Hear Payoomkawish (Juaneño/Luiseño) Elder Richard Bugbee share insights from his decades of studying the way of plants. He emphasizes the importance of reclaiming our ways of seeing, being and understanding the world by reclaiming Native languages and observing the world more closely. Enjoy provocative insights from an elder who has devoted his lifetime to the study of plants and their uses, the reclamation of language, and the practice of material culture.
We have forgotten the flocks of passenger pigeons that blotted out the sun, the herds of bison that shook the ground, and the untamed places in which we destroyed them. This is ecological amnesia. This capacity to forget, this fluidity of memory, has dire implications in a world dense with people, all desperate to satisfy their immediate material needs. Yet, the way forward is land and water protection and regeneration, permaculture, and community reconnection with the wild.
Field Guides to the Wild intrigue Naomi Pitcairn, sharing her adventures in scientific documentation of the wonders of nature, in this case the botanical wealth of the American Tropics.
Psychonaut ethnobotanist Terence McKenna captures the journey along a ghostly trail into the Colombian Amazon Forest, the descent of the Rio Putumayo, and his stumbling upon the “starborn magic mushroom,” activated by psilocybin. Watch Peter Bergmann’s experimental documentary.
Ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, one of the most important plant explorers of the 20th century, served as a key inspiration in a recent film called “Embrace of the Serpent.” In December 1941, Schultes entered the Amazon to study how indigenous peoples used plants for medicinal, ritual, and practical purposes. After nearly a decade of fieldwork, he made significant discoveries about the sacred hallucinogen ayahuasca. In total, Schultes would collect more than 24,000 species of plants including some 300 species new to Western science.
Every day, more and more tourists arrive in Iquitos, Peru, seeking spiritual enlightenment or a psychedelic experience first made popular by William Burroughs and the Beatniks in the 1960s. Unfortunately, some well-paid “shamans” lack the experience or understanding of the powerful and sacred botanical brews used for thousands of years for healing and divination. And the gringos-on-holiday often get over their heads in the wilds of the Amazon.
Matthew Pallamary’s acclaimed novel “Land Without Evil,” recently performed as an aerial acrobatic stage show, narrates the true story of a young shaman of the Guaraní people of South America facing European conquest and conversion to Catholicism in the 1700s.