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Ayahuasca, entheogenic education & public policy Tupper, Kenneth William 2011

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     AYAHUASCA, ENTHEOGENIC EDUCATION & PUBLIC POLICY   by   Kenneth William Tupper  M.A., Simon Fraser University, 2002    A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF    DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in   The Faculty of Graduate Studies  (Educational Studies)    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)    April, 2011  © Kenneth William Tupper, 2011     ii  Abstract Ayahuasca is an entheogenic decoction prepared from two Amazonian plants containing controlled substances, including dimethyltryptamine. Traditionally drunk ritually (and revered as a healing ―plant teacher‖) by Amazonian indigenous and mestizo peoples, in the 20th century ayahuasca became a sacrament for several new Brazilian religions. One of these, the Santo Daime, has expanded into Canada, where in 2001 a Montreal-based chapter applied for a federal legal exemption to allow drinking of the brew in its rituals.  This dissertation undertakes a critical policy analysis of Health Canada‘s decision on the Santo Daime request, using government documents obtained through an Access to Information request as data. My goals are to illustrate how modern stereotypes about ―drugs‖ and ―drug abuse‖ in dominant public and political discourses may hinder well-informed policy decision making about ayahuasca, and to consider how entheogenic practices such as ayahuasca drinking are traditional indigenous ways of knowing that should be valued, rather than reflexively demonized and criminalized. My research method is a critical discourse analysis approach to policy analysis, an eclectic means of demonstrating how language contributes to conceptual frames and political responses to public policy issues. I combine insights from recent research on language, discourse and public policy to show how ayahuasca has become an unexpected policy conundrum for liberal democratic states attempting to balance competing interests of criminal justice, public health, and human rights such as religious freedom.  I trace ayahuasca‘s trajectory as a contemporary policy concern by sketching histories of psychoactive substance use, today‘s international drug control regime, and the discursive foundations of its underlying drug war paradigm. Regarding Health Canada‘s 2006 decision ―in principle‖ to recommend exemption for the Daime brew, I critique how the government defined ayahuasca as a policy problem, what policy stakeholders it considered in its decision making, and what knowledge about ayahuasca it used. To conclude, I explore modern schooling‘s systemic antipathy to wonder and awe, and propose that policy reforms allowing circumspect use of entheogens such as ayahuasca as cognitive tools may help stimulate re-enchantment and appreciation of the need to address human and planetary ecological predicaments of the 21st century. iii  Preface  The Appendix to this dissertation is the result of research and writing I did during my doctoral program that was published as an article titled ―Ayahuasca healing beyond the Amazon: The globalization of a traditional indigenous entheogenic practice‖ in Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs, volume 9, issue 1, in January 2009 (pp. 117-136). It is reprinted here with the permission of the journal. Other than pagination, I have kept the style, punctuation, formatting and other elements of the text the same as the final published version.   iv  Table of Contents  Abstract .................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ..................................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables .......................................................................................................................... vi List of Abbreviations ............................................................................................................ vii Acknowledgements .............................................................................................................. viii Dedication ............................................................................................................................... ix Chapter 1 – Introduction........................................................................................................ 1 1.1 – Goal, Objectives & Overview ...................................................................................... 3 1.2 – Public Interest in Ayahuasca ........................................................................................ 9 1.3 – Psychonautic Drinking ............................................................................................... 12 1.4 – Cross-cultural Vegetalismo ........................................................................................ 14 1.5 – Santo Daime ............................................................................................................... 16 1.6 – Review of the Ayahuasca Literature .......................................................................... 20 Amazonian Cosmologies ................................................................................................. 22 Ethnobotany & Pharmacology......................................................................................... 23 Human Physiology .......................................................................................................... 28 Psychology....................................................................................................................... 35 Health/Medicine .............................................................................................................. 41 Spirituality ....................................................................................................................... 46 Westernization/Globalization .......................................................................................... 50 Chapter 2 – Theoretical Foundations & Methods ............................................................. 61 2.1 – Public Policy .............................................................................................................. 61 2.2 – Discursive Policy Analysis & Critical Discourse Analysis ....................................... 68 2.3 – Epistemic Standpoint.................................................................................................. 77 Chapter 3 – Ayahuasca as Policy Issue in the 21st Century .............................................. 83 3.1 – Pre-modern Psychoactive Substance Use .................................................................. 84 3.2 – Psychoactive Substance Use in Early Modernity ....................................................... 91 3.4 – Professionalization & the Path to Prohibition .......................................................... 114 v  3.5 – The 20th Century & Modern International Drug Control ......................................... 123 Chapter 4 – Discourses & the Drug War Paradigm ........................................................ 131 4.1 – What is a ―Drug‖? .................................................................................................... 132 4.2 – Drug Metaphors ........................................................................................................ 144 Chapter 5 – The Canadian ―Daime Tea‖ Policy Decision ............................................... 157 5.1 – Canadian Politics & Human Rights ......................................................................... 158 5.2 – The Controlled Drugs and Substance Act & Section 56 .......................................... 160 Exemptions for Medical Purposes ................................................................................. 162 Exemptions for Scientific Purposes ............................................................................... 167 Exemptions ―Otherwise in the Public Interest‖ ............................................................. 171 5.3 – International Context ................................................................................................ 174 5.4 – Céu do Montreal‘s Section 56 Exemption Request ................................................. 182 5.5 – Policy Analysis: Problem Definition ........................................................................ 190 5.6 – Policy Analysis: Actors & Stakeholders .................................................................. 200 5.7 – Policy Analysis: Knowledge & Evidence ................................................................ 209 5.8 – Policy Analysis: Conclusion .................................................................................... 216 Chapter 6 – Conclusion: Entheogenic Education—Ayahuasca as a Plant Teacher ..... 219 6.1 – Wonder & Awe ........................................................................................................ 224 6.2 – Cognitive Tools ........................................................................................................ 236 6.3 – Ritual & Harm Reduction ........................................................................................ 241 6.4 – Conclusion ................................................................................................................ 246 Works Cited ......................................................................................................................... 252 Appendix .............................................................................................................................. 313    vi  List of Tables   Table 1: Schema of Modern Stereotypes of Psychoactive Substances……………………… 137      vii  List of Abbreviations   CDA = critical discourse analysis CDSA = Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (of Canada) CEFLURIS = Centro Eclético da Fluente Luz Universal Raimundo Irineu Serra CEFLUSMME = Centro Eclético da Fluente Luz Universal Sebastião Mota de Melo  CHLQ = Church of the Holy Light of the Queen CONAD = Conselho Nacional Antidrogas, or National Antidrugs Council (of Brazil) CONFEN = Conselho Federal de Entorpecentes, or Federal Narcotics Counsel (of Brazil) DMT = N,N-dimethyltryptamine INCB = International Narcotics Control Board LSD = lysergic acid diethylamide MAO = monoamine oxidase MMT = methadone maintenance treatment P/Ts = Provinces and Territories (of Canada) RCMP = Royal Canadian Mounted Police RFRA = Religious Freedom Restoration Act (of the United States) UDV = União do Vegetal UN = United Nations WCTU = Women‘s Christian Temperance Union   viii  Acknowledgements  I would sincerely like to thank:  My supervisor Dr. Daniel Vokey, for his willingness to guide me on the intellectual journey of writing this dissertation, and his close reading and constructive feedback along the way;  My other committee members, Dr. Tirso Gonzales and Dr. Dennis McKenna, for their encouragement, advice and support through my research and writing process;  Professors with whom I took courses during my doctoral program—including Dr. Anne Phelan, Dr. Jennifer Vadeboncoeur, Dr. Charles Ungerleider at UBC, and Dr. Susan Boyd at the University of Victoria—whose assignments contributed to several of my published articles;  My supervisors in the Population and Public Health Division of the British Columbia Ministry of Health Services, Warren O‘Briain and Andrew Hazlewood, whose encouragement, support and flexibility allowed me to pursue doctoral studies concurrent to my civil service employment;  The founder of Céu do Montreal, Madrinha Jessica Rochester, for her courage and leadership in applying for a Section 56 exemption, and her trust in me and support for my research project;  My late friend Paul Haden, for his passionate belief that my ideas were important, and for introducing me to his brother Mark Haden, now a close friend, colleague and co-educator;  My dear friend Yalila Espinoza, for her love and support, and her firm encouragement that I pursue doctoral studies at UBC;  The various members of Vancouver‘s Keeping the Door Open: Dialogues on Drug Use committee, who invited me to participate in their public education projects and opened a door into the world of drug policy and drug policy reform;  The Canadian apprentices of the esteemed Shipibo ayahuasquero, Guillermo Arévalo, for their leadership, guidance, and support, and Guillermo himself for his dedication to passing along his traditional knowledge of Peruvian vegetalismo;  My late father, William Tupper, my mother, Frances Tupper, my brother Robert Tupper, and my other family who offered unconditional love and support for my eclectic educational endeavours;  And finally, the spirit vine and plant teacher, ayahuasca, for inspiring me to embark on and follow through with this research project, and fostering passion, courage, sensitivity, humility, and a profusion of wonder and awe along the way. ix  Dedication                I dedicate this dissertation to Andrea Langlois, mon amour, my partner and best friend (not to mention editor and communications advisor extraordinaire), whose love,  patience and support have enriched both my academic pursuits and my life . . .      1  Chapter 1 – Introduction  The 21st century presents an unprecedented set of challenges and opportunities for the human species. Since the advent of modern economics, science and governance a few hundred years ago, the growth of the human population and our species‘ ability to impact our environment have created a set of ecological problems that, unless addressed, will radically transform planetary ecosystems. Critics of the modern imperative for economic growth (or ―development‖), with its insatiable appetite for non-renewable resources and drive to control the very forces of life itself, warn that this unchecked growth threatens to destabilize the delicate homeostasis that has been the foundation of biological evolution on earth. However, many feel at a loss to explain what—other than complete ecological or economic collapse (or both)—might compel us collectively to recognize the nature of our predicament and, if there is still time, take action to avert its foreseeable consequences. Public opinion and political action would each seem to require the other in order to overcome the inertia of the present unsustainable economic/ecological status quo, yet neither shows leadership commensurate with the apparent urgency of the matter.   At the same time, public education and modern ways of knowing may also be impediments to deeper systemic cultural changes. It may be that contemporary schooling is not an optimal means for cultivating awareness of and generating timely, creative solutions to the human ecological predicament. Perhaps a very different kind of learning is required, one that has served other human cultures well for millennia, but has been ignored or dismissed through the hubris of modern governmental, ecclesiastical, academic and other authorities. This dissertation considers the possibility that ayahuasca, a preparation discovered and revered as a ―plant teacher‖ by peoples of the Amazon rain forest, may offer a kind of ecological learning that is urgently needed at this moment in our species‘ cultural evolutionary trajectory in a global planetary context; however, it also considers how ill-founded modern drug control policies present an obstacle to recognizing this possibility. To begin, I will briefly describe what ayahuasca is, and how and why people in both traditional Amazonian and modern globalized contexts drink it, and then will discuss the overall goal and subsidiary objectives of my research.  2  Ayahuasca (pronounced ―EYE-uh-WAH-skuh‖) is an entheogenic brew made from Amazonian plants that has been revered in the region for centuries for its medicinal and mystical effects.1 The word ―ayahuasca‖ comes from the Quechua language, spoken by indigenous peoples of the Western Amazonian and highland regions of Ecuador and Peru, in which it denotes a species of jungle liana, Banisteriopsis caapi (Spruce ex Griseb.) C.V. Morton. Its literal translation as ―spirit vine‖ or ―vine of the soul‖ alludes to its uses in traditional Amazonian indigenous cultural belief systems to connect with ancestor or forest spirits (Beyer, 2009, chap. 20). In contemporary English, ayahuasca may refer to B. caapi per se, but more commonly the term refers to a decoction prepared from B. caapi and the leaves of another plant, Psychotria viridis Ruiz & Pav.2 Although ayahuasca is the most common term for the brew in modern academic discourses, it has many other names in various Amazonian indigenous languages (including yagé in Tukano and natem in Shuar) (Luna, 1986), and is also known as Daime tea or ―hoasca‖ by different Brazilian religious groups, discussed below. Significantly, B. caapi and P. viridis each contain psychoactive substances—harmala alkaloids and dimethyltryptamine, respectively—the former of which are illegal in some jurisdictions, including Canada, and the latter universally prohibited through the international drug control regime‘s 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (United Nations, 1971). Despite this, in the last few decades of the 20th century, and the first decade of the 21st century, various spiritual, healing, and other types of ayahuasca drinking practices have been taken up in places beyond the Amazon. Importantly, this has included the establishment of chapters of the Brazilian Santo Daime ayahuasca religion in Canada, one of which, called Céu do Montreal, has sought an exemption from Canada‘s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow its members to freely practice their religion.   Ayahuasca is a pharmacologically unique preparation, as the primary alkaloids in its constituent plants—B. caapi and P. viridis—produce a biochemical synergy in the human body that results                                                  1 ―Entheogen‖ is a word coined by scholars to denote a category of plants and chemicals that have traditionally been used for spiritual purposes to induce visionary or mystical experiences (Ruck, Bigwood, Staples, Ott & Wasson, 1979). It was proposed because the words ―hallucinogen‖ and ―psychedelic‖—which have particular cultural and political resonances in the medical and popular discourses whence they are derived—do not connote the spiritual or sacred nature of the practices, beliefs and experiences common to many, especially pre-modern indigenous, psychoactive substance use traditions. Many psychoactive substances used in traditional entheogenic practices have also been regarded as plant teachers, hence the concept of entheogenic education (Tupper, 2002a).  2 To avoid confusion, throughout this text I refer to the Banisteriopsis caapi vine by its taxonomical name, and reserve ―ayahuasca‖ for the common B. caapi and P. viridis decoction or brew. When referring specifically to the Santo Daime‘s sacramental brew, I use the term Daime tea.  3  in profound altered states of consciousness. Its capacity to induce remarkable visions and ideations has made it one of the most valued medicines in the traditional Amazonian indigenous pharmacopoeia, esteemed for its diagnostic, healing and divinatory properties. For the same reason, ayahuasca has recently become an object of curiosity for people seeking to experience its psychosomatic effects, an object of inquiry for researchers studying it from a variety of academic disciplines, an object of post-colonial cultural controversy for indigenous peoples concerned about protecting their intellectual and spiritual heritage, and an object of legal and policy concern for governments in various parts of the world confronted by its use within their jurisdictions. The brew is thus a nexus for sociological trends such as new religious movements and alternative healing practices that defy conventional modern understandings of religion and medicine. Ayahuasca is also a significant part of a revived field of academic inquiry into the potential beneficial uses of psychedelics or entheogens,3 a topic which for several decades was mostly shunned by mainstream academia and elided in dominant public and political discourses informed by the Western mechanistic worldview. Modern scientific knowledge about ayahuasca is paltry in comparison with the rich oral indigenous, mestizo and religious experientially-informed knowledge of the brew, its constituent plants, and its uses, effects, risks and benefits.4 However, while academic research on ayahuasca has gradually increased in the past few decades, it has not matched the scope or pace of the transnational spread of contemporary drinking practices. 1.1 – Goal, Objectives & Overview My own interest in ayahuasca began as a personal one, but it has since evolved to become academic, political, scientific and philosophical as well. Accordingly, this dissertation takes an                                                  3 For example, the organizers of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) 2010 ―Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century‖ conference added an additional track devoted to ayahuasca after they unexpectedly received a large number of abtract submissions relating to the brew (Labate & Cavnar, 2010).  4 It is beyond the scope of my research to delve into the rich ethnographic literature on uses of B. caapi and its assorted preparations among various indigenous cultures of the Amazon with past and/or present traditions incorporating the brew (Luna, 1986). The term mestizo (Spanish for ―mixed,‖ analogous to the French-Canadian métis) is, as Beyer (2009) explains, ―a complex identity, a form of hybridity, contradictory and ambivalent‖ (p. 294). In a strict sense, it refers to the descendants of conjugal relationships between immigrant white men and local aboriginal women (deriving from racialized colonial discourses), but it equally commonly refers to indigenous people acculturated or assimilated to varying degrees (Luna, 1986, p. 15). According to Beyer (2009), ―in general, mestizos are persons of varying degrees of Indian ancestry who are accepted as participants in the dominant Hispanic culture‖ (p. 295).  4  interdisciplinary approach—drawing broadly from indigenous studies, the humanities, and various disciplines in the natural, health and social sciences—to addressing some of the pragmatic policy and theoretical educational questions engendered by ayahuasca‘s egress from the Amazon rain forest and subsequent spread around the world. Beyond this, it attempts to contribute to or extend an intercultural dialogue, presenting ideas about knowledge forms, learning modalities and spiritual practices adopted or derived from traditional indigenous cultural systems—and hence generally foreign to or eschewed by dominant Western culture—in a thoroughly modern (i.e., academic discursive) context. Importantly, it is not simply a theoretical exercise, but addresses concrete questions of justice, well-being and human rights that have real-world implications for individuals, families, communities, and governments, not to mention the global planetary ecosystem.   Ayahuasca and its increasing transnational uptake outside South America is a conundrum for policy makers who are uncertain how to respond to its consumption by a public who do not fit the stereotypical image of illegal drug users (i.e., as criminal, or sick, or both). Ayahuasca drinking beyond the Amazon presents a particular challenge to liberal democratic states, in which competing tensions exist among commitments to drug prohibition, public health, free market capitalism and the protection of religious freedom. In this dissertation, my overall goals are to demonstrate how the modern discursive construction of ―drugs‖ is an obstacle for making well-informed policy decisions about ayahuasca, and to explain how humanity would be better served if ceremonial ayahuasca drinking were recognized as a valuable means of learning—a form of entheogenic education—rather than demonized and criminalized as illicit ―drug‖ use.  I have several specific, subsidiary objectives for my investigations into ayahuasca, education and public policy (whose perhaps less than self-evident connections will become more apparent as my dissertation unfolds).5 One objective is to further develop ideas I established in earlier work on the concept of entheogenic education (Tupper, 2002a; 2002b; 2003), which may be of interest to parents, educators, psychologists and others with an interest in cognitive development and                                                  5 In the course of my studies, I also explored ancillary issues of traditional indigenous knowledge, cultural appropriation and intellectual property relating to ayahuasca‘s uptake beyond the Amazon. As these themes are not as directly relevant to my present discussion, I have attached a published article resulting from this work (Tupper, 2009) as an Appendix to this dissertation. 5  alternatives to the modern educational status quo. This aspect of my work investigates the possibility introduced above that entheogenic substance use, such as ceremonial ayahuasca drinking, has the potential to contribute to raising awareness of and creatively responding to important social and ecological issues that humans face in the 21st century.  Another objective is to provide some insight into the early modern foundations of modern drug policies, and how these historical roots support a contemporary international drug control regime that is ill-prepared to accommodate practices such as ceremonial ayahuasca drinking. This aspect of my work will be of relevance to policy makers and historians of drug policy, who grapple with the genesis and current effects of a questionably bivalent policy response to the enduring human proclivity to engage in psychoactive substance use. I hope to show that the inability of modern states to deal readily with ayahuasca is a symptom of structurally incoherent policy, whereby corporations are permitted to produce, promote and sell some substances, whereas producers, distributors and consumers of other substances continue to be criminalized despite increasingly pervasive and destructive externalities, such as underground illegal markets, swollen prison populations of non-violent offenders, and the spread of infectious diseases.   Finally, my work has the objective of offering insights into a unique component of Canadian legislation, Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and how Health Canada has interpreted it in such a way as to make a precedent-setting decision ―in principle‖ to recommend giving Céu do Montreal authorization to import and drink ayahuasca in the form of Daime tea, in order to be able to freely practice their religion. It is my hope that Canadian scholars of public policy and human rights will find this aspect of my research relevant to their academic interests. All of these results of my research may also be of general interest to Canadians curious about drug policy, modern history and religious freedom. Furthermore, although I refer specifically to the Canadian context for much of my discussion, many of the issues addressed are common to other jurisdictions and thereby relevant to a broader global audience.  In addition to introducing and laying out the objectives of my work, chapter 1 continues with descriptions of the rising public interest in ayahuasca in Canada and the various ayahuasca drinking practices emerging here (and in other modern Western contexts), including 6  psychonautic, cross-cultural vegetalismo (defined below), and the Santo Daime religion. The chapter concludes with a summary of the English-language academic literature on ayahuasca. In the mid-20th century, as the brew gradually became the subject of academic inquiry, ayahuasca was studied almost exclusively by scholars working in the discipline of anthropology, whose research was mostly ethnographic studies of traditional indigenous cultural practices that involved drinking the brew. By the 1970s and 80s, greater scientific understanding of ayahuasca‘s botanical and biochemical properties was emerging. However, with the advent of ayahuasca‘s transnational expansion in the last few decades, and the uptake of its use in a variety of sociological contexts, research has begun to broaden into fields such as psychology, pharmacology, medicine, religious studies, and policy studies.   Chapter 2 outlines the theoretical foundations and specific methods for my analysis, explaining my choice of questions and means of answering them. Broadly, I draw on Michel Foucault‘s understandings of governmentality, knowledge and power (Foucault, 1980; 1991), along with Jürgen Habermas‘ investigations into the origins of the public sphere (1962/1989), and elements of what Immanuel Wallerstein calls ―historical social science‖ (1991; 2004) as theoretical standpoints from which to examine and critique both the Canadian government‘s ayahuasca policy decision and the broader international drug control regime in which it is embedded. Specifically, I use the research methods of critical policy analysis and critical discourse analysis, approaches that involve looking carefully and methodically at the public and political discourses informing the policy decision-making process, and the implicit ideological and power structures embedded in them. The chapter concludes with some autobiographical details on my position as a researcher, and how this shapes the eclectic approach I have taken in studying the globalization of ayahuasca and its public policy and potential educational implications.  In chapter 3, I delve into the socio-historical context of the emergence of ayahuasca drinking as a perceived policy problem in Canada and other states over the past few decades. This involves tracing a coarse history of psychoactive substances to reveal elements of what has spawned a contingent modern ideological frame of the drug war paradigm and corresponding political response of the international drug control regime. I begin by exploring how a culturally and historically ubiquitous pre-modern behavioural phenomenon such as altering consciousness with 7  plant or derivative substances came to be perceived as anathema to the interests of modern nation state. In particular, I focus on the importance of early modern (16-18th century) Euroamerican intellectual, technological, social, economic and political factors in how the use and traffic of psychoactive substances were central to the emergence of the modern public sphere and global capitalist economic system (Habermas, 1962/1989). Notably, I consider how xanthinated beverages6—drinks made from coffee, tea and cacao—contributed to the scientific world-view, the commercial mass media and the emergence of liberalism and capitalism as political and economic philosophies. I trace how these early modern institutions continued to evolve in the 19th century, through projects of bourgeois moral entrepreneurship aimed at individual and collective improvement, and through the professionalization of vocations such as doctoring, school teaching and policing. Finally, I summarize the development of and lingering irremediable tensions in the 20th century‘s international drug control regime, to which most countries today are bound by international conventions.   Chapter 4 explores how the history of modern drug control has led to a hegemonic ideological frame—what I refer to as the drug war paradigm—and how this is embedded in the language we use to talk about psychoactive substances in contemporary public and political discourses. I provide a detailed analysis of the polysemic word ―drug‖ and its multiple meanings, and contrast these with two other concepts, ―non-drugs‖ and ―medicines,‖ which I argue jointly comprise an implicit stereotypology of psychoactive substances. This, in turn, leads to a consideration of the primary metaphors embedded in modern discourses about illegal psychoactive substances—―drugs as malevolent agents‖ and ―drugs as pathogens‖—whereby people who use illegal drugs are constructed as either bad and deserving punishment, or sick and requiring treatment. Finally, I trace a historical ontology of ayahuasca, showing how its traditional cultural constructions as a medicine, sacrament or plant teacher resist being mapped onto the dominant modern schema of stereotypes for psychoactive substances.                                                     6 The psychoactive chemicals caffeine (in the beans of Coffea arabica L. and the leaves of Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze, from which coffee and tea are made) and theobromine (in the beans of Theobroma cacao L., from which chocolate is made) are alkaloids in the chemical class of methylxanthines, hence the term xanthinated beverages to describe the now-familiar infused, mildly psycho-stimulant drinks that were introduced and rapidly popularized in early modern Europe. 8  The core of my policy analysis constitutes chapter 5, in which I scrutinize, analyze and critique the process and content of Health Canada‘s policy decision on Céu do Montreal‘s claim for legitimacy and legal protection of one particular form of contemporary ayahuasca drinking. Specifically, I analyze Health Canada documents to reveal how they construct the Santo Daime religious practice as a public policy problem, and what kinds of knowledge the government has drawn on to attempt to understand ayahuasca and its contemporary forms, uses, benefits and risks. As data, I have secured through an Access to Information request an assortment of internal government documents (such as reports, memorandums, e-mails and letters) generated by Health Canada from 2001 to 2008 pertaining to a request by Céu do Montreal for an exemption of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which prohibits some of the psychoactive components of its religious sacrament, the Daime tea (i.e., ayahuasca). The chapter starts with a brief overview of human rights in the Canadian political context, and then discusses Section 56 of the 1996 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which gives discretionary power to the Minister of Health to allow distribution and/or possession of otherwise illegal substances—the specific legislative clause cited by leaders of Céu do Montreal in their request to exempt their religious sacrament and ceremonial practices from criminal prohibition. I then provide a short chronology of Health Canada‘s decision-making activity on the matter, from their receiving the request in 2001 to the issuance of a letter approving ―in principle‖ the granting of a Section 56 exemption in the public interest in 2006. The detail of the policy analysis probes more deeply and critically into how Health Canada constructed ayahuasca as a policy problem, which policy stakeholders it did and did not consult on the matter, and what knowledge the government availed itself of in its decision making.  Chapter 6, my conclusion, grounds my research on ayahuasca in the field of education and extends the theoretical foundation for a proposed concept of entheogenic education (Tupper, 2002a; 2002b; 2003) by charting its public policy implications. To begin, I argue that the prima facie unintelligibility of the discursive construct of ―plant teacher‖—a linguistic trope found among diverse groups of traditional psychoactive plant users, and consistent with archaic Eurasian entheogenic and modern psychedelic substance use—for modern Western educators reflects deeply-rooted Eurocentric and scientistic assumptions about cosmology and epistemology. Indeed, a latent belief that indigenous knowledge, healing and spiritual practices 9  are benighted, inferior and wrong (Blaut, 1993; Smith, 1999) is evident not only in modern schooling, but also in contemporary drug policies. In response, I critique the modern institution of schooling for contributing to an entrenched condition of disenchantment among many young people today by denying or curtailing opportunities to cultivate wonder, awe and primary mystical experience, and implicitly fostering the broader neo-liberal agenda to promote the mindless consumption of mass entertainment and material goods.  As an alternative educational approach, I invoke the pedagogical ideas of Kieran Egan (1997; 2002; 2008)—based in turn on 20th century Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky‘s notion of cognitive tools—as an example of a contemporary theory that can help make sense of the notions of plant teachers and entheogenic education as a possible means for re-enchantment during the life-course transition from youth to adulthood. I also touch on the importance of ritual to the concept and practice of entheogenic education, and how this may function as a form of proto- harm reduction in avoiding potential risks associated with powerful psychoactive substances. By way of conclusion, I return to the argument that conceptualizing ayahuasca as a plant teacher—or at least as a traditional kind of cognitive tool that can facilitate intrinsically valuable learning experiences—is an important consideration, not only for crafting benign public policies in response to ayahuasca drinking, but also for potentially catalyzing a broader awareness of the ecological predicament humans face in the 21st century.  1.2 – Public Interest in Ayahuasca Ayahuasca has crept into the modern public sphere at a time when digital information and communications technologies, especially the Internet, are rapidly and dramatically revolutionizing contemporary knowledge production and dissemination, and propelling all manner of social movements through new forms of autonomous media (Langlois & Dubois, 2005). Still, during this time of transition, familiar mass media forms of the recent past—books, magazines, radio, cinema, television—still have relevance for analysis of an emerging sociological trend like ayahuasca drinking. The work of Canadian scholars and popular media reports over the past few decades have contributed to English (and some French) language publicity about ayahuasca in Canada. For example, Wade Davis‘ account of his ethnobotanical work in the Amazon, One River (1996), which received a nomination for a Governor General‘s 10  Literary Award for non-fiction in 1997, culminates in a vivid narrative of one of the author‘s personal ayahuasca experiences. Likewise, Montreal-born anthropologist Jeremy Narby shares autobiographical insights about the Amazon rainforest, its plants and the limits of Western epistemology in The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (1998, originally published in French in 1995). The Walrus, a Canadian literary magazine, featured a meditation on ayahuasca‘s uptake in modern culture titled ―Plants with Soul‖ (Posner, 2006), in which the author recounts a personal experience with the brew. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation‘s Radio One show, Ideas, in 2007 broadcasted (and subsequently podcasted) ―In Search of the Divine Vegetal,‖ a two-hour radio documentary on ayahuasca and its globalization (McKinnon & Cler-Cunningham, 2007). In 2009, a Canadian cable network channel devoted to religious and spiritual themes, Vision TV, contributed to the production of a video documentary on the cross-cultural vegetalismo uses of ayahuasca in Canada (Meech, 2009), and CBC Television‘s The Nature of Things is producing an episode about ayahuasca and its therapeutic potential for public broadcast in 2011. However, more important than the quantity of ayahuasca reports and stories in public discourses is their quality, which in most cases is respectful and positive, at least compared to the commonly deprecatory representations of non-medical psychoactive substance use in mass news and entertainment media over the past century (in this respect, there is a growing divergence between emergent public discourses about ayahuasca, and dominant political ones).  The increase in media exposure on ayahuasca in Canada and elsewhere is a reasonable proxy indication that the brew is becoming less obscure, and thus more widely consumed, than it was a decade or so ago. Insofar as law enforcement activity is an indicator, ayahuasca drinking in Canada has not historically been a matter of any concern—in 2004, a senior RCMP official communicated to Health Canada that they had ―not encountered or seized ayahuasca in Canada.‖7 However, the nature of ayahuasca drinking in Canada—the socio-demographics of the people attracted to it, the typically discreet ceremonial context of use, and its relative cost8—                                                 7 Sunstrum, C. (2006, June 27). [E-mail to Derek Ogden, RCMP]. Health Canada Access to Information documents, p. 269.  8 Ayahuasca drinking in Canada and most other countries outside South America might be described as a predominantly bourgeois activity, as opportunities to participate in ceremonies are largely secured through word-of-mouth networking among middle-class aficionados and typically require a monetary donation or fee from participants. This is certainly the case with more overtly commodified cross-cultural vegetalismo ceremonies, which 11  makes it rather unlike most other kinds of illegal psychoactive substance use, so the lack of police awareness or interest does not say much about its prevalence. As government epidemiological surveys on psychoactive substance use do not, in any country as far as I am aware, include specific questions about ayahuasca, there are no reliable indicators on the scope of different kinds of drinking practices or drinking patterns (experimental, occasional or regular), let alone how regular drinking might affect outcomes in health, spiritual, social, cognitive, educational or other domains.9 In Canada, population statistics on psychoactive substance use are collected through Health Canada‘s Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS), and various provincial student drug use surveys. The CADUMS is a telephone-based rolling survey of Canadians over age 15, which collects population data about non-medical psychoactive substance use (other than tobacco) (Health Canada, 2010). In 2009, approximately 0.7% of CADUMS respondents reported having used ―hallucinogens‖ in the past year, presumably the category an ayahuasca drinker who wanted to volunteer such information would choose for reporting it. If public awareness and interest in ayahuasca continues, and consumption goes up correspondingly, there may be an increased perceived need among government authorities to collect statistics on ayahuasca drinking. Important considerations for future attempts to quantify ayahuasca drinking populations—leaving aside the question of whether this might be desirable or necessary—include whether or what proportion of ayahuasca drinkers conceive of themselves as illegal ―hallucinogen‖ (or even ―drug‖) users, and even if they did, whether they would be likely to disclose this information through a random household telephone survey.   The various public discourse vectors for the expansion of knowledge about ayahuasca since the early 1990s have been established in Canada as part of a broader transnational trend involving drinking of the brew. However, so far only the Brazilian Santo Daime religion has become a salient policy issue for the Canadian federal government. Other ayahuasca practices not                                                                                                                                                              can cost upward of several hundred dollars per event. The Brazilian ayahuasca religions, including the Santo Daime, officially eschew the sale of ayahuasca, although regular members are obliged to pay tithes and visitors are usually asked to make monetary donations when they attend rituals (Schmidt, 2007, p. 66). 9 Brazil would be the most likely country to collect statistics on ayahuasca drinking, as it is home to several autochthonous ayahuasca religions and traditional indigenous practices, and has dealt with ayahuasca as a policy issue since the 1980s. In 2010, the World Health Organization communicated by letter to researchers at the University of Heidelberg that it has made no investigations in recent years specifically relating to ayahuasca, or B. caapi or P. viridis (B. Labate, personal communication, July 2010). 12  explicitly on the government‘s agenda include: other Brazilian ayahuasca religious practices (Labate & MacRae, 2010), such as the Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (Benevolent Spiritist Centre Union of the Plants, or UDV) and Barquinha new religious movements; psychonautic (i.e., individual drinking without explicit adherence to traditional or formalized ritual protocols); cross-cultural vegetalismo (i.e., Peruvian mestizo or similar traditional folk cultural practices conducted for healing or self-actualization); and hybrids among these, including underground therapeutic uses following a more clinical psychotherapeutic model. As far as I am aware, the other Brazilian ayahuasca religions do not have a presence in Canada, so I will not discuss them much, other than briefly in my ayahuasca literature review later in this chapter, and in a summary of a legal case involving the UDV in the United States in chapter 5. However, I will describe more fully the psychonautic, cross-cultural vegetalismo and Santo Daime types of ayahuasca drinking to provide some context about their similarities and differences.  1.3 – Psychonautic Drinking One of the primary reasons why ayahuasca has become a contemporary policy issue in Canada is that N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), harmalol, and harmaline—three alkaloids found in the brew—are listed as controlled substances in the 1996 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.10  However, in Canada plants that contain these chemicals, such as P. viridis and B. caapi, are not explicitly controlled by the legislation. Thus, unlike plants that contain other controlled substances—such as Cannabis species (marijuana), Papaver somniferum L. (opium poppy) or Erythroxylum coca Lam.(coca leaf)—ayahuasca‘s constituent plants are not illegal. While possessing or selling them is not a criminal act, possessing or distributing a preparation made from them may be interpreted as such and could lead to arrest and prosecution. This legal distinction allows for the unrestricted sale of dried plant materials, which happens over-the-counter in larger Canadian cities and online with delivery by mail or courier. Commercial                                                  10 Harmine and tetrahydroharmine, psychoactive analogues of harmalol and harmaline, are present in significantly greater quantities in ayahuasca, yet the former are not scheduled in Canada. As none of the harmala alkaloids are scheduled in the international drug control conventions, in most other jurisdictions DMT‘s presence in the brew is the singular legal issue with respect to ayahuasca distribution and use. Since DMT is endogenous in human and other mammalian brains (Barker, Monti & Christian, 1981), and has also been identified in numerous common plants around the world (Ott, 1994), wry drug policy critics have contended that, technically, everyone is always in immediate possession of a powerfully psychoactive controlled substance (Shulgin & Shulgin, 1997).  13  websites specializing in entheobotanical products offer P. viridis and B. caapi for sale over the Internet, along with other ―ayahuasca analogue‖ plants and a variety of other psychoactive flora.11 Marketing in the global cybersphere, such companies operate as any aspiring entrepreneurial enterprise ought to: attempting to expand their customer base, competing for market share with product quality, advertising, sponsorships, and offering perquisites such as bulk purchase discounts or free shipping. Following the innovation of ―smart shops‖ in the Netherlands, entheobotanical shops in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto also provide over-the-counter access to a range of such products. In some cases, plant samples are labeled with cautions that they are not intended for human consumption, although some distributors also provide harm reduction information through point-of-sale pamphlets or business websites.  People who purchase B. caapi and P. viridis (or analogue plants) over-the-counter or online are presumably home-brewing and consuming ayahuasca preparations in contexts that might be best described as ―psychonautic.‖12  It may be surmised that youth are attracted to these kinds of relatively unstructured uses of ayahuasca, judging by reports of trends of not-ritual use of other types of psychoactive plants—such as Datura stramonium L. (also known as Jimson weed or thorn apple), or Salvia divinorum Epling & Játiva (Lange, Reed, Ketchie Croff & Clapp, 2008; Reynaud-Maurupt, Cadet-Taïrou & Zoll, 2009; Wiebe, Sigurdson & Katz, 2008). However, those tempted to drink ayahuasca casually or for fun may be deterred by the unpredictable and sometimes less-than-pleasant nature of the experience, including the common side effects of nausea and vomiting. Likewise, as the importance of religiously-structured or shamanically-guided practices is often emphasized in contemporary (especially online) public discourses about ayahuasca, many curious potential imbibers may opt to seek out more traditional ayahuasca drinking opportunities. The costs of purchasing and preparing home-brewed ayahuasca may also be prohibitive, relative to the ease and cheapness of superficially similar substances easily available through underground markets, such as psilocybin mushrooms. For these reasons,                                                  11 Ott (1994) has identified a number of botanical sources for dimethyltryptamine and harmala alkaloids, which can be combined to brew a decoction that produces psychoactive effects similar, if not identical, to ayahuasca. Among the more common plants offered online (and their respective psychoactive components) are Mimosa hostilis Benth. (DMT), Diplopterys cabrerana (Cuatrec.) B. Gates (DMT, and 5-MeO-DMT), Peganum harmala L. (harmala alkaloids). 12 Ott credits German author Ernst Jünger for coining the term ―psychonaut‖ to describe ―a voyager employing entheogenic drugs as his vehicle‖ (Ott, 1994, p. 98) for exploring mind, consciousness, or, somewhat more contentiously, spiritual realms.  14  psychonautic uses of home-brewed ayahuasca may be limited in comparison with other drinking trends in which more traditional (i.e., ceremonial) contexts and structured settings are provided.  1.4 – Cross-cultural Vegetalismo In contrast to psychonautic, or relatively unstructured, ingestion of ayahuasca or analogues, a few distinct kinds of ayahuasca-drinking practices are becoming characteristically Westernized. Across Canada, cross-cultural vegetalismo ceremonies are becoming a focal practice for loose networks and communities of ayahuasca drinkers in provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. To understand the specifics of these kinds of practices requires a brief overview of their South American cultural roots. Vegetalismo is a Peruvian Spanish term denoting the folk healing traditions of mestizo curanderos, or healers of mixed indigenous and non-indigenous ancestry who use ayahuasca and other ―master‖ plants for diagnosis and treatment of illnesses (Beyer, 2009; Dobkin de Rios, 1972; Luna, 1986). Known as ayahuasqueros, such folk healers undergo a rigorous process of initiation and training, requiring adherence to strict dietary and sexual abstinence protocols, and sometimes prolonged isolation in the jungle. Forest spirits and the sorcery of rival shamans are etiological forces in the Amazonian mestizo belief system (Beyer, 2009; Whitehead & Wright, 2004),13 which can be identified and countered by a skilled ayahuasquero who drinks ayahuasca in the presence of the patient (who may or may not drink the brew as well) to determine an appropriate course of treatment. Such information is communicated by familiar spirits of ayahuasca and other master plants, which are invoked through the chanting of icaros, the melodies whistled or sung to shape or modify the visions and teachings of the plants in ceremonies, accompanied by the rhythms of the schacapa, a rattle made of leaves from bushes of the Pariana genus and used to spiritually cleanse the patient (Luna, 1986, p. 145). The colonial conditions in which vegetalismo and equivalent folk healing traditions in the Amazon emerged have also provided fertile ground for some inevitable Christian missionary influences on these practices (Luna, 1986).    Cross-cultural vegetalismo refers to ayahuasca ceremonies based, to varying degrees, on vegetalismo or equivalent traditions from other regions of the Amazon, but conducted primarily for (and increasingly by) non-Amazonians. Urban centres in the region are presently witnessing a                                                  13 The cross-cultural transfer of beliefs about sorcery to modern non-indigenous or Euroamerican apprentice ayahuasqueros has been discussed by Fotiou (2010).  15  boom in what has been pejoratively characterized as ―ayahuasca tourism‖ (Dobkin de Rios, 1994; see also Davidov, 2010; Holman, 2011; Razam, 2009), but cross-cultural vegetalismo ceremonies are also increasingly common outside the Amazon (Labate, 2004). Canadians and other foreigners regularly invite indigenous or mestizo Amazonian ayahuasqueros to their home countries to conduct ceremonies for people in the circles and networks of the sponsor‘s friends and acquaintances (Tupper, 2009a—see Appendix). Some individuals are undertaking apprenticeships in the vegetalismo tradition to become neo-shamanic practitioners of ayahuasca healing, in a manner similar to how yoga, Buddhist monastic, ayurvedic, or Chinese medicine practices have been taken up by modern Western disciples exogenous to the respective cultures and traditions of origin. Practitioners of this sort have been dubbed neo-ayahuasqueros (Labate, 2004; see also Luna, 2003). Accompanying such cross-cultural transfer of practices are attendant hybridities, such as the incorporation of therapeutic modalities from other cultural traditions (e.g., reiki or qigong energy work). Non-traditional musical instruments—such as the frame drum, the flute, the guitar, the kalimba (a type of African thumb piano) or the hang (a modern Swiss percussion instrument, a kind of inverted steel-pan drum)—are sometimes used to produce innovative soundscapes that complement the more traditional icaros performed in ceremonies. Other self-styled ceremonial leaders will play recorded music (South American indigenous or sometimes other ―world‖ or electronic music genres) on stereos for less traditional phonic ambience. Discourses of cross-cultural vegetalismo also tend to adopt the traditional cultural construction of ayahuasca as a medicine, rather than overtly as a sacrament, as in the Brazilian ayahuasca churches.    Ayahuasca ceremonies in cross-cultural vegetalismo style typically take place at night, and are led by an experienced ayahuasquero, often with support from one or more apprentices. In Canadian contexts, such events range in size from 10 to 25 participants, and are conducted in large rooms of private homes, cabins, retreat centres, yoga studios, or in Westernized yurts (large circular lattice-framed huts). Participants bring mats and blankets (and buckets, in case of a need to purge), and arrange themselves against the wall facing towards the middle, so they may sit or lie down as they desire. The lead ayahuasquero, also positioned as part of the circle, invites participants one-by-one to come up and receive a small glass (50-100 millilitres) of ayahuasca, and after everyone has drunk the lights are turned off. After 20-30 minutes, or as the effects of 16  the brew begin to take effect, the ayahuasquero begins chanting the first of a succession of icaros that will continue, sometimes with short breaks in between, for the duration of the ceremony. Some participants, especially those coming with specific requests for healing, may be called up to sit in front of the ayahuasquero to receive a soplada, or an individual chant accompanied by blowing of perfume or mapacho (Amazonian tobacco) smoke. While not overtly religious events, cross-cultural vegetalismo ceremonies typically have the solemnity of a serious spiritual practice.  1.5 – Santo Daime The Santo Daime‘s religious use of ayahuasca is the other predominant ritual structure through which the consumption of the brew happens in Canada (mostly in the provinces Quebec and Ontario), and how ayahuasca has manifested as a policy problem for the federal government in the early 21st century. The Santo Daime is a new religious movement that is the oldest of several Brazilian syncretistic ayahuasca drinking practices which combine elements of Christianity, Kardecism, Afro-Brazilian spiritualism, and traditional indigenous worldviews (Labate & MacRae, 2010). The Santo Daime was founded in the 1930s in the Amazonian state of Acre, where an Afro-Brazilian rubber