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    Is Ayahuasca Right for You?

    Chris Kilham, author of The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook. Photo by Jeff Skeirik.  

    ReviewingThe
    Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook
    , Chris
    Kilham’s backpack guide to the healing powers of the sacred Amazonian plant brew.

    My first encounter with ayahuasca was through William S.
    Burroughs. That is to say, several years ago I read The Yage Letters, which was Burroughs’ collected correspondence
    with poet Allen Ginsberg as he traveled to the Amazon in search of the elusive
    “final fix.”

    Since then, I’ve learned a great deal more about the
    powerful and mysterious plant-derived brew that goes by many different names.
    And while all accounts verify that you will, indeed, find the high that
    Burroughs was looking for through ayahuasca, others suggest there’s much more
    to glean from the experience; that the plant offers one enhanced self-awareness
    and even spiritual enlightenment.  

    Chris Kilham is a medical plant expert, author, and educator
    who has participated in more than 80 ayahuasca ceremonies over the past eight
    years. Over that span, he has become one of the foremost advocates for the
    healing benefits of the ayahuasca space, and has recently compiled a
    comprehensive introduction to the experience in The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook. Kilham approaches ayahuasca
    from a perspective of ultimate respect, and often refers to the plant brew by
    its most reverential and descriptive name, La
    Medicina.
    For Kilham and many others, ayahuasca has been so positively
    life-changing, that he felt compelled to write the backpack
    guide so that others may also safely and effectively wade into the healing waters of the ayahuasca
    experience.

    Kilham’s book couldn’t have come at a better time. Though
    knowledge of ayahuasca and its use as part of the South American shamanic
    tradition has been well-known in select circles for many years, it’s been a relatively
    recent development that the Sacred Vine has found a much wider and receptive audience. As
    public awareness grows, so has the ayahuasca tourism industry in places like
    Iquitos, Peru, and experienced ayahuasca journeyers like Kilham feel a
    responsibility to make sure that people know what they’re getting into. In the
    event that this is the first time you’ve read about ayahuasca, a recent Newsweek Q&A with Kilham is a good primer to what goes into the brew and what
    you might encounter—both physically and otherwise—when you enter the ayahuasca
    space.