For centuries, indigenous people of South America have used ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant medicine, to cure all manner of psycho-spiritual ills. Today, thousands of Westerners, seeking healing and spiritual awakening, attend ayahuasca ceremonies around the world to drink the vision-inducing tea and experience dramatic transformations in their lives.
Vine of the Soul: Encounters with Ayahuasca is a documentary that explores the mystery of ayahuasca shamanism, offering insights into the nature of spirituality, mystical experience and self-healing through a heightened state of consciousness. Filmmaker Richard Meech follows key protagonists as they journey to Peru – and back home – capturing in verité style both the life-altering epiphanies and nights of terror encountered after drinking the sacred brew.
Is ayahuasca a doorway to direct knowledge of the divine or a path that leads to psychological trauma? Can it cure modern addictions to drugs and alcohol or is ayahuasca itself a possible substance of abuse? Some people call it a medicine, others a sacrament; the Amazonian shamans say it is simply a ‘plant teacher’ that tells you what you need to know.
Throughout the film, in-depth interviews with indigenous and Western curanderos, ethnobotanist Dennis McKenna, addiction expert Dr. Gabor Maté and scholar Kenneth Tupper speak to the increasing use of ayahuasca outside the Amazon and the potential benefits for Western medicine, personal spiritual growth and a new understanding of nature.
Note… one’s eyes do not look like you see in the movie. This is a result of the night vision cameras used to film during the dark ceremonies.