An analysis by a philosophy professor and Spanish lawyer about the situation with the indigenous that control Ayahuasca in Colombia.

The arising problem between the Cofanes (an ethnic group from the south of Colombia who claim to be the owners of the rights of Ayahuasca) and Ayahuasca Internacional® (multinational organisation of facilitators and integrators with experience of Ayahuasca) is a conflict that needs a solution. But in my opinion the solution is not aligned with reaching an agreement with them. There are several reasons why this agreement will be very difficult to achieve and why once achieved wouldn’t be useful.

The agreement will be difficult due to a few characteristics of the case on which I invite reflection:

1) What they want in exchange for their silence or acquiescence is money. It’s a form of extortion or blackmail, and both methods of getting money have no end: if it works it shows them that this is a way of getting more money, if it doesn’t work it’s because they haven’t put enough pressure on.

2) It is regarded as a new interference by Spanish invaders in their culture, and to accept that the Spanish (and their descendants and their equivalents who have governed Latin America for centuries) and American creoles (descendent of Indians and Europeans) can manage their flavours and ancestral medicine is seen as a betrayal in some areas. It means giving up their secrets to people from ancestors, traditions and cultures that are distant from theirs. Effectively my ancestors have nothing to do with theirs. To give an example, my mother’s side are Sefardics and my father’s Berbers: there are no Indians amongst my ancestors, although one of them may have emigrated to America looking for better prospects.

3) The discussion is from the point of  view of vast cognitive structures amongst them, the meaning of the most used words in this context is radically different for some and others (medicine, God, culture, woman, forest, anaconda, grandparents, sacred, ceremony, spirit, etc.).

Also, to further complicate the issue, the so-called Indian communities lack their own identity. And this is an important aspect. Starting from the name that they assign themselves, “Indians” that has nothing to do with any of their languages, rather the ignorance of the barbaric Spanish invaders who thought they had arrived in India, which is why they called them Indians. Nor does it have anything to do with their reality, because under that title, the intention is to group a large number of cultures that have barely anything in common, not language, not political structures, not religion -when this exists- not a common past – apart from the invasion by the Europeans-. What does the human sacrifices in the Aztec religion have to to with the shamanic rituals of the Putumayo? (in fact, the work “shaman” also doesn’t even have anthing to do with these ethnic groups, it is a name assigned to spiritual or medicine men in parts of Siberia).

4) Due to the appetizing nature of the market that we have discovered and shown publicly. Many potential competitors feel like their development plans are threatened by Inner Mastery International, and frankly have interests in our failure, which is why they will use anything they have at hand, always discretely or secretively, or disguise it as whatever (anthropology, defence of “Indian” values, conservation of the “sacred” nature of the plants that we desecrate etc,)

5) Because of the questioning of official allopathic medicine (and its strong economic interests) that our therapeutic practices represent, all the more when the results are more effective. This questioning fuels this debate, as they understand that it benefits them by damaging us.

And reaching an agreement would not be very effective because:

I) Peace with taita Quereuin is not peace with all the other groups interested in the loss of Inner Mastery’s profile.

II) An agreement with taita Querubin can encourage other taitas or leaders to initiate similar tactics.

III) Because the majority of our target market are western people or people educated principally under western culture. These people, apart from a few exceptions, are not under the influence of South American taitas and their beliefs, customs and uses. Those that say “see it from their side” tend not to know indigenous or South American villages, and they tend to adopt this position because of snobbery, fashion, or disorientation (disorientation being that they try to look for what they are missing outside their own culture and roots). So really this debate is really quite distant for the majority of those who come to participate in our retreats.

For me it could be an effective option to insist on western use of the medicine, within a therapeutic and mystical experience context (1). And when I say western I mean subject to judgement patterns on the effectiveness of the practice, and the experimentation of the diverse techniques and processes that give the best results. To the secular and respectful use of the medicine, to the basis of our practice from our experience and experimentation, theorising from those (as there is nothing more practical than a good theory), the use of the abundant rigorous scientific and medical research that is being (increasingly) done on these medicines, etc. That is, to support our culture, which is also that of most of our current and future participants (for the moment) to justify its use and the particular way of using it we have chosen. And to dispense, with the greatest of respect, with Amazonian “shamanism”, its rituals, its beliefs and its aims.

(1) I would like to clarify that mysticism belongs to Eurasian and North African cultures (in the measure that the Arabs have spread throughout Africa), even if similar experiences from other cultures resemble it. And indigenous ancestral American mysticism does not exist, although a set of practices and beliefs closer to our magic than to our mysticism does.


Francisco Puertes

Philosopher. Lawyer. Teacher. Essayist.



“FOR ME, THE STATEMENTS AGAINST ALBERTO VARELA, WHOEVER MAKES THEM, ARE PROOF OF HIS AUTHENTICY. The source never judges, so these declarations do not come from the source, nor from someone connected to source, that is sure. The best way to recognise someone pure on the spiritual journey is to take notice of how many are condemning him/her, while he/she remains non-judgemental of those that judge him/her. I met him in person and he seemed to me to be a genuine person with integrity. So, congratulations to Ayahuasca International and Alberto Varela for all the criticism you receive. Those of us who are truly awake unite in our compassion towards those that condemn, thank you friends.”

Ayahuasca International holds Inner Evolution retreats with therapeutic use of Ayahuasca in several countries in Europe. Click the links for specific information on each retreat.

Berlin, June 21 to 25

Eindhoven- Netherlands, June 21 to 25

Ibiza, June 21 to 24

Zurich, June 22 to 25

Marbella, June 28 to July 02

Madrid, June 28 to July 02

Cologne, June 29 to July 02

South Sweden, June 28 to July 02

Copenhagen, June 28 to July 02

Barcelona, July 05 to 09

Marbella, July 05 to 09

Munich, July 05 to 09

Sweden, July 10 to 16

Mallorca, July 13 to 16

Vienna, July 13 to 16

Mexico, Riviera Maya, July 13 to 16

Alicante, July 14 to 16

Oslo, July 19 to 24

Berlin, July 20 to 23

Marbella, July 20 to 24

Click here for a complete listing of  information of all the 2017 Ayahuasca International Retreats Calendar. It includes subsequent links to information, prices and booking procedure for each retreat.

For bookings or to request any further information call to +49 (0) 171 987 6655 (also available by whatsapp) or write to [email protected] 

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