Observations placeholder

Ginsberg - Taking ayahuasca



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Timothy Leary – High Priest

Allen Ginsberg, hunched over a teacup, peering out through his black-rimmed glasses, the left lens  bisected by a break, started telling of his experiences with Ayahuasca, the fabled visionary vine of the Peruvian jungles. He had followed the quest of Bill Burroughs, sailing south for new realms of  consciousness, looking for the elixir of wisdom.  'Sitting, sweating with heat, lonely in a cheap hotel in Lima, holding a wad of ether-soaked cotton to his nose with his left hand and getting high and making poetry with his right hand and then travelling by second-class bus with Indians up through the Cordillera de los Andes and then more buses and hitchhiking into the Montana jungles and shining rivers, wandering through steaming equatorial forests. Then the village Pucalpa, and the negotiations to find the curandero, paying him with aguardiente, and the ritual itself, swallowing the bitter stuff, and the nausea and the colours and the drums beating and sinking down into thingless void, into the great eye that brings it all together, and the terror of the great snake coming, lying on the earth floor helpless and the great snake coming. The old curandero, wrinkled face bending over him and Allen telling him, culebra. and the curandero nodding clinically and blowing a puff of smoke to make the great snake disappear and it did.

The source of the experience

Ginsberg, Allen

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps




Listening to beating sounds