Tony Moss, recording artist and event producer, shares with us his thoughts about the globalization of ayahuasca. Why is it that the demographic of the Western ayahuasca community is overwhelmingly white?
With his extensive experience in different ayahuasca communities around the world, Tony Moss describes his view of the dynamics of racial bias in neo-shamanism in this interview with EntheoNation. Watch the interview below!
Tony was raised baptist, but found himself unsatisfied by the contradictions of the religion. He started to note the differences between spirituality and religion, feeling a call towards doing deeper spiritual work and a repulsion from the less spiritual aspects of organized religion.
After being introduced to ayahuasca by a friend, Tony went to a ceremony, changing the direction of his life and career. Ayahuasca helped Tony receive insights about spirituality, life, and music!
When it comes to the Western popularity of ayahuasca, Tony notices that the people who take ayahuasca and immediately say “I want to be a facilitator” are mainly white males. Indigenous shamans have commented on this too. It’s connected to the privilege of being a white man in Western society – meaning there are generally fewer obstacles to meeting your goals. White men are more used to seeing what they want and taking it, without much standing in their way, or reasons to self-reflect and hesitate.
This can end up doing a lot of harm – contributing to a racial divide in the ayahuasca space, and also meaning white facilitators may not have done enough work to make themselves good and considerate service providers. Tony states that it’s ridiculous to think that a short course in facilitation would be enough to qualify you to serve ayahuasca – yet many Western facilitators don’t even have that kind of experience under their belts!
Why are ayahuasca and other plant medicines not as popular among people of color? Tony highlights that the distinction between drugs and plant medicines is not one that really exists in the African American community. With drugs tied in to police violence and racist incarceration, the distinction is not simply academic. If a black or brown ayahuasca user gets arrested with the medicine, will the cops care about the distinction between plant medicines and drugs?
Tony aims to promote ayahuasca to the African American community as a route of ancestral healing. He hopes to change the perception around plant medicines and encourage more people of color to join the ayahuasca world.
Finally, we speak about the connection between ayahuasca and activism. Tony describes the passion that many people feel after taking ayahuasca for the first time – they want to share their experience and help others find similar healing! Tony believes that while public acts of defiance are important in creating a more just society, evolving our individual and collective consciousness is crucial, so the act of promoting and sharing the lessons of plant medicines is a powerful form of activism.
That’s where Tony has applied himself in his personal activism – building the I.AM.LIFE project with the aim of teaching people through music that separation is an illusion, and we are all connected through webs of cause-and-effect. Once we all realize this, our potential to create a truly compassionate society is enormous.
About Tony Moss
Tony is a visual and recording artist, event producer, and founder of I.AM.LIFE, a non-profit event production company focused on interconnectivity. His work is a synthesis of passions in art, spirituality & science, with emphasis on the evolution of human consciousness and potential.
Where to Find Tony Moss
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