Luis Eduardo Luna was born in Florencia, in the Colombian Amazon (1947). He has a doctorate in comparative religion from Stockholm University with a thesis on the use of psychoactive plants by the mestizo population of the Peruvian Amazon (1986). He is co-author with Pablo Amaringo of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman (1991), and with Rick Strassman, Slawek Wojtowicz and Ede Frecska Inner Paths to Outer Space (2008). He is also co-editor with Steven White of Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine (2000), with a second enlarged edition in 2017. Luis Eduardo Luna has curated exhibitions of visionary art in various countries and lectured on shamanism worldwide. He is the Director of Wasiwaska, Research Center for the Study of Psychointegrator Plants, Visionary Art and Consciousness. Florianópolis, Brazil.
Animism and Modern Science: A Contradiction?
Interest in psychedelics -particularly psychoactive plants and fungi- seems to be growing among young people, at least in the Western world. As a result of their experiences some report a renewed interest in environmental issues and in nature in general. Directly or indirectly some have been exposed to animistic ideas still held by indigenous practitioners and may have incorporated them into their belief system. Animism, the belief that we live in an intelligent cosmos, in deep connection with non-human persons (plants, fungi, animals, and beings of all kinds), was probably the basic religion of our ancestors everywhere. I will explicit some of those believes and ideas. As a contrast, also the findings on plant and animal intelligence by some evolutionary ecologists and other scientists. It seems that the gap between those two worlds may not be so wide after all. In the serious environmental situation in which we find ourselves, we need to educate ourselves, for pragmatic reasons at least, into both ways of understanding the non-human world within and around us.