Ayahuasca Shamanism: Illuminating the Interface between Biology, Emotion and Spirituality

Lecture | April 18 | 6-7:30 p.m. | LeConte Hall, Room 4 | Note change in location

 Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

Drawing from his first hand experience at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, a traditional healing center near Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon; Dr. Tafur will review the role of spiritual and emotional healing in modern healthcare. He will discuss how emotional trauma contributes to medical illness, and how spiritual healing techniques can lead to improvements in the mind-body. Ayahuasca shamanism and other psychedelic assisted therapies may be effective (in some cases) because of their ability to induce relevant changes in epigenetic imprints associated with emotional trauma stored in the psychoneuroendocrine immunologic network, which Dr. Tafur theorizes is the physiologic manifestation of the emotional body.



Dr. Joe Tafur is a Colombian-American family physician originally from Phoenix, Arizona. After completing his family medicine training at UCLA, Dr. Tafur spent two years in academic research at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry in a lab focused on mind-body medicine. After his research fellowship, over a period of six years, he lived and worked in the Peruvian Amazon at the traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. There he worked closely with master Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo and trained in ayahuasca shamanism. In his new book “The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine,” through a series of stories, Dr. Tafur shared his unique experience and integrative medical theories. He is now focused on his work with the nonprofit Modern Spirit (modernspirit.org) and the Modern Spirit Epigenetics Project.

 pahma-programs@berkeley.edu