Rak Razam is an Australian journalist whose gonzo-style coverage of ayahuasca tourism explores how the ancient Amazonian spiritual healing tradition is impacting the lives of more and more Westerners—and vice versa.
Q: What are the healing benefits of psychedelics, and ayahuasca in particular?
Rak Razam: This is the thing, which has been missing on a core level: trying to look at the root causes of issues, not just the symptoms. The entire world is, at the moment, out of balance.
Our relationship with the planet is out of balance. The ecology is out of balance. The politics are out of balance. The monetary system is out of balance. You name it. It seems to be unsustainable “isms” that we’re living in that are not in right relationship with the planet.…
It’s very strategic and very serendipitous, really, that many, many tribal peoples all across the world still are caretakers for, and have the knowledge and the heritage of, ayahuasca and this entheogenic revival of looking at what the planet gives us with these plants and their substances.
They have held the flame, while, basically western culture—the dominating culture, which has subjugated so many of these cultures—is now getting ready again to come back into balance. Ayahuasca is going out into the world.
Q: What makes it important to you to educate people about these substances? What drives you to talk about and to share what you’ve experienced with other people?
Rak Razam: I’m a writer and I’m a journalist and I’m communicating and documenting what used to be called the counter culture and I call the alter culture now: this multiplicity of communities which are engaging in archaic practices or ways of being which bring them closer back to the planet and its rhythms—whether that’s altered states or counter culture or sovereignty movements or using technology.
I guess ultimately I’m more of a mystic, or as much a mystic as I am a writer. … Things like ayahuasca or psychedelics, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. They’re the finger which points at the moon; they’re not the moon itself. What these things have revealed to me is that there’s a deeper pattern and a deeper game afoot, I guess. I really feel that in the planetary organism of the Earth itself, and then the larger, deeper cosmic ecology, there are rhythms within rhythms. We’re one species among many on the planet and we’ve thrown the world out of balance.
I feel with these psychoactives or these entheogens, which the planet itself secretes—which basically only the higher mammals get high off—there’s a reason. There’s a synergy between the planet and these creations and there’s a larger pattern unfolding, despite all the war and heartache and seeming evil in the world. … Things are changing. There’s a new cycle beginning and I can really feel that. I think many people around the world feel that. I’m hoping to help give language to that and give perspective to that. It’s deeper than ayahuasca. It’s deeper than the psychedelics. It’s a return to I guess what Terrence McKenna called this archaic revival….
It’s like John Lennon [said]. Peace is there if you want it. Utopia is there if we want it, but it’s all about consciousness. I’m not pushing my agenda here, or saying that we should all elevate our consciousness.
What I’m saying is I think the Earth is in cahoots with with our subconscious here. It’s bringing us back into the garden, into this sustainable frequency of being with it, and that is elevating our consciousness.