Drug Controversy Front and Center at LA Area Shamanism Event

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The world's most powerful hallucinogenic drug will be the topic of discussion at a June 22nd, California event that is drawing its fair share of controversy. According to the LA-based "Shamanism LA", the debate first swept through the internet community with many calling it "new age scams" and "drug culture".

"Ayahuasca Tea"

An upcoming event surrounding shamanic healing is drawing strong opposition from a number of prominent internet sites which allege it is nothing more than “new age scams” and “drug culture”. The controversy first broke out as the event coordinators possess intimate ties to a popular ayahuasca tourist retreat in Iquitos, Peru, which offers usage of powerful hallucinogenic drugs, where such drugs are legalized for religious sacraments.

Shamanism is traditionally practiced by Amazonian cultures for the use of ritualistic healing. In most cases, those ritualistic healings involve the use of entheogens and other psychoactive substances. The event plans to discuss the government opposition of widely used drugs such as Ayahuasca, a traditional Amazonian tea two comprised of two plants, Banisteriopsis Caapi, or more commonly referred to as the “Ayahuasca” vine and Psychotria Viridis, as is more commonly known as the “Chacruna” leaf. The combination, which becomes orally active only when mixed together, is considered among experts to be the most potent hallucinogen yet discovered by scientists.

"Shamans reach the state that gives them access to the supernatural world in a variety of ways. A very common way is by ingesting mind-altering drugs of various types,” says James Davila, author of the book "Enoch as a Divine Mediator".

Local event coordinator Matt Toussaint says, “It is simply a case of people fearing what they don’t understand. There are no drugs of any kind present at this event and it will simply involve a very brief discussion of the historic use of these substances as used as healing agents and how they pertain to the guided meditation for stress relief that follows.”

At present, the organizers are still asking for audience volunteers and feedback. Regristration for the June 22nd event can be completed via the web at ShamanismLA.com.

Domestically, the debate continues to rage onwards as Ayahuasca has been legalized for usage as a religious sacrament by the Santo Daime church. Santo Daime is syncretic in that it incorporates elements of several religious or spiritual traditions including Folk Catholicism, Kardecist Spiritism, African animism and indigenous South American shamanism, including vegetalismo.

The event promises to add fuel to what is an already heated debate to constitutional rights as they pertain to illegal drugs and religious contextual use.

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Frank Fihnie
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