Sept. 27, 2021

Ayahuasca, Tobacco and the Hidden Truth About Plant Medicine with Jeremy Narby

"There is no good or evil, what there is, is prey and predator, that illness is our invisible entity that can come and kill us. We as hunters can go and kill animals, some animals can come and kill us. As long as we’re alive as human people like this in this world, our job is to stay alive and to stay alive we have to kill plants and animals but we have to do it with respect because we know that they’re members of our family so this means taking them into consideration doesn’t mean not killing them. The whole amazonian eco cosmology and there are differences between the different cultures..." --- Jeremy Narby

In this episode, AJ of @mysevenchakras and Jeremy, a Canadian Anthropologist, talks about mind-blowing topics such as plant medicine, sacred tobacco, mother ayahuasca, spiritual cleansing, sorcerers and the power of unseen realms of existence.

Jeremy Narby, PhD, is co-author of Plant Teachers with indigenous elder Rafael Chanchari Pizuri.  He became an early pioneer of ayahuasca research while living with the Ashaninca people of the Peruvian Amazon in the 1980s. He studied anthropology at Stanford University and now lives in Switzerland and works as Amazonian projects director for Nouvelle Planète, a nonprofit organization that promotes the economic and cultural empowerment of indigenous peoples.

To learn more about Jeremy Narby and his books visit his Amazon page:

Key Points Discussed

  • If you want to understand third world development, go to a place where there is an occurrence of a big development project happening on lands of indigenous people. (4:56)


  • I’m not a big fan of insects or snakes, I was not attracted to tropical rain forest but at the same time, If you want to become an Anthropologists, you go somewhere tough, you go to where you don’t want to go and you study something difficult and interesting and then you become a Doctor of Anthropology. (7:46)


  • In the Amazon there’s Nicotiana Tobacco, Nicotiana Rustica there are several kinds of Tobacco. The Tobacco that they grow has up to 20% nicotine compared to 1% in the Tobacco that Virginia plants tobaccos. This is very powerful, filled with psychoactive alkaloids and people consumed hallucinatory doses of this Tobacco. I mean in their culture it's a hallucination. It's another thing that people don’t know, It’s a hallucinogenic plant. (14:10)


  • Music becomes the medium for exchange with the invisible world which itself is made of music. It’s made of knowledge and it’s made of music (23:03)


  • Amazonian people have different ways of making oppositions. Everybody in the world is dualist. In Western dualism, there are absolute categories. Good and evil, body, mind, nature, culture are absolutely opposed to each other conceptually. (30:43)


  • It’s not really a question of good or evil. It’s a question of pragmatically staying alive. You actually do not want to become prey, it’s that we want to celebrate being predators, it's that being predators without getting eaten is the only way of staying alive. It’s about smart strategy. (35:16)


  • Talking about how Amazonian people used their resources rationally and the best way to protect the rain forest was to entrust it to their indigenous inhabitants. (39:40)


  • This is something that should need studying, the hallucinatory nature of Tobaccos understudied subject for the moment. Science has mainly not studied Tobacco as a hallucinogen and it's mainly studied as a cigarette version of a plant. That kind of research that needs to be done. 43:57)


  • From the indigenous point of view taking power from this route and empowering oneself, they will call that sorcery. (47:05)


  • It is necessarily a risky proposition that you take with your psychic so when you’re dealing with a powerful hallucinogen like Ayahuasca you want to ask yourself why you’re doing this? What are you looking for? (49:26)


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