So You Want to Converse with the Serpent? A Journey to Mayantuyacu

So You Want to Converse with the Serpent? A Journey to Mayantuyacu

Snakes have played an important role in my inner psycho-spiritual life, from the frequent snake-based nightmares that plagued my sleep as a child to far more interesting visions later on,

Chavin de Huantar Pilgrimage January 2016

Chavin de Huantar Pilgrimage January 2016

Chavin de Huantar is the lodestone, the morning star, the birthplace of the great spiritual and indigenous consciousness of the Andes, and South America as a whole. A ceremonial complex at 10,425 feet above sea level, located at the confluence […]

Mayantuyacu Pilgrimage May 29th- June 12th, 2016

Mayantuyacu Pilgrimage May 29th- June 12th, 2016

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. […]

Three Must-View Ted Talks on the Bio and Ethnosphere

Three Must-View Ted Talks on the Bio and Ethnosphere

Dr. Mark Plotkin, ethnobotanist, molecular biologist, disciple of the great Richard Evans Schultes, and founder of Amazon Conservation Team, gives an eloquent, deeply informed, and passionate apologia for the rights and incalculable worth of the uncontacted peoples of the Amazon […]

Ceasefire: Ending Our War upon Bacteria

Ceasefire: Ending Our War upon Bacteria

Bacteria are wondrous critters. They fix nitrogen in the soil to nourish plants, populate our intestinal tract so we can digest our food, and convert our milk into cheese. Yet, like the uncounted billions of stars in the night sky, […]

Revoking the Myth of 1492 and Reclaiming Turtle Island

Revoking the Myth of 1492 and Reclaiming Turtle Island

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 […]

Integration of Ayahuasca Experiences

Integration of Ayahuasca Experiences

Not long ago, while hobnobbing one morning at my 5 year old daughter’s school, I overheard a couple of parents talking about their experiences with different ayahuasqueros and how difficult it was to find anyone reliable in the Bay Area […]

“I Am Not in Charge. The Spirits of Ayahuasca Are.” One Pilgrim’s Experience at Mayantuyacu

“I Am Not in Charge. The Spirits of Ayahuasca Are.” One Pilgrim’s Experience at Mayantuyacu

I am not in charge. The spirits of Ayahuasca are – big, powerful, monumental – like a mountain with a Sphinx on top – brown and green and jungle. Sharp edges, lightening-like patterns like native weavings – strong.

Snake Medicine: How Shamanism Heals

Snake Medicine: How Shamanism Heals

Animistic perspectives, which hold the cosmos as “a being to whom prayers and offerings are made, who is endowed with understanding, agency and sentience, and responds to the actions of humans” are often dismissed as primitive, even as “incompatible with […]

Reflections on A Dawn Cloud

Reflections on A Dawn Cloud

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 announced my intention to take up the path of Zen. He had regarded me […]

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 […]

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 […]