The hysteria is dying down somewhat, the phone calls and emails drawn in and resulting from rudimentary google searches for Ayahuasca or Yage have now ceased to find my blog. But I remain pensive. A family in Bristol will still grieve for their son. I was recently in Peru, the country where all those years ago I tried the ayahuasca vine. Our trip only extended to Cusco this time and while I was impressed with the improvement in dining options there, one thing shocked me, the prevalence of “tourist” shops offering ayahuasca retreats and experiences.
At one point I sidled in to one of these places to ask after the experience. I can tell you that here in Peru the standard cost is around 300 Soles or roughly US$110. I ended up asking one of the shamans within a store about what may have happened to Henry Miller in Putumayo, Colombia.
The Shaman was in no way shocked when I straight up asked him. His theory was that Henry Miller’s second blend of yage in Putumayo was possibly blended with an opiate or something along these lines which resulted in it being a fatal mixture. Henry Miller was recorded on video shortly before his second dosage (the first having been taken a day and a half earlier) saying that he was hoping that this time he would experience something. It could be that the shaman in question added something to increase the possibility of a yage-induced voyage. A lethal dimethyltryptamine concoction.
For further information please read my opinion piece in Bogotá’s City Paper.
It's true that some shamans brew ayahuasca with the addition of ingredients not present in a classic brew, some of which can be quite dangerous. As always, caution is advised when choosing your shaman.