march 3rd, 2021

Episode #13


Shifting Consciousness, The Power of Ceremony & The Evolution of the Ayahuasca Tradition with Founder of the Ayahuasca Foundation Carlos Tanner

In this episode, Laura Dawn speaks with the Ayahuasca Foundation founder, Carlos Tanner, about the nuance of bridging the gap between Western and Shamanic cultural paradigms and the evolution of ayahuasca traditions.

The world is changing, that’s for sure, and that includes indigenous traditions. The idea that a Westerner is going to further change a tradition; I don’t think that it should be or that it is fair to accept that it will be some degradation of the tradition or that it might not be as good as the original because the fact of the matter is that the original is always going to change, too.
Carlos Tanner


About This Episode:

After struggling with addiction, Carlos Tanner heeded the call to sit with grandmother ayahuasca in Peru, knowing this would be his path of healing. Shortly after that, he was invited to move into a shaman’s home and apprenticed with him for 4 years. This eventually led him to start the Ayahuasca Foundation in 2009, offering retreats and educational training programs within the Shipibo lineage. 

In this conversation, we explore some nuanced and complex topics, including:

  • The misunderstanding we have around the concept of “tradition” 
  • Understanding trauma from a shamanic perspective 
  • How ceremony acts as a catalyst for enhancing consciousness
  • Do these sacred plant medicines discriminate between skin color and language spoken? 
  • The placebo effect and the role that consciousness plays in the healing process
  • How consciousness profoundly influences our experience of reality 
  • The understanding of trauma from a shamanic perspective
  • How we have forgotten that we are inherently a part of nature
  • The ayahuasca foundations 4 and 8-week programs.

Core Themes

Explored in this episode:
  • Shifting consciousness
  • Ceremony
  • Ayahuasca
  • Evolution
  • Western and Shamanic culture
  • Bridging the gap
  • reframing activism: forcing vs. allowing

Links &

useful resources

Episode Transcript

Episode #13: Carlos Tanner Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

Duration: 01:33:52

Laura Dawn: My name is Laura dawn, and you’re listening to episode number 13 of the Psychedelic Leadership podcast featuring my conversation with the founder of the Ayahuasca Foundation, Carlos Tanner.

The world is changing for sure. And that includes though, indigenous traditions. And so, the idea that, because a Westerner is going to further change this tradition, I don’t think it should be or fairly accepted that that might be some degradation of the tradition, or that might not be as good as the original. Because the fact of the matter is that the original is always been unchanged too. Well, I think that we kind of have a misunderstanding of what the word tradition means. 

And that misunderstanding could maybe be summed up with the idea that it’s doing things the way they’ve always been done. And that is not my experience. And it doesn’t fit with nature. And if we look at adaptation, the forest is never always the way it was. It’s never the way it was. It’s always growing. And it’s always changing. And it’s always adapting. And I think that traditions are doing the same thing. The way I look at it is essentially a consciousness enhancement tool. So, that when you ingest the medicine, and during the effect of the medicine, you are in the optimal environment, for the medicine to achieve its goals for the healing on the deepest level to take place.

Laura Dawn: I started this podcast so; I could have deep and meaningful conversations exactly like this one with Carlos Tanner. If you’ve been working with Ayahuasca, and feel the call towards facilitation, this is such a good episode to tune into. And as you’ll hear, we laugh and chuckle quite a bit throughout this conversation. And it’s just more laughing at the irony and the complexity and the nuance of the topics that we talk about. And I don’t want to live in a world where I feel afraid to voice my opinion or afraid to ask questions. And I certainly ask some of these taboo questions in this conversation with Carlos. And for some reason, I feel like within the plant medicine space, or the psychedelic space, that Ayahuasca, in particular, tends to be a topic where more people feel a little bit more uppity and defensive around. 

And in a way I get it. This is such an incredible, precious plant medicine. And people feel that very strongly and want to defend it. And I can understand that. And I also think there’s still a way we can learn to navigate these more nuanced and tricky conversations that are highly complex, particularly from a place of more open-mindedness and kindness. And so, we don’t always have to agree on these challenging topics. And I’ll just state that all of these conversations I have on this podcast are not about convincing anyone of anything. And Carlos said quite a several things, especially around the topic of tradition, and ancestral lineages that struck me. We traversed through some interesting territory here. And I appreciate and deeply resonate with his perspective on things. And if you notice, all roads tend to lead back to consciousness in this conversation and perception in terms of how that influences our experience of everything. 

And so, consciousness is a strong thread that weaves throughout this entire conversation. And I’m sure there are things that Carlos said that would deeply trigger some people and that’s okay. I’m personally here to learn and listen as well and contribute. And certainly, I don’t have all the answers. I have very few answers. But what I do have a lot of inquiry and curiosity, and when I dropped in with Carlos, we spoke for about two and a half hours. So, I had to cut quite a large section out but I will be having him on for part two. And so, you can find Carlos at ayahuascafoundation.org. And I’ll have all of his links in the show notes. And through the Ayahuasca Foundation. Carlos offers four-week and eight-week training programs in Peru of the Shipibo lineage and we talked about this as well and the nuance of this, of Westerners showing up and paying money to quote-unquote train as shamans. But we address this in this conversation. 

And so, before we dive in, I just want to mention that I’m now in the clubhouse. And I will be hosting weekly rooms, talking about all topics of psychedelic leadership, and I would love for you to join me in that conversation on that platform. And you can find me at livefreelaurad, both on clubhouse and Instagram. And I’ll keep you posted. I’m just finalizing the day and the time that the psychedelic leadership room is going to happen. And so, if you haven’t yet received my playlist for psychedelic journeys, there are four playlists that I share one of them being more of an Ayahuasca-oriented playlist. 

And you can access that in the show notes or on the freebies tab of my website livefreelaurad.com where you can also access my free eight-day micro-dosing course. And in this episode, I’ll be featuring a song that I just love called Rainbow Light by my dear sister that I also love and adore Tara Divina who is also legitimately one of the most badass Vedic astrologers that I know, amongst many other things. So, I’ll include her contact on this episode page again, on my website with a livefreelaurad.com Alright, without any further ado, here is my nuanced and fascinating conversation with the founder of the Ayahuasca Foundation, Carlos Tanner. Welcome, Carlos. Tanner, thank you so much for taking the time to hop on with me today. So, nice to see you. 

Carlos Tanner: I feel like we have been running in very similar circles for a while and it’s nice to finally see you virtually face to face on and on.

Laura Dawn: I’d love to start with just exploring a little bit of your background story. As we know so many people find themselves at the altar of Ayahuasca and other plant medicines because there’s a desire to find healing in their lives. I’ve heard you talk about your own story a little bit and your struggle with addiction. And it’s quite amazing that our suffering can be our greatest catalyst to our awakening. So, I’d love to invite you to just share a little bit about how you found yourself moving into your teacher’s home and apprenticing with him for four years and how that led you to start the Ayahuasca Foundation.

Carlos Tanner: Yes, sure. I mean, looking back, I have a much clearer understanding of what was going on. At the time, it seemed like addiction was the problem. But really, I was suffering from childhood trauma. And that expresses itself as depression. And the drug addiction was an attempt at self-medication, which I’m sure is the case for probably everyone that finds himself in a similar place. For me, that brought me to a very bizarre place, which was waking up in my car underwater, in the middle of the night, because I had blacked out behind the wheel of my car. Because I had been taking drugs and drinking and then driving. And that was one of the worst nights of my life that turned out to be one of the best nights of my life. 

Because at that point, I took my life seriously, it was life or death in a way in my mind as to which path, I wanted to take, moving forward from that point. And I decided I did not want to go the death route, which seemed inevitable, and made a declaration to do something drastic to save my life. I through synchronicity, at least how I perceive it. I got an email a few days later from a friend in Peru, she was traveling, decided to go to a Ketose ran into two people that talked about I Ayahuasca said the new accord on Darrow and that she could go with them to drink Ayahuasca and she thought of me. I’m not sure exactly why other than that I had talked with her about Ayahuasca a couple of years earlier. And she wrote to me and asked if I wanted to fly to Peru and drink Ayahuasca was there. 

And I took that to be a sign that this was the response from my declaration, my asking the universe for help. And this was the form it took to provide that help. And so, I flew down to Peru, knowing that this was the solution. And I stress the knowledge because it was already part of my mindset that this was going to work. I wasn’t going to give it a try. I had faith that it was the answer, even before I got on the plane, and I do feel that’s important. So, yeah, that led me to be invited by the Korumburra Don Juan, who I was drinking within the third ceremony to become his apprentice, and he told me it was my path to be a healer and that if I wanted to, I could live with him and he would teach me and I accepted his offer. And that was May of 2003. I did go home and tie up all the loose ends of my life and returned in January of 2004. I lived with him for four years. And at the end of that, I came up with the idea or rather felt was given the idea for the Ayahuasca Foundation, which officially became a nonprofit in 2009. So, we’ve now been operating for over 11 years, offering retreats and courses and I spent a crazy, wild ride.

Laura Dawn: If you feel inspired, I’d love to allow you to name your teachers and the lineages that they’re a part of, do you feel open to that?

Carlos Tanner: Sure. My first teacher is Don Juan Tengo [inaudible 10:51], and he was misty, so a very rare gem of a person. His grandmother, Peruvian grandfather, Italian, another grandmother, Indian, and another grandfather Chinese. A really special person combined with essentially rain forest medicine from Peru with Chinese or biology from Asia. And I lived with him for four years after that, I studied with two teachers that I should as well shout out with Dan Mucho and Daniela Thalia. And but I settled with Don Enrique Lopez, his wife, Tanya Bill [inaudible 11:30], and their brothers Don, Miguel Lopez, and Don Renault Lopez. So, that family, the Lopez family, and the Mucho family, and there should people and that is the special lineage within those two families, which is very unique to those two families, which is the Noi route tradition. And that’s a tradition that I work with.

Laura Dawn: So, you just alluded to this in your story, but I wanted to ask you about the role that consciousness plays in the healing process. I recently heard you speak on another podcast, and you said that psychedelics are a consciousness-enhancing experience, which makes sense to me. But what struck me was then you said that this is understood in the ancestral traditions, which is why they have the term tradition, which you said doesn’t refer to the medicine, it refers to the method of using the medicine. I wonder if you can explain that and just unpack that a little bit for us?

Carlos Tanner: Totally. I’m kind of baffled when I look at the way modern medical research is done. It’s no secret that the double-blind study is the gold standard for medical research. And why is that? Because it specifically removes consciousness, from the research. So, the data is without consciousness, because you purposely have the participant not know if they’re getting the placebo or the actual drug, and then to take that even another step for the person that’s giving them the drug don’t know if they’re giving the placebo and or the real drug? And why would they do that? Well, because that it’s recognized and well known that your consciousness will mess up the study. Why does it mess it up, because the study is already flawed, it’s based on the idea that a chemical reaction is a result? 

Whereas consciousness isn’t involved. But yet all of these placebo studies that are specific to the placebo effect have kind of proven that people that take a placebo can also achieve healing if they think they’re taking the medicine. And so right off the bat, we’re kind of operating in, I would say a flawed understanding of what medicine is or what healing is, which is the idea that there’s a chemical reaction that produces the healing, rather than acknowledging and including consciousness in that process, which is something that in the indigenous paradigm, or the indigenous perspective on healing is not the way they look at it. It is something that they would refer to as spirit, I’m going to choose consciousness because spirit and science in our culture, don’t go together, unfortunately. But consciousness is something that we can all build bridges on and a better understanding that I’d like to give is gardening. So, when you’re gardening, the seed that you plant is very important. 

You can’t grow a tomato plant from a different seed, and you must have the seed to grow the tomato plant. But there is a lot more going on than just having the seed, you don’t just put a seed on your table and a tomato plant grows from it. No, you have to put it in the soil. And the quality of the soil makes a huge difference, which is why there’s so much effort to fertilize your soil to make it the best quality, there’s a scientific process to understand all of the nutrients that you have in your soil that will give that seed the best opportunity, the optimal environment for it to grow. And then, of course, there are other factors, how much water it’s going to get, when it’s water, the quality of the water, how much sunlight, it’s going to get, all of these environmental elements, that surround the growth of the seed are more important to the outcome of how well that seed grows. And that, to me is a better way of understanding how medicine should be looked at. Yes, the medicine is a key component, but how the medicine is taken, really has more impact on its effectiveness than the substance itself. Does that make sense?

Laura Dawn: Yes, that makes total sense. And so, let’s talk about the power of ceremony and the role that ceremony plays within this gardening analogy.

Carlos Tanner: Right ceremony would be that fertile soil; ceremony is essentially the way I look at it is essentially a consciousness enhancement tool. So, that when you ingest the medicine and during the effect of the medicine, you are in the optimal environment, for the medicine to achieve its goals for the healing on the deepest level to take place. And so, part of that is the mechanics, you could say, of the ceremony where you want to be in darkness, you want to have the least number of distractions that might take you away from your interior process, which is the goal for why you’re ingesting the medicine. And so, if you’re seeing other people, or if you’re looking at other things, whatever they may be, they will take away your focus or your attention from looking in, which is where the healing is going to be taking place provided you can activate it. 

And so that activation of healing is the component of the ceremony. And so, everything that happens in the ceremony, from taking the cup and having your intention be put at the forefront of your consciousness. So, it’s the last thing that your mind says before the medicine enters. To me, that’s a very important element. Because if you’re thinking about who won the football game last weekend when you take the medicine, then I think that it would be a more challenging process to connect the medicine with the goal that you have for taking it. Whereas if the goal that you have for taking it is right on the tip of your tongue when that very same tongue touches the medicine, there’s an instantaneous mind-body connection, your consciousness communicating physiologically to your body, what the purpose of this medicine is. And I think that we could probably find great results even if we were to do that with pharmaceutical medication, the singing of the ceremony that takes things into a whole other realm. 

But even if you just look at it mechanically, the intention behind the singing, the fact that there is singing is an expression of gratitude and expression of directed intention, there is a healing purpose within the acts of the behavior within the ceremony. And so pretty much from beginning to end and way before the ceremony at the moment when you decide to attend the ceremony, a consciousness shift begins, and walking into the ceremony space enhances that consciousness shift, where you sit and the implements that you have with you affects that consciousness shifts the people that you’re with the person leading the ceremony, every single element influences your consciousness. And the way that ceremonies have been developed by indigenous communities is this real science of consciousness enhancement, in my opinion, to increase the outcome or the effectiveness of the medicine itself?

Laura Dawn: How do you feel trauma fits into this framework? And just given your experience being so immersed in shamanic cultures? What’s your take? And I know this would be an overgeneralization. But what’s your take on how these cultures tend to view and relate to this concept and this notion of trauma?

Carlos Tanner: Your question is interesting because their terminology doesn’t make sense in our terminology, the words don’t go together, they would focus on fear. And when we say trauma, fear is an inevitable element of it. But we don’t look at you got scared? That’s not what resonates with us when we say trauma. So, to me, there’s a level of interpretation. If they say, bad heirs, for example, you’re, what the hell does that mean? That’s a literal translation of an element that they would use to describe trauma you’re, what does that even mean? So, there’s a level of interpretation. And so, I’m going to take some liberties on my interpretation of what that means having spent the time that I have with them, but the way that I choose to describe it is in the field of consciousness. 

I look at consciousness as having three states of being, which I think could be related to these three states of being that we recognize in ourselves, being our minds, our emotions, and our bodies, the three states of beings that we recognize in the matter, which would be gas, liquid, and solid. And then the three states of matter that I identify in consciousness, which would be ideas, beliefs, and truths. And to me, what happens in trauma or a traumatic experience is that we essentially condense ideas, and solidify them as truths into our bodies. And those truths are formed in hypersensitive states that are usually the response to extreme fear. And because they are formed in fear, they’re usually guided by that fear. And oftentimes, those truths are detrimental to our self-perceptions. And our realities become infected by these detrimental truths. And so, we end up living our lives, infecting our responses to experiences and we infect our relationship dynamics because they have, we have a truth inside of us about who we are, that is inaccurate, and also detrimental to our health. 

And so, the healing of that truth or that trauma, which is essential, the healing or replacing of a detrimental truth with a beneficial truth involves replicating or overriding that hypersensitivity state. And that is done through the use of Ayahuasca and this tradition. And, but not as a result of fear, in a controlled and safe setting, which is the ceremony, and thus allowing us to attain the depth of consciousness where the truth resides, which would normally be unattainable because we don’t have the level of sensitivity that could reach it. And then to replace it with our maturity, our wisdom or understanding, not influenced by fear, and thus, we can take a detrimental truth about who we are, and replace it with a beneficial truth, the way that we should accurately perceive ourselves and essentially, resolve the trauma and remove the infection. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done afterward. Because your relationships and everything that’s happened in your life, don’t just instantly fix, but by cutting the source of the infection, then you can start the process to return to a state of balance within all those dynamics.

Laura Dawn: When I hear stories about shamans in the jungle, performing soul retrievals, for example, and just from this perspective of bridging this medicine from a shamanic cultural paradigm worldview to a Western one, I’m just so curious, your perspective on this, do you think that Westerners who aren’t born into that cultural perspective can learn those methods? And do you think it’s necessary that we need to learn shamanic practices that are immersed in a different cultural paradigm to effectively work with this medicine in a healing capacity?

Carlos Tanner: It’s a great point. And part of the one to just simply say yes, because I have friends of mine that have studied for over a decade, and I consider them to be the true maestro. But also, part of me needs to recognize the knowledge of that, that we’ll never be able to access the same paradigm that they have that they live in the indigenous paradigm or the ancestral paradigm. And so there will always be an adaptation, if a Westerner is going to learn an ancestral tradition or an indigenous tradition, there will always be an adaptation. And I think that if we can go back to the gardening metaphor, adaptation is essential. If we’re going to take that seed and plant it in a new environment, then there will inevitably be an adaptation, because of the influences of the new environment. It’s something that we’re all very well aware of with adaptations of plants, especially. And so, a new species, so to speak, of tradition, is being born, as Westerners do, study these traditions, and adapt them to their cultural paradigms or they’re the needs of the communities that they’re serving. And so, I think that ties in maybe to a deeper understanding of what it means to have a tradition, I have worked with the Lopez family, for example, for the last 11 years, and their tradition has changed significantly, just in 10 years.

Laura Dawn: That’s amazing to know that actually, that’s interesting.

Carlos Tanner: Well, I think that we kind of have a misunderstanding of what the word tradition means. And that and that misunderstanding could maybe be summed up with the idea that it’s doing things the way they’ve always been done. And that has not my experience, and it doesn’t fit with nature. And if we look at adaptation, the forest is never always the way it was. It’s never the way it was. It’s always growing. And it’s always changing. And it’s always adapting. And I think that traditions are doing the same thing. It’s just that the rate of change in the environment to adapt to has typically been quite slow. In the past, so if you went into the ancient past, the difference between the Shipibo tradition 500 years ago, compared to 100 years ago, might not be that different. 

But the difference between 100 years ago and 50 years ago, probably was more pronounced, even though the period is so much shorter. And then from 50 years ago, to now it might be accelerated five times as much if you could calculate that in some way. But the point is that life is changing, fast, we’re going through just in our lifetimes, from when you and I were kids to now, the world has changed a ton. I’m talking to you looking at a computer screen right now. And we’re fine without a delay, like crystal clear. So, that’s a very easy example of how much life has changed. I know when I first started living in Peru, to meet a Korean Darrow meant you hiked into the jungle somewhere. Now you can meet a Korean Darrow, on their freak in Facebook page.

Laura Dawn: Wearing Nike shoes, and totally, I was, look at that shaman wearing Nike. Okay.

Carlos Tanner: The world is changing for sure. And that includes, though, indigenous traditions. And so, the idea that, because a Westerner is going to further change this tradition, I don’t think it should be or fairly, accepted that that might be some degradation of the tradition, or that might, not be as good as the original. Because the fact of the matter is that the original is always been in change, too. It’s always adapting and finding the needs of the community at serving, and that will always be the case. But if we are to have Ayahuasca spread around the world, to deserts, and temperate forests, and to, all the locations just on that element, let alone all the cultural differences, then there has to be a big change in the adaptation of those. But I’m kind of getting around the question that I think you’re trying to answer. 

Laura Dawn: Well, it’s so nuanced and it’s so touchy, and especially, there is this social media reality with a lot of social justice warriors who are very adamant about, the cultural appropriation topic. And I think I generally hold a similar perspective as you that, this medicine has its consciousness, things are changing. We live in a time where rates of depression and suicide are through the roof. I’m kind of have the mindset of all hands-on deck right now, how do we find the most amount of healing? That’s possible. And yet there are a group of people that I think are very adamant about this needs to stay within the tradition, which I love that you spoke to that, I think we have a misunderstanding of what the word tradition means. 

And when you said, even in the last 10 11 years, the Lopez family has evolved and changed their tradition. That was just, the light bulb. And then what tradition are we talking about? Because when you look at Brazil, look at the diamond church. Now, we’re weaving Ayahuasca with a variety of religious practices with, African music. And I mean, there are all sorts of different ways that this medicine is weaving. I know a lot of people who hold space in a very Neo shamanic way, and it’s beautiful. And people receive a lot of healing in that way. And so maybe just speaking to this, how do we embody respect? How do we embody honor with the mindset that things are changing that we live in a drastically different world? It’s a huge can of worms.

Carlos Tanner: That’s for sure. It is crazy. Worms don’t go that far. You can catch them this is a can of snakes. But one way that I’ll try to tackle it right off the bat is, based on what I feel is a more accurate understanding of what tradition means. Would it be better to use the word science? Because in science, there is no desire to do things the way they were always done. It’s kind of the opposite, where you’re always striving to find the better way, the more accurate way. And that is, what tradition is always doing. And it seems kind of crazy to even imagine, what if you are a young, up and coming Korean Darrow, in the Shipibo tribe, and you have a ceremony, and afterward, you come out of it, and you’re like, you know what, I found a better way to do this, I found a better way to treat people that’s going to be more effective. And you think that person’s teacher, their grandfather is going to say, we’ve never done that before. We’re not going to do it now. 

Don’t go trying to change the culture, they’re going to be, good job, a great discovery. And that, to me sounds a lot more science. We applaud the discovery. And we’re happy to replace an outdated model or a model that is less effective with a new, more effective model. And that, to me, is what I see happening with the tradition. But if we use that word science, and then we get into a conversation about cultural appropriation, to me, just by replacing the word tradition with science, it’s kind of redefines the conversation, because I don’t hear anybody having a conversation about scientific appropriation. I’ve never heard someone say, well, that culture shouldn’t use the science of this culture. Science is kind of also inherently known to be for the good of humankind. It is willingly shared, regardless of race, color, ancestry, and gender, whatever separation you might come up with, it’s sciences universal. And I guess that is my perception of tradition. And you bring up a good point, too. 

It’s so hard for me to imagine that Ayahuasca cares at all, what color your skin is. It’s just impossible for me to imagine that a tree would see your spirit and be like, well, I think that even though your spirit is containing all the colors of the spectrum and beyond, your skin color has a pigment that I’m not as familiar with, so I’m going to share less it’s kind of a ridiculous concept. And maybe we have a lot to learn from that understanding or that conception of the ridiculousness of measuring people by the color of their skin. But it’s still a touchy situation because there is more to it than simply sharing. And even in science, it’s more complicated and there’s money. And there’s the way that you live. And so, there’s oppression, there are elements that are in humankind that are hard to see replicated in nature, there are parts of that in nature, I do feel like the tallest tree in the forest will get more sun, there are elements that you could say, relate somewhat to that, but not to the same degree that we have. And so, if I go to indigenous culture, and I take a piece of wisdom they have and go patent it, and start a company and make a billion dollars. Now, the cultural appropriation conversation becomes something that we all must discuss. And so, it is very complicated, and certainly very nuanced. But to get back to the original question, which is, can a Westerner learn a tradition formed an indigenous paradigm and be able to help their communities with it? I would say yes. 

Will they go to the same depth? I would lean towards no, but because they’re working in a different paradigm, it may not be important. But it also may be different. Because there is a reality that, and I’ve seen it, just from our programs, if someone doesn’t speak your language, and someone does, then you’re normally will gravitate towards the person that does because they can speak your language. And culture is kind of saying someone that can speak your language, if someone knows your culture, and is from your culture, they speak your language on a deeper level, they’re familiar with your, with your culture, and so they’re familiar with what you’re going through in a way that a person from another culture wouldn’t be able to. And so, in that sense, a local healer, if I’ll call them that, a person from your neck of the woods, may have an advantage in healing you or helping you to heal because they’re more familiar with the roots of your affliction. After all, they share the same soil whereas someone from another culture might not.

Laura Dawn: Yeah, because that it makes me zoom out around the narrative that it’s like frequency, where we’re higher frequency is better than lower frequency. So, there’s a narrative that, this is the way so this is the better way versus this way, which is subpar to this original way? Or is that just blasphemy to say?

Carlos Tanner: Well, that’s where I feel like I that all of those questions and all of the thoughts have led me I feel to take the perceptions that I do, which is to view everything through the frame of consciousness because I can settle it, I feel, there’s a particular person and that particular person gravitates towards someone from their culture, that particular person will receive more benefit by going to the healer from their neck of the woods. But not everyone shares that thought, some people take a feeling like you just kind of mentioned some people say, the real curanderos are in the Amazon rainforest, the real curanderos are Shipibo, the most powerful healers in the world are this in this place, and this type, and therefore, I need to go there. 

And if I’m with someone, however, I choose to categorize them, maybe it’s by the color of their skin, maybe it’s from their ancestry or whatever, then I’m not going to get as deep healing, well, then yes, you’re right, you will not get as DB healing, because you do not believe that you will be able to and I feel like consciousness is such so powerful that way. And I also feel like as the director of a Healing Center, it’s almost an unfair advantage, because we’re located in the Amazon rainforest, to do the healing process. You already have to on your own, every participant already develops this optimized belief system to get them there. So, that I don’t have to do that preparation for them. Even though that is my job, I do further enhance that preparation for them, which is preparing their minds to have the highest level of belief and faith in the process to trust the process as much as possible. 

It’s so much of it is done for me just by the fact that you can’t have trust and yet still buy the plane ticket and fly to the Amazon rain forest it’s a pretty big commitment right now. And so that to me is a way that kind of help to settle it, some people are going to look at indigenous people and think those are primitive people that don’t know as much, then that’s not the path that you’ll want to take if you want to have the highest outcome. And some people think you shouldn’t sing songs in the ceremony, because it’s annoying the way that the songs, they don’t like them, well, that’s probably not going to be the best path for you to take either. But on the flip side, some people have, I would probably guess, in the world of Ayahuasca everybody kind of leans towards the other way, which is, indigenous culture is something that has found these truths, and that we lack as Westerners and therefore, they’re the source of all this wisdom. And when they sing, there’s a power in that song that heals. 

And I’m not refuting that, I’m just saying that when you believe in that, then you optimize your environment, you create the possibility for a deeper level of truth. And so, understanding that and I think that’s how we got into this whole can of snakes, in the beginning, was the power of tradition, and the power of having a consciousness Enhancement Program surrounding the substance of medicine, so in taking of the medicine, we achieve the greatest outcome of healing. And so, to me, that is all within the realm of consciousness, but a realm of consciousness that I believe, has dominion in the physiological states as well, our bodies are also not just even influenced by consciousness, but are the product of consciousness.

Laura Dawn: I just love that you keep bringing it back to consciousness. And it’s sort of the way that we can rise above the division of, this indigenous lineage versus that one, or this lineage has been working with medicine for 3000 years. And this one hasn’t. I just love that it’s rising above the division to look for that common ground that we all stand on.

Carlos Tanner: Well, I’ve done it, I think already, but I kind of bounced back. And I would say I prefer the term ancestral to indigenous. And I do that because I feel like it’s inclusive. When we say indigenous, often none, we’re talking about, those people over there. But even the term indigenous is already a slippery slope. So, many indigenous people are a percentage indigenous is there some percentage that qualifies you. But ancestral is all-encompassing, because that, to me, is the reality. You, me, every single person on the planet was indigenous, our ancestors were indigenous to somewhere at some point. And so all of our ancestors shared in their indigenousness. And our ancestral traditions were all very similar. 

They were all I would say, connected to nature. And so even the idea that these shamanic traditions are just 3000 years old, I would say, the roots of Sham shamanic tradition, or the roots of shamanism are 100,000 years old. And that is that we, like animals, were always guided by nature, by instinct, if we had a particular deficiency, then instinctually, to remedy that deficiency, we would seek it out in nature and nature would also present it to balance itself as a part of itself, which we are a part of nature. And nature heals nature, nature heals itself. And so, to me, that’s been happening forever, before humans, it’s just the earth, and the and the universe, but if we just want to stay on the earth, the earth always took care of itself, and we are a part of the earth. And that, to me, is the ancestral tradition. That to me is what it meant to come from the ancestral tradition. And unfortunately, I do feel that modern humans, if you want to call it that, sometimes call it Western. 

But in recent times, we have left that understanding, we have abandoned the understanding that we are a part of nature, to the point where we talk about nature as something separate from ourselves. And that, to me, is the great fault. And that to me is what the mission of Ayahuasca is and what the mission of nature is. Ayahuasca is an activist for that mission. But all nature desires to return to balance and to bring those parts that have abandoned the guidance and the wisdom of that connection back into alignment. And that, to me is the process that we’re witnessing. Now, I’m a very hopeful person. And so, I like to get creative with my hopefulness. And I like to think of the idea of what pregnancy would look like if you had no idea what pregnancy was. And so, if you were to live with a group of people, and one of them started showing signs of pregnancy, but you had no idea what it was, it would look pretty bad. It would look like cause for concern, some stuff is happening that doesn’t seem right. Maybe you’ve been alive for a few decades already in your like, in decades of life, this has never happened before. 

We need to do something about this because you don’t understand it. And on a physical level cellularly, there would be a lot of cellular activity that looked unusual, in the body of the pregnant person, this woman’s body would be producing a lot of stuff that it had never produced before, a lot of activity would be happening that had never been happening before. And it might look pretty foreign, it might look pretty off the cuff this is not right, we’re doing something wrong. But eventually, it would culminate in something that I would hope would lead to a new understanding where we would then retroactively be like, my God the whole time, I thought that something wrong was happening. And we had to save this. But I was so ignorant of the process, that I didn’t understand what a beautiful thing was happening. I want to say that as my hope for how we will look back at what happened with the human race over the last few 100 years, where things seem to go wrong. And I put it in the framework of reproduction because I could see it and imagine it to be that way. 

And we just landed yesterday, some rover on Mars, we just sent something to another planet. And there are plans, I think Eli Musk wants to bring life from Earth to another planet. Now if Earth wanted to reproduce, how would it do that? We see trees and they produce these unbelievably complicated and creative ways of reproduction. Some of them produce seeds that fly down. So, they’re far away like the Ayahuasca seed has is a helicopter that flies away. Some of them have these wisps that float like parachutes, others produce these delicious fruits so that birds will eat them and poop their seeds later on. 

And everything has this highly intelligent reproductive system, and ours may be one of the most complicated that I’ve ever known. And that’s a kind of another law of nature is reproduction is a really important endeavor. It is a goal. And I think, fair to assume that the planet itself has a similar goal as a living being. But how does it achieve it? And when it becomes pregnant? What does that look like if we’ve never seen it before? I don’t even know what the time would be. And so, are we witnessing the labor pains of the earth as it prepares to give birth and spread life out on a planetary level? And to do that it needed itself to act in a way that seemed to go against its best interest? And will we at some point, look back and be, oh my god, I got to be a part of the pregnancy of the earth, and feel honored that we got to be here.

Laura Dawn: I like that analogy. Thank you so much for sharing that I haven’t thought about it that way before. It’s a creative way of putting it. I worked with a Shipibo grandmother and for a month down in Peru and did a [inaudible 49:30] with her. And she kept saying, the more you sing the more you know, and then she’d also say sing in your language. And I found that interesting. And I guess in a way, I keep coming back to these very nuanced topics around tradition and lineage. And if I’m, borrowing from this culture and their songs and their echoes, then that’s appropriating or but if I’m not seeing them, then I’m not singing what some people consider the language of this plant medicine. What’s your take on that in terms of Western people coming, doing facilitator training, receiving songs receiving methods and ideologies that are not a part of our Western framework? And bringing that back? And I know it’s tricky. It’s nuanced. But it is that just as valid as someone saying, I want to just develop my way and my methodology and sing songs in my language and songs that I feel like I received from these medicines? Or do you think it needs to have that frequency of [inaudible 50:38] are very different than some other lineages? And so, what’s your take on that?

Carlos Tanner: Yes. There are a couple of things to unpack there, one, you use the term borrowing. And there’s a big difference between when you have a teacher and even in that one month, if that grandmother taught you an [inaudible 51:06], then that to me is in the form of permission to use that [inaudible 51:13], which would be very different than you downloading a Shipibo [inaudible 51:19] off the internet and learning it, having never met the person who sang it and not having any form of permission to use it. And so, if we are going to touch again, on that kind of cultural appropriation, one is borrowing, or even maybe more than borrowing, like stealing, taking without permission, and one is having permission and receiving a gift to share. There’s a huge difference in that, I would say. 

And so, I do feel like when you do have a teacher, and you are learning what they are teaching, what they are giving, what they’re sharing, then you have permission to share that as well. And in fact, that is probably the purpose of the sharing with you. And so, in that aspect, I would say if that is the context, then, by all means, share that, in fact, one time someone criticized me because, on our course, we give out Cushmas, which are Shipibo tunics that are part of the culture that students would wear when they start to study on this path. And I responded that wasn’t my idea. I didn’t say to the curanderos. Give them Cushmas. It was their idea. Because they perceived that even though these were students from another country and culture, they were students and that they wanted them to consider themselves to be Shipibo students. 

And so, the Dawn and Rakez and Dunya Bill Maher who made the Cushmas, it was their idea to do that, which of course, I was like, awesome, that would be great. How wonderful would it be to have your Shipibo teacher essentially include you, as a member of their culture? I felt very honored by that. And when Dawn and Rakez’s grandmother gave me Cushma that she had made for me. And that was important to me. It meant a lot to me that I got that and someone criticizes saying that they shouldn’t have those, because they’re not from the culture now. Believe it or not, this was a white person from Europe, making that statement. And I felt like it kind of crossed the line, this is a gift, I kind of flipped it. I kind of feel if you didn’t wear it, it would be disrespectful. If I’m given this gift of a Cushma that essentially is an invitation to include me in their culture. And I say, well, I’m white, so I’m not going to wear that. I wouldn’t be like that, that’s kind of like given the finger to that culture. I’m honored to receive the gift and I am honored to be able to wear it. And so, it again, it is a bit tricky, I guess. But in the sense of having permission that permission is permission and sharing is sharing. Now the other element is that, as I see it, there are four ways of learning [inaudible 54:48]. One way would be to just write one, the same way that we write a song except with an intention for healing. Another way would be to learn one from your teacher. And a third way would be to learn directly from a plant spirit, maybe during data. And the fourth way would just be that at the moment, you don’t know the song, a minute before, you didn’t know that song. But when you opened your mouth and sang, this [inaudible 55:27] came out. And so, you never learned it. It just appeared. 

Divine channel, whatever it just appears, those would be the four ways that [inaudible 55:40] happen, I guess. And I used to say them as if that was a hierarchy. If you just open your mouth and the ego comes out, that’s the most powerful [inaudible 55:52]. And then if you learn it from the plants, that’s not as powerful, but still very powerful. And then if you learn from your teacher, not as powerful, but still works, and if you write it that’s, the least powerful. And I was telling someone in our last course, that idea, then as I said it, I was, that’s kind of bullshit. I don’t agree with that anymore. It’s my thought, but I don’t agree with it anymore. Because I don’t think that determines effectiveness. Effectiveness is a much more complicated process. And it has so much to do with the person that you’re trying to help, and their consciousness and your consciousness. 

And I’ve learned [inaudible 56:36] from my teacher, that I now feel are mighty [inaudible 56:41], because of the connection I have to them, and the depth that I have to them, I’m not going to take credit for them. But when I sing them, they are mine. Because of that, they are helpful, I believe in them so strongly, and my consciousness activates the power of the [inaudible 57:07]. And that’s another essence of the nuance. That’s difficult to describe. But when you’re in the presence of someone who has concrete faith, then it’s kind of hard not to start to feel it yourself. And in the presence of a Maestra or Maestro, and they just know that you will be healed, there is no doubt in their mind. It’s very hard for you to resist the idea. You inevitably start to feel that way. And I guess my take on it would be when you get all the way there, then the healing is complete.

Laura Dawn: I guess this kind of circles back around to what you said earlier. And I know I kind of want to keep digging deeper into the nuance, because it’s interesting. But when you said well, I don’t think that this plant medicine discriminates against skin color. I can’t imagine that this consciousness would be, well, I want to sing through this voice versus this voice. And so is there also a hierarchy where it’s, Keturah Iquitos. They said at the top Spanish Iquitos Portuguese, but if you’re singing English songs, then that’s lower on the ladder of hierarchy. I don’t know, is that the language of this plant? I’ve heard many people say that [inaudible 58:35] was like the language of this plant? And does this plant medicine want to discriminate against voices and language? Or is that like a human self-imposed narrative structure that we’re placing on the whole thing?

Carlos Tanner: It’s such a complicated thing because how you feel about it is how you feel, the way you perceive it is your perception and your perception is what determines your reality. And so, to be the in that there’s so much power, you know, we are empowered by our ability to respond to our experiences, the way we choose to. And the way that we respond to our experiences determines how we interpret them, and how we interpret them, determines how we remember them. And our idea of reality is just a set of memories. That is essentially what reality is, except that we connect the dots of those memories to make predictions into the future. But we are basing them on memories that are based on interpretations of how we responded to our experiences and how we respond is our ability we can master our ability to respond and that is our response-ability is to dictate our responses. And so, if we choose to think that the Shipibo is the superior culture of the Amazon or the world, then we will determine that reality for ourselves. And that’s something that I’ve found as nuance and nuisance, both is that you would have to, I felt like I would always have to work within the paradigm of the participant. 

Even though I might see something going on, that’s my perspective, my perspective might not make any sense if that person was kind of locked in, so to speak to their perspective. And so, my only hope was to work within their perspective, which sometimes meant doing things that I didn’t agree with, like defeating demons. That’s not part of my paradigm. But if someone is convinced, they have a demon, and the solution is to defeat it, then it’s kind of made me have no choice, or at least I chose to try to find a way to defeat that demon, and how do we get this done, then, and I guess that’s my take on it all is, I feel like our greatest ability is to be empowered in to be able to choose the reality that we live in. With even that, if you don’t agree with me, what I just said, well, then Game Over. And so, to me, again, that’s validating my statement. But to the person who’s disagreeing, it’s validating, there’s. So, it’s a challenge to speak about. And that’s within the ideology of Ayahuasca. 

There are elements that I feel help to activate that. One of the key elements is that gratitude for nature, it’s built-in you can’t talk about Ayahuasca, and not also be talking about gratitude for nature, a perception that there is a wisdom within nature that will guide us that will show us the solutions or allow us to find them and brilliant, we don’t have that in modern medicine, pharmaceutical drugs, when you’re talking about pills, you’re not talking about a higher level of wisdom that will guide us to finding the solutions to our problems. And so, if we’re looking for having a reality that can achieve the highest level of effectiveness, let’s go with the one that has built-in higher wisdom that will guide us to finding the solutions to our problems. If you ask me.

Laura Dawn: I also had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of Biology of Belief, he came out of the psychedelic closet for the first time publicly ever on this podcast. So, much of what you’re saying points back to that, what is the belief? What is the narrative? What are we telling ourselves, that creates our reality? And it becomes a self-reinforcing reality? Amazingly, it’s profound.

Carlos Tanner: I had this very bizarre observation when I was living with my first teacher because when I was living with my first teacher, I wasn’t the director of an organization or whatever, I was just some kid that had a bedroom in the house of the shaman and would show up in ceremonies and all the locals would look at me funny. That’s not true. Some of them would look at me with this crazy. Prophecy, fulfillment, I was told that you’re the fulfillment of the eagle and the Condor prophecy. So again, the difference of our ability to respond and perceive, and but I would see, some people would come and they had a timeframe. And they had to leave at a particular time. And I don’t mean during a ceremony, I mean throughout treatment, so they only could be there three weeks because people would travel locally, but traveled to receive treatment from my teacher because he was well known in the country. And it always took the amount of time they had to heal. And that was always interesting to me. If someone had one week, they’d be healed in a week. 

But if someone came for four weeks, they’d be healed in four weeks, and I was always, how does that happen? What is going on there? And it led me down this path of looking at consciousness because of course, anyone involved knew the window of time. And so, there was kind of this predetermination I chose to go for three weeks because I feel it will take three weeks. And so, there was kind of this, determination of reality. And that eventually led me to ask this question, which is, do you know you’re headed when you are? Or are you healed when you know? And I could never answer the question because they both just happened together. But I would say that if we’re talking only philosophy, as a great nod to Bruce Lipton, who is a legend in my world, I would lean towards you are healed. Because you know.

Laura Dawn: And that happens on the flip side, too. We hear all sorts of stories of doctors telling people you have six months to live and boom, six months. That’s it.

Carlos Tanner: My mother was told she had six months to live. And she died six months, three days later. And I know that she was keeping track because she would reference it. She would say well, I only have three months left. It should be illegal to do that. For a doctor to do that. Who the hell are you? How do you know you some prophecy or something you can predict the future? 

Laura Dawn: My goodness. Have you received criticism from other people in the community, more local people for running training programs that you’re running, where its Western people coming in and paying money to become a sort of quote-unquote, certified to step on the shamanic path? I know, there’s a lot of nuance in that conversation, too. And I’m sure other criticisms have come your way. And when we start talking about money and economics, I think it’s just good to point out that this is the larger framework of the system beyond our control that we live in, that money is a part of our reality right now, maybe it won’t be in the future. But right now, it is. And that people can come and pay money and receive training and have you had to face your ethical barriers and dilemmas around that and make peace with your process around that.

Carlos Tanner: Well, to start from the beginning, I was invited by my first teacher, Don Juan to be his student. And I accepted his invitation and chose to be his student. And we didn’t make a financial arrangement, which we probably should have. But I just took it upon myself to try to provide as much help as I could. So, I tried to support his family, the best way that I could, with the finances that I had, but after three years around, I had been taking advantage of my Western access. So, I was taking notes. I had a mini disc recorder, I would bring into ceremonies and record as [inaudible 1:08:20], then I listened to it afterward and write the lyrics down. And then I look them up and translate them. And then eventually, I’d present him with this and say, did I get this right? And I had a video camera that shot and infrared. Back in the day, Sony had this infrared camera, and I would spy on him in the ceremonies with the camera. Sometimes I’d film but rare, very rarely, I just wanted to see what he was doing in the dark because I couldn’t. So, I was taking advantage of everything I had, I had a keyboard. 

So, I wrote the musical notation of the [inaudible 1:08:51]. And basically, I was just learning, I wanted to learn it. And I figured that these would-be techniques that I could use that would help me to learn more quickly. And at one point, I was organizing my notes, categorizing them, so that I could access plant remedies more easily. And just kind of put it all together for me. And I step back kind of in was, I’ve got a lot of cool stuff here. I’ve got all these recordings, and I’ve got the lyrics and translations and the musical notations, and all my notes. And I’ve thought, what if someone had given this to me when I started, what if when I walked in and was like, I’m here, they were, great, here’s your stuff, get to work, and study it, how much I would have learned, how fast it would have been for me to be able to learn. And that was the light bulb, why don’t I do that? I couldn’t just give all my material to someone. I’m sure someone like me wants to do that. And so that was really what gave birth to the whole concept of the course. 

I was the teacher though at the beginning of the course, and my teacher, Don Juan wasn’t so keen, I wanted to take it to another level. I wanted to have lectures, I wanted to have workshops I wanted to, kind of bring more of the Western educational model into this educational process. And he wasn’t so keen on that. And so, I taught the course. But when I met Don Enrique, he loved the idea. That was his vision was to do that. And I felt we both were essentially looking for each other. And that’s what gave birth to the Ayahuasca Foundation. And so, I kind of feel it’s important to lay that out. It wasn’t my intention to create this course, other than as a way to accelerate people that were already wanting to follow this path. And I do feel that’s an important distinction about the intention behind it. But to answer your question, I’m not sure what you meant by the community, but I’m assuming you meant kind of the broader Ayahuasca community.

Laura Dawn: The broader Ayahuasca are also I’ve heard that some of the Shipibo elders after there was a murder a few years ago that I’m sure you’re aware of that there was very much a strong stance of, let’s stop teaching Westerners our ways. I’ve heard some people say that. And so, that was part of that. And also, the larger Ayahuasca community as well.

Carlos Tanner: It’s also a slippery slope. There are so many nuances. I’ve never heard a Shipibo people criticize the course. But again, I’m not strolling through a lot of Shipibo communities, just checking in to see how people think about me. I have heard that those criticisms have existed, but it’s always been secondhand that, that somebody knows somebody that doesn’t think it should happen. I’m more familiar with the Ayahuasca community that would be people that go to retreat centers or spend time in Peru or that run retreat centers. And a lot of those times, I’m fortunate enough to just talk to those people. Because there is an idea that it was a misconception, I would call it, this idea that we have you come for two months, we give you a certificate, and we send you off with a Chicago to go heal people. I always laugh at it. I’ve been doing this for 17 years. And you think that’s my perception, even my own story. I can say that I did a four-year apprenticeship. And then I lived with my teacher for four years. 

And that’s true. But honestly, it’s kind of meaningless. It doesn’t prove anything about whether or not I am a healer or not, or whether or not I can provide help to anyone. It’s just some chronology. And I guess that’s my take on it, there’s a common saying it takes years to be a quorum Darrow. It’s famous, and I don’t deny it. I’m not disagreeing with that at all. But there’s so much more. You can’t just say, well, I did it for five years, or I did it for 10 years. Going back to the guitar practicing metaphor, just because you practice guitar for 10 years. Or you can say that you had the guitar. You picked it up. 

You strummed it for 10 years. Does that mean something? Can I expect to know what you will do when you pick the guitar up now? Not really. I can have some sort of expectation. But I know that you might still be very bad at playing guitar. Or you might be a virtuoso who blows me away. That just knowing that you can stay without lying, that you’ve been doing it for 10 years means so little. And that’s me talking about living in Peru with my teacher. There’s a lot of people saying, well, I’ve been doing this for eight years, but what they mean is that they’ve drunk Ayahuasca like 40 times and they go down to Peru once a year or maybe once every other year. And they’ve done a few retreats here and there, but they kind of sum that up under the statement. I’ve been doing this for eight years. It’s so hard I just don’t any of that.

But the reality is that nobody is pulling any punches when you come to do a two-month program. All the people that come to do the program, know that it is two months long, which is not a long period. But it is enough time to teach the right understanding and write practice. And that is the goal of the course. And that to me, again, going back to the guitar, if you learn for two months with a highly skilled guitarist, how to properly play the guitar, and how to understand music. With a proper understanding of music and a proper understanding of technique, you can go and become a great guitarist, provided that you keep going and practice. 

But if you don’t have the right understanding, and you don’t have the right technique, then it’s going to be a long road, you might reach a plateau, that you can’t go any further, because you’re not doing it the right way. And so that’s really, the whole goal of the course is to provide the right understanding and right practice. And oftentimes we have people that come that learned the wrong way, that didn’t have that right teaching. And they have the struggle of having to unlearn some of those things. And so, that to me is an important component may be the most important. Having that core, that foundation. But from there, it’s really what you do with it. And some great healers have come out of that course, they didn’t come out as great healers, but the seeds were planted, the path was begun. And now they are great healers, and I’m so proud of them. 

And I got to sit in 2019, I sat for the very first time in a ceremony led by students and not at my center, I went to their center. And I sat in ceremony with them. And it was five people that had all done our course and as a collective had come together and started this community. And it was such an honor to be there and to see it, and to know that there were so many people benefiting as a result of it. But they come back every year, they do more [inaudible 1:17:32], there’s no end, Don Enrique is a great example of that, like I said, his tradition has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Why is that? Because he’s not finished, he didn’t graduate. And now he knows he will always be a student. And so, when your teacher is always going to be a student, you immediately understand that you will always be a student. And so, there’s a big difference between healing someone with cancer, or healing their irritable bowel syndrome, or healing someone from diabetes or whatever those conditions that we’ve been able to successfully treat, and helping someone through a tough time in their life. 

But both of them fall under the category of healing. And both of them are worthwhile. And just because someone might not be able to heal the most serious conditions or even medium-level serious conditions don’t mean that they’re not worthy of being called the healer, or that they’re not providing real benefit to people. And I think that’s a big picture perspective that I try to take, to try to step back and just basically say, are you providing benefit? And if you are, then keep doing it. And if you’re not then obviously stuck. But I don’t think that we’re deceiving anyone. And if anyone comes with an idea that isn’t realistic, by the time they finish the course they certainly have replaced it with one that is much more realistic.

Laura Dawn: I appreciate that. Would you share a little bit about the research that you guys are doing down at your center in Peru?

Carlos Tanner: Yes, sure. Simon and Nigel and [inaudible 1:19:26] are three doctors from the National Health Services in the UK. And they completed their Phase One study last year. And we’re hoping to publish the results of that which showed just a tremendous benefit for everyone that came about their levels of depression and anxiety specifically also focusing on childhood trauma, jaw-dropping as they said results. But now we started phase two trial which will also include PTSD and chronic pain and all that there was an epigenetic study, which was the first epigenetic study on any psychedelic. And the results there showed something remarkable, which was a deactivation of a genetic marker associated with depression, which, according to Bruce Lipton, would suggest a permanent change as a result of the treatment, deactivation of a genetic expression associated with depression, which is kind of a long-winded way of saying cure. And so, there are promising results we want to expand the epigenetic markers to include all different markers, not just depression, and anxiety. And so, we’re hoping to, get funding together that will expand the research to include a much greater spectrum. But that research has been awesome. And it’s so great to work with them. And I am pretty confident that all three of them will end up taking our training course, and will kind of be pioneers in the emerging field of psychedelic therapy. 

Laura Dawn: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing that. Do you feel open to leaving us with just one gem of wisdom that you have received from one of your teachers on this path?

Carlos Tanner: Sure, can I include teachers that don’t have physical bodies? 

Laura Dawn: Yes. What is the nugget you’d love to leave us with?

Carlos Tanner: This is everything that we’ve been talking about now kind of stemmed from this one, singular experience. I was very early in my first year when I was living with Don Juan not knowing anything of what I was even doing. I hardly even spoke Spanish. But I had this incredible experience wherein my visions I didn’t know what I was doing. So, I would just if I saw a spirit, I’d be, are you a teacher? I want to learn, figure it out. And there were all these children’s spirits around me. And I was saying, where’s the teacher? And they were all pointing, over there. And I looked, where they pointed, I there was a volcano in the distance erupting. And I thought that must be what they’re pointing at. And I’m asking them where a teacher is, I don’t know, that must be where I’ll find one. So, at this moment of giant Condor appears, and I get on its back, and I’m flying, aka never-ending story style, over to the volcano, and I get there. And as soon as I can see, into the volcano, I see there’s a platform with a hut, and I land. And I get to the hut. And immediately this man comes out. And I said, are you the teacher? And he’s said, No, he’s inside the volcano. But you can wait here. 

So, I sat on this bench. And I was so bored. What am I doing waiting? Why am I waiting? I’m just going to go, I dove into the volcano, and swimming through lava is this crazy vision. I get to the center of the earth. And there’s this giant, God of some sort, demigod, whatever. And he’s swirling volcanic lava all over the place, making the world work. And I saw, my God man, you’re so impatient that you can’t wait for this guy who’s way busier than you, your desire to learn something. So, I go back up, I wait. Sure enough, he comes back up. He’s super generous, apologetic that I had to wait. And I said I want to learn. He said, well, what do you want to learn? I want to learn about plant medicine. He said, well, I don’t know anything about plant medicine. Go to the tallest tree. 

And he points again, now when I look out, I see a tall tree. And I’m like, maybe the kids were pointing at that the first time, but I was too caught up by the volcano. And anyway, I’m back on the back of a condor flying and come into the tree. There’s a hut again, another platform, and a hammock. And there’s this little guy in this hammock, and little because he was about four feet tall. And I land and I said, hello. And he said, what do you want? And I said I’m sorry. I just was hoping that I could learn about plant medicine. He was, you want to learn about plant medicine? Great. Let me show you something. And then he said this gem sorry that it took so long. [cross-talking 1:24:36]. I’ve never told this story before. And he said most people want to see do something. So, I kind of waved my hands up and around. But it’s all here.

Laura Dawn: And for those people listening who can see Carlos was pointing to his third eye or his forehead.

Carlos Tanner: And I was, could you show me? And he said, sure. And then a blue light came out of his forehead, and it just scammed my whole body. And I felt this effervescence, this tingling sensation. And then he was just like, and that’s it. And I said, thank you so much. And what stuck with me though, was, most people want to see you do something. And I was very interesting. And so all of what we were talking about, that whole framework of consciousness, all of that, that seed right there. planted all of that for me, that I would constantly go back to that, most people want to see you do something. So, there needs to be this activation of consciousness. There needs to be a behavior and even an emotion, and action. There needs to be something to activate that consciousness. And, to me has led me on an incredible journey to understand healing through the lens of consciousness.

Laura Dawn: You were waving your hands. This is what we have to do to show the thing.

Carlos Tanner: They have to know that you’re doing something. But it’s all in your mind.

Laura Dawn: It’s all in your mind. I appreciate this conversation and just all the gems that have come. I feel we could talk for three more hours. Honestly, I just will have to bring you on for part two.

Carlos Tanner: I’d be happy to do that. Maybe we can catch a few of the other snakes that got out of that can. 

Laura Dawn: I know. So, thank you so much, Carlos. It’s just such a pleasure.

Carlos Tanner: Thanks so much for having me on again, Laura Dawn.

[Outro]: Hi, friends. Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of the psychedelic leadership podcast. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please feel free to reach out through my website. Livefreelaurad.com or get in touch through Instagram at livefreelaurad. As I mentioned, I have also made my way over to the clubhouse and I will be hosting weekly rooms called psychedelic leadership exploring all of these topics in real-time with the community. I would love for you to join in on those conversations. And you can find me in the clubhouse at livefreelaurad I’ll be leaving you with a song called Rainbow Light by my dear medicine sister. Tara Divina. Once again, my name is Laura Dawn and you’re listening to the Psychedelic Leadership podcast until next time.

Carlos Tanner


Carlos was born and raised in the United States and has degrees in both art and philosophy. He moved to Iquitos, Peru, in 2004 and lived with his first teacher for four years before creating the Ayahuasca Foundation in 2008. He led every retreat and course at the original retreat center until 2012, when he hired the first two assistant healers and opened the Inkan Kena plant medicine school. In 2013, he stepped back from leading programs to dedicate more time to the administration of the foundation and to raise his daughter. In 2017, he opened the Riosbo Retreat and Research center and began hosting medical research in 2018.  The phase I study completed at the end of 2019 and the next phase began in 2020.  Carlos appeared in the Netflix series Down to Earth with Zac Efron in 2020 and continues to offer unique educational courses and healing retreats as well as host important research into the traditional use of ayahuasca and plant medicine.

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Episode #13 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called
“Rainbow Light”  by Tara Divina


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About Laura Dawn

Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.