The World Ayahuasca Diaspora: Reinventions and Controversies, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The World Ayahuasca Diaspora

Reinventions and Controversies, 1st Edition

Edited by Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar, Alex K. Gearin


270 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Ayahuasca is a psychoactive substance that has long been associated with indigenous Amazonian shamanic practices. The recent rise of the drink’s visibility in the media and popular culture, and its rapidly advancing inroads into international awareness, mean that the field of ayahuasca is quickly expanding. This expansion brings with it legal problems, economic inequalities, new forms of ritual and belief, cultural misunderstandings, and other controversies and reinventions.

In The World Ayahuasca Diaspora, leading scholars, including established academics and new voices in anthropology, religious studies, and law fuse case-study ethnographies with evaluations of relevant legal and anthropological knowledge. They explore how the substance has impacted indigenous communities, new urban religiosities, ritual healing, international drug policy, religious persecution, and recreational drug milieus. This unique book presents classic and contemporary issues in social science and the humanities, providing rich material on the bourgeoning expansion of ayahuasca use around the globe.

Table of Contents

Foreword. Ayahuasca in the 21st century: having it both ways, Glenn H. Shepard Jr; Introduction: the shifting journey of ayahuasca in diaspora, Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar & Alex K. Gearin; If tradition did not exist, it would have to be invented: retraditionalization and the world ayahuasca diaspora, Andrew Dawson; Between ecstasy and reason: a symbolic interpretation of UDV trance, Rosa Virgínia Melo; The religion of the forest: reflections on the international expansion of a Brazilian ayahuasca religion, Beatriz Caiuby Labate & Glauber Loures de Assis; Culling the spirits: an exploration of Santo Daime’s adaptation in Canada, Eli Oda Sheiner; A religious battle: musical dimensions of the Santo Daime diaspora, Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar & Glauber Loures de Assis; Good mother nature: ayahuasca neoshamanism as cultural critique in Australia, Alex K. Gearin; Aussiewaska: a cultural history of changa and ayahuasca analogues in Australia, Graham St John; Disentangling the ayahuasca boom: local impacts in western Peruvian Amazonia, Joshua Homan; The economics of ayahuasca: money, markets, and the value of the vine, Kenneth W. Tupper; Global ayahuasca: an entrepreneurial ecosystem, Daniela M. Peluso; A climate for change: ICEERS and the challenges of the globalization of ayahuasca, Benjamin K. De Loenen, Òscar Parés Franquero, Constanza Sánchez Avilés; Ayahuasca in the English courts: legal entanglements with the jungle vine, Charlotte Walsh

About the Editors

Beatriz Caiuby Labate has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of psychoactive substances, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Visiting Professor at the Center for Research and Post Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), in Guadalajara, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Drug Policy Program of the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE) in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She is also co-founder of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and editor of NEIP's website ( She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twelve books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles. For more information, see:

Clancy Cavnar is currently a licensed clinical psychologist working with dual diagnosed clients. In 2011, she received a doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California, with a dissertation on gay and lesbian people's experiences with ayahuasca. She is Research Associate of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of three books: The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca (2014); Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use (2014) and Ayahuasca Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond (2014). She is also author of peer-reviewed articles (at the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs and the International Journal of Drug Policy).

Alex K. Gearin has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane, Australia. His Ph.D. dissertation involves an ethnographic study of ayahuasca use in Australia and focuses on sensory, medical, and ethical themes of ritual practice and social organisation. He currently lectures in anthropology at the University of Queensland and works in the UQ Anthropology Museum, Brisbane, Australia. For more information, see:

About the Series

Vitality of Indigenous Religions

Routledge's Vitality of Indigenous Religions series offers an exciting cluster of research monographs, drawing together volumes from leading international scholars across a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. Indigenous religions are vital and empowering for many thousands of indigenous peoples globally, and dialogue with, and consideration of, these diverse religious life-ways promises to challenge and refine the methodologies of a number of academic disciplines, whilst greatly enhancing understandings of the world.

This series explores the development of contemporary indigenous religions from traditional, ancestral precursors, but the characteristic contribution of the series is its focus on their living and current manifestations. Devoted to the contemporary expression, experience and understanding of particular indigenous peoples and their religions, books address key issues which include: the sacredness of land, exile from lands, diasporic survival and diversification, the indigenization of Christianity and other missionary religions, sacred language, and re-vitalization movements. Proving of particular value to academics, graduates, postgraduates and higher level undergraduate readers worldwide, this series holds obvious attraction to scholars of Native American studies, Maori studies, African studies and offers invaluable contributions to religious studies, sociology, anthropology, geography and other related subject areas.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General