Hell and Back – An Aucayacu Experience

For those of you wondering about whether the spirits are real or your imagination – this is a must read.

This article provides wonderful details about a woman’s first Aucayacu experience with shamans in Peruvian Amazon. You can read the article “Hell and Back” on the National Geographic Adventure website.


“All negative thoughts, shamans believe, are dark spirits speaking to us, trying to scare us into reacting; the spirits then feed on our reactivity, growing stronger and more formidable until they finally rule over us. This is how… addictions and psychological disorders develop in people. …Everyone hears the voices of spirits… They’ve just convinced themselves that they are hearing their own thoughts.”

4 thoughts on “Hell and Back – An Aucayacu Experience

  1. Wow. The person who wrote that needs to learn the distinctions between cultures of shamanism. Not all cultures do believe in the polarity of dark/light, good/bad; thus, they don’t experience the dreamtime through that filter. The assertion that all shaman do, particularly indigenous ones, is wrong, very misleading and potentially offensive. I can think of several Brazilian spiritists who would be very bothered by the assertion that all South American shaman believe this way, let alone all shaman everywhere. :\


  2. The article represents one woman’s experience and the group of shamans she was with. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. This particular article resonated with my own beliefs. If you believe differently please feel free to explain why.


  3. She’s not stating her beliefs. She said, “All negative thoughts, *shamans believe*, are dark spirits speaking to us…” and that’s not something that all shaman believe. She’s not writing for some local newspaper. This is National Geographic. To insist that all shaman believe in that polarity is inaccurate and most certainly offensive in light of cultural appropriation. My concern with that is she is stating conjecture as fact and it is not. I would think she would have fact-checked a little more before writing that.


  4. Elizabeth,

    Funny I just read this now. 🙂 Spirit is definitely talking to me.

    I would have to say that every culture believes in polarity. Just spend some time in nature or look outside. It is dark and 12 hours later it is light.

    We are modern people, so our understanding of polarity is different than what theirs is. They probably have some different meaning for it. What do you believe is the real question?


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