Reality Sandwich author Rak Razam recently talked with AlterNet about the life-changing experiences of Ayahuasca, and how the medicine plant is making big moves impacting Western culture:

Q:  I was curious watching your film if afterwards—after your experiences [with ayahuasca and living with shamans in the Amazon]—it was difficult to return to western society. Was it a strange experience, or what was it like?

A: Yes, to all of the above. It’s funny because I first went to Peru and had those experiences in 2006. It’s really only now, when the book has been out and the film has been made, that I can really let go.

Part of the framing of the book, is around Joseph Campbell’s heroic return. 

As part of the journey, you leave. There’s a departure from the known world. It’s going out into the new world and having the initiation or the experience.

Then there’s the return. It’s not complete without the return. Part of the return is when you share it with the tribe. They grow from the knowledge that you have gone out and carved out. You’ve hunted that knowledge and had that experience. You’re bringing it back and feeding the tribe. The bigger the experience is, maybe, the longer it takes to digest. I’m not sure, but it’s taken me seven years or so to really make media, make artifacts (the film and the book). ….

On another level, I locked myself away literally for three months and worked about 18 hour days getting the book down, basically channeling from my raw notes. The transition was still full of the vibrational memories.

When you have an ayahuasca ceremony, it’s important to do a dieta (specified diet) to prepare in advance. It’s also important in the days afterwards to create space in your life to then let it just be with you and let it integrate into you before you move forward. I guess I had a pocket of time, which was writing up the book, which enabled me to integrate better. The world goes on and you got to keep chopping wood and carrying water. Whatever you’ve healed in yourself or whatever revealed in yourself, you then got to take that out into the world. That journey continues.

Q: What are the healing benefits of psychedelics, and ayahuasca in particular?

A: What ayahuasca is doing as it parallels and it comes into the western cultural mainframe, is it’s pointing out these things in medicine. It’s not just of the body and of the physical quantifiable level that western medicine understands. There’s a deeper level, not just of healing, but of what sickness really is and of what, I guess, the soul is.

This is the thing, which has been missing on a core level: trying to look at the root causes of issues, not just the symptoms. The entire world is, at the moment, out of balance. Our relationship with the planet is out of balance. The ecology is out of balance. The politics are out of balance. The monetary system is out of balance. You name it. It seems to be unsustainable “isms” that we’re living in that are not in right relationship with the planet.…

Read the full interview at Alternet.