Ayahuasca is an integral part of the religious rites of the tribal people that inhabit the great Amazonian basin of the Northern part of South America. Ayahuasca possess psychoactive properties which the natives believe to be very useful in healing purposes and to attain spirituality. Ayahuasca leads to unconsciousness which the tribes consider to be a mode of communicating with the spirits. Ayahuasca drinks are used as sacraments in almost every important religious ceremonies and rituals.
A hallucinogenic brew... Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew prepared with the vines of Banisteriopsis caapi (B. cappi), leaves of plant Psychotria viridis and Psychotria shrubs. This brew is being used for innumerous healing and psychoactive purposes by the natives of the Peruvian Amazon basin and the inhabitants of the Northern South America since centuries. An Ayahuasca treatment is believed to impart higher level so spirituality. The shamans also believe in the capabilities of Ayahuasca in effectively diagnosing and treating a wide range of ailments incurred during warfare, hunting, etc. Ayahuasca also facilitates divination as an effective aphrodisiac.
What’s the religious usage of Ayahuasca in the Amazonian tribes?
In several parts of Brazil and Colombia, Ayahuasca is also called Yagé. Since ancient times, the Ayahuasca drink is an integral part of the culture of the tribes that reside in and around the Amazonian basin stretched all across the Northern region of South America. The natives of these regions had also incorporated the drink in their traditional ceremonies and in their regular rituals. In fact, the Ayahuasca plays a great role in their rituals and inherent part of their ceremonies.
Peru is the primary source of Ayahuasca worldwide, and it is in the Peruvian Amazon basin that you can find the most prominent usage of the Ayahuasca drinks. The Mestizo tribe of Peru inhabits the outskirts of the Amazonian basin in the cities of Tarapoto, Puccalpa and Iquitos. They have been using Ayahuasca drinks as sacraments in their rituals since ages. In the Mestizo tribes, it is a common ritual to intake Ayahuasca drinks to attain altered consciousness to invoke spirits. Thereafter, hymns are sung to cause the release of physical and mental ill-feelings. Ayahuasca is also consumed during other religious ceremonies which includes séances of the shamans and the spiritualists. The Mestizo tribes consider B. cappi vines (the prime ingredient of Ayahuasca) as the ‘vine of spirits’ and hence, they also refer to this drink as Quechua. Similar traditional rituals involving the Ayahuasca drinks can also be observed in various other Peruvian tribes such as Inuit, Jivaro, Pano, Korubo, etc.
A spiritualistic ritual... The tribes of the Amazonian basin consider Ayahuasca to cause spiritual bonding with their deities. However, this is primarily due to the psychic characteristics of Ayahuasca that cause hallucinations and mixed up senses. Ayahuasca is also actively used in the traditional rituals of the Assurini, Kaiapó, Tapirajé and various tribes of Brazil. These tribes inhabit the northern region of the Amazon basin. They consider Ayahuasca to be a spiritual drink and believe that its consumption is a must during rituals in order to bond with the friendly spirits. The shamans of their tribe consume Ayahuasca to attain divinity.
In fact, all these tribes of the Peruvian region as well as that of the Brazilian basin practice entheogenic religions wherein, they believe in a sacred usage of psychoactive substances (which in this case refers to Ayahuasca drinks). Probably there won’t be any such spiritualistic ritual that doesn’t involve Ayahuasca. Whether it is the traditional birth ceremonies, wedding rituals or any other divine religious rites of these tribes, the Ayahuasca drinks are always on the cards. Such is the involvement of Ayahuasca in the religious observances of the tribes of Brazil that they are often referred to as the Brazilian Ayahuasca religion which in turn indicates a syncretic religion.
The tribes residing in and around the great amazon basin have merged Ayahuasca in their traditional culture and religion. They believe Ayahuasca to have unique healing capabilities. An Ayahuasca intake is often immediately followed by a vomiting activity which the tribes consider as the ouster of all the negative energies and illnesses from the body. Hence, they involve Ayahuasca in probably all of their religious rites to ensure that every participant is free from all the negativities of life. They believe Ayahuasca to make their soul pure so that they can properly communicate with the spirits and bring well-being to their tribe.