Shamanism, Ayahuasca, and Vanity Fair, In Iquitos Peru

by Captain Bill

How does shamanism, ayahuasca, and Vanity Fair come together in Iquitos Peru, and what will be the result?

Rick Meyerowitz and Ted Mann, on assignment for Vanity Fair to write an article about ayahuasca, pictured here with some shamans,

Rick Meyerowitz and Ted Mann, on assignment to write an article about ayahuasca for Vanity Fair, playing here with some shamans,and shamans wives

I was sitting in my favorite chair at the Dawn on the Amazon Cafe a couple of weeks ago when two tall North Americans came around the corner and one of them said “Look, they serve food here, lets sit down.”

The best part of owning a restaurant is meeting interesting people and making new friends. We introduced ourselves. That was how I met Rick Meyerowitz and Ted Mann. They are good conversationalists and asked me about myself, but I’m a better listener than talker so as soon as I could gracefully turn the conversation over to them I did, and they had a good story to tell.

They were in Iquitos on assignment to write an article about ayahuasca and shamans for Vanity Fair. Ted is the writer, Rick the photographer, artist, caricaturist, and humorist. They were both modest, in the most appealing way. I had to get on the internet and research them to learn that Ted won a Prime Time Emmey and was nominated for 6 others. Rick was there from the beginning of National Lampoon Magazine, did the Animal House movie poster, created one of the New Yorker Magazines most talked about covers, and lots more. Visiting with them they seem just like you and me, and of course they are. I liked them.

There is only so much you can learn about Shamans and ayahuasca from Los Angeles and Greenwich Village so they needed to visit Iquitos Peru to dial in to the switch board at the center of shamanism. Over the course of 10 days they met and interviewed 20 to 30 shamans, sat in on several ceremonies, learned as much as they could in the time allowed, and hosted what Ted loved to call the Shamans Ball.

A shamans widow smoking mapacho at the Shaman's Ball

A shaman's widow smoking mapacho at the Shaman's Ball

They learned about mapacho, curanderos, vegetalistas, brujos, chacruna, plant spirits, ayahuasca diets, ayahuasca tourism and only they know what all…I am anxious to read their article. What will the tone be? What opinions did they take home with them? They left me with too few clues to even guess. I think they liked Iquitos, and some of the characters they met. I suspect it will be good for Iquitos tourism whether or not they spin shamanism pro or con.

Ted in the tux, shamans group photo at the Shaman's Ball, held at the Amazon Golf Course

Ted in the tux, posing for the shamans group photo at the Shamans Ball, performed at the Amazon Golf Course

Ayahuasca and Shamanism are such fascinating and mysterious subjects that I’ve decided to write my own article about them. I don’t suppose a major magazine will pay to sponsor me so you can expect to read all about it for free, here in the Captain’s Blog.  I have over a decade of conversations, interviews, research, and anecdotal evidence to sift through, but no personal experience to draw on. I’ve always been curious of the vision vine, but afraid of the vine of death. The trouble is, they are the same vine. I imagine this could be a series of articles. Could the chapters climax with me drinking ayahuasca and writing the rest of the story from a new perspective? Would I then have to rewrite the whole series? What do you think?

You know I’m not the most prolific writer around so don’t hold your breath, but check back with me from time to time to read what I come up with. I’m looking forward to Ted and Rick’s big splash in Vanity Fair. Get a copy, let me know what you think.

How does shamanism, ayahuasca, and Vanity Fair come together in Iquitos Peru, and what will be the result?

Bill Grimes runs Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises with his fiancee, Marmelita. They are engaged to be married on June 26th 2010.

If you enjoyed this article about shamans and ayahuasca, you will want to click these links to learn more;

The Shamans Ball At The Amazon Golf Course, Iquitos Peru;

Opinions About Ayahuasca From The Shamans Apprentice;

New Ayahuasca Diet Menu At The Dawn on the Amazon Cafe;

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