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For millennia people in the Peruvian Amazon have developed a unique relationship to their environment. A special class of people among them, the healers or curanderos, have much to offer us in terms of potential cures for our most dreaded physical, emotional and spiritual ills. Their knowledge of humanity's greatest apothecary, the Amazonian rainforest, is deep and vast, and we can benefit greatly from their understanding of its many secrets. Moreover, these shamans have a thorough and refined understanding of the natural and supernatural forces that influence life on this planet, and can contribute greatly to deepening our understanding of human psychology, physiology and pathology, as well as sociology, ecology, agronomy, economics and philosophy. In this insightful film, master shaman Don Agustin Rivas Vazquez is interviewed at his amazon jungle camp to learn his approach to shamanism and life. We view many parts of this tradition; from the purification and initiatory rituals that shamans experience as part of their training to the many therapies, practices and specific plants used in amazonian shamanism. We follow the shaman and his apprentices as they collect the ingredients and prepare their most sacred sacrament, the ayahuasca brew, a potent hallucinogen and purgative for the all-night ayahuasca ceremony where participants often undergo periods of nausea and vertigo and occasionally receive sublime visions in an ecstatic state of mind.
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