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Traditional shamanism compared to neo-shamanism?!

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Rising Star
I would like to discuss a phenomena which ive been noticing and pondering for a few years now.

I came into contact with dmt and ayahuasca after being in the psychedelic music scene (psytrance)
For a few years.
I had more of a psychonaut perspective on exploring new states of mind and not much dogma surrounding specific ways to do this.
After trying dmt at a festival i got very in to that for awhile, i brewed my own ayahuasca and started extracting.

A few years ago i got into contact with a shaman lady who has been working with various amazon medicines for many years.
I started first to do alot of kambo with her, and after some time she taught me how to do it myself.
Ive also done a few ayahuasca ceremonies with her.

I really enjoy her wisdom and lack of dogma, she is intiated in a tribe in peru aswell with the santo daime.
She has a real lineage and is from these strong traditions, however she also uses lsd in therapy with some clients.

I am very honest with her about my path and that im very open to using whatever tools avaiable for my self exploration and spirutual/physical empowerment.
Ive tried a shitton of rc´s, i use chemical drugs like lsd, ketamine, 4-aco-dmt etc.
I use hormone stimulating peptides and have dabbled in some aas use.
I dont fear chemicals but stay very informed in how to use everything we humans have come up with to improve my health in all planes correctly.
There are riscs with everything we do even "natural" stuff.
Ketamine is very addictive but othervice very safe and benign.
I would much rather take way to much K then way to much of any psychedelic including dmt.
Same with steroids, they can really mess up your hormones if abused, but in moderation they can improve your health.

Now im not saying this to blow smoke up my ass!
My point is that most people ive met who are into the ayahuasca circles would frown upon my choice to do all this.

Most of them are supersticious new agy hippie types who only eat raw veggies do yoga and judge everyone who dont see things from their "enlightened" perspective.

They are usually fearful of anything "unnatural" while missing to see that their raw food vegan lifestyles would be impossible without our modern technology.

When talking to my shaman friend she supports me and sees me as a fresh breath of air compared to the stereotypical client.

What i wonder is where this dogmatic way of thinking comes from?
Its like a cultish kind of behavior infesting the whole ayahuasca circle, alot of you probably know what i mean right?

I mean the natives have their tradition for a reason, if they did have lsd fruits or ketamine bushes im pretty sure they would include them in their ceromonies aswell.
You can get LSD in Peru. Shamans just arent interested in it. Not because it is bad on its own, just because it is inferior for healing and spirit communication in their opinion. Also - there is already a very established and well developed tradition around other plants and each plant and substance works different for healing - it is much easier to work within an established tradition then it is to figure out your own (much safer for your clients as well).

How many years did your friend apprentice for? Not saying they did this, but I have met many people who go down for a few weeks or a couple months and claim they were initiated or something.... But they dont do initiations down there. They do apprenticeships and they usually take about 2 years straight of you living there to complete. Usually if you spend that much time focused with one teacher you get pretty committed to that specific healing modality.

There are many things to consider. For example - potential for abuse can be a big factor. If you are running a healing center you dont want a bunch of party kids coming down and interrupting your ceremonies. Shamans in Peru have clients with PTSD, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy ect.... You want to really know and understand what you are giving them. Recreational drugs have more potential for other problems to arise - you have to have some probably unknown chemist make your medicine instead of making it yourself with prayers and songs and ritual, you dont know what is in it really, there is more potential for abuse, and less protection in the spirit world, or people trying to party in your ceremony while you are trying to heal someones cancer ect....

And LSD cannot come close to many of the things that Ayahuasca does. For example - LSD cannot teach you the nature and purpose of every plant on the earth. I know of zero claims that LSD cured cancer and epilepsy but I personally know people who cured those things with Ayahuasca or San Pedro. Shamans in Peru arent really interested in altered states as much as they are interested in spirit communication. The plant they work with isnt just a chemical that makes them feel different - it is a spirit and guide which helps them safely travel the spirit world.

And maybe an important distinction is that while neo-shamanism is often focused on expanding the mind, that isnt the goal with traditional shamanism. Shamanism is focused on healing illness. That changes a lot about what is appropriate for each group. They have really different goals.


I actually compared some of the chemicals to plants recently for my own knowledge. Used to work with chemicals back in the day but hadnt for years. I decided to test them though instead of just assuming they were inferior.

I found a number of issues which would make them less favorable for ceremony. Doesnt mean they are bad, just means that there are more potential risks for this specific type of work.

With chemicals I have to work way harder to protect myself. Even with that protection there is an issue with the way chemicals help you find healing - sometimes you find deep emotional healing but at the same time get this dirty residue.... Like you saw a surgeon to fix your heart but they sewed you up just a little crooked. You got the main healing and that is more important then the crooked stitches, but it is still preferable to have a more experienced doctor sew you up right the first time. (in one case I did have a good healing from a chemical and then I needed 3 Ayahuasca ceremonies to clean the dirty residue it left)

Plants take me deeper personally and there is less day dreaming and randomness. Sometimes the chemicals help you find wisdom but sometimes they just show you lots of fantasies. They dont take me as deep personally.

Trying to help people with physical illness is much harder. I know many people seeking aid of plants for physical illness and LSD wouldnt do anything for them.

Much more potential for abuse. Much harder to make a case for religious freedom protection. Much harder to know the quality is good before you ingest it since you cant make LSD at home.

Chemicals can help heal psychological and emotional issues though, so I wouldnt say there is no use for them or no place for them. But for many reasons I think they are an inferior choice for a real dedicated healer to work with in a shamanic context. If I had zero access to plants I would certainly work with the chemical options and be grateful for them. But I have access to all these wonderful plants which I personally get better results with and see much more potential in, so I will leave the chemicals to others who feel more called to them.

BTW - ketamine isnt benign - you can overdose and die from it. And you can get addicted to it. I know it can be helpful for some people, but it is one of the more dangerous choices as far as psychedelics go.
SHroomtroll said:
...What i wonder is where this dogmatic way of thinking comes from?...
There is dogmatic thinking in any circle, old or new no matter, you see it where you lay the eye on.

Given the historic track of ayahuasca, its hard to beat the long term experience that has evolved around it. It's interesting to think what would happen if equal inetria in hardcore dedicated experience was given to new-school materials. But it's not, and hence maybe the new-school is wielded clumsier and one produces "dirty residu" in the process.

Where are the LSD shamans actually?
Have they been given a fair chance to arise yet when competing with a hundreds of years experience in ayahuasca culture?
Have persons ever given LSD (for example) as much attention and life time full and deep dedication, like people did for ayahuasca before like passing build up wisdom for generations? Hopping materials in one persons free time isn't going to build the same fortress.

How important is experience over the tool?
I bet a good crafter build art with nonetheless crooked tools.
Fine tools in the hands of a crooked crafter, lousy outcome.
How important is the tool actually?

If new-school shamanism is asked for a fair chance in recognition (this is how I read SHroomtroll' OP) then this can only become so by proven evidence. Anyone interested to live up to that, knowing what those old school dudes did for their sake? SHroomtroll you are invited by your own idea, I would truly LOVE to see it happen.
As Jees said, there'll be dogma in any circle to some degree. The nature of humans in general imo.

Do I think there's time-honored techniques that curanderos have when working with these things, based on past lines of experience? Yes. I do think that certain ones do have things to teach.

Do I think that we should listen to what those certain ones have to say? Yes.

And im not saying to full-out take as gospel everything that's being said; but to take into account, take note, and employ whatever they may show in order to help yourself along the path. Be humble in that regard.

As for the other psychedelics (plant and chemical), I think they all have the capability to generate love, healing (in whichever area), bonding, gnosis, connection, transcendental boundlessness, so on n' so forth.

To me, all the various psychedelics, whether plant, brew or chemical all are unique vantage points/facets to work with the Indivisible Self, each one approaching the Indivisible Self from a unique angle, given the specific plant/chemical. I've realized and went through things with Aya that I probably would've never went through with say LSD, mushrooms, etc ..but there's also things that i've went through and experienced with LSD and mushrooms that I probably would've never went through with Aya. These individualities could be said for any of these plants/chemicals imo/ime.

SHroomtroll said:
My point is that most people ive met who are into the ayahuasca circles would frown upon my choice to do all this.

Most of them are supersticious new agy hippie types who only eat raw veggies do yoga and judge everyone who dont see things from their "enlightened" perspective.

They are usually fearful of anything "unnatural" while missing to see that their raw food vegan lifestyles would be impossible without our modern technology.
Don't bother with these "scenes", they're often pools of stagnation and a huge distraction.

Most hippies who I've met turned out to be hippycrites. Most "neo-shamans" I call showmans. They act more like wannabe cult leaders than healers. The groupies would rather sit on "mamma ayahuasca's" lap and suck her tit forever.

With regard to the different substances and their respective merits, I have to concur with travsha's post in this thread: it is all about the intent of the person taking it.
LSD will always be my first psychedelic love.

But a good batch of HBWS can be more healing in my experience.

LSD and ketamine can't cure diabetes, block herpes virus infection, kill parasites in your guttyworks, etc.
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