connoisseurship is Acre. In addition to indigenous shamans, members of the Santo Daime churches and other non-Brazilians also consume and produce rapé, improving methods of production and storage.
In Rio Branco, you will have a chance to sample different types of rapé and bring some of the best rapé home with you.
5. Enjoy the Ayahuasca Film Festival
The World Ayahuasca Conference will showcase AYAFILM 2016 – the 1st film festival about Ayahuasca. Catch the best current selection of feature and documentary films about ayahuasca, like the Embrace of the Serpent.
6. Get In-Depth Training on Ayahuasca Facilitation
If you are a healer, therapist, or plant medicine facilitator, at the World Ayahuasca Conference, you will have an opportunity to attend a 4-hour course called ‘AYAHUASCA HEALING: Screening, Preparation, Integration & Psychotherapeutic Support’ offered by experts Tanya Maté, Draulio De Araujo, Rafael Guimaraes Dos Santos & Marc Baños Aixalà.
What’s even better – This 4-hour workshop is a free event, exclusively for ayahuasca practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals. This workshop will be in English.
7. Get an Extreme Tribal Makeover
In Rio Branco, you will have an opportunity to get your face painted with 2 vegetable dyes – urucum, and jenipapo. Urucum is a red paste that comes from Achiote (Bixa orellana) seed pods. This washes off.
The really cool tribal facepaint makeover you want is with a black dye made from the jenipapo (Genipa americana) fruit that is semi-permanent. It will stay on your body or face for 2 weeks.
You may even forget it’s there and be frequently reminded by strangers doing double-takes at the airport.
8. Receive a Once in a Lifetime Chance to Visit the Tribes
You will receive invitations to visit indigenous territories, that are actually off-limits to foreigners. Let me repeat that. You WILL receive an invitation.
At the end of a gathering like this, there will be at least ONE, if not MORE, invitations for visitors to travel backcountry to the restricted indigenous territories as a guest of the tribe.
Travel to indigenous territories is officially off-limits to foreigners. In other words, if you tried to go their yourself, FUNAI – a.k.a. National Indian Foundation, Brazilian government body that establishes and carries out policies relating to indigenous peoples – would never give you a permit.
9. Go to the Annual Yawanawa Festival with Your New World Aya Friends
The annual Yawanawa Festival is in the village of Novo Esperança, about 10 hours by motorized canoe from Rio Gregorio, which is about an hour outside of the city of Cruzeiro do Sol. There will be loads of people going, so hooking up with a group of foreign or Brazilian travelers is fairly easy if you are a sociable person. However, why not go with your new friends from the World Ayahuasca Conference?
Important Details about the World Ayahuasca Conference
Buy your tickets here & use the coupon code ENTHEO for a 15% discount.
Check out the World Ayahuasca Film festival entries here.
Fun side events include hot air ballooning and the Yawanawa Festival – details here.