• Steven Huang

Relational Processes in Ayahuasca Groups of Palestinians and Israelis

Updated: Jun 14

Research by: Leor Roseman, Yiftach Ron, Antwan Saca, Natalie Ginsberg, Lisa Luan,

Nadeem Karkabi, Rick Doblin and Robin Carhart-Harris

SUMMARY

This is a paper analyzing 31 in-depth interviews with Israelis and Palestinians that sat in Ayahuasca ceremonies together; exploring how psychedelics might contribute to processes of peacebuilding, and in particular how an intercultural context, embedded in a protracted conflict, would affect the group’s psychedelic process in a relational sense.


The interviews spotlight 3 relational themes: 1) Unity-Based Connection – collective events in which a feeling of unity and ‘oneness’ is experienced, whereby participants related to each other based upon a sense of shared humanity, and other social identities seemed to dissolve (such as national and religious identities). 2) Recognition and Difference-Based Connection – events where a strong connection was made to the other culture. These events occurred through the expression of the other culture or religion through music or prayers, which resulted in feelings of awe and reverence 3) Conflict-related revelations – events where participants revisited personal or historical traumatic elements related to the conflict, usually through visions.


IMPLICATIONS

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the race-related conflict in America's history - while not identical - certainly have similar components that underly all conflict rooted in competition over material resources and political or territorial control. Our identities play a role in these conflicts: such as denying the legitimacy of the other and structuring the reality as a zero-sum game. These conflict-based group identities contribute to the deepening and perpetuation of the culture of conflict. Both Palestinian and Israeli collective identities are inextricably constructed in relation to one another in terms of conflict.

Ayahuasca created feelings of universal connection among group members, in which oneness and unity are felt by the group and individuals within it. Participants related to each other based on non-universal collective identities (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Arab, Israeli, Palestinian). Psychedelics can create group harmony and communitas. Such revelations and hallucinatory states – regardless of psychedelic use – have a long history in igniting movements and shifting sociopolitical structures.


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