Olivia Arévalo Lomas. Portrait by Geenss Archenti Flores

The Global Ayahuasca Community Is Reeling in the Wake of Recent Murders
by Allison Tierney

“Not everyone should do psychedelics.” – Zoe Helene, VICE

It’s been over week since a respected ayahuasca shaman was shot dead in a village in Peru and a Canadian tourist was lynched in a suspected retribution killing....

Zoe Helene, of Amherst, Massachusetts, describes herself as psychedelic feminist. She has been participating in ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru for a decade and is the founder of psychedelic advocacy network Cosmic Sister.

Helene described Arévalo as a “master healer.”

“She's iconic, so this really stirred up a lot in the plant spirit medicine community at large,” Helene said. “We're grieving.”

Helene said that foreigners with fantasies of becoming healers are too common, as well as unrealistic at times.

“You don't ever heal your family. You heal yourself,” Helene told VICE. “After years of personal immersion work, maybe, just maybe you will be in a position to begin to guide people to where they can go in Peru to work on healing, empowerment, and self-liberation.”

Helene said you can support other people, but without years and years of training, you are not a healer yourself. “It's not OK to just sort of declare that—and people randomly claiming that title is rampant right now because it's so trendy,” she said.


May 2018