Psychoactive Initiation Plant Medicines: Their Role in the Healing and Learning Process of South African and Upper Amazonian Traditional Healers.
“Understanding this sequential use of traditional initiation plant medicines and their physiological and psychological correlates, could shed light on possible therapeutic mechanisms…”
There is an accelerating interest in strong acting psychoactive plants such as Ayahuasca for healing and personal development. However, what has become apparent with initiating into South African traditional healing and key literature sources from South America is the importance not only of the ‘opening’ visionary plants but the equally significant utilization of plants that cleanse and strengthen the initiate that are used as a sequence of initiation plant medicines both in South African and South American traditional medicine systems.
This paper explores what I would describe as a cross cultural technology of healing with psychoactive plants that are used in a sequential manner in order to take the initiate traditional healer through a process of self enquiry, growth and potential self mastery.
Understanding this sequential use of traditional initiation plant medicines and their physiological and psychological correlates, could shed light on possible therapeutic mechanisms involved with the use of traditional medicines and their potential applications in future psychiatry, pharmaceutical medicine and psychological development.
The connection is made on the role of perturbation both in the learning process healers engage and how psychoactive plants produce perturbation in the nervous system and what adaptive benefit this may have.