deus é mais. mais que um. sao é dois.

Thanks for your kind comments concerning my well-being when I was away. I wasn’t in a great space when I left for Bahia two weeks ago. But I have to say I can’t imagine feeling any better now.

I’m sitting in my sunny sitting room with the snowlight reflecting up from the gardens below. It’s cold and icy here in London and yet 48 hours ago I was sitting on my balcony in Bahia with hummingbirds churring past my head, redhatches pecking at the cashew fruits that grow there, and the sounds of the jungle weaving out in vibrant tendrils from the green, green of the palms.

I know that I always wax rhapsodic when I come back from my adventures with ayahuasca but I can’t help but rejoice in that amazing Plant. This time, more than ever before, I recognized the very distinct external presence of the Vine.

Previous to that I’d been struggling with / hiding in the smug Western intellectual attitude that somehow it was my brain chemistry, my consciouness, my intellect that was working on my own psyche. There was no external entity, the Plant was just neurotransmitters. But I’m more respectful. From the Shamanic perspective, this world is full of many more things than just human brains. The spirit of Ayahuasca is a big presence in the world. And it’ll whup your ass if you disrespect it.
For the Amazonian Indians there is no doubt that Ayahuasca is a real presence that you interact with (if you’re lucky). It’s the World in fact. The jungle, the soil, the birds, the water, the rocks. It’s everything but my intellect.

In this sense, Ayahuasca is profoundly ecological and deeply suspicious of Western individualism.

I’ve been reading a lot about the ancient Greeks and their attitude to Gods. When a God appeared on Earth, in a human, in a tree, in a shower of gold, then those nearby were struck with terror, with awe. The place where the god appeared became numinous and bright, reality quivered a little and those who witnessed it felt sick to their stomachs before being lifted up into the brightness.

That’s exactly how I feel about the Plant. The day before I feel quite excited, intellectually, I can appreciate the honour of having this one-on-one with the Goddess, but then the afternoon wears on, the darkness descends like a bolt and then I feel sick to my stomach and intellect is useless. This is the emotional body of a child before he is able to speak. Experiences only register on a gut level.

But the ceremony begins, we stand in a group, share our intentions and drink. And then it’s done. There is no going back. The Plant’s bitter, fermented, moist substance is inside and the only strategy is surrender.

It was a great group this year. Small but very courageous. Almost everyone was working with their childhood memories and the constellations of life that spring from them. And everyone bravely threw themselves into the work even if it involved going to the most challenging, dark places of memory.

I received amazing confirmation of all the work I’ve been doing in therapy this last year – which has been painful and challenging on all sorts of levels. But in the arms of ayahuasca, it raced on and become turbo-charged.

I don’t need to go into it all here. The need for external confirmation is much less. But I did want to share the tremendous benefit of the work Silvia does in Bahia.

It’s been a very difficult year for ayahuasca-healing and Silvia’s project on the Land. She is such a great therapist and she is getting better and better. But this work with light is not without it’s unfortunate side effects. In her psycho-spritual therapist role, she is so egoless and works without any of the clonky self-presentation of many group therapists. My friend Joshua saw her as a hummingbird – a potent animal totem – hovering over us as we dreamt.

And yet, her positive work also pulls dark moths to it.

Despite the enormous benefit of her healing work, people, disgruntled with her for other reasons, have come out of the woodwork and tried to discredit her work. But I will not stand for that. I have to speak out in her support.

I have never come across therapeutic work that has the fast and powerful effects of Silvia’s work with ayahuasca. It’s interesting that the psychologist Deborah Quevedo had been in Brazil doing research into the effectiveness of ayahuasca therapy in treating things like neuroticism and shown astonishingly positive results.

I am convinced (especially since I’ve been studying psychotherapy) that the combination of childhood therapy, transactional analysis and the enormous spiritual power of ayahuasca will have a massive impact in years to come. And I’m proud to be associated with Silvia’s work and will always speak up in her favour.

The silly and frankly absurd slurs made against her in the internet are actually testament to how challenging her work is. If I had my way, I’d pay for planeloads of people to go to Bahia and experience the beauty of the place and the healing potential of her work. What a priviledge it is to be involved.


  1. Brian (DocSwill)

    December 24, 2009 at 6:14 am


    The boy is back and he brought the Gods!

    Good to see you back in the game my boy!

    Happy Holidays!

    Peace B

  2. TOSHI

    December 25, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Namaste Alistair

  3. Robert

    December 26, 2009 at 5:52 am

    Good to have you back! I’m glad you seem to be rested and rejuvenated . Happy Holidays!
    At the risk of going from the sublime to the ridiculous I thought I would send you this link.
    Yours Robert

  4. hexagon suns

    December 27, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Alistair, I’ve been trekking through the desert in New Mexico
    and thinking about you.
    It is the book ‘Long quite highway: waking up in America’
    that brought me here.
    This book was on your list in Holy Island and
    it is my favorite! That desert is a very spiritual place…
    I arrived in San Francisco and there was a shooting
    5 meters away from me at the train station.
    I had to run for my life. 30 minutes ago.
    So I have just got here, smelly, exhausted, frightened and
    reading your blog is the best thing, can you imagine?
    It reminds me of home. Please keep writing.

  5. Aimee

    December 30, 2009 at 5:28 am

    What a wonderful birthday gift to me — as always, a
    pleasure to read and a tonic for my weary, year-end
    Best to you from NJ!

  6. Juliano

    January 1, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Hi Alistair, Life is full of surprises…
    I have been watching the Escape to the Country.
    Its nice to dream escape to the country, but a big pull is you, my boy………hah, i am greatly attracted to your way about you

    But anyhow, I find your blog and surprise surprise you are speaking of Ayahuasca experience, and I discover all of this about you. Amazing, and I intend to follow your blog now ;)))

    Just some thoughts: I happened on this video, and think it is the perfect viewing for this New Years Day: alan watts on being god pt 1

  7. Angella

    January 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Hope your feeling stronger, not sure what else to say.

  8. elise

    January 2, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Glad to hear your soul is sparkling again. Do you find
    that things come up in order to be healed before your
    aya sessions?

    Sorry to hear that Silvia has been getting some flak.
    I found her dogma-free, non-judgemental approach to be
    very helpful.

  9. Athene

    January 3, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Oh to be so loved.x

  10. Jeff

    January 11, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I SO know where you are coming from.. I think… You SO have to listen to Laurie Anderson. Specificaly, No. 31. (and others) on my Playlist.

    Cheers bello!

  11. Poorna

    January 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I was sorry to read that Silvia’s work has been
    discredited. I took part in a retreat/seminar there
    last year and have nothing but the highest regard
    for her professionalism, skill and care as a therapist.
    I only wish it was closer so I could go more often!
    I made some very real shifts as a result of my
    experiences there and am happy to have had the
    opportunity to meet Silvia and to have the
    ayuahuasca experience under her guidance.

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