Grandmother Ayahuasca

 Christian Funder is an English and Mathematics teacher, living in Denmark. Grandmother Ayahuasca is his first book. Having read a few books from various authors on this and similar topics, I wondered if any new approach could be possible. I’m happy to be proven wrong!

Christian does indeed look at ayahuasca and a few other ethnobotanical plants and gives suitable warnings early on in his book to ‘don’t try this at home kids’. He seeks to look closely at the relationship between humans and ‘teacher plants’, with anecdotes from others, himself and the ayahuasqueros that led him on his journeys with the sacred plants in the Amazon jungle. We find ourselves looking at the neuroscientific aspects of the ayahuasca drink and also the author’s own experiences with suicidal depression and how he feels he personally has been helped into a peaceful existence.

For me, the soul of this book is in sharing Christian’s reverence for the plants he feels have helped him and others, recognising the relationship which can grow between the spirit of the plants and the imbiber. He is always sensitive and respectful to the indigenous world of its origins, never taking it for granted or treating the experience as some kind of trendy leisure pursuit.

There is a growing scientific belief and research into the medical value of the ‘teacher plants’ and this is not neglected by the author, looking at reports into their value in treating depression, anxiety and PTSD, comparing brain scans of those on clinical medication and those using this drink; though he is careful to advise explorers into these alternative methods not to jump into giving up prescribed drugs.

There are 6 pages of colour pictures within the book and plentiful references and bibliography.

The shamans Christian spoke with talked of the severing of humanities connection with the spirit of the plants; the author examines ways in which we can help to grow this connection once more. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fascinating book and look forward to more from this author.

Book Details: Christian Funder. Grandmother Ayahuasca. Park Street Press (30 Sept. 2021). ISBN: 9781644112359.

Review Details: Grandmother Ayahuasca was reviewed by Steve Kent for Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 52.

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