The shaman’s world is one of allegory, symbolism, metaphor and transcendence into the realms of energy and spirit. Their understanding of the universe and the abundant sentient beings which inhabit it is wildly foreign to the mind of the material scientist. Our best chance, therefore, at bridging the gap between science and spirit may lie in the anthropological study of those tribal cultures whose operating systems permit them to move freely in the metaphysical realms with the assistance of natural hallucinogenic substances.
The shamanic explanation of the origins of life and of the intelligent nature of the plants and animals which inhabit the rainforest are quite unbelievable to most, but a rational approach to understanding their perspective lends extraordinary insight into some of the greatest mysteries of human consciousness.
Author and anthropologist Jeremy Narby set out in the mid 1980’s to do just this, hoping to learn from medicine men of the Amazon jungle about how it is they claim to be able to communicate directly with plants and unseen spirit beings of the forest. In his remarkable must-read book, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, his journey of empirical study takes a remarkable twist when he agrees to ingest the potent shamanic plant medicine, Ayahuasca.
Briefly summing up his book in an interview with Deoxy’s Todd Stewart, Narby remarks:
“Research indicates that shamans access an intelligence, which they say is nature’s, and which gives them information that has stunning correspondences with molecular biology.”
Researching this hypothesis, Narby began by examining the very real paradox offered by plant masters of the Amazon, namely that their vast, extensive, and incredibly thorough understanding of the thousands of plants in their environment is the result, not of any kind of scientific study as we know in the West, but rather as the result of direct communication with plants themselves.
“So here are people without electron microscopes who choose, among some 80.000 Amazonian plant species, the leaves of a bush containing a hallucinogenic brain hormone, which they combine with a vine containing substances that inactivate an enzyme of the digestive tract, which would otherwise block the hallucinogenic effect. And they do this to modify their consciousness.
It is as if they knew about the molecular properties of plants and the art of combining them, and when one asks them how thev know these things, thev say their knowledge comes directly from hallucinogenic plants.” ~Jeremy Narby
At face value, the claim may seem ridiculous to the western mind, yet the fact remains that shamanic knowledge, especially regarding the medicinal properties of thousands of plants, is so thorough that it has provided the basis for the modern pharmacological model of medical science. Many of the top-selling and most effective medicines of our age were derived directly from the culturally appropriated knowledge of the people of the rainforest.
Intrigued by this perspective, Narby ultimately agreed to participate in Ayahuasca ceremonies to experience first-hand the connection spoken of by scores of indigenous cultures and medicine traditions. Doing so led him to the conclusion that not only were these people being truthful in their assertion of direct communication with plants is possible, but that their hallucinogenic journeys may provide a means of unlocking and accessing the origins of human knowledge which have been transmitted for eons in the codes within DNA.
“Intelligence comes from the Latin inter-legere, to choose between. There seems to be a capacity to make choices operating inside each cell in our body, down to the level of individual proteins and enzymes. DNA itself is a kind of “text” that functions through a coding system called “genetic code,” which is strikingly similar to codes used by human beings. ” ~Jeremy Narby…
About the Author
Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article (An Anthropologist’s Theory on Shamanism and the Origins of Knowledge Completely Rewrites Our Understanding of DNA) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.