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Uniting around a Common Vision – a Sustainable Future for Plants, People, and the Planet

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Posted: August 5, 2019
Category: From the Temple

Aya 2019


Dear Temple community,

From May 31st to June 1st, we had the great honor and pleasure of attending the third World Ayahuasca Conference, in beautiful Girona, Catalonia. The conference was organized by our friends from ICEERS and we were proud sponsors alongside many friends and allies.

The conference comes at a pivotal moment for the global ayahuasca community, where ancient wisdom and indigenous knowledge are being sought after more than ever by people from all walks of life. Moreover, the new wave of psychedelic research keeps shedding light on the wonderful properties and therapeutic benefits that these plants and molecules can offer all of us. These conferences showcase the results of years of arduous work by many investigators, drug policy advocates, practitioners, facilitators, and providers who are at the cutting edge of a new health paradigm. Major cities in the west are aligning with these findings as shown by the recent ballot victories in Denver and Oakland, paving the way for more communities to decriminalize nature and allow people to seek the best healing tools and practices available to them.

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At the Temple, we are delighted to contribute our share to the communal ongoing effort to legitimize psychedelics and plant medicines, both through our daily work with our guests and in our ongoing research collaborations with ICEERS, the Beckley Foundation, and the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College in London.

Our ongoing research collaboration with ICEERS includes one of the biggest data samples gathered in the field, thanks to many of you who chose to join our study! Our data (not surprisingly) is extremely promising, and will be published in several papers, highlighting the variety and diversity of potential benefits derived by the responsible use of ayahuasca, contextualized within the practices of the indigenous Shipibo healers that work at the Temple. This is a huge step forward that will help influence drug policy, add substantial weight to the ongoing effort to decriminalize these practices, and help the Shipibo people reach far and wide with their incomparable healing techniques.

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We were extremely happy to see Jose Lopez, an incredibly powerful, young Shipibo healer who has been working at the Temple for a long while, participate in a panel that included well-respected western academics. Jose eloquently and compellingly articulated the Shipibo vision and worldview, giving a refreshing and honest reflection of his own work and experience working with the plants.

The conference program had no less than 5 presentations related to the work that we do at the Temple!


Adam Aronovich, the Temple’s research coordinator and a workshop facilitator, gave a short presentation based both on his personal experience and on the stories and narratives of struggle and healing he has gathered through dozens of qualitative interviews conducted at the Temple. Two more presentations, by Maria Carvalho and Debora Gonzales from ICEERS, were based on the data collected at the Temple together with ICEERS and the Beckley Foundation. Debora spoke about her research on ayahuasca and grief, while Maria started to unravel the psychotherapeutic mechanisms underlying people's experiences of healing at the Temple. Lastly, Hannes Kettner from Imperial College gave an insightful talk about the intersubjective dimension of ayahuasca experiences, with a part of his raw data coming from the collaboration between the Temple and Imperial College.

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We are incredibly happy to have been present for this historical event in the beautiful city of Girona, and we are more hopeful than ever before, knowing that the time is ripe for a paradigmatic shift in our healthcare systems. We are proud to be part of this shift, where body, mind, spirit, and community are understood as intrinsic components of what it means to be healthy and happy. The message of the plants, rooted in the daily and constant practice of integrity, reciprocity, and mutual responsibility (akinananti, in Shipibo) is now resonating clearer and clearer, well beyond the reach of the rainforest, and we are honored to help spread this invaluable message through our work and our commitment to honest scientific research.

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With love and appreciation for our global ayahuasca community,

The Temple of the Way of Light