Podcast 477 – “What is this medium called consciousness?”


Guest speaker: Hamilton Souther

Hamilton SoutherPROGRAM NOTES:

[NOTE: All quotations are by Hamilton Souther.]

In the jungle, the ayahuasca is used traditionally to heal what are known as mystical, non-ordinary, problems.”

I came to look at it and realize that what we [North Americans] were looking for wasn’t specifically an experience that would produce healing, but we were looking for a shift in consciousness that would produce healing.”

We are self-regulating, universal beings.”

There can be negative effects, and that’s very real. The psychedelic plants are crap shoots in their own right, which makes having the presence of someone very trained very important. And that’s a departed point out in the world, like, take it and go and see what happens. I’m not of that group of thought. I think it’s very important to have people there who really, really know what they’re doing, like REALLY know what they’re doing.”


PCs – Right click, select option
Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

Hamilton Souther’s Website


Posted in Ayahuasca, Burning Man, Consciousness, Culture, Education, Evolution, Hamilton Souther, Imagination, Medicine, Palenque Norte, Psychedelics, PTSD, Shamanism.


  1. This talk contains passages I had not previously heard Hamilton speak of, at all. His experience level provides insights which were barely touched upon when we consider the different circumstances which can unfold during a session with plant medicine. I really like that he draws attention to the FACT that the dose size really does provide more exploration for the initiated if it isn’t a high dose. To ingest a whopper, when your experience level is low, one really can’t assimilate the lessons into life with ease. This is analogous to an amateur boxer competing against a pro: you get pounded as the amateur.
    I find it incredible that as close as Terrence McKenna was to the San Joaquin valley while attending Berkeley that he had not ambled out into the cow pastures near there. As dense as the fog gets, there must be thousands of pastures which are burgeoning with the Cubensis variety of mushrooms. Having grown up in Texas, even my grandparents were familiar with the folklore regarding the mushrooms which grew out of cow dung. “They’ll make you crazy” was the advice, whenever you pointed them out to an elder while hunting or gathering firewood. This psychomimietic attribute to the experience was a focal point during the research conducted before Nixon’s ‘war on drugs’. That idea, that psychedelics make you crazy, stimulated much research. However, the idea that one becomes crazy when they are exposed to a wider bandwidth of information, which the mushroom provides, is just as fallacious as the idea that these mushrooms are an access point to the Devil. If the Devil really wants to provide benevolence and suggest safe alternatives to life’s quandaries, I think everyone would be a Satanist. But since the Mushroom really does illuminate a path to sustenance and well being, I think my religious family members cannot be farther from the truth when they suggest that ‘one should not dip their head into ‘Satan’s den’. I since have left Religious ideology, since it is only marginally compatible with an exploration of consciousness and with the cultures who revere plant based medicines. An experiential path is the only one where the truth is without constraint. What a shame that experience is scheduled for prosecution in our society currently.
    For Holly above: listen to Hamilton’s interview with Amber Lyon. He goes into how he was a frustrated youth, embedded in our US culture, and how he was able to reconnect with his sense of equanimity. I had PTSD diagnosed twice in my life. With 5 months of psychotherapy and a single ayahuasca session at month 3 during my second bout, and I made fantastic progress after the session. I had moved past my issues and my therapist asked me how I got to the place of compassion,,, where I am still operating from today. One need not get peer reviews in an efficacy study of the self. One must try the brew to make one’s own judgment call. Hamilton hasn’t a PhD to conduct the studies to which you are referring. Look into the work of Charles Grob, or Alicia Danforth, or Rowland Griffiths for that type of medical efficacy. You will find it in spades. My report is anecdotal.

  2. Even before reaching your comments I had re listened to most of the talk. Brilliant! How can I donate to you, bro Lorenzo ?

    [COMMENTS by Lorenzo: Our forum members are now providing the funding to keep these podcasts coming to you. You can explore it for free first if you wish.]

  3. What happens when the ayahuasca student goes back into an unloving, judgemental, competitive society without the support they had during their ayahuasca ordeals? How do you know that they won’t flip out when they meet with the usual vicissitudes of the workaday world?

    Hamilton didn’t really say how his ayahuasca experiences had changed him because he didn’t say how his life was before getting into ayahuasca use. Hence, I was left wondering what the positive lasting changes were, if any, that have been made in his life other than his own verbal promotion of ayahuasca medicine and his business. I assume he charges money for his services?

    Also, he gave no scientific peer reviewed evidence that anyone has been totally cured of ptsd and its associated mental malais by the use of ayahuasca. As an observer of ayahuasca medicinal use and its promotion, I have never heard how ayahuasca participants integrate what they’ve learned when and if they return to the mainstream society. Maybe someone can link me to literature in this regard?

    Cheers, Holly

Comments are closed.