The Curious Case of Sebastian Woodroffe

Alternate Title: Ayahuasca is Not the Safest Game in Town

Note: this article is speculation. I have independently verified almost nothing from my theory. The facts I’ve used have been taken from newspaper accounts and personal experience. And here are the facts.

Canadian-citizen Sebastian Woodroffe was killed in Ucayali department after allegedly murdering the village’s spiritual leader, Olivia Arevalo. The villagers lynched him as seen below (graphic images).

Fast facts:

  1. Woodroffe first came to Peru over four years ago after setting up a crowdfunding campaign.
  2. Woodroffe originally went to Iquitos to study the hallucinogenic drug, ayahuasca. He ended up in Ucayali.
  3. Arevalo’s son owed Woodroffe over $4,000.
  4. Woodroffe was reported to police for drinking in the village in the days before Arevalo’s murder.
  5. Police have the receipt showing Woodroffe bought the gun a few days before Arevalo’s murder.
  6. Ballistic tests show that gun fired the bullets that killed Arevalo.
  7. Woodroffe’s clothes had gunpowder on them.

The comments from the Spanish-language coverage mostly attacked the villagers for being savages and an embarrassment to Peru, while comments on the English-language stories attacked the villagers for being savages and lynching the wrong guy. The gringos reading from Canada, the U.S. or Europe couldn’t get their head around the possibility that this Canadian do-gooder would kill an 80-year-old woman.

Reading Between the Lines

But reading between the lines and venturing into unverified speculation, I can see it.

Woodroffe first came to Peru five years ago to learn about ayahuasca’s healing properties, which I’ll translate as a starry-eyed gringo setting himself up for disappointment. From his crowdfunding campaign to pay for his trip:

I have the opportunity to study for three months with a Shipibo Plant Healer, at a healing centre in Iquitos, Peru. This man comes from a long line of healers going far back into the mists of time. He has over 40 years of experience utilising native plants’ potent capacity for healing. His culture has worked with plants as medicines for the last 5000 years! …

I cannot stress how important it can be to retain old knowledge [that] these people have harboured …  It is a far more valuable resource than all the trees, minerals, and oil in the whole Amazon. Cultural knowledge cannot be restored once it is wiped out … I feel responsible trying to support this culture and retain some of their treasure in me and my family, and share it with those that wish to learn.

You may not see anything objectionable in that passage if you don’t live in Latin America. But those who do live here see the seeds of profound disappointment. He’s setting his hopes too high, and reality is going to whack him upside the head.

There is an anecdote I like to tell. It didn’t happen just once, it happens fairly often to social-justice warriors, feminists and just regular gringos who arrive in Latin America with dreams of becoming a part of this noble culture. The newly arrived gringo or gringa gets set up in an apartment and, within a couple months, has their sleep disturbed by the neighbor beating his wife. And the police don’t come. And after the neighbor finishes beating her, the gringo still can’t sleep because then they have audible sex.

That’s a typical “Welcome to Latin America” moment, but it’s more than one moment. The gringo’s dreams of a noble Latin America begin to evaporate the second, third and 15th night they lose sleep to the same performance.

I imagine something like that happened to Woodroffe. Not the neighbor beating his wife, although that may have been part of it. But one disappointment would have certainly come via the $6,800 tuition for the “Shipibo healing centre” he describes in his Indiegogo.

That is more than the annual per-capita income in Peru, and twice the annual minimum wage. You can get a four-year degree for that at a university in Lima. From Canada you might not see how absurd that is, but once you arrive in the jungle it’s just a matter of time. If Woodroffe paid that, it would have created a resentment for years. Ad if he didn’t pay it, it would have been his wake-up call to how cynical some operators in Peru and greater Latin America can be.

That would have been the first disappointment. He originally went to Iquitos, which is a gringo hotbed and ground zero for ayahuasca tourism. He would have seen all the competing services, including the gringo operators who came before him. He would have seen the pub crawls and the long history of gringos who arrived in Iquitos for over 100 years.

For whatever reason, which I assume was to get closer to the original tribes which used ayahuasca, Woodroffe went off the beaten path. He left Iquitos, the provincial capital of Loreto department, for Ucayali, home to the Shipibo-Conibo tribe. He would have first arrived in Ucayali’s capital city of Pucallpa, which I’ve heard described as a frontier town in the Wild West. I describe it as “ground zero for illegal logging.” One veteran expat told me you’ll see in Pucallpa barges full of contraband cars or motorcycles or whatever, smuggled in broad daylight, moving upriver through the city without being stopped. And the next barge will be hauling illegally-logged mahogany from a national reserve.

But Woodroffe didn’t stay in the city. He left the provincial capital for an indigenous village miles into the jungle. If Pucallpa is a lawless place, at least they have police. He went to a place where there was effectively no government. It might feel safe because these jungle Indians are friendly and peaceful, but there is no formal law. There is an unwritten, tribal law.

We don’t know how long Woodroffe spent in Iquitos or Pucallpa before finding his way to the Shipibo village. But we know he was in the jungle on and off for over four years. That’s enough time not only to have all his dreams ruined, but to acclimate to the backwardness. To embrace it. For the Upside Down to get inside.

Illegal logging is a big business in Ucayali. In fact some gringos have floated theories with no evidence that Arevalo was killed by illegal loggers, and Woodroffe was innocent. But his glorification of the Amazon tribes would have partly been ruined by seeing that the Amazon is not being chopped down by multinational corporations from America or Europe, but in fact by Amazon natives. It’s a big business employing Amazon natives from top to bottom, from those cutting down the trees to the provincial politicians and police taking bribes to turn a blind eye.

Another feature of the jungle culture that would have given Woodroffe a shock is the sex industry. Iquitos is Peru’s biggest problem for sex tourism with underage girls. Peru has a consensual age of just 14, which can be attributed to the jungle tribes’ custom of marrying their girls off once they’ve hit puberty. I’ve heard that once a girl turns 18 in the jungle, she’s an old maid. Woodroffe would have seen this in Iquitos, and again, he may have seen a gringo tourist or two engaging these girls. But the vast majority of customers, pimps and madams would have been Peruvians.

Little by little his idea of Peru was shattered. Like every other gringo down here, you dump any ideas of these people being downtrodden. You come to see them as being poor for a reason. Because they don’t try. They don’t read. They lie, cheat and steal. Whether they’re illiterate Indians in the jungle or inept Creoles on the coast, they all want easy money.

I don’t necessarily believe those things, but it’s inevitable for those thoughts to enter your mind once or twice when you live here for years.

And that brings us to what would have hurt Woodroffe the most: treachery. Did he pay $6,800 to the healing center? We don’t know, but a slew of reports indicate that Olivia Arevalo’s son owed him over $4,000. And given Woodroffe launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance his initial trip to Peru, we can safely assume that $4,000 was not an insignificant amount of money for him.

Prosecutors believe that was the motive for her murder.

Woodroffe got swindled by none other than the son of the Shipibos’ spiritual leader. If he was maintaining a high opinion of the Indians by blaming all the moral imperfections on Creoles or whichever cultures outside of the Shipibos, this had to hurt. The only thing I don’t understand is why he killed the 80-year-old mother instead of the guy who swindled him, and that brings us to ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca, Hallucinogenic Drug

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drug traditionally taken in spiritual ceremonies by the indigenous tribes of Peru’s Amazon jungle. It has recently attracted attention in over-educated circles of Gringolandia for being effective in treating PTSD and addiction. And given it is legal, gringos ranging from Silicon Valley geeks to gap-year teens have been flocking to Peru to participate in “ceremonies,” spawning a drug-tourism industry completely distinct from the traditional brand of drug tourism in Latin America.

I took ayahuasca, known as “yaje” in Colombia, back in my Bogota days. It was great. I had fun. I had profound insights, as I usually do when I trip balls. I first tripped balls back in high school, when LSD a.k.a. “acid” was popular. But I also ate shrooms several times and once even some tablets that I was told were mescaline, but in hindsight I have no idea. But I tripped balls.

The point is I have a good bit of experience with psychedelic drugs. And while they do give you these profound insights to the point where an experienced user could believe how they’d be useful in psychological treatment, it’s not always profound insights. It affects everybody differently, but I’ve found in my case that hallucinogens make me more aggressive. One night I wound up in jail (not fun on acid). Another time I almost got into what would have been a nasty fight with a group of Bogota panhandlers. And by “nasty fight” I mean me knocking out filthy crackheads who may have had knives a couple blocks from where I lived. Not a good idea to say the least.

Hallucinogens yield insights, but if you take them regularly you will ultimately live in a warped reality. It will change you, just like living in Latin America changes you. If you’re taking ayahuasca on a regular basis while living in the Amazon jungle (the Upside Down even for Peruvians) for four years, you’re going to become a different person.

Again, this is pure speculation. But in that context, it is not unbelievable that a Canadian who was a good dude back home could come to put the responsibility of his outstanding debt on the mother of the guy who swindled him. And while four years is enough to learn the score in Latin America and even get a hold of a gun, you don’t really know these women and their sons until you marry into a family. Woodroffe could have been laying her and her son could be a complete degenerate loser, there is simply no way she would ever give him up. Love them or hate them, Latinas are ride-or-die for their sons.

And so it looks like Woodroffe killed her. That’s what the village, in accordance with their unwritten law and having the most knowledge of the situation, determined. And that’s what prosecutors determined.

Not the Safest Game in Town

First of all, get it out of your head that because ayahuasca is a natural plant, that it is “medicine.” It is a DRUG. It gets you high. It’s a lovely high, but it’s a drug nonetheless. People don’t take ayahuasca because they’re sick. They take it to get high. If it didn’t get you high, people wouldn’t take it.

As with any drug that gets you high, ayahuasca attracts a motley crew of customers and vendors. Of course there are good people taking ayahuasca in Peru just to get high and go about their lives, as there are good people (Indians, Creoles and even gringos) who want to make a living by providing a safe ayahuasca experience to drug tourists. But there are also dodgy customers and dodgy vendors. That makes for a potentially dodgy scene …

Then throw hallucinogenic drugs into the mix!

Take a dodgy cast of characters and have them all tripping balls. Obviously, some things are going to go wrong. People are going to die. It could be you, so be careful.

Aside from the Woodroffe-Arevalo case in Ucayali, there are a few overdoses every year. They don’t overdose on ayahuasca itself, but the nicotine in the tobacco tea used in ceremonies to “cleanse” the system.

My big ayahuasca advice is don’t drink the tobacco tea. Politely decline. Tell them you’re allergic or a recovering nonsmoker. Hell, tell them tobacco is against your religion but ayahuasca isn’t. Trust me, I’ve gotten high on all kinds of hallucinogens. You don’t have to cleanse anything. All you have to do is consume the ayahuasca, and you’ll get high.

In one incident, an American 18-year-old overdosed and the shaman tried to hide his body by burying it and telling people the gringo walked off into the jungle. Other shamans have been accused of using the drugs to sexually assault gringas once they’re tripping.

Another curious case was the killing of British citizen Unais Gomes by fellow tourist, Canadian Joshua Freeman-Stevens. Freeman was cleared of wrongdoing as all the other tourists at the ayahuasca retreat corroborated his account that Gomes attacked him with a knife. His ayahuasca reality led him to fight a friend to the death, and he lost. Even if he had won, he would be in a Peruvian prison today.

Again it’s not unbelievable at all given my experience.

Not a year passes in Peru without a gringo or two being killed in incidents related to ayahuasca. Mostly from the tobacco tea but also bizarre situations like these. The continuous negative press is leading to calls within Peru to regulate the industry.

So be careful when booking your ayahuasca trip. My second piece of advice, in addition to not drinking the tobacco tea, would be not to stray too far from the beaten path. Find a place near the capitals (Lima, Bogota) if you can. Or go with an established provider with plenty of reviews and experience dealing with gringos. Their price may be a ripoff, but as I said this isn’t the safest game in town. When you buy cocaine, do you go to the slums to get the best price, the most authentic experience?

At the end of the day, ayahuasca tourism sees more dead gringos than cocaine tourism!

Did you enjoy this article? Check out these similar stories:

Support what Expat Chronicles is all about. Leave a tip to keep the laughs coming (and the news, insight and other stuff too).

Donate

22 comments

  1. Last thing I read yesterday was that the forensic atomic absorption tests showed traces of antimony, lead, and barium on Woodroffe’s clothing (unable to test the body due to state of decomposition, yuckk).

    That’s from LR yesterday.

    So, guess they got the right man. Locals are usually right and gringos stand out like an arc lamp.

    Several local anecdotes, including the reformatory for two times offenders that turns out to be a shaky bridge over an unswimmable torrent. And at a remote village, ¿is our car safe? answered by a finger drawn across the throat.

    The hand of the State reaches so far – logistics – and serious issues are dealt with in the only way how.

    No point absolutely no point in coming to “Darkest Peru” with all your mental luggage from Canada or wherever and expecting the locals to absorb you. They are just too busy keeping alive, sorry.

    And an In Memoriam for Señora Olívia, who should have still been alive today, serving her own people and their ancestors and descendants.

    “For she who in life was Olívia Arévalo, QEPD y DDG”

    Like

  2. I have been looking into this story .
    Being a latina myself , and understanding the good , the bad and the ugly of latin america . I dare to make this hypothesis ; Couldnt the son of Olivia Arevalo , framed the Canadian?

    No one SAW Olivia Arevalo get shot by Sebastian .
    They got murdered on the same day , yet Olivia’s son made posters looking for Sebastian ? why ?

    and MONEY is MONEY . Obviously Olivia’s son did NOT have the money to pay Sebastian back , and he was not going to get rid of Sebastian any time soon. When people are scared , and fearful they turn very sinister .

    Like

  3. @ Emma – Two problems with your theory and all the others that culminate in Sebastian Woodroffe NOT being the person who killed Olivia Arevalo:

    1. They have no supporting evidence.
    2. They have to discard the existing evidence.

    My speculative theory here at least connects the factual dots, which I have included in an update to this article.

    @ David, one of the developments is that ballistic tests matched gunpowder on Woodroffe’s clothes to the bullets that killed Arevalo, as well as the bullets to the gun he purchased days before.

    Like

  4. @ Colin

    Las declaraciones sobre gente del pueblo:

    1) un extranjero terrible
    2) un extranjero que daba miedo
    3) un extranjero que tenia una moto nueva cada dia
    4) este hombre se dedica a raptar a ninos y vender sus organos.
    5)Era traficador de organos
    6) llega aqui con guantes y polvos (?)
    ********************************************************************
    Hipotesis :

    1) un mal viaje de ayuahasca
    2) ajuste de cuentas

    *********************************************************************
    Declaraciones y sus contradicciones :

    1) Sebastian obligo a la Olivia Arévaloa cantarle un icaro antes de matarla ….

    2) Olivia Arevalo trato de cantarle un Icaro a Sebastian para calmarlo

    3) El la mato por ajustes de cuentas

    4) El se mal viajo por la Ayahuasca

    TODAS ESTAS IRREGULARIDADES Y CONTRADICCIONES VIENEN DE LAS VOCES DE LA MISMA GENTE DE LA COMUNIDAD !

    COMO se puede confiar ?

    Ok ahora nos vamos a la pistola va ?

    Sebastian estaba rentando un cuarto en San Jose de la provincia .
    Entrevistaron a la mujer , quien le rentaba un cuarto . Ella comenta que dias antes lo habian asaltado (a Sebatian )

    No sera que Sebatian haya comprado la pistola para protejerse ?

    La misma senora dice que la moto que usaba Sebastian era una moto prestada … (pero la gente del pueblo dice que llevaba una moto diferente cada dia ????)

    Ahora el Fiscal Ricardo Jimenez – NACIONAL DE PERU-nos dice que encuentran rastros de polvora en la ropa del canadiense y el caso ya se va a cerrar . TODO INDICA que el CANADIENSE LO HIZO …

    pero usando el pensamiento critico y objetivo .

    Muchas de las declaraciones de la gente del pueblo son completamente NO FIABLES … SIN EMBARGO … ¿sintieron que tenían el derecho de torturar y matar a otro ser humano?

    Ahora hablemos de algo muy comun de la colonizada lationamerica .

    siempre es un nostros contra ellos .

    TU crees , SINCERAMENTE , que el pueblo PERUANO va a culpar a su propia gente ? TU sabes CUANTO DINERO puede perder en TURISMO , por este incidente ?!

    NO LES CONVIENE EN LO MAS MININO !

    Lo mas facil es que todas la “PRUEBAS” apunten que el “malo ” es Sebatian (culpar al “otro” al de afuera , al extranjero ) y que el pueblo tomo justicia de la unica forma que podia .
    Pobre de la gente de los pueblos originarios , los malos extranjeros que vienen a abusar y nos regresamos a los temas COLONIZADORES .

    Yo respeto el conocimiento ancestral de la maestra , y sabia Olivia Arevalo y su muerte no se justifica , ella no merecia esa muerte . Ella era un legado para su gente y para el mundo y sus conocimientos , sus cantos , los hemos perdido , y eso parte el alma .

    Pero teniendo una distancia critica , y objetiva . Yo sinceramente no creo lo que los medios oficiales nos quieren hacer creer.

    Se debe de conducir una investigacion que no sea por el gobierno peruano o el gobierno canadiense . Tiene que ser alguien arbitrario .

    como los argentinos hicieron en el caso de Ayotzinapa , y encontraron que la version del gobierno Mexicano era toda una mentira (sin embargo esa es la version oficial ) los Argentinos encontraron BASTANTES irregularidades con las mentiras del gobierno Mexicano.

    USTEDES que vienen de paises donde existe una forma de “DEMOCRACIA” no se dan cuenta que aqui en Latinoamerica la “verdad” es maleable .

    I believe there is more to this story .

    Like

  5. Hey Colin, that was a great read, thanks. I’d appreciate it if you kept good reads about raw life in Latin America coming and I’d be happy to donate.

    Like

  6. Having known Sebastian personally for his entire journey through ayahausca and well before I would say some of your points are interesting though I would speculate that the strangest and most unlikeley piece of this story for me having known him for as long as I have is that he would shoot someone over money… especially someone who didn’t owe him the money. He lived extremely simply over in Canada by choice and did not ever put much value on monetary gain or material possession.

    Like

  7. They only proved (police known for corruption who announced him the killer until the video surfaced) that he had gun residue on his clothes, not that it matched the gun.He was not too decomposed, no gun residue found on hands…He was set up, only needed a gun fired near him if that even happened. Many from that village don’t believe he did it but many have motives to kill him including protecting peruvian tourism image and a hatred dichotomy for Gringo’s.

    Two of the other villagers were also reportedly threatened with bullets and letters left right after he was lynched. To ANY non homeless Canadian $4,000 is NOTHING-least of all his known value system-which is why it’s such an obvious setup, never mind a peaceful warrior who was NOT high.Hit men are common place in Peru for next to nothing and frame people all the time…Canadians on health walk-abouts who shoot 80+ year old women, especially this Canadian (I’m from his town) they are learning from, never.

    He had no motive, many had motive to kill him in a lawless land where corporations, sons in massive Peruvian debt, gringo haters, hit men a plenty, and just the poor and racist seeing a peruvian fortune reward had motive to kill him….all the false witness statements unnecessary if he was guilty.So many in peru stating they are from or know people from that village who knew he didn’t do it. Now it’s political of course it has to be guilty, Peru’s global image at stake now that Canada warns Canadians to avoid Peru. I grieve for the suffering on his family this unjust place has exacted and injustice of his murder, many are also. No matter one’s stance, no one should die like that, least of all him. If it’s true he bought 50 acres, he was a dead man walking the day he bought them, if you know anything about land issue logging and palm oil farming in Peru he would be one of many to die for owning land or even stating opinions on land protection…so many bodies just for that alone. His motives and character, zero. others, I can’t stop adding.I appreciate your thoughtful post just wholeheartedly disagree with him as the villain of this murder.He is 1000% victim

    Like

  8. Thanks for your article, But just sth for u , that u should consider, ayahuasca has been turned into an industry when this was not an industry and there are still many people who preserve it as Part of their Culture and spiritual Legacy of their ancestors. So If sth becomes an industry is because there is a market and customers, Most of these customers are just people like u, That are just looking to have more fun and new experiences withouth trying first To understand what is originally behind and being respectful with that. I am sure Every Country has its own Culture Legacy some more far away that what we are used To see in the modern societies, But it does not make Them less, ayahuasca is Part of the Culture of some tribes. I am sorry so many people just know it as a drug and in a Part is the fault of some who comercialized it just to get money.

    Like

  9. Great article!

    I also live in the valley Sebastian is from and his death is a perfect example of this valley, island and country.
    Everyone here is “nice”. If nice was a horoscope sign, everyone here was born under it.
    Nice and sheltered, privileged and entitled lol.
    You don’t have to live lavishly or come from money to have an attitude of superiority.

    In fact, I’d say most people from where he is from have no idea of the world outside how they choose to experince or understand it. The well insulated island they live on is safe and about as open minded & progressive as a high school cafeteria in the 80’s.

    Few people here admit that alcoholism or “high class” drug (cocaine, mdma, speed) addiction is as common place as it is.
    Egoism here leads a lot of people I’ve met to believe they’re better than others and they don’t, and can’t do anything wrong.
    Obviously this makes recovery hard. I’ve seen a lot of 30-40’s adults here who can’t admit they’re addicts and thus going to rehab is a formality for having a relapse.

    If you talk to people around here that knew Sebastian but weren’t in his “clique” they’ll tell you he could be a dick to people. He liked to play “pranks” on people when he was drinking. He was human!
    He wasn’t a monster but he wasn’t an angel either.

    This valley is small. If you do something to rub someone ‘popular’ the wrong way, you’re out.
    If you’re cool and popular you can do whatever you want, act however you want and never be called out or questioned about what you do or say.

    He obviously had the same Canadian arrogance so prevalent amongst Canadians;
    -what we think is how it is
    -what we’re told is how it is
    -we’re better
    -change is great, as long as I’m still on top
    -I can always buy what I want

    The insights in this article are keen!
    See how EVERYONE who was a “close friend” from this valley says “he would never” and “he was not” like that?

    Typical arrogance; “I knew this guy”, “I would know”. Like there’s no realm of possibility where maybe people don’t know everything?

    No one knows anyone. And from what I know Seb had the same potential for darkness ANYONE has when they cross a line with intoxication.

    Anyone is capable of anything when they are really intoxicated or upset or both.

    And coming from Comox Valley there’s a really high chance you’re going to take the ‘look at these shitty Indians’ stance instead of embracing the soul crushing reality of a world that isn’t perfect for many reasons outside one person’s control or understanding.

    There are a lot of people here who don’t like Canadian natives.
    The prevalent attitude in Canada is exactly that! ‘Natives are lazy and dumb’, ‘they live that way because they choose too, etc.
    Not addressing the impact of residential schools or colonization, segregation and culture dissolution from outside government.

    This is slowly changing. But this country has insanely high rates of missing and murdered indigenous people so it’s not changing nearly anywhere close to enough!
    (See: The Highway of Tears)

    Many people (especially in Comox Valley) don’t even acknowledge Canada is racist.
    Because it works for them maybe?

    I’m not saying Sebastian was a racist or a rich entitled brat. I’m saying he was a tall, good looking white man from a valley full of white people who host electronic bush parties, snowboard, kayak and party in paradise. He had grand expectations that he could buy or become something simply because he chose to be.
    Not because he deserved it.

    Maestra Olivia probably saw his demons and his insincerity and denied him access to ceremony.
    If he already paid a lot of money to her son, this creates a situation no one can predict.

    If you think he was framed because you can’t admit your friend was capable of murder, it shows you knew him about as well as you know the jungles of Peru.

    This guy went where he didn’t belong, for reasons that probably had everything to do with ego. You want to help people? People help themselves. Being alive and part of a network of supports helps people. Not taking trips inside of yourself when you don’t know (or worse, like) who you are.

    Now 2 people are dead.

    RIP

    Probelms with the “he was framed” scenario:

    1. Why not frame someone from another country in South America for her murder?
    There’s plenty of disdain amongst people on that continent. What sense does it make to frame someone who will bring INTERNATIONAL attention to the murder?

    2. He was drinking heavily leading up to the murder and had used ayahuasca previously.
    It’s hard to gauge the mental state of someone after they’ve been altering their perceptions with substances for a time.

    Someone who was incapable of harming a fly can participate in a murder if they’ve been provoked and under a haze of substances for months.

    Like

  10. For everybody advancing conspiracy theories leading to culprits other than Woodroffe guilty of Arevalo’s murder, I recommend leaving a LINK for your allegations. Then readers can judge for themselves how reliable your information is.

    Like

  11. @Talks without Bull, good thinking. Sir, matches some of my experience. Nutshell: the consumer mentality is not a good fit for latin culture and is easily seen through.

    Like

  12. A bit of background that may help understand some of these events…

    One very distinct psychosocial difference between andean and anglo culture is the /ongoing/ reinforcement of social values in the former and the worship of individuality in the latter.

    I hear it commonly said that family values are at the heart of wider society. In andean terms the larger family and other associations like school promociones and professional collegiate bodies tend to reinforce this.

    In contrast, modern anglo life is predicated on what we like to call the nuclear family, a small unit almost destitute of wider connections and something that may more honestly be termed a Commercially Optimised Breeding Unit.

    Where I’m going with this is to compare the richness of the truly extended latin family life with the poverty of modern anglo spirituality (for want of a better term).

    And, with the latter, what chance do you have of gaining anything from what is, reputedly – according to the shamanic literature – a cultural process yielding rich insights into personal dilemmas and ancient mysteries?

    Nothing, because in your head you’re starting with nothing but a head full of consumerist greed and waffle. How the “feck” can you get anywhere with that? (Old Joke, I would not be starting from here, Sir, if I were wanting to get to there).

    Just my 2 centimos. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

    Like

  13. Alot of people fail to recognise that all this ayahusca stuff is all bullshit. Its another way to get high , getting high isnt spiritual or profound. Getting high in the arse end of the world with scoundrels and vagabonds, great idea ! And it appears all this occured over a debt of paper money , very spiritual indeed.

    Like

  14. Great article, spot on about SJWs and I fully corroborate everything you say about the Jungle, completely godless place; alcoholism, incest and pedophilia everywhere!

    Like

  15. Another good insight article…of course it is speculation what happened in the village, but if the tribe lynched him, there was probably good reason though it is hard to believe someone would kill an 80 year old woman, and it isn’t hard to believe that maybe someone else wanted to destroy the tribe and blame it on the gringo.
    Good insight into ayahuasca, an incredible experience, everyone should try it, but there is an incredible variation out there.
    Best insight on the disillusionment of the American liberal who thinks he is going to help or has some romantic notion of the Third World. When he or she figures out that for the most part humanity is “all about the money” and come to grips with the reality of the world then disillusionment is sure to follow.

    Like

  16. Thanks, this was probably the most cogent summary I’ve come across. When middle class dreams come into hard reality of third world survival.

    Like

  17. @ Anon. I agree. This is the most compelling and thought-out article that I have read concerning this matter so far. There are also some very good comments.

    I’ve been searching for updates to this story but haven’t come across any. Have they already closed the case or is the investigation ongoing?

    Like

  18. @ Reader – The last I read the two guys who carried out the lynching disappeared into the jungle when the story went international. They’ll never be found as long as they don’t want to. When the heat calms down, I imagine they’ll return to the pueblo, which was never visited by police or the state before a gringo was killed there. The local cops won’t bother them. They know the local customs, they don’t want the community to hate them for locking up the men who gave them justice. Hell, the cops may be from the same kind of community themselves.

    In other words, the story’s over. The guys who lynched him won’t do time. I’d bet $1000 against it.

    Like

  19. So, a Canadian guy leaves a perfect western life with a loving wife, a son and family in order to devote his life to protecting and advancing the plant medicine knowledge only to end up killing the very source of that knowledge. And he supposedly does it for the amount of an average 1month salary in Canada? How on earth can one believe this is the truth? Because the corrupt police said so. The same police that sold him the gun to begin with? There is more to this story than this (highly suggestive) article presents.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Mr. Belvedere Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s