Shamans of the Amazon
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Featuring: Terence Mc Kenna, Rick Strassman, Yatra De Silvera Babosa, Enrique and Raphael, Shamans from Ecuador and Pablo Amaringo from Peru.


SHAMANS OF THE AMAZON, is a personal account of filmmaker, Dean Jefferys, returning to the Amazon with his partner and one year old daughter.

They journey deep into the heart of the Ecuadorian rainforest to meet two Amazon shamans to learn about and experience the ancient hallucinogenic ayahuasca ritual.

The film brings to the viewer an intimate and fascinating look at the shamans of the Amazon, their culture and their rituals that are fast disappearing.

The ayahuasca ritual is thousands of years old.

It is said ayahuasca allows the shaman to enter other dimensions where complicated healings, shamanic battles, clairvoyance, initiations, ancestral knowledge exchange and communications with the plant, animal and spirit world is possible.

The ayahuasca ritual involves the drinking of a combination of two hallucinogenic plants in the presence of a trained shaman.

Using the first person narrative the video follows Dean and his family's journey, to meet with these Amazon shamans and explore this mysterious psychedelic world.

The journey takes Dean around the globe to meet with people from several western countries who have developed their own unique style of the ayahuasca rituals.

Dean Jefferys in an Ayahuasca session
Dean participates in filmed ayahuasca rituals where
he drinks the ayahuasca brew with both Amazon and "new age" shamans
, giving first hand accounts of his experiences.

SHAMANS OF THE AMAZON examines the effects the outside world is having on the Amazonian shamans and explores how they and the ayahuasca rituals are adapting to these changes.

The program examines how and why this ancient ritual is now spreading around the world, focusing on several western individuals and religious members who use ayahuasca.

The video examines the legalities of using ayahuasca for the Amazon shaman, the curious westerner and people who want to get the use of ayahuasca legalised for their spiritual pursuits.

In Amsterdam Dean meets Yatra Silvera de Barbosa, a Brazilian woman in her forties who has been running rituals and importing ayahuasca legally into the Netherlands since 1994.

Yatra has been developing a program incorporating ayahuasca use to help heroin addicts quit their addiction.

Yatra describes the police raid of the Santo Daime church in Amsterdam where the spiritual leaders of a ritual are now facing between 7 and 15 years in jail for drinking and serving ayahuasca.

The documentary reports the first ever public demonstration to legalise ayahuasca and briefly examines the effects of the global war on drugs.  

The video examines the chemical composition of this shamanic brew and hear how some "new age" alchemists are deriving these active compounds from other plants.

In Australia an active ingredient of the Amazon shamans potion Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is extracted from a native acacia or wattle tree.

The video describes DMT's traditional use amongst some Amazonian tribes.

A key subject in the film is world renowned psychedelic explorer, lecturer and author, Terence McKenna, who had been researching and experimenting with hallucinogens including DMT since the sixties.

Four months before Terence died of cancer Dean interviewed him at his home in Hawaii.

SHAMANS OF THE AMAZON utilises the latest in computer graphics technology to simulate the feelings and visions one has during the ayahuasca ritual or DMT experience.  

The shamanic experience is illustrated via the animation of elaborate drawings of ayahuasca visions by an Amazon shaman and artist, Don Pablo Amaringo to help illustrate the visions of the traditional shamans.



Witness a dramatic and violent uprising by thousands of Ecuadorian Amazon people, (which includes two of our main characters) against an American oil company that is destroying the forests and polluting the local rivers.

Some contemporary Amazon shamans are using ayahuasca to determine their strategies to fight the oil companies and other invaders on their traditional land. As the crisis facing the Amazon shamans changes with the times, so does their use and application of ayahuasca.

Similarly some westerners appear to be using ayahuasca to receive knowledge, understand their relationship with nature and to seek visions of how best to deal with the current global environmental threats.

Raphael with Ayahuasca vine
Raphael with Ayahuasca vine

SHAMANS OF THE AMAZON will show how the ayahuasca rituals of these shamans are an integral part of their life and their relationship with nature.

This is the type of relationship with the natural kingdom many in the developed world are struggling to rediscover.


Beginning the millennium, in a "say no to drugs" era, the video reveals a new subculture emerging, based on an ancient ritual of hallucinogenic plant use.

In a time when indigenous people, their culture and our natural environment are experiencing dramatic changes, the video examines what these SHAMANS OF THE AMAZON and their hallucinogenic rituals have to offer.

Copyright © 2005 Dean Jefferys. Site Designed by Nemesis Productions.

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