Katie Bain on path at Dreamglade. photo by Tracey Eller / Cosmic Sister

Feminists Are Going to the Amazon to Drink Ayahuasca
Vice | Broadly
by Gabby Bess

“If you help one woman, who is the right type of woman, and she becomes more empowered, she will be free to do something new. Then she goes back to her own home, integrates those learnings and those visions in her own life, and then helps other women. It’s a paying-it-forward model. I'm not in control of the process and I don't want to be in control of it; that's a patriarchal idea. These women do their own thing.” – Zoe Helene

The concept of harnessing the powers of ayahuasca for curative and revelatory experiences has gained popularity in recent years. Cosmic Sister, a psychedelic advocacy network, is hoping it can also help women heal from the wounds of the patriarchy.

It was when she was sitting in a maloka—a rustic round cabin with a thatched roof of palm leaves—at the spiritual center Nihue Rao, located in the jungle 30 minutes outside of the Peruvian city Iquitos, that Amy Love broke down and started weeping.

She had come there to drink ayahausca for the first time, along with several other women. After each had received her own personalized icaros, or healing song, from the ceremony's shaman, and set an intention, they dove into world of the plant medicine.

Love's visions centered on the loss of connection she felt when her daughter was 18 months old and she could no longer be a stay-at-home mom because she had to reenter the workforce to support her family. "I flashed back to a time before I started my business, when my daughter was still an infant in my arms," she said. "My heart broke open, and I just started weeping. I wept long and hard, and soon it evolved to a weeping for the loss of connection between myself and my mother, and for she and her mother's, and my sister's, and on and on back through my ancestral lines..."

Then she looked up and noticed that all the women surrounding her in the maloka were also crying. "I realized—remembered, became aware of—on a cellular level, the bond between all women on planet Earth, the interconnected sisterhood between us all," she said.

The following night, she said, she was healed of a separate trauma: A man had assaulted her in her home a year before, and that evening she experienced a profound, physical catharsis. "I had been carrying that trauma with me, and it exited my body in one forceful ejection of vomit that took the visual form of a neat bundle of skulls looking up at me from the toilet," she said. "I instantly recognized the look in their glittering eyes as the same gleeful evil intent that was in his eyes that day... It was now in my power to flush this thing down the toilet forever, which I promptly did."


“Many people, women particularly, are hindered by timidity and self-doubt. Ayahuasca helps us become our own greatest allies rather than our own worst enemies.” – Faye Sakellaridis

“I released my lingering attachments to my ex-partner, and I processed a great deal of the underlying emotional pain associated with freeing myself from this (abusive) marriage. The sisterhood aspect of the experience was a big factor in this, since our experiences of sharing and bonding with each other as a group worked synergistically with the ayahuasca, allowing each of us to process and release emotions that were holding us back in our important life work.” – Neşe Devenot

“I realized—remembered, became aware of—on a cellular level, the bond between all women on planet Earth, the interconnected sisterhood between us all.” – Amy Love

“Ayahuasca has been very helpful with healing from the cellular level to the spiritual level. I absolutely can attest to that.” – Rachael Carlevale

December 2016