Menstuff® has compiled the following information on shamanism and Jage.

Facing the Demons Within

Shamanism may be one of the oldest forms of religious consciousness on the planet. In most cultures the shaman serves multiple roles, the most important being his mediation between temporal and spiritual worlds, although he also does healing. In his visionary state, under the influence of the powerfully hallucinogenic Jage, some believe him capable of communicating with the spirit world.

 Jage, used extensively in Central and South America, is also called ayahuasca, caapi and yaje, depending on the area and the culture. It is a potion made out of the boiled bark of the Banisteriopsis vine. Because its psychedelic effects often induce mystical visions, it has been called "the vine of the dead", "the vine of souls" and "the visionary vine."

The Chemistry

Jage, which includes other jungle plants as well as the vine, contains the powerfully hallucinogenic alkaloids harmine, harmaline, d-tetrahydroharmine and dimethyltrypatamine (DMT). These compounds have effects similar to LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. DMT has been found to occur naturally in mammals, but is usually broken down by the naturally occurring monoamine oxies (MO). Jage also contains MO inhibitors.

The Effects

Jage induces nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and leads to euphoric, aggressive or sexually aroused states. The vomiting and diarrhea are crucial to the purgative process that drives evil spirits and toxic substances out. There are often visions of creatures and plants, even by Europeans who have never seen them before. Occasionally one sees oneself as the spirit form of whatever jungle creature you are. Some experiences can be beautiful, involving panthers, jaguars and birds; others, involving snakes, lizards and dragons, are terrifying.

Source: Front, 5/02 

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