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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Cordova-Rios, Manuel



Type of Spiritual Experience


The life of Cordova Rios is described below, the important point to notice is that his later  healing abilities were not obtained by using drugs.

A description of the experience

In 1902, fifteen-year-old Manuel Cordova-Rios, a rubber cutter, was suddenly kidnapped from his camp on a small tributary of the Rio Jurua by a band of Amahuaca Indians. He was taken deep into the Amazon jungle, where his captors slowly and carefully introduced him to their way of life by means of intensive training sessions with the potent hallucinogenic vine Banisteriopsis caapi. During his six years with the Amahuaca, he learned through the visions evoked by the nixi honi xuma (banisteriopsis) the language and customs of his captors as well as the ways of the creatures of the tropical forest.

It soon became apparent that the old chief, Xumu, had chosen Cordova-Rios to be his successor.  At the age of twenty-one, Cordova-Rios escaped from his tribe and returned to Iquitos, Peru, and his family. He had been experiencing a sense of deepening alienation from the people for whom he was now a chief and shaman. In a session with the visionary vine, he had also seen the death of his mother. (Telepathic and clairvoyant experiences were apparently not uncommon with the nixi honi xuma. 

And so his escape led him back to his birthplace and his father, who had survived the death of both his mother and his sister.

Although Cordova-Rios left the Amahuaca, his extraordinary knowledge of healing practice and plants was not lost. At the age of ninety-five, he still sees twenty to thirty patients a day. In his account of his return to Western life, he stated:

"All that I learned from . . [Xumu]-the insight I developed of the inner workings of the mind and the human psyche, as well as the knowledge of the natural medicinal plants of the forest and how to use them - all this has remained a part of me in the years that have passed since I left the Huni Kui, years that have brought both joy and sorrow to me.

My use of all that Xumu taught me, in a much wider world than he envisioned, has brought me to this point where men and women come in sickness and in pain.   . . . My one frustration is knowing that I have not been able to impart my knowledge to someone who could continue to use it."

The source of the experience

Cordova Rios, Manuel

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Squash the big I am



This quote was obtained from Shamanic voices by Dr Joan Halifax.