Hamilton Souther spent over a decade living in the rainforests of Peru studying the way of the shaman. He’s the founder of Blue Morpho Tours, an Ayahuasca-based Peruvian retreat organization and his new endeavor, the U.S.-based White Morpho.
Embark upon a thought experiment with me if you will –
Imagine you’re fresh out of college and it’s sometime around the year 2000. You’ve decided to willingly uproot yourself from the perpetually protected, 70 degree cushy cocoon of the western world so that you can move to the Peruvian rainforest to become a shaman. A part of the world that’s not only uncomfortable, but deadly. The fauna and flora could get you, the water could get you, exposure could get you, it’s a situation where you could literally pick your poison if you wanted to. In addition to the existential considerations, there’s culture to contend with. You’re an outsider, you don’t speak the language or understand how they see the world.
As staggering as that culture shock would be, let’s say you did it successfully. You adjusted to the chaotic life of a rainforest shaman for a decade or so.
Congrats, you’re woke!
Upon your eventual hypothetical return to America, what would you think? My guess is it would seem hyper surreal, like Disney Land or something. It would feel like a closed-off cultural dome of excess. On top of that, in the time you were gone, a massive techno-cultural revolution has took place. The memetic digital mycelium exponentially exploded from coast-to-coast like fiberoptic HPV, except instead of warts, everyone now has something called an iPhone. A little glass rectangle that grants the masses access to another dimension made of light and symbols. Which, I guess if you put it that way, would make a strange sort of sense to a shaman.
Anyway, This technodelic Twilight Zone episode IS Hamilton Souther’s life. But this aspect of it, this collision of technology and shamanism, is something I’ve never focused in on too deeply until this conversation.
Musings in this mind meld –
- Digital culture shock
- Cannabis as a tool for shamanism
- Trying to live a normal life after experiencing profound wonder
- How shamans learn to pour Ayahuasca
- The mind, ayahuasca and recovering from injuries
- Can shamanism and the current cultural paradigm coexist or, perhaps merge?