The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby My rating: 4 of 5 stars I eagerly anticipated this book as I had heard it mentioned as a classic on Ayahuasca and as a good reference point in a number of other books and Ayahuasca and shamanism. The author begins in typical Ayahuasca tourist fashion, and undertakes you on his Amazonian journey with a shaman, partaking in the sacred Yage ceremony. If anything I was a little disappointed with the author’s own experiences and felt that he had perhaps misunderstood his visions a little. I read on, however, and the novel turned into a page-turning thriller. The research done on the twins / dual serpent cosmology myths was fantastic and a revelation to me. It was clear that Narby had done a great deal of research on his hypothesis. I think to anybody studying shamanism, the middle chapters of Narby’s book are essential. As the book moved towards the DNA link with Ayahuasca I was at first sceptical but the author wrote in a convincing manner and I felt that the extremely distant link was well-pointed out and certainly a possibility though I can see the scientists more easily dismissing ‘The Cosmic Serpent’ than perhaps the ancient medicine men who I would imagine would be more open-minded. As an apprentice ayahuasquero myself, who has studied exclusively on my own in the West, I think that there is a lot more to the DNA link than meets the eye. Ayahuasca is a substance which does alter the mind in a tremendous way and I See true possibilities that it is what we call DNA triggering some of the visions. I think the book highlights, not how much we know of science, but how little we know of ancient shamanism. A true understanding of Ayahuasca and the power it harnesses, if well understood could drastically improve our world, if nothing less than to bind Western man back to his natural roots. View all my reviews
For anyone who has the vaguest interest in shamanism, this is an essential text. It is Carlos Casteneda’s seminal work and in my opinion is a work of art. He has a very direct personal way of revealing his story, about an encounter with an ageing Native-American man of knowledge, who takes Carlos under his wing and reveals to him some of the secrets of shamanism. The range of psychedelics encountered are followed up in the book, after consumption, with vivid detail of the accompanying experiences. For me, the most rememberable tale in the book is Casteneda’s transformation into a crow. It seems really strange and bizarre and perhaps fiction but for anyone who has actually had a shamanic experience, the story has a real truth to it and is a perfect example of the mystic powers that true shamen can harness. As the author weaves his tale through the years of his tuition, we get more and more familiar with th very likeable character of Don Juan. This book was written many years ago, perhaps when psychedleic drugs were only truly starting to be explored properly in the West. The eradication of shamen and ancient belief systems by the rapidly advancing modern society, perhaps makes the mere existence of such wise teachers, an absolute rarity today. Carlos Casteneda found himself a genuine opportunity in learning from a great man who had not abandonned the ancient teachings to the modern world. the insights gathered in this book, give the layman a fundamental grasp of exactly what shamanism entails. It is a literary masterpiece and should not be missed out upon.
In ancient times, every tribe had a shaman who was the medecine man and spiritual leader of the community. Often under the influence of locally produced drugs such as Mescaline or Ayahuasca or Iboga, in ecstatic trances, the shaman would bring back from the spiritual world key knowledge that would help his fellow tribesmen.As society developed, so did organised religion and the shamen were locked up and kept away as ‘madmen’ while priests and vicars served the rulers and books took over from the ancient medecines. In recent times we have seen club culture develop and society has taken an about turn. Banging to the beat of a shamanic drum, DJs have taken the place of the local choirs as people seek to trance out in the company of others in raves and nightclubs. We have gone full circle and today’s shaman is the DJ. Welcome to a mix of tribal sounds from the 21st Century. Go into a trance and in your state of bliss remember the ancients… :::TRACKLISTING::: 1. Blue States & The Adi Tribe – Hello Kombai [Kensaltown Records] 2. Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Foxbase Beta Mix) [White] 3. Primal Scream – Loaded (Terry Farley Re-Mix) [Junior Boys Own] 4. Cosmic Boogie – Railroad Man (Ashley Beedle’s Soul Train Edit) [White] 5. Black Science Orchestra – New Jersey Deep [Junior Boys Own] 6. Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (Kamouflage Loves Fred remix) [White] 7. Last Rhythm – Last Rhythm (Tom Middleton Mix) [White] 8. Armand Van Helden – The Witch Doctor (Eddie Thoenick remix) [White] 9. Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer (Denis A remix) [White] 10. Little Boots – Earthquake (Sasha remix) [679 Recordings] 11. Denis A – Heaven [Plastic Music] 12. The Luna Project – I Wanna Be Free (Original Factory Mix) [White] 13. Adam Freeland & The Suri Tribe – Kin [Kensaltown Records] 14. Hybrid & The Suri Tribe – Komoru [Kensaltown Records] 15. Moodswings – Redemption Song [React] Wez G – Shaman Of The Tribe by Wezg on Mixcloud