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Ayahuasca fixings found in 1,000-year-old Andean sacred bundle… … Graham Hancock – America Before (Amazonia)

“I’m going to organise my own Ayahuasca expedition for the end of the year… ten, maybe twelve people out in the Peruvian Amazon. I was going to attend the III World Ayahuasca Conference, but my money is has mostly gone on Krav Maga! 😀
… And Hancock’s new book! 😀 From what I can tell, in regards to the Amazon, this is pretty much everything I’ve been researching myself for the past ten years! (Tera Preta!)

The last Aya experiences I had out in the Amazon.. one in particular stood out! The only way I can describe it is, I pretty much obliterated my consciousness into a million pieces… they where spread out across all of time, reality and existence. I honestly didn’t think I was coming back from that one… … it was probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life if I’m honest!
It was like… Shakespeare Sisters Stay With Me… but in an Ayahuasca experience! :D)

And then! When I did somehow manage to pull myself together… (it felt like the most difficult thing I have ever had to do in my entire existence!)… I stumbled outside under the stars… thousands and thousands of stars, and I just burst into hysterical fits of laughter once again! 😀 Every star in the sky (thousands of them) where all out to watch me… every one was an alien civilisation, who had turned out to watch me! IT WAS FUCKING AMAZING! Always is…
There was actually a lunar eclipse that night during the ceremony!

Ayahuasca fixings found in 1,000-year-old Andean sacred bundle

By Yasmin Anwar, Media Relations| May 6, 2019

Ritual bundle with leather bag, carved wooden snuff tablets and snuff tube with human hair braids, pouch made of fox snouts and camelid bone spatulas.

Ritual bundle contents include leather bag, carved wooden snuff tablets and snuff tube with human hair braids, pouch made of fox snouts and camelid bone spatulas. (Photos courtesy of Juan Albarracin-Jordan and José M. Capriles)

Today’s hipster creatives and entrepreneurs are hardly the first generation to partake of ayahuasca, according to archaeologists who have discovered traces of the powerfully hallucinogenic potion in a 1,000-year-old leather bundle buried in a cave in the Bolivian Andes.

Led by UC Berkeley archaeologist Melanie Miller, a chemical analysis of a pouch made from three fox snouts sewn together tested positive for at least five plant-based psychoactive substances. They included dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmine, key active compounds in ayahuasca, a mind-blowing brew commonly associated with the Amazon jungle.

“This is the first evidence of ancient South Americans potentially combining different medicinal plants to produce a powerful substance like ayahuasca,” said Miller, a researcher with UC Berkeley’s Archaeological Research Facility who uses chemistry and various technologies to study how ancient humans lived.

She is lead author of the study, published today (Monday, May 6) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Miller’s analysis of a scraping from the fox snout pouch and a plant sample found in the ritual bundle — via liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry — turned up trace amounts of bufotenine, DMT, harmine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine. Various combinations of these substances produce powerful, mind-altering hallucinations.

Cueva del Chileno

The Cueva del Chileno in Bolivia where the bundle was found.

The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence of ritualistic psychotropic plant use going back millennia, said Miller, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand who conducted the research during her doctoral studies at UC Berkeley.

“Our findings support the idea that people have been using these powerful plants for at least 1,000 years, combining them to go on a psychedelic journey, and that ayahuasca use may have roots in antiquity,” said Miller.

Ancient psychedelic roots

The remarkably well-preserved ritual bundle was found by archaeologists at 13,000-foot elevations in the Lipez Altiplano region of southwestern Bolivia, where llamas and alpacas roam. The leather kit dates back to the pre-Inca Tiwanaku civilization, which dominated the southern Andean highlands from about 550 to 950 A.D.

In addition to the fox snout pouch, the leather bundle contained intricately carved wooden “snuffing tablets” and a “snuffing tube” with human hair braids attached, for snorting intoxicants; llama bone spatulas; a colorful woven textile strip and dried plant material. All the objects were in good shape, due to the arid conditions of the Andean highlands.

Though the cave where the artifacts were found appeared to be a burial site, an excavation did not turn up human remains. Moreover, the plants found in the bundle do not grow at those altitudes, suggesting the bundle’s owner may have been a traveling shaman or another expert in the rituals of psychotropic plant use, or someone who was part of an extensive medicinal plant trading network.

“A lot of these plants, if consumed in the wrong dosage, could be very poisonous,” Miller said. “So, whoever owned this bundle would need to have had great knowledge and skills about how to use these plants, and how and where to procure them.”

Of particular fascination to Miller is the pouch made of three fox snouts. She describes it as “the most amazing artifact I’ve had the privilege to work with.”

Fox snout pouch

This pouch was made from three fox snouts. When Miller scraped the inside, she found evidence of hallucinogenic substances.

“There are civilizations who believe that, by consuming certain psychotropic plants, you can embody a specific animal to help you reach supernatural realms, and perhaps a fox may be among those animals,” Miller said.

Ayahuasca’s prolonged effects

Ayahuasca is made from brewing the vines of Banisteriopsis Caapi and the leaves of the chacruna (Psychotria viridis) shrub. The leaves release DMT, and the vines release harmine — and therein lies the secret of the ayahuasca effect.

“The tryptamine DMT produces strong, vivid hallucinations that can last from minutes to an hour, but combined with harmine, you can have prolonged out-of-body altered states of consciousness with altered perceptions of time and of the self,” Miller said.

Once the drugs take effect, ayahuasca users typically enter a purgative state, which means they vomit a lot.

Though its use is currently fashionable among Silicon Valley techies, Hollywood celebrities and spiritual awakening-seekers worldwide, Miller says these latest archaeological findings pay homage to ayahuasca’s ancient history.

Proof positive

Miller joined the Cueva del Chileno excavation project when archaeologists Juan Albarracín-Jordán of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in Bolivia and José Capriles of Pennsylvania State University sought her expertise to identify the plant matter they had found in the bundle.

She traveled for two days to reach the cave site near the remote south Bolivian village of Lipez and helped with the final phases of the excavation. The bundle was transported to a laboratory in La Paz and, once permits were in place, samples were exported to the lab of Christine Moore, chief toxicologist with the Immunalysis Corp. in Pomona, California.

Moore’s lab provided the liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry technology needed to conduct toxicology tests on the samples. Once the contents of the Andean bundle tested positive for five kinds of psychotropic substances, Miller’s research team was over the moon.

“We were amazed to see the incredible preservation of these compounds in this ritual bundle,” said Miller. “I feel very lucky to have been a part of this research.”

The study’s other co-authors are Albarracín-Jordán, Capriles and Moore.

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