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Wonder and Healing at an Ayahuasca Healing Centre, Peru


Wonder and Healing at an Ayahuasca Healing Centre, Peru

Ayahuasca is a wondrous thing. It is remarkable that a brew of plants can temporarily turn sounds into visions, give aromatic fumes the power to saturate the whole body, and open visionary worlds that illuminate with a vividness more pronounced than ordinary sight. I undertake an ethnographic study at an Shipibo led ayahuasca retreat center in Pucallpa, Peru, and examine how wonder relates to the practices of healing that take place at the retreat. I explore how wonder is an epistemic mood that emerges through an intercultural production of ontological crisis. While some types of wonder are seemingly crucial to the goals and procedures of healing and personal transformation, other latent sources of wonder do not arouse interest. The talk demonstrates how the constitution of wonder at the ayahuasca retreat perturbs ontological commitments while reinforcing existing social, economic, and ethical relations between global guests and Indigenous healers.

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