Plant Teachers

I was most intrigued when I saw Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge on the review list and because my knowledge of these plants was rather superficial until I read this book, I thought it was about time that I took the opportunity to extend my knowledge of them.

This book is short, but nonetheless packs a punch and as someone whose scientific background extends as far as GCSE Biology some 22 years ago, I found that the scientific explanations were at just the right level without being overwhelming – which would have led me to struggle to finish reading it. I really liked how the author, through his conversations with Rafael Chanchari Pizuri, sets out the salient scientific information pertaining to the plants whilst incorporating the indigenous beliefs and practices with ayahuasca and tobacco into the book alongside them. In fact, my favourite parts of the book were when the two men were in dialogue and discussing stories of people’s experiences with the plants. Also, in the Introduction section, Narby recounts the tale of his visit to a tobacco shaman teacher with a gentleman named Carlos Perez and what happens when he tries tobacco paste… very interesting indeed.

In addition, I liked the fact that the book has an appendix covering Vape, Snuff, Rapé and Snus, as well as there being a pleasingly dense and meticulously put together end notes and bibliography.

Overall, I would say that this jam-packed little book is definitely worth a read if you are after a well-rounded perspective on two of the most widely-known plant teachers on Earth.

Book Details: Jeremy Narby, Rafael Chanchari Pizuri. Plant Teachers. New World Library (1 September 2021). ISBN 978-1608687732.

Review Details: Plant Teachers was reviewed by Em Mulholland, sub-editor of Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 51.

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