It was a Saturday, a few weeks after I’d first met him, when Lucho sent me a text. It was totally last minute, but some people had hired him to lead an ayahuasca healing ceremony that evening in the Huarochiri Valley, an area of shantytowns on the northern outskirts of Lima, Peru.
He asked if I wanted to tag along.
I already had dinner plans, but this seemed like an opportunity I couldn’t miss, so I quickly adjusted my schedule.
If you listened to the last episode, you know that Lucho is a curandero, a traditional medicine man from the jungle. People hire him through word-of-mouth to travel around Peru and cure all sorts of diseases and ailments. To carry out his work, he uses medicinal plants and herbs, as well as archeological artifacts that supposedly have mystical powers. And ayahuasca is the strongest tool he has. It’s a hallucinogenic brew of plants that he says works on both a physical and a spiritual level to help him diagnose and treat people. Now I was going to have the chance to witness Lucho’s work firsthand.
Lucho and I rode a series of buses and shared taxis that took us far away from any parts of the city where I had ever been. After traveling for about an hour, we arrived in a poor neighborhood with dusty, unpaved streets and shacks dotting the hillsides in all directions. Finally we arrived at our destination, a small, one story brick house with a corrugated metal roof.
Then he pulled a number of items out of his bag and began setting things up. There were various perfumes, dried herbs, flower petals, and a bible.
What followed over the next several hours was undeniably one of the most fascinating and intense things I’ve ever witnessed, and I’m thrilled to be able to share the experience with the rest of you!
Also check out this bonus episode I released where my friend Dennis recounts his failed ayahuasca experience when he was in Peru:
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Until next time,