The Natufian Shaman -- The Natufian culture flourished in the southern Levant between 15,000 and 11,600 years ago. One of the places that Natufian dead were buried is a small cave named Hilazon Tachtit, located on a steep cliff about 500 feet above the Hilazon River, with a sweeping view of the river and the Mediterranean shoreline, in which twenty-eight burials have been excavated. These burials can be dated to between 12,400 and 12,000 years ago. Was one of them of a female shaman?
...there’s a salient and largely unexamined feature of the Chavín culture which offers a lead into the heart of the mystery: the presence of a complex of powerful plant hallucinogens in its ritual world. The San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus/Echinopsis spp.) is explicitly featured in its iconography; . Objects excavated from the site also include snuff trays and bone tubes similar to those still used in the Peruvian Amazon for inhaling seeds and barks containing the powerful hallucinogen DMT.
The Amazon River -- The first occurrence of the Greek word Amazon is in the Iliad, twice, both with the same epithet: Amazons who fight like men. In the centuries following, there were many additional references to armed and mounted women, fierce warriors, fighting the Greeks. It was probably a Dominican monk named Gaspar de Carvajal who was responsible for the idea that indigenous women along the great South American river were Amazons.
"Increasingly often their trip becomes a nightmare, and some of them don't go home at all" -- Men's Journal reports on the dark side of ayahuasca, including the tragic death of Kyle Nolan, in the first extended media treatment of molestation, rape, and negligence at the hands of predatory and inept shamans.
Traveling Safely to Drink Ayahuasca -- If you have decided to travel to South America to drink ayahuasca, I hope that you have a wonderful experience and return safely to tell everyone about your adventures. But be aware that you will be traveling in third-world countries that often have limited resources, and wonderful experiences are less often the product of luck than of thoughtful preparation. Here are several things you can do to help ensure that your trip is safe and productive.
The Mystery of Ulluchu -- The Moche culture flourished in the northwestern coastal areas of Peru around AD 100–800. Human sacrifice was a significant part of their state religion, apparently to appease a deity named Ai Apaec, who is depicted in Moche art as fanged, half-human, most often in the shape of a spider, holding in one hand a severed human head and in another the crescent-shaped ceremonial knife called a tumi. Were hallucinogens part of these ceremonies?