Learn about the gendered nature of plant spirits and the ethics of intercultural ayahuasca therapies.

Taught by Brazilian anthropologist Gretel Echazú, Ph.D, this course unleashes an empowering critical lens upon the ethically contentious space of ayahuasca tourism in the Peruvian Amazon.

In this short course, you'll learn about:

  • The history of ayahuasca and its relationship to the rubber tapping industry since the 1850s.
  • Amazonian spiritualities and the feminine and masculine dimensions of plants and nature.
  • The lives of two popular indigenous ayahuasca healers.
  • Ethical guidelines for drinking ayahuasca in the Peruvian Amazon.

"I see a great need for an informed, science-based and experienced-based source of information and guidance on the subject. Kahpi meets that need beautifully. It will be a cherished resource for all those wanting to deepen their knowledge and practice."

Dr. Gabor Maté

~Renowned Speaker and Best Selling Author

Indigenous Amazonian cultures have been fantasized, demonized and romanticized by Western societies for hundreds of years. In this fast-paced course, Gretel Echazú illustrates how common thinking in the West about shamanism is sometimes guilty of reproducing old inequalities and false portrayals. 

Drawing upon her work as an anthropologist living among different native therapists in the Peruvian jungle town of Tamshiyacu, Dr. Echazú teaches us how the feminine and masculine aspects of healing plants are undergoing a transformation within the current ayahuasca tourism boom.

In this course, you’ll learn about the dangers of Western fantasies about indigenous people and the need to be open to appreciating the complexity of indigenous shamanism.

Distinctions such as male and female plant-spirits, black and white magic, ancient and modern therapies, and Northern and Southern societies, are all critically untangled in this compact course. Dr. Echazú provides realistic ways of thinking about Amazonian shamanism and also positive ethical guidelines for drinking ayahuasca with people native to the Amazon Rainforest. 

Course Overview

  • 01
    Course Introduction
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    • Introduction
  • 02
    Ayahuasca & the Nation
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    • Colonial Utopias: A History of Ayahuasca and Rubber (8:29)
    • Western Imaginings: Rubber and Ayahuasca (5:32)
    • Power and Knowledge Between People from the South and the North (11:09)
    • The Building of an Experience: Different Agents of Ayahuasca Practice (11:38)
  • 03
    Gender and the Nature of Plants
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    • Hierbas [herbs], Palos [barks]: Feminine and Masculine Dimensions of Nature (10:09)
    • Visiting Two Popular Curanderos [Healers]: Julio & Isabel (16:56)
    • Effects of the New Age: From the Feminization of Ayahuasca to the "Shameans Phenomena" (10:23)
  • 04
    Race/Ethnicity and the Sparkling Field of the Cure
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    • Black Magic, White Magic: The Therapeutic Approach and the Power of Local Magic (12:10)
    • Homeopathic Biopiracy and the Profit of World Heritage (10:17)
    • Translation and the Weaknesses and Strengths of an Ayahuasca Teaching Initiative (11:19)

Gretel Echazú

Meet Your Instructor

For her PhD in anthropology undertaken at the University of Brazil, Gretel examined intersections between gender, ethnicity and the Nation in the context of ayahuasca tourism in the Peruvian Lowland Amazon. She studied popular specialists that work with magic and therapies connected to ayahuasca and other plants in Tamshiyacu, a small village located next to Iquitos. In her study, she highlights how important historical and social dimensions of the ayahuasca phenomena can help us better understand social inequalities and the danger of single stories about shamanism. In the present day, she works as a Post Doctorate Researcher at the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Saúde Coletiva da Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Norte, RN/Brazil.
Gretel Echazú


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