In this episode Logan details his recent adventures traveling to the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador and visiting indigenous peoples. This includes:
- Heeding the Call of the Amazon
- The Perception of Nature as Dangerous and Scary
- How the Simple Life can be Superior to Our Own Complex Lives
- Becoming Westernized to Fight Westernization
- The Three Levels of Foresight with Tobacco, Ayuhuasca and Datura
- Why Saving the Rainforest may be Cliche…but is Very Important
- The Dream World as Real as Reality
- What is Shamanism?
- The Value of Vomiting…Daily!
- And Much More
This episode showcases some very personal things from Logan. Your comments and questions are always appreciated.
Check out the blog for articles on these topics and more as well. Here’s a few recent ones, with more to come:
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.show
Logan: Welcome to The Vital Way podcast. I’m Logan Christopher and joining me today is my brother and partner in crime, Zane. Today, we’re going to be talking about my recent trip to the Amazon. You probably have been seeing a number of articles on it and there are more of those to come but we figured we’d also dive into more detail on the podcast. And I got Zane here to kind of walk through and he hasn’t even heard half the stories from it, too.
Zane: I’ve heard a little bit but not as much as I wanted so this should be pretty good.
Logan: Yeah, and before we can dive into that, I just want to make the announcement here in case somehow you’ve missed it everywhere, in all the emails we’ve been sending out and everything that Super Man Herbs is no more and we are now Lost Empire Herbs. If you go to the website, LostEmpireHerbs.com, the old website Super Man Herbs will take you there if you enter in that URL, there’s an article that kind of describes the new name and why we made the change. There’s also a fun video with a yeti and there will be more yeti to come. I won’t say anything more about it for now. Okay, so onto the Amazon.
Zane: Well, did you have a good time?
Logan: Yeah, it was an amazing trip, well worth doing and I’m probably going to be going back down there again at some point.
Zane: Well, let’s start with the beginning. One of your emails, actually you said you felt called to do this trip and I was wondering what exactly you meant by that.
Logan: Okay. Well, I’ll give a little bit of the back story of how I got involved in this trip. I’m part of a business group called Maverick 1000 and that group is kind of built around three things like growing your business and more profit, then impact, working with charities and making an impact on the world so not necessarily just charities, that’s a part of it and then having fun and experiences. So we do lots of crazy stuff.
But at this one event at Seattle back in May, we were working with a charity called the Pachamama Alliance. This was the first time I’d heard of them but we were working with them and I really felt a connection with the group because of the things that they do with natural resources and indigenous people. At the end of the day, they basically invited us on their trip to the Amazon with the founders of the Pachamama Alliance. This was like pretty short notice and I didn’t think I could make it. I had to actually cancel another event and it was still right before some other travel so I was squeezing it in. It was tough to go but as you said, I was called to do the journey. I felt I needed to go because I had read about indigenous people before but actually experiencing that firsthand is something a little bit different and getting closer to nature in that way.
Obviously, I got nature in my backyard but the Amazon, the chronological things about that, it’s the heart of the world. It’s the lungs of the world, some interesting facts about that like there are more trees there than just about anywhere on earth so it’s creating a lot of the oxygen that we humans and all other animals need to survive. It’s also the heart of the world, basically the cardiovascular system in a way. The Amazon River or all the rivers there are bigger than biggest other six rivers in the world combined so very large, but what’s interesting is obviously you’ve got the river there flowing and the water evaporates and rains down there but actually 70% of the water is flowing out across the world. So basically that size of the river is also up in the atmosphere and then going around the world as well. There’s a whole bunch of other fascinating things about it. It goes through the importance like everyone’s heard, and it’s cliché, of save the rainforest, right? Everyone’s heard of that and probably no one cares about it. Personally, I really didn’t think about it all that much.
Zane: That’s my point, the Green Peace guy in front of a store and you’re just like no one is save anything right now.
Logan: Yeah. We’ve heard it a long time so we probably don’t really think about it but actually seeing its importance. One of the things that getting involved with Pachamama Alliance and starting to prepare for this journey, I was starting to see the parallels between human health and the Earth’s health. Really there are many similarities between the two. For instance, all the oil we need to pull for plastics and then that has endocrine-dissolving chemicals so it’s hurting it our health and the world’s health at the same time so there’s really a similarity in there and why we need to go back to some more natural methods of doing things.
Zane: Okay. So let’s actually talk about that. How did you prepare for this trip?
Logan: Well, they kind of talked us through all the things that we’d be going through. When you imagine going down through the Amazon, you probably have certain pictures and ideas in your head of what that’s actually going to be like, like mass amount of bugs and all kinds of things like this and that does a very interesting thing. They gave us like preparation, what kind of clothing you should wear because it’s extremely hot there and then it will start raining out of nowhere and then stop raining. So yeah, there’s a lot of preparation.
One of the interesting things that came up in the initial preparation, they talked about malaria, right, from the mosquitoes, saying you can get malaria medication from your doctor, here’s what they recommend or you can also take some herbs for it. Naturally, went with the herbs. However, then a little bit later—this was about a week out from the trip—they said there’s like a strong outbreak of malaria in Ecuador with a whole bunch of reported cases. We strongly recommend you do allopathic medicine at this point. So I was like shoot, what do I do here? So I looked into it. One, I don’t even have a doctor so it would be difficult because you need a prescription of it. So I was like okay, how would I actually go about doing this?
As I looked at it more and looked at the side effects of the malaria medication, even though they’re not major with some of the ones I have, they’re still there and I imagine not having taken so much as an Advil in years, I might be a little sensitive to that kind of thing. After looking at it and looking at some of the research behind some of the herbs, I just decided to go with the herbs and I didn’t get malaria so it worked out okay for me. But it was really it came like a decision like I’m putting my faith in the herbs, I’m putting faith in my own immune system so I’m kind of not being a hypocrite about this stuff. We obviously preach herbs heavily and really I’m trying to live that message although I did consider Western medicine at that time. Of course, I talk badly about Western medicine. Obviously, there are lots of problems but there certainly are some good things about it and a time and a place for that stuff, too.
Zane: For sure. And then there’s also that whole Zika thing but that didn’t affect that region, right?
Logan: Yeah. According to what I looked at and what they were telling me, Zika is not in that area and from what I’ve looked at, it’s just kind of one of the things that’s blown out of proportion in the media and really may not even be what they say it is. I was not worried about Zika.
Zane: Like lay out the trip a little. How long was it?
Logan: It was about a two-week long trip from arrival, we flew in to Quito, Ecuador and flew out of there about two weeks later. From Quito, we stayed overnight there then we began our journey. We went to Baños through the Valley of the Volcanoes. Ecuador is a pretty cool place. There are a ton of volcanoes I think over all of Ecuador. There are like 85 of them and 33 are active. My numbers could be slightly off there. A lot of them were in this one area they call the Valley of the Volcanoes because there are volcanoes left and right, some pretty cool sights. And Baños is a mountain town in the Andes there that’s really nice, an amazing place. We got to stay at a nice place there then bus down further. We ended up getting to the point where the bus couldn’t go further. We got in trucks, drove down a little then got down to the water and got in motor-powered canoes with the indigenous people leading us through. Then we took those several hours down the river until we got to Sarayaku and we only stayed there the one night but as Kichwa people, also known as the Children of the Jaguar—
Zane: Were those the people that you stayed with?
Logan: Those were the first ones. In Ecuador and the Amazon area, there’s a whole bunch of different tribes which are related in some ways but also have some differences as well.
Logan: So yeah, we just spent some time with them in Sarayaku and they’ve fought valiantly against the oil companies trying to encroach in their territory. Really, there are complicated issues going on with the political—
Zane: Is there a lot of oil there?
Logan: Yeah, there are tons of oil in Amazon and basically Ecuador has been selling exploratory rights to different things but then the indigenous people are protecting their land. The Achuar for example, they bought the rights to the land but the government is still selling the rights to the oil under that land. The goal of Pachamama right now is to actually pay the Ecuador government enough money that they could put the lands like permanently off, because the government does need money. It’s a pretty poor country and there are lots of issues going on there. These oil companies are obviously some money for that but there’s been a whole bunch of shadiness with the oil companies screwing over the government in the past.
Zane: Usually if there’s an oil company involved, there’s some shady stuff, somebody trying to bribe them. So once you got to the forest, what was that like? Did it meet your expectations? Everyone has, like you were saying, pictures in their heads of what the Amazon is, bug bites and all that fun stuff.
Logan: So from Sarayaku—I’ll just kind of finish that; we were just one day with that and I can mention a little more of some of the cool stuff we did there—then the next day, we flew from Sarayaku to an Achuar community. It’s interesting. Actually, their communities, one of the first things they build is an air strip. They just literally clear out the land enough so that planes can get there because it’s really not accessible. There can be waterways but that takes several days because it’s a very winding river. To actually go through the forests, it could be many weeks so they build an air strips just emergencies and actually get supplies and different things. That’s one of the things that very interesting. Although these are probably some of the least-touched people by outside societies, in order to sustain their rights they have to become westernized to some degree, to fight, like being cruelly westernized in a way, which has happened to other indigenous peoples in the area.
So the forest, it’s pretty amazing. It is very dense and the turnover, the growth in it is extremely fast. Like things will die down and decay. There are lots of mushrooms around and they just eat things up. The soil is actually not very rich and not very deep, which might sound a little counterintuitive but that’s because all the nutrients, everything is above ground for the most part. So a lot of the trees, they have aboveground roots, like there are the walking trees which are trees like this, like standing tall and then it’s basically on stilts. Some people have said these trees walk and while there’s some debate on whether they do that or not, like actually move to get better nutrition or something, it just looks pretty cool. It’s not like any trees I’ve seen anywhere else. And there’s the kapok tree where the roots are walls, like just huge buttresses. They look pretty amazing. So it’s a very different environment that I’ve seen anywhere else and as I said, extremely dense.
The truth is the mosquitoes were not bad at all. I got bitten a couple of times but I had like little bracelets that essential oils so maybe those worked pretty well. I wasn’t applying stuff on. I was mostly like long-sleeved clothes and whatnot so there wasn’t a lot of skin access but really the bugs, mosquitoes weren’t bad.
Zane: Was it the wet season?
Logan: Overall, it was pretty dry. It didn’t rain till our third day we were deep in the Amazon there. Then it would rain a little bit and stop raining. It was definitely extremely muggy, sweating all the time but yeah, overall the weather was not that bad for us. There really are a lot of misconceptions like people think oh, you’re just going to be swarmed with mosquitoes. I’m sure there are times when that occurs but not bad at all. We went on a night hike. People were saying the Amazon’s got to be completely dangerous. You’re going to be eaten by jaguars.
We go on a night hike and literally at one point, our guy was saying okay, we’re just going to turn off all the lights right now. So we do and we sit there just for like a minute or two minutes, just complete dark in the Amazon jungle. You’re sitting there. There’s a ton of sounds all around, like the bugs. There’s an insane amount of bugs even though there weren’t that many mosquitoes, just spiders, flies, different things but you’re hearing all this stuff, and frogs and reptiles and everything. You hear it all around you but really any big sort of thing that’s going to hurt you is going to want to avoid you because historically—they don’t do it so much now—it’s a hunting area. People hunt so the animals avoid humans.
Zane: Yeah. And there are a lot of monkeys there, right?
Zane: So it’s super loud. Okay, well what about the indigenous people? We do, like you mentioned, we write a lot about going back to that kind of early human lifestyle because a lot of people seem to be happier living just like gathering food, doing that thing and not having so much stuff. How is it to actually meet these people face to face? Because I have never met a bunch of indigenous people and I’m really interested in that.
Logan: That was one of the main reasons, as I said, for going on this trip, to experience that live. It was awesome. Just being in the Amazon there, like the time feels different. Obviously, they’re not as got to be productive, work around the clock and have set schedules all these things. It’s a much more relaxed space. So after we had gotten deep into the Amazon, we spent like a couple of days just exploring the jungle and doing a few other things. Then we went to visit.
One of the first things we did was a guayusa tea ceremony. This is something that the Achuar people and also the Kichwa and others, too, although they do it a little bit different, but the Achuar do every single day. They wake up at about 3:00 morning.
Zane: To do the tea ceremony?
Logan: Yeah, which is interesting. The rooster is crowing before daybreak comes. I was wondering, how do they know to wake up, because they don’t have alarm clocks. I guess they could now. Some have phones, watches and that sort of thing. Before daybreak, the rooster starts crowing. It’s like okay, everything gets up at this time. It’s just kind of a thing that’s set in motion. So they get up at 3:00 in the morning. They pushed it back a little for us. So we’re getting up at like 4:00 in the morning. They drink guayusa tea, which is a heavily caffeinated tea. They’ll drink a whole bunch of it then go off in the bushes and cause themselves to throw up. They’ll purge. This is something they do every single day. It’s a cleansing thing.
After drinking a lot of this tea, it feels pretty good. You’re like invigorated from the caffeine but also cleansed in a way. It’s hard to describe exactly what it’s like and it sounds very weird to the listeners, right? We would think like you can’t puke. Puking is bad. You never want to puke and yet this is something they do every single day.
Zane: Well, maybe we just got it wrong.
Logan: Well, it is in Ayurveda.
Zane: That would be like going to the coffee shop, having a drink and then going to the bathroom and throwing up. So yeah, that is kind of weird.
Logan: Yeah. It’s not bulimia or anything like that. Yeah, it’s just different. If you look at Ayurvedic medicine, it’s not like generally recognized, an everyday thing especially for the vata dosha or the katha dosha, that’s a way of cleansing, especially for that so it’s very useful. So yeah, it’s interesting. So we do that and then the Achuar dream culture, they’re heavily involved in their dreams. They think about them all the time and the dreams actually really guide their physical reality, in a sense. So after the guayusa tea ceremony, you kind of do it silence in the beginning then after everyone has thrown up, you come back and start interpreting dreams. So we got to share some of our dreams with the Achuar and they would interpret them, which is really interesting because we were like okay, are they going to understand some of the symbolism that’s in our dreams?
So the whole interaction with them was very interesting because we had to go through double translation so English to Spanish, then Spanish to Achuar and back in most cases. I’m sure some things were lost in translation but it’s very interesting. I have some experience in dream interpretation but they had kind of a different slant than how I’ve learned it before. Your dreams at night are reflections of the day that’s coming more often than not. It really is. For a lot of their dreams, it’d be like you might go hunting today or if not today, not because and they’re actually like okay, I’m not going to hunt; I’m going to do something else based on the dream. It’s very interesting to do that and we had a couple of different opportunities in which to experience that with them.
Zane: So do they do the dream world kind of as the aboriginals kind of knew the dream world as the real world?
Logan: Yes, it’s every bit as important as the physical world.
Zane: Yeah, that’s interesting. They had the chicha.
Logan: Chicha, yup. So the heavily caffeinated tea then chicha. There are different forms of chicha depending on where you go but there that’s the manioc or the cassava or yucca root. The women, they peel it, they cook it and then they chew it up, spit it out in a vat and just by mixing in the saliva, the bacteria ferments it so it produces a little bit of alcohol and carbonation. It wasn’t really carbonated much though, probably just because it’s in open vats. But yeah, the alcoholic probiotic drink and this is their main form of nutrition.
Zane: It’s like a cheap kombucha.
Logan: It’s different. A big kombucha drinker and I was excited to try to the chicha. I was actually like oh, I wish they were offering it to us more in some opportunities but their people drink like a gallon or more of it in a day. It’s their main source of nutrition.
Zane: Like they don’t drink water. They drink chicha.
Logan: They don’t drink water at all.
Zane: At all?
Logan: At all. Obviously, there’s water in the tea, there’s water in the chicha but they don’t drink pure water because really historically they wouldn’t have a clean source of it.
Zane: Yeah, I would imagine that must have—
Logan: Which is true like in Europe, they used to drink beer all the time because the—
Zane: A lot of them still do, right?
Logan: Exactly. That’s the interesting thing because we think you’ve got to have water to be hydrated but if you’re having real fruit or real drinks where there’s a lot of water, your body knows how to use that properly. I’m not stopping drinking water by any means right now because that’s what I grew up on and that’d be interesting to try an experiment for instance but yeah, it is interesting. It just goes to show. That’s one thing I really like. Seeing and being in their culture, you can kind of from a new perspective look at our own culture in many different ways.
Zane: That’s interesting because I saw some forum talk about how water, the requirements that were listed by government and all that stuff, how a lot of studies are beginning to show that that might not be totally correct.
Logan: Yeah, and it really depends on the quality of the water. The quality is so important.
Zane: Or the quality of spit. They must have really nice—
Logan: Well, so it’s interesting, right? There is kind of a sweetness, depending on how much it’s fermented. They will often like drink it just overnight so it’s not a long fermentation process but they can do it much longer and then it will be stronger.
Zane: And then it’s more an alcohol.
Logan: Yeah, so they’ll seldom do that. There’ll be a longer fermentation for their parties. They do that and they will get drunk off of it but generally they’re drinking it throughout the day and it’s probably somewhere around 2% to 3% alcohol so it’s not a major source of alcohol in there.
Zane: Yeah, but they’re lightweights.
Logan: They are all small. I was a giant among them. None are six feet. It’s like mid-five’s generally and women are even smaller than that. It kind of makes sense. I was thinking about this. It’s easier to move through the jungle when you’re not tall like me.
Zane: You’re small.
Logan: When we’re going through this one part, I had to duck down like stoop a whole bunch and it was difficult because I had to do that whereas the guys did not have to do that.
Zane: That’s interesting. I know based off of physiology, actually being shorter is better for climbing trees. So that’s interesting when I heard that. It does make sense. A lot of jungle people tend to be smaller.
Logan: Right, or is it just easier to mover or depending on nutrition, just the more mass you have it’s going to take more. So in many ways, it’s more advantageous to be smaller.
Zane: Right. Logan’s 6’1” by the way.
Zane: I don’t know. Maybe you shrank.
Logan: Maybe I grew. Let me talk a little bit more about the culture because I mentioned the guayusa and everything. So after this, during the dream interpretation, we were just kind of like asking questions and whatnot. We had split up into different groups and we were with a man at his house. When I say house, dirt floor, their roofs are made of palm leaves like it’s well done. It’s jointed. There are not going to be any leaks or anything and they do fires in there which keep the bugs out and keeps it actually more stable and better, and then it’s just like a post. There are no walls in the house at all. The house is kind of divided and when I say divided, there’s no wall between these sections but there’s a front section like the public section where the man is meeting us, and then there’s the house, the woman’s area where the children are in their beds, which are like raised platforms off of the ground with mosquito nets around them.
So we’re doing this and the children were like watching us and everything. The woman was giving the man chicha and serving us and everything as well. We’re just asking questions. It’s interesting because I’m thinking about it, like they have everything they really need here. They’ve got their family. They’ve got their community. They’re attached to the earth. They’ve got their food through different—they do some farming as well as a bunch of fishing, not as much hunting in that area now just because it’s overpopulated and overhunted so they’re working to remedy that. But the basic, they have everything they need to survive and be really happy in doing that as well. So it’s very interesting looking at that compared to everything that goes on in my life, right? When I got back to Quito on the last day, I was like okay, I’m finally going to log on my phone and check my email, which I avoided doing the entire time we were there, even though a few times we had internet. It’s like man, my life is complicated. Just going through that, seeing the complete simplicity of it to everything else going on. I love my life. I have a lot of fun doing the various things I do but it is very interesting to see that sort of dichotomy going on.
Zane: It’s interesting to see what you’re attached to, I imagine. Compared to that, they are literally on the earth. Everything in those days. They’re all barefoot.
Logan: Not that. Well, not necessarily through the jungle, like rubber boots are extremely useful. There are poisonous insects and things and they have different herbal medicines for snake bites. There’s a bullet ant which is an ant the size of your thumb basically, pretty cool to see, and if it bites you, it feels like a bullet has torn through. So you don’t want to step one of those things.
Zane: Can you verify that?
Logan: I saw some of them. Apparently, there’s a false bullet ant or a Congo ant as well. So yeah, I saw some of them but yeah, I was not about to force myself to go through that. So yeah, they do use shoes and different things and they basically wear our clothing now. They have their traditional dress and I guess a while back they used to not use much clothing at all but yeah, they basically wear our clothing. It’s funny when we went and saw the shaman, he was wearing the IBM shirt. It was like.
Zane: That is awesome. So do you want to talk about that because I know you did an ayuahasca ceremony?
Logan: Sure. I’ll talk about that.
Zane: And that’s kind of what everyone was wondering about and actually everyone is most interested in that part of the trip.
Logan: Yeah. So I can’t remember the first time I heard about ayuahasca but I was certainly intrigued by it and was like oh, I would definitely do that in the right circumstance. Now with ayuahasca now, I’ve heard a story from someone recently like you go to the airport in Peru and there are people that just holding signs saying “Ayuahasca Ceremony” and you definitely want to avoid that stuff because there’s a lot of shadiness going on.
Zane: Even in the States there’s a bunch of practitioners.
Logan: Right. So you really want to be careful with that because yeah, there are certain bad things. Anyone can say they’re a shaman but whether they actually are or not—
Zane: Drug dealers.
Logan: Yeah. And I’ve heard of people getting raped and whatnot. Certainly, I thought from the beginning when I heard about it like okay, I’m going to do that and I’d like to do that. Yeah, I want to do it right. This was offered on this trip and obviously the people I’m going with have relationships and have worked with the shamans for a long time.
Zane: How long?
Logan: They’ve been involved, Pachamama Alliance is 20 years old this year. Actually, they started before—well, that would be 96, would be 20 years ago but yeah, they kind of started talking with these people even before that. So they’ve been working with them a long time. Once again, we had kind of a large group so we had to split into smaller groups. We had about 30 people in total on this trip and split into three different groups of about 10 people and went to different shamans. I got to work with Raphael. So the whole day we fast before, and we hiked through the jungle, and went to a sacred waterfall where we did a little ceremony there where the shaman gave us snuffing tobacco. This was fun. Some of the people smoke as well but the way they generally use tobacco is they take the leaves and they put it in water. So you’re basically doing an infusion and then you take that liquid and you snort it up your nose.
Zane: I admire—You were pretty hard.
Logan: Yes, so the first time I did it, I had done it a couple of nights before and it was like really strong stuff, water had just been sitting in there. So it basically knocked me on my ass. My eyes were just tearing up and burning and it felt incredible. But as I said, that was very strong so I tried it a couple of other times and it was much more mild. I probably wouldn’t call it pleasant but you get used to it. I never really liked the idea of things going up my nose but when in the Amazon…
Zane: So they actually grow tobacco?
Logan: Yeah. I didn’t get the full details and I think from what I understand it’s a different species of tobacco than what’s used for cigarettes generally.
Zane: used that for a long time.
Logan: Yeah, it’s just one of their biggest scared plants. The way John Perkins, one of the leaders on this trip, described it is they really use three sort of teacher plants. The tobacco is really kind of the short term and the way I like to describe it is it’s relaxing to the body but stimulating to the mind. There’s quite a good feeling to it and that’s kind of the way you might interact with your day to day life. Then you have ayuahasca which is one of their great teacher plants and a lot of people have heard of. This is something where you really look at your near term future, like the next year or couple of years. And then there’s datura, which is a plant that like the witches used to use. It’s a very interesting looking flower that they say that’s where the witches hat, where it came from because it has that kind of shape to it. It’s an incredibly strong plant. You use some of the bark or the inside of the bark and the amount that you need is like half the size of your thumbnail. You have to be extremely careful with this stuff because it can kill you and you might not also come back from the trip, which generally lasts three to five days.
Zane: That’s so gnarly.
Logan: So they use these plants for shamanic initiation but also for like initiating boys and girls. It’s often used in that as well l to get to man- or womanhood. So yeah, we didn’t have the opportunity to do that and that’s not something they generally offer at all.
Zane: That’s fine.
Logan: And not necessarily recommended but that is really for looking at your lifetime. So I thought that was very interesting.
Zane: So once in a life.
Logan: Yeah, oftentimes except for shamans generally.
Zane: Three to five days.
Logan: Three to five day trip, and some people don’t come back apparently. So anyway at the sacred waterfall, the shaman offers us that. We snuff it and then go under the waterfall and kind of set of our intention for the ayuahasca and then stop through the waterfalls. It’s a pretty cool thing to do. And then we go back and just basically we had to kill some time before nightfall before you want to do the ayuahasca. It increases light sensitivity. So they laid banana leaves for us just to lay down outside. It’s really like a personal journey. It’s not a social drug nor is it recreational.
So we were sitting in the circle and the shaman is basically sort of whistling or chanting over each cup and does that before he gives it to us and we take it. Here’s the thing. Everyone says it was the worst-tasting thing ever. It’s bitter. It’s not that bad. When you’ve had tongkat ali and some of the other stuff—
Zane: You take a lot of herbs. I can imagine someone that has not—
Logan: I won’t say it was a pleasant taste but it certainly wasn’t as bad as some people had trumped it up to be. So take it and I was like the first person in the circle. We had like I said a group of about ten people taking it and then couple of people, our guides that weren’t taking it that were there to help us out because most people need help. So I take it and I start felling some bodily sensations but nothing major. Maybe it was kind of like my eyes playing tricks on me but I didn’t really feel like I was seeing things. When I went to lay down on the banana leaves, staring at the clouds, seeing things in the clouds but I can see things in the clouds normally. But apparently, that’s kind of the start of it. So I’m not really seeing things. I’m feeling a little bit but I was like okay, I’m going to go have a second cup.
Then I go and do that. Then laying out back on the banana leaf. Everyone else is throwing up because that’s a common thing to occur. You purge with it. Purging is a big part of their culture. Everyone is doing that and time is going on and I’m like really not feeling that much and I was like huh, okay, I don’t know what’s going on. Eventually, I start to get a little bit nauseous. I go and try to make myself throw up but wasn’t able to. And I’m completely ambulatory like I’ve got no problems moving around but the other people—
Zane: Because yeah, it knocks out your balance, isn’t it?
Logan: Yeah, people like needed complete help getting around.
Zane: That’s what the help is for.
Logan: Yeah, for that and people throwing up and it also sometimes comes out the other end. Only one person in that group had that issue but apparently one of the other groups like almost everyone in that group.
Zane: Depends on which plant you did, huh?
Logan: Yeah. Ayuahasca is actually combination of a couple of different plants and you can use—
Zane: Three of them, right?
Logan: There’s usually three. It’s like the vine as well one of two other things as the main thing because you need that synergistic thing because the DMT, the dimethyltryptamine from which the visions come—it’s considered the active component—digestively that would be just broken down normally but the other plants are there in order to combine with it and allow your body to be able to absorb it. They say the plants told them how to combine these plants. It probably would not have happened just by traveling there.
So just going through, I’m like wondering what’s going on. It’s like okay, I guess I’ll go in for like a third cup. Mind you, no one else in my group had a third cup. I think only one other guy who’s like almost 300 pounds like a bodybuilder, a big guy had a second cup. So I go and sit down with the shaman and how he described it is he tuned in and wanted to see if I was with the plant, as he put it. I certainly was and I guess at that moment, I just completely am overcome with nausea. The shaman’s starting to whistle into the cup but I’m just like I got to throw up. So I talked to our guide that spoke English, like I have to throw up and he’s like go, right over there. Then I really purged a couple of times and was feeling pretty good after that.
The shaman is still whistling over the cup so I was like I’m not sure of the protocol here. So he’s doing that, it’s like okay I’m still taking the third cup. So I sit down and then he hands me the cup and I take it. And I go back and lay down for a little while and maybe another half hour—it’s hard to judge time in that sort of state—still like feeling things in my body but still nothing much as far as visions coming. After a little while, I decided to go to bed. Our beds were banana leaves inside of the shaman’s house.
Zane: Which is open to the world.
Logan: Well, no. He actually had walls because people had tried to assassinate him at one time. I don’t quite get the whole story there but he was blamed for doing evil shamanic work by certain people so they went to try to kill him and he was shot with a shotgun and got like wounds but ended up going to the hospital. Even though there’s like shrapnel in his head, he survived that. So now he built walls so he can see outside but people can’t see him.
So yeah, we had banana leaves on the floor with mosquito nets so not really much of a change in the setting but went to sleep, or tried to go to sleep. Obviously, not too used to sleeping on the ground so tossing and turning and I got a bit more nauseous. I went outside one time to dry heave and went outside another time to actually throw up some more from that third cup. So the next day, we are sitting with the shaman and he’s interpreting everyone’s visions, which is really cool because everyone else had visions and it’s interesting to see what the shaman says that these different visions mean. There were all kinds of crazy stuff going on. It was very profound.
Zane: Is it kind of like that dream thing?
Logan: Yeah, it’s very similar to the dream thing.
Zane: Except that’s sort of like a year or two out?
Logan: Yeah, just kind of where your future is going but it can be right now. So yeah, it was very interesting to see that but yeah, very similar. That’s the kind of thing like the ayuahasca visions and dreams, it’s different but it’s the same. And the whole shamanic thing is generally journeying to other worlds to look at this stuff, like the dream world or the vision world, the plant world, wherever that’s coming from. So people are having their visions interpreted and I tell my story kind of like I told you all here. What’s funny is after it translates to the shaman, he’s just going off longer than any of his talks about the other people and their visions. We’re kind of laughing about that. It’s like okay, what’s going on? So when he came back, it was basically I was expecting too much or had over expectation and I can honestly say that’s probably true after years of thinking about doing ayuahasca. I was maybe expecting like LSD-type visions. I haven’t actually had LSD but—
Zane: Yeah, that’s what I thought it would be like.
Logan: And some people do have those by all means so it can be very different. But that’s the thing about ayuahasca. It can hit people differently. One thing that I was thinking about was maybe I just needed to have more of a somatic experience. Things were happening to my body. I could feel that and maybe it was that my conscious mind would have gotten in the way of those changes. That’s what I was kind of thinking that maybe would have been the case. So the shaman was explaining that that stuff kind of stood in the way but when he checked into me with that third glass, I was definitely with the plant, he said, and that I had visions. I just don’t remember them.
Zane: In a dream.
Logan: And the interesting part, what the shaman said because he takes ayuahasca as well and he’s like working on people throughout that like we did a little cleansing where he’s shaking leaves in front of us and doing whatever shamans do, so he’s on the ayuahasca. Some of the people in our group, they asked for healing on their children, different things like that so it’s really interesting. Throughout that night, for a long time, he was doing this growl like the jaguar. I wish I could mimic it because it sounded like a freaking jaguar and then he’s spinning each time. I’m not sure exactly, I don’t know all the details of that but it was just fascinating and I think that was him doing some of the shamanic cleansing work at some different times.
So anyway in my interpretation, he tells me the visions he saw, that he perceived. He saw like the entire forest talking to me and that I came up to him, not physically but he saw this on his vision, I came up to him, shook his hand and basically said I want to be friends. So I thought that was really cool. I kind of liked the shaman’s visions more than my own. But what’s interesting is the following day, when we were doing some integration work around that experience and John Perkins, who’s been studying with these shamans and other shamans for a long time so he’s well-versed in this stuff, he’s leading us through a drum journey, which is just the—So you don’t need to take ayuahasca or other drugs in order to access these states. That’s only one way to do it.
Zane: Yeah, like twirling.
Logan: Obviously, I do enjoy the plants but yeah, there are all sorts of different ways you can do it like meditation, breath work, trance work and drumming. So there are all these different things. so we’re doing a drum journey and in this drum journey I basically enter to the shaman’s visions and I’m morphing and seeing all these different trees and then feeling their presence as they’re all talking to me and what they’re saying. I’m also having visions of like conversing with the shaman. I can’t pick out specific words but we were talking about things as well.
When I came to from that, was nature was kind of talking to me, asking me to do something. To explain that, I need to go back a little bit. Pachamama Alliance was kind of founded on something that the shamans, the elders of the community they were talking about when they seeing these other surrounding communities being destroyed by the oil companies. They didn’t want that to happen and actually they initiated contact with westerners through these people which has never happened among indigenous people. They did what they feared most because they had the foresight to see if they do it, then they can find the right sort of people that would help them rather than just these oil companies or whoever else coming in.
Zane: Kind of set their own terms a little bit, at least.
Logan: Yeah. And one of the shamans, which apparently was Raphael, the shaman I worked with, he was the one that actually said if you’re coming here to help us, don’t bother; but if you realize your liberation is tied in with our own, let us work together. So they have like these prophecies about the different, the eagle and the condor. I don’t want to get into that whole thing but just basically how the western world and everything that it’s doing is destroying the world or destroying enough that we’re going to kill ourselves while the world may be fine, that we need to kind of work together with these indigenous people to kind of reclaim that. Obviously, we’re not going back to living like indigenous people. A few people here and there might want to do that but we have to look to that ancient wisdom in order to move forward in a new path into the future. So this is what he said, talking to the westerners and what kind of formed the Pachamama Alliance and they’ve worked with other charities as well. Basically, nature was saying the same thing to me, that it, nature, wanted—this probably sounds a little weird to people.
Logan: All of it. Nature wanted me to—and this kind of work I’m already doing but it was sort of an affirmation or confirmation of that and just really like feeling that experience of nature really wanting it—that I’m an emissary for nature. I’m leading people to nature and helping nature connect to them in a way that supports both people and nature. Obviously, people are part of nature but we have tried to remove ourselves from nature which is destroying the earth as well as destroying our health. So bringing that together, obviously the herbs being one of the main channels of doing that but not the only channel either. So basically in this vision that I had—this was post ayuahasca—nature was asking me to do this or basically calling me to do this, just like the Amazon called to me. Maybe it was for this purpose. I like to believe in fun things like that.
Zane: I mean, however you wake up in the morning, right, but that’s really cool.
Logan: So you’ll probably see me use that title I guess from time to time, “emissary of nature.” Just those words came real clear and I thought it was very fascinating. And here’s the thing. I wasn’t always into nature. As a kid, I wasn’t like someone that always wanted to spend time—like or well-suited to the human world which may I think uniquely qualifies me for this position in a certain way. Yeah, that’s something that I’m interested and I’m still exploring what that works like. I’m actually going to be working with a different shaman. Now that’s a whole other story. We’ll see how that goes. That should be interesting but yeah, I’ve contact with another shaman that lives in the west that has just been tutored in these ways through a good lineage. So I’m excited to do that, to really explore this message further.
Because some interesting other things to post to that, I’m at this other event afterwards. I’ll just mention this because it’s pretty fun and I’m waterskiing. I tried waterskiing one time before and was never successful in standing up. This time I managed to stand up and I’m having a couple of rounds, not staying standing for very long. But on my last run out, I fall in the water. Somehow the water ski comes off my foot and just whacks me super hard on the forehead. There was a big bruise and it was bleeding a little bit. Luckily, no permanent damage. I don’t think I got concussed or anything.
The day later, I’m making a joy like oh, it activated my third eye. I basically make that to this shaman woman and she’s like actually…She does a little bit of work on it and was saying some interesting things, which was one of the reasons I decided to pursue different things. But it was very interesting working with her there and she was saying that yeah, sometimes often there is this like physical initiation or physical activation of these sort of things. So yeah, it got my third eye activated which I feel this occurs not independently of the Amazon, that whole experience but this is a chain of events, the sense of which will only make real sense later down the line. Once again, I prefer to believe in fun stuff like this. It works for me.
Zane: It’s like the butterfly effect. If you do something, it’s going to affect you down the line. Well, it’s going to affect everyone.
Zane: I totally believe in that.
Logan: Right. You’re all listening so you’re being affected by this one way or another right now.
Zane: Even if you disagree.
Zane: With everything. This means that that’s pretty interesting. What did you guys do after that? Because that’s like the pinnacle of—
Logan: Yeah, it kind of was, like a whole bunch of—it was like three days of travel to get to our final destination. We’re staying at the Kapawi Eco-Lodge which is a cool place, the whole—
Zane: Is it right on the river?
Logan: No, actually close to the river but not right on it. Basically, a business that did eco-tourism and a lot of stuff in the Galapagos. They found a lot of people wanted to go into the Amazon so they built these eco-lodge, this really cool place but the guy that owned that business was really kind of forward-thinking this. Basically, he partnered with the Achuar people and eventually just gifted this whole thing to them. So they are running it themselves. It needs a little work. It fell into some disrepair so it’s an ongoing project but it’s a really cool place. Just extremely beautiful, this nice place and hopefully there may be some opportunities to take some other trips down there in the future. But yeah, it’s right near the river. And then another thing, going back to the whole dangerous Amazon thing, we’re swimming in the river. No problem. We actually just took a boat out and then floated down the river, just wearing like life vests floated back. I’m like no problem at all.
Logan: That’s it. They have those there but they’re going to avoid humans. There’s piranha but they recommended if you have open wounds, don’t go in the water but besides that.
Zane: Yeah, piranhas don’t attack unless it’s—
Logan: Yeah, and we saw some pink dolphins.
Zane: Oh really? In the river?
Logan: Yeah. They’re not like jumping out but they definitely surfaced here and there. We saw some other cool creatures like some sloths up in the trees, lots of birds.
Zane: Oh, I was going to ask – any other herbs that you were presented with?
Logan: Back in Sarayaku, around their community place where we did the guayusa ceremony there, they do it very similarly except they don’t do the purging as well and they often add other herbs into the guayusa, a lot of which I am not familiar with and could not tell you the names of. But I was getting a tour of the herb garden around there so there are some very cool things like the jungle garlic, which they don’t use the roots. There are not root bulbs but the leaves and they taste exactly like garlic. It’s pretty cool. They have ginger, different plants that they said they used for snake bites or other issues. They also had the cocoa plants so I got to chew on a couple of leaves after the guayusa and then the cocoa leaves. I was definitely feeling pretty good taking it. So yeah, it’s very cool to see the different things. They were saying that some of the knowledge of the herbs is going away. Not as many people want to be shamans these days for whatever the reason. It’s kind of a hard path of service and all these other reasons.
Zane: Doesn’t it take them like basically 40 years to be a good shaman?
Logan: To become a good shaman, there are different—yeah, shamans can become very—
Zane: There’s not a lot of money it, huh?
Logan: Well, the shamans—
Zane: Well, maybe nowadays with all of these things.
Logan: Yeah, we did for the ayuahasca ceremony, we paid the shaman. Part of it just went to the community and part of it to the shaman himself. It wasn’t a huge amount of money but it didn’t seem too bad for I guess a day’s work.
Zane: Well, I know that’s an expensive trip. Most people wouldn’t be doing that but would you, are you going to be recommending working through the Pachamama Alliance?
Logan: Yeah, so the Pachamama Alliance actually runs a whole bunch of different trips. The one I did is called the Founder’s Journey. That involved John Perkins and Lynne Twist and Bill Twist, the different people that founded the Pachamama Alliance. That’s kind of a special invite-only event and that occurred the Maverick thing but they do a whole bunch of trips, not just to the Amazon but also to other areas as well. So certainly, that’s an opportunity for people. Actually, one of my dreams, the Achuar Federation leaders came in on our last day at the Kapawi Lodge and then we go got to meet them. And then we did the guayusa ceremony the next morning. So I had a dream that night and had them interpret it and basically in their interpretation they gave me a business idea. Mostly if this pans out but I could leads trips down there. They want more people to come to the Kapawi Lodge so that would be an opportunity in the future.
Zane: Oh, that’s cool.
Logan: Yeah, so hopefully I can do the work and make that come to fruition and I will do a whole Lost Empire group down there.
Zane: Lost Empire.
Logan: Yeah, that could be very fun.
Zane: Find the empire down there, huh?
Logan: Yeah. It’s not so lost there.
Zane: I just want to mention that this quarter, 1% of all our sales is going to the Pachamama Alliance.
Logan: Yeah, and they’re doing some really work. I got to understand what they do. It’s kind of multi-faceted but one of the things is they just monthly give money to these different indigenous people so that they can do things like have internet access, go to school, fly planes around so that they’re able to actually fight for their rights, which is a difficult thing. So yeah, they just monthly give them money like this. And then they’re also doing work and part of their mission is, as they put it, changing the dream of the western world which is trying to get us out of this mind-set of what we’re doing which is ultimately destroying the planet to a more ecological one that’s greater for people as well as nature. And they’re doing things along those lines in order to help support that.
Zane: So are the other trips, they work with other indigenous groups and stuff?
Logan: Yeah, I think the Achuar are the main people but yeah they probably work with the Shuar and the others as well. Actually, our visit to Sarayaku and Kichwa people was the first time they had gone there. So that was pretty cool.
Zane: And one thing I really like about them doing that is indigenous people are kind of like dying out, all those cultures. We came from a very not—we never went camping when we were growing up and that kind of stuff so we were pretty much city kids. When you hear about indigenous people going and dying out and their cultures dying, you really don’t care is the main thing. There’s so much value in those cultures. It’s lost the diversity and it’s just like—
Logan: The sort of western mind-set is that oh, they should assimilate because we’re better off.
Zane: Yeah, that’s the big one.
Logan: But that’s not necessarily the case when you look at just how unhappy people are. A lot of those people that will end up going to the city, going to Quito or other places, maybe to go to school or something but then they have to earn money in order to pay for rent, to pay for food, to get around and they’re just like, why am I doing all this when I can live freely, have all my food and everything? It’s so much simpler. So yeah, certainly some people do go off and they like it for whatever reason, or certain ones will go off and join in order to—like one of the leaders of the Achuar people, he’s gone and gotten his business management degree. He had learned some English so he was able to speak to us a little bit. So yeah, they’re certainly doing things like this and they’re doing that in order to preserve what they have because, like you were saying, it’s really important, not that we should all live like them but that we can learn some lessons from it.
Logan: And I think just preserving that diversity because we are like a worldwide community now and it’s all becoming homogenous, there are benefits to that, sure, but there are also some drawbacks. So being able to preserve this and the Achuar, we don’t want to turn the Amazon into a national park where there’s no one there. They are a part of that and they’re uniquely able to help take care of it and help preserve it and keep it better.
Zane: And they actually increase animal populations and stuff just by living on the land.
Zane: So you said you have another trip planned with a shaman. Do you have any other big trips?
Logan: No. After that, there was some extended travel after it. I’m going to be home for a little while but yeah, I’m sure there will be more trips of this nature in the future. Like I said, it was phenomenal. It was also with a great group of people that I’m sure I’ll have relationships with for the rest of my life.
Zane: Yeah. That’s really cool. Do you want to add anything else?
Logan: There are probably plenty things that I would have loved to talk about but have forgotten but I think that gives a pretty good overview. I’m also writing about a number of things. I wrote down all the ideas, all the different things I wanted to speak about so make sure to look for those articles as well. And I hope you people are enjoying them. I’m having a lot of fun writing about this stuff.
Zane: I like it.
Logan: It’s part of my integration but also kind of okay, how is this changing or affecting me in different ways? So it’s kind of therapeutic for me but yeah, I am definitely enjoying putting that out there. I hope you enjoy reading them and I hope you enjoyed listening to this pretty interesting story we’ve got.
Zane: Yeah. So I guess that’s going to wrap it up for now.
Logan: All right. As always, if you have any questions specifically on this, you can either ask it on the podcast notes, the page on the website, also any of the articles or just send it into our help desk. Once again, a reminder – check out Lost Empire Herbs if you have not done that.
Zane: Yeah. Check out the new site. It is way better than the last site.
Logan: It is new and improved.
Zane: Way more functional.
Logan: I’m excited for some of the new things we can do with that and where it’s going now that we’re Lost Empire Herbs.
Zane: Yeah. Now we don’t have that hanging over our heads so we can really—
Logan: We’ve got some new fun projects to work on.
Zane: Yeah. All right.
Logan: All right, well thanks everyone for listening. As always, any questions, as I said, leave them somewhere. Thanks for listening to the podcast. We very much enjoy doing this for you and hope you get a lot out of it.
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