Emigrant Wilderness: Remembering Robert Aitken Roshi

Emigrant Wilderness: Remembering Robert Aitken Roshi

I showed up at Koko An Zendo while still a teenager. Having done my preliminary research, I marched into my first dokusan with Robert Aitken and requested a koan. He had regarded me and said, “Well, there is this koan […]

The Intensified Trajectory of Consciousness in Odysseus’ Vision in Hades

The Intensified Trajectory of Consciousness in Odysseus’ Vision in Hades

The winding path that led to this essay, just published in Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, began with the traditional lore of an Ashaninkan shaman working in the Peruvian Amazon. It may be the first significant discussion […]

A Film on Soil, Cultivation, the Life of Plants, and the Sustainable Future of Humankind

A Film on Soil, Cultivation, the Life of Plants, and the Sustainable Future of Humankind

Symphony of the Soil not only illustrates for us, with breathtaking footage and interviews with scientists and organic farmers, the miracle of the living Earth, but also alerts us to the grave dangers of the Green Revolution and its soil-degrading, […]

Mayantuyacu Pilgrimage June 2015

Mayantuyacu Pilgrimage June 2015

Salud con Todos! Once again we are inviting a small group of people to journey with us into the depths of the vegetalista tradition in the Peruvian Amazon. There we will work at Mayantuyacu with the maestro curandero Juan Flores. […]

Tonkiri: A Newly Released Film on the Pilgrimage of Juan Flores

Tonkiri: A Newly Released Film on the Pilgrimage of Juan Flores

Film makers Jim Sunday and Andre Clement wandered into Mayantuyacu some years ago wanting to make a short film on Amazonian shamanism. They found themselves swept up into a story of pilgrimage and apprenticeship instead. At long last, their first […]

Indigenize Yourself! On Recovering Our Native Perception

Indigenize Yourself!  On Recovering Our Native Perception

You know, I think if people stay somewhere long enough – even white people – the spirits will begin to speak to them. It’s the power of the spirits coming up from the land. The spirits and the old powers […]

Sacred Soil — Revitalizing Our Relationship with the Earth and Ending Global Climate Change

Sacred Soil — Revitalizing Our Relationship with the Earth and Ending Global Climate Change

The quest for El Dorado, the ghost province of the Spanish empire, ended in lunacy and death. Yet it now turns out that the gold the conquistadors sought lay plainly in their sight. Archaeologists have now determined that up to […]

The Siren’s Rapturous Song: A Video on Shamanism and the Healing of Addiction

The Siren’s Rapturous Song: A Video on Shamanism and the Healing of Addiction

Awareness of the remarkable efficacy of psychoactive plant medicines to heal addiction is growing. These presentations by Robert Tindall and Susana Bustos, sponsored by City Lights Books, were inspired in part by the authors’ work at Takiwasi, a center for […]

Tolkien and Magic Mushrooms: A Review of The Shamanic Odyssey by Carl Ruck

Tolkien and Magic Mushrooms: A Review of The Shamanic Odyssey by Carl Ruck

An engaging, insightful commentary upon magic mushroom use among Tolkien’s contemporaries and a review of The Shamanic Odyssey by Carl Ruck of Boston University, co-author with Albert Hofmann and R. Gordon Wasson of the classic, groundbreaking study The Road to […]

The City for Machines, the Jungle for Healing

The City for Machines, the Jungle for Healing

Back in 2004, when I was documenting the shamanistic practices of the Ashaninkan curandero Juan Flores for my book, The Jaguar that Roams the Mind, Flores had a saying that captured the nature of his healing work. Returning from the […]

Tolkien is Wild and Disney is Tame: A Fantast’s Apologia

Tolkien is Wild and Disney is Tame: A Fantast’s Apologia

I can remember as a child falling into line with Disney’s black and white formulas. Jiminy Cricket’s “Give a little whistle” was a cheery invite to safety holding hands crossing the street, whereas the Fox’s “An Actor’s Life for Me” […]

Loving a Sentient Cosmos

Loving a Sentient Cosmos

Future Primitive interviews Robert on the joy of participating in a sentient cosmos; water, the primordial womb; music and opening of the gates of consciousness; from shamanism to cultural regeneration; Tolkien: remembering the animistic perception of the world; “a love […]

Can Animistic Perception Change the World?

Can Animistic Perception Change the World?

Taking a sacred medicine out in the jungle of South America appears to give rise to ecological awareness, as a reaction against a cold, materialistic view of the environment that mostly exists in the corporate mind

Subversive Spiritualities: A Review

Subversive Spiritualities: A Review

It is a rare occurrence to encounter an anthropological work that is intellectually rigorous and deeply spiritual, one which both illuminates the mind and touches the deep concerns of the heart. Yet when such a miracle occurs, as we find […]

Is Alcohol a Spirit? Or, My Goodness, My Guinness!

Is Alcohol a Spirit? Or, My Goodness, My Guinness!

The word Spirit, the “animating or vital principle in man and animals,” comes to us via the Latin spiritus, “soul, courage, vigor, breath,” and is related to spirare “to breathe.” Its plural form, spirits, or a “volatile substance,” is an […]

Alas! My Blade Is Broken!

Alas! My Blade Is Broken!

Among Zen Buddhists, there is a tradition of composing a final work of art or poetry upon one’s death bed. As a teenager, freshly embarked upon my Zen training in a Buddhist temple in Hawai’i, I came across this poem […]

The Gaia Project: Reclaiming the Mysteries of Eleusis

The Gaia Project: Reclaiming the Mysteries of Eleusis

If we could unbind ourselves from the wheel of history and behold the same mysteries of deep time as the Ancients once did at Eleusis, we might very well cry out: Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am […]

Psychedelic Press UK Literary Review: The Jaguar That Roams the Mind

Psychedelic Press UK Literary Review: The Jaguar That Roams the Mind

“There are an increasing number of psychospiritual drug narratives that centre around ayahuasca and the Amazon, and while they all retain a great number of similar threads, Robert Tindall’s The Jaguar the Roams the Mind stands out from the crowd… […]

Expanding Mind Interview — Shamanic Odyssey

Expanding Mind Interview — Shamanic Odyssey

Robert recently had a conversation with Erik Davis and Maja D’Aoust on the Progressive Radio Network’s program Expanding Mind, exploring indigenous versus modern consciousness, addiction, and the profound relevance of Homer’s Odyssey to unraveling the roots of our current ecological […]

Prospero — Shakespeare’s Shaman

Prospero — Shakespeare’s Shaman

“Animism” is a concept first introduced into anthropological circles by one of its founders, Edward Tylor, as the belief in supernatural beings permeating the natural world. In his Primitive Culture (1871), he wrote that animism is a perception held by […]

Psychedelic Press UK Review: The Shamanic Odyssey

Psychedelic Press UK Review: The Shamanic Odyssey

“I very much enjoyed reading the shamanic analysis of two of my own favourite books. The use of plants in the Odyssey, and the idea of an “intensified trajectory of consciousness” in Tolkien, and the phenomenological idea of presence in […]

Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ Flos Campi

Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ Flos Campi

The impulse to transcend, to rise to a higher plane, was deeply engraved upon Western spirituality by Plato and later Neo-Platonic Christians such as Saint Augustine. Yet Humanity’s primordial mystical desire, artistically rendered in the art of the Paleolithic caves, […]

Shamanic Roots of Western Culture: Odyssey & Tolkien

Shamanic Roots of Western Culture: Odyssey & Tolkien

“I love these kind of interviews – makes you feel like you’ve been sitting around the campfire with one of the ‘elders’ – out there in the jungle with the ancestors. You can almost hear their voices echoing in the […]

J.R.R. Tolkien and the Intensified Trajectory of Consciousness

J.R.R. Tolkien and the Intensified Trajectory of Consciousness

Although Middle Earth could easily be characterized as a product of the intensified trajectory, J. R. R. Tolkien, staunch Catholic, Oxford don, one of the most brilliant philologists of his age, gives scant evidence of a shaman adventurer. “I am […]

Embarking upon The Shamanic Odyssey: J.P. Harpignies in conversation with Robert Tindall

Embarking upon The Shamanic Odyssey: J.P. Harpignies in conversation with Robert Tindall

J.P. Harpignies, New York-based Associate Producer of the Bioneers Conference, and editor of Visionary Plant Consciousness recently corresponded with Robert Tindall, now located in the cacophonous mestizo wilds of the Peruvian Amazon, about his new book, The Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, […]