Category: Ibogaine

botany, chemistry and cultivation of major and obscure psychoactive plants
history of modern ethnopharmacology and ethnomycology
peyote & solandra amoung the Huichol and the role of women in shamanism
ancient & contemporary Anadenanthera snuffs of the Atacama Desert
plant teachers of Amazonian shamanism and modern ayahuasca cults in Brazil
iboga ethnobotany and ibogaine in experimental research
training in field techniques used for ethnobotanical specimen collecting
native uses and preparations of entheogenic plants, past and present
practical methods for extraction, isolation and assay of active plant compounds
ayahuasca and admixture plants and novel ayahuasca analogs
ethnobotany, chemistry and cultivation of entheogenic mushrooms and fungi

At the end of April of 2016 I traveled to Peru with five other veterans on a mission to explore plant medicines to heal service trauma. This experience would be captured in the documentary Soldiers of the Vine. Before making the pilgrimage to the spiritual home of ayahuasca, the universe had some more classes in store for me on the plant medicine curriculum.

“On a balmy Texas Saturday, I sat among a motley crew of people watching three very disturbing facts show across the screen in front of us.

Veterans commit suicide at a rate two times higher than the general population. More U.S. Veterans have killed themselves than have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty-two U.S. veterans take their own lives every day.

We were watching the short film Soldiers of the Vine: Healing War Trauma with Plant Medicine. This documentary is a journey into the hearts and minds of six veterans as they travel to Peru seeking sacred plant medicine to heal their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

In this episode my guest is Ian Benouis who is a West Point graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, US Army officer and combat veteran who participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. He is an activist for the beneficial use of plant medicine, especially for veterans with PTSD. Ian is also a Muslim and a psychonaut.

Very few people have such an interesting story as Ian Benouis.  As for being relevant to the plant medicine sphere, Ian’s life experience is about as diverse at it can get.  

From Blackhawk helicopter pilot fighting against drug cartels in Panama to a representative of the disastrous prescription drug epidemic to a supporter of the psychedelic medicine movement, Ian’s story is sure to both entertain and educate.  

In this episode, Daniel and Ian discuss Ian’s life story, how it all comes together to make an impact on the veteran suicide and addictions crisis in the USA, and some philosophical questions on war, culture and the so-called war on drugs.  Tune in and enjoy!

“Yeah, let’s transition from the bullet war to the meme war. I’ve been really moved by the responses from the Soldiers of the Vine screenings. I’m like “Wow, I built a field of dreams, and people actually showed up!” People are getting whatever they need out of it, versus our own self criticisms about what could have been better. That’s the real amazing thing about it. Share the message with people, and people will self-organize and self-activate. There’s no cult, there’s no dogma, it’s just spreading the love of healing and then people will naturally do whatever it is they feel they were created to do.

I think ultimately these plant medicines are psychic mirrors: they give the opportunity for greater self-reflection. Used ceremonially together, you get an intensification from all those spheres online together, mirroring each other. We all need to shut up and take our medicine and do our work. My personal belief is that the universe is a superorganism that makes up a mirror for the divine, where the ego is a construct that creates the illusion of separateness so that we have a game to play, and it’s the best game ever.

And that’s our potential salvation, and how our planet is getting hooked up into an electronically supported superorganism platform for communication. I think we’re trying to all connect each other up to heal ourselves, to unify as a planet, and then on to whatever’s supposed to be next. I don’t know what that is any more than the next person, but I have an open heart and open arms and trust that the universe knows what it’s doing.”