Consciousness medicine is the work of Françoise Bourzat and Kristina Hunter. The book explores the benefits of indigenous and Shamanic ritual traditions as a means for healing and cultivation of consciousness, specifically through the use of psychotropic medicines. Françoise is a counsellor and semantic psychologist. Having spent time with Curanderos of the Mazatec traditions in Mexico and studied their methods of ritual and Shamanic healing, Françoise has found a truly unique and effective means that could kick start the marriage between the Shamanic traditions of South America and the pharmaceutical driven healing attempts of the Western world. The book is a comprehensive and safe guide to psychotropic therapy.
The ‘holistic’ approach to healing:
The theme of a ‘holistic’ approach to healing and indeed consciousness permeates all aspects of the book, which beautifully empowers and highlights the need for individuals to be actively conscious and involved in their own healing. The holistic method is broken into three parts namely preparation, journeying and integration. Moreover, the wisdom exposed by adopting this approach is backed by Carl Jung’s studies around self- integration and archetypal journeying. Indeed the need for integration is emphasised and encouraged in order to put even the darkest parts of the self back together, so that traumas, past events and the like are not suppressed into the realms of the subconscious.
What I love about this work is its attention to detail and exposition of the process that occurs when one ingests a psychedelic substance. It does so in both scientific and spiritual terms, which as much of the theme of the book implies, allows the participant to apply consciousness to the process and not just be a helpless passenger.
‘the shifts begin by bringing the body out of its’ normal state of homeostasis’.
Furthermore non-psychotropic methods of altered consciousness such as meditation and breath work or pranayama are also detailed, giving the reader a deeper spiritual context. The explanation of the process is further highlighted in terms of how and why one can journey and retrospectively integrate the lessons learned from such altered states of consciousness. We often give away our own power for self healing to the Doctors or the prescription drugs, expecting them to magically heal. By teaching this unique process without taking away from the cultural traditions, Françoise and Kristina empower the individual and call upon them to take responsibility and actively participate in their own therapy. But this framework is more than just a form of therapy or healing, it can also serve as a profound tool for spiritual transformation or alchemy.
A safe and therapeutic framework for application
Françoise and Hunter’s framework for psychotropic therapy is clear, concise and accessible for both practitioners and psychotherapists to integrate into their own practices. It is responsibly written highlighting the potential dangers that using psychedelic medicines incorrectly can pose. The authors are also clear in emphasising that those who suffer or have suffered from such conditions as psychosis or bi-polar may not necessarily benefit from such forms of therapy.
This book is an excellent resource for psychotherapists, psychedelic sitters, spiritual seekers and lovers of the Shamanic and psychedelic worlds. An absolute must read!