Robert Tindall Tindall is a writer, classical guitarist, long time practitioner of Zen Buddhism, and an inveterate traveler, whose work explores the crossing of frontiers into other cultures, time depths, and states of consciousness. He is the author of two books on shamanism, “The Jaguar that Roams the Mind” and “The Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience.” Visit his blog at roamingthemind
PPUK: Hi Robert. You’ve spent a great deal of time in South America with indigenous cultures working with ayahuasca and other plants, what do you think are the major lessons that today’s South American shamanism can teach the West, and why?
Robert Tindall: In a very modest way, I wonder if it might help save our planet. Although there still remains the possibility that we will use our rational, scientific thinking capacity to pull out of our plunge into catastrophic climate change (we did, after all, save the ozone layer by banning CFCs by international global treaty back in 1987), the outlook is grim. As we know, the estimates of the IPCC on global temperature change back in 1988 have been far surpassed by reality – the oceans are rising and the polar icecaps vanishing. The level of carbon in the air has actually increased from 2.8 parts per ten thousand in 1987 to 3.9 parts in 2000. We’re looking down the barrel of a mass extinction gun, and keep pulling the trigger. Scientific, rational thinking will hopefully bring us to our senses before it’s too late, but perhaps the experience of permeable consciousness (characteristic of indigenous culture and their shamanic traditions) has a catalytic or seminal role to play, especially now as it makes inroads into Western society.