Ayahuasca is a mixture of Amazonian plants - vines, bark, and roots - traditionally drank as a tea in indigenous cultures and valued for its hallucinogenic properties. The concoction started to reach a more mainstream audience in the 2000s, particularly in the Western world. Users laud it for the psychedelic and deeply spiritual experiences it provides. Unsurprisingly, more than a handful of famous people have done ayahuasca.
Because the drug is illegal in the United States, both civilians and celebrities who have tried ayahuasca typically travel to South America for the experience, where a trained shaman guides them. After ingesting ayahuasca, people usually vomit... a lot. But this is a crucial part of the overall event, as the purging supposedly releases negative energy and opens the door for spiritual and creative revelation.
Despite controversy over whether drug and spirituality "tourism" is exploitative, most people who have tried the drug - celebrities and everyday folks alike - say they've found ayahuasca is mind-expanding, consciousness-raising, and creatively enriching. Many of these celebrity ayahuasca stories suggest the drug had a positive effect on their lives.
Ayahuasca has been both the subject of and inspiration for some of Father John Misty's songs. In fact, his stage name (real name: Joshua Tillman) comes directly from an ayahuasca ceremony in which a vision told him to embark on his musical path. In his song "I'm Writing a Novel," he directly talks about ayahuasca:
We could do ayahuasca
Baby, if I wasn't holding all these drinks
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Lindsay Lohan's drug use is no secret, considering her public journey with rehabilitation. But Lohan appeared to have an incredibly positive experience with ayahuasca, which she claimed set her free from her addiction struggles. At the time, Lohan was also dealing with the emotional aftermath of a miscarriage, and she felt ayahuasca facilitated the release of much of that pain. "It changed my life," she said.
- Age: 35
- Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
Sting has talked extensively about his ayahuasca experiences and the enormous contributions they have made to his life and music. In his book Broken Music, he wrote about one particularly formative ayahuasca encounter:
I may be out of my gourd, but I seem to be perceiving the world on a molecular level, where the normal barriers that separate "me" from everything else have been removed, as if every leaf, every blade of grass, every nodding flower is reaching out, every insect calling to me, every star in the clear sky sending a direct beam of light to the top of my head.
This sensation of connectedness is overwhelming. It's like floating in a buoyant limitless ocean of feeling that I can't really begin to describe unless I evoke the word love.
- Age: 70
- Birthplace: Wallsend, United Kingdom
As Howard Stern's unflappable sidekick, Robin Quivers has faced numerous challenges both on and off the mic. But she found meaning in those challenges during three ayahuasca trips in the 2000s. She told Rolling Stone:
What I learned is very simple: that your life belongs to you. And it really doesn't matter what you do with it, but it should be what you want to do with it. Not what your mother or father or friends or society want. It should be "I"-directed. And that's the only purpose for being here.
- Age: 69
- Birthplace: Baltimore, USA, Pikesville, Maryland