Visionary Ayahuasca

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-12-27
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions
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Supplemental Materials

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


A “what to expect” guide for first-time ayahuasca users paired with accounts from the author’s extensive shamanic experiences in the Amazon

• Describes how to prepare for the first ceremony, what to do in the days afterward, and how to maintain a shamanic healing diet

• Details some of the author’s own ayahuasca experiences, including an intensive trip in 2009 when he underwent 17 ceremonies

• Explores the many other plants that are part of the ayahuasca healer’s medicine cabinet as well as the icaros, healing songs, of the ayahuasca shaman

Since 1999 Jan Kounen has regularly traveled to the Peruvian Amazon to participate in ayahuasca ceremonies. At first only a curious filmmaker, over multiple trips he transformed from explorer to apprentice to ayahuasquero and often found himself surrounded by other foreigners coming to the jungle for their first taste of ayahuasca medicine. Knowing how little guidance is available on how to prepare or what to expect, he naturally offered them advice.

Part visionary ayahuasca memoir and part practical guide, this book contains the same step-by-step advice that Kounen provides first-time ayahuasca users in the jungle. He describes how to prepare for the first ceremony and what to do in the days afterward. He explores how to deal with the nausea and details the special preparatory diets an ayahuasca shaman will put you on, often lasting for months but necessary for life-transforming results and teachings from the plant spirits. He also explains how it is far easier to maintain these restrictions in the jungle than in the city.

Detailing his own ayahuasca experiences over hundreds of sessions, including a trip in 2009 when he underwent 17 ceremonies in 25 days, Kounen describes how ayahuasca transformed him. He tells of his meetings with Shipibo healers, including Kestenbetsa, who opened the doors of this world for him, and Panshin Beka, the shaman to whom Kounen became an apprentice. He details the many other plants and foods that are part of the ayahuasca healer’s medicine cabinet, such as toé and tobacco, as well as their icaros, or healing songs. A veritable “what to expect” guide, this book should be your first step prior to committing to ayahuasca.

Author Biography

Jan Kounen is a filmmaker who has created a number of films and documentaries, including 99 Francs, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, and the celebrated Blueberry. His interest in Shipibo culture and shamanism developed during his trips to Peru to shoot music videos, leading to his apprenticeship to an ayahuasca shaman. He lives in France.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Ayahuasca: Illegal Drug or National Cultural Heritage?

Inner Journey Notebooks

August 1999-November 2010

Yarinacocha Quarter
A Good Drink, Peaceful
Houston, Do You Read Me?
A Whiff of Love Does You Good
That Kounen, He’s Really Wacky
Dying Over There
Blueberry Madness (Part One)
Blueberry Madness (Part Two)
The Return of the Sierra Cactus
Nausea Under the Stars
Mystic Terror
Tonight, Some People Will Encounter Fear
The Wages of Fear
Faced with a Breast
The Serpent Breathes Out
Twin Towers
La Cucaracha
Ayahuasca Movie at the Cannes Festival
Star Wars in the Maloca
Remembering the Closing Diet
I Wanna Go Home

Ayahuasca Medicina, A Manual
Forty Questions and Answers

The Basics
Ayahuasca Medicine, Diets, and Songs

Preparing for Ayahuasca

Mind, Ceremony, and Intoxication


Advice for Encounters with Scary Serpents and Talking Plants

Receiving the ͣaros

After the Ceremony

Determining if This Medicine Is Right for You

Choosing a Healer

Healer Recommendations and the Ethics of Paying for Treatment

Treatments and Contraindications

Receiving Plant Healing Safely

Practical Preparations

What to Bring and When and Where to Go

Glossary of Plants

A Small Shipibo Lexicon

Four of Kestenbetsa’s ͣaros

Bonus Track 1: My First Ceremony with Guillermo

Bonus Track 2: My Final Ceremonies with Guillermo

A Big Thank-You

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