This essay frames an invitation to pastoral counselors and pastoral theologians to examine connections and perhaps interactions between themselves and traditional shamanic healers who use ayahuasca in their healing ceremonies. Indigenous people in South America have used ayahuasca for centuries, and the ritual has become common among the mestizo populations in urban areas of the Amazon, particularly as a curing ritual for drug addiction (Dobkin de Rios, 1970; Moir, 1998). Like peyote in the United States (Calabrese, 1997) ayahuasca use amongst the indigenous people of the Amazon is a form of cultural psychiatry. A review of the literature reveals very little commentary or discussion of shamanic practice in Pastoral Counseling (Pastoral Theology). The scant literature identifies an antithetical relationship at best. The current authors wonder about the possibility of to including shamanic practices in the context of pastoral counseling? This essay seeks to provide some basic information about the ritual use of ayahuasca and to offer a rationale for pastoral counselors to engage in a dialogue about its utility.
Prue, R., & Voss, R. W. (2014). Indigenous healing practice: ayahuasca. Opening a discussion. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 68(1), 1-13. 10.1177/154230501406800106
Link to full text