The Mirror of the Spirit

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This compelling documentary reaffirms the power of one of the world’s greatest traditional medicine, ayahuasca.  The film gathers an impressive cast of traditional practitioners, enthusiasts, and Western converts to reveal the essence of the ayahuasca experience. Much like the ayahuasca vine, the stories entangle the viewer in a compelling message that is hard to debate.

Practitioners claim that ayahuasca can cure up to 70% of all diseases and that, in fact, every illness has more than one cure. This includes mental diseases. Cures can include energy work as well as the use of other plants. Ayahuasca can also be used successfully for the treatment of addictions to drugs or other substances.

Not everybody can drink ayahuasca, though. The program includes a strict diet in which certain foods and certain meals are eliminated. In order for the treatment to work, ayahuasca has to be drunk on an empty stomach because it can induce vomiting and diarrhea to cleanse the body.  The drinking ritual usually takes place at night, so that means that after lunch, nothing else should be eaten.

The plant is said to be completely benign to the human system, yet it has sacred characteristics. Those who inherited its use say it’s not only for curing diseases, but it’s also powerful enough to warn you of evil to come. This idea might come because of the fact that ayahuasca is a hallucinogen that produces visions, but it should not be treated as a drug.

The treatment is grueling and harsh because of the strength of the substances contained in the plant, and it’s always to be drunk in a ceremonial setting. The participant should not eat salt, garlic, onions, sugar or other spices because these can interfere with the vine’s abilities. They should also not have sex and spend some time in isolation. This special diet can last from eight days to six months. The plant should never be taken without the special diet, though, because it becomes useless.

Just like with basically everything else in life, there are counterfeit shamans. These are the people who call themselves healers but are nothing more than charlatans. They take the money of tourists who come seeking help and aren’t able to deliver the expected results. A real shaman is one who has spent a lot of time with the plants and understands how to combine them and how they work.

This film captures the spirit of this diverse set of contributors all of whom have been changed by the power of the ayahuasca in many different ways. It might be because our collective consciousness is shifting.