Jerónimo Mazarrasa works with the International Center of Ethnobotanical Education Research and Services (ICEERS Foundation) as Social Innovation Coordinator, he’s also a coordinator of the Platform for the Defense of Ayahuasca (Plantaforma). In the past decade he has produced and written two documentaries about ayahuasca. The first about the Brazilian Ayahuasca churches, the second about the use of Ayahuasca in the treatment of drug addiction. He has travelled extensively through South America, researching a broad range of Ayahuasca practices, and has lectured internationally on ayahuasca tourism and the appropriation of indigenous knowledge. For the past five years he calls Ibiza home, where he runs The Council Tree, a series of monthly lectures on indigenous knowledge, people, and plants.
Charging for Ceremony: Polemics around Money in Shamanism
The issue of money around plant medicines like ayahuasca remains a source of endless polemics and bitter arguments within the community. Some quarters argue that the essence of medicine work gets perverted when there is a profit motive behind. Others counteract that historically there have always been interchanges around these services. In search for a wider understanding we will examine a wide range of practices, from exchanges in traditional shamanic societies both in north and south America, to prohibitions to “sell the Daime” in Brazilian ayahuasca churches, all the way to modern psychotherapists arguing that patients must pay for therapy in order for it to be effective. We’ll look at how different cultures have dealt with the issues across time, to arrive to a place that’s beyond these concrete examples, and touches a number of contradictions around the way we as Westerners approach complex issues of money, ceremony, profit, transparency and accessibility.