Gurunation: Shamans in a Global Village

 In blog, events

This panel discussion was held at the Entheogenesis Australis Conference in 2017, near Melbourne, Australia. The video was first released in 2022.

The Discussion Topic

The term “shaman” is a Western conceit for medicine men and women that mediate the health and wellbeing of traditional tribes. With the resurgence of entheogenic medicines in the modern world, a new wave of global practitioners are anchoring onto this ancient role. What is a seeker to do in a marketplace of transcendence? How can a largely unregulated system of healers maintain safe practice? How do we avoid cultural dogma whist respecting indigenous wisdom?

Panel Bios

James Oroc Since his publication of ‘Tryptamine Palace’ in 2009 – reviewed in High Time’s magazine as “the best book on psychedelics since Terence McKenna’ – James Oroc has become regarded as his generations premier psychedelic philosopher. A frequent speaker at festivals and conferences world-wide, his articles have appeared in The Entheogenic Review, The MAPS Journal, CoSM Journal, and Reality Sandwich, while his latest book – The 2nd Psychedelic Revolution – is being published by Inner Traditions in January, 2018. Frequently cited by the growing micro-dosing community, most recently he was quoted in the New York Times advising that ‘the best time to eat Acid is for breakfast’. (James passed away following a paragliding accident in 2020, RIP)

Rak Razam is the world’s leading ‘experiential’ journalist, writing about and helping shape the emergence of a new cultural paradigm in the 21st century. A writer, film producer and culture maker, he bridges the worlds of shamanism, consciousness and popular culture. He is currently producer of an episodic TV show called Shamans of the Global Village with director Niles Heckman – A prolific media maker and networker, he hosts a popular podcast show In a Perfect World. Author of Aya Awakenings: A Shamanic Odyssey and the companion volume of interviews, The Ayahuasca Sessions, he is a frequent lecturer on ayahuasca and the shamanic revival sweeping the West. He can be contacted via his website:

Rachel Gagen is a Western Herbal Medicine therapist, facilitator of rites of passage, forager, medicine maker, traditional body worker and musician. She has been initiated into the Bwiti sect Mabanji, a feminine Gabonese tradition that utilises Iboga as a sacrament of transition. Rachel’s interest in ethnobotany has led her to pockets of Indigenous cultures across the globe to learn from their relationships with plants, including their use of music for enhanced communication & integration. She works as a natural health practitioner and runs the online herbal medicine platform EntheoBotanica, as well as being the creator of the entheogenic symposium Rebel Herbal.

Joe Tafur, M.D., is a Colombian-American family physician originally from Phoenix, Arizona. After completing his family medicine training at UCLA, Dr. Tafur spent two years in academic research at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry in a lab focused on mind-body medicine. After his research fellowship, over a period of six years, he lived and worked in the Peruvian Amazon at the traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. There he worked closely with master Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo and trained in ayahuasca shamanism. In his new book “The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine,” through a series of stories, Dr. Tafur shares his unique experience and integrative medical theories. To learn more about his work, visit and

Steve McDonald is Managing Director of Aadii Mesh Foundation, a charity that supports the evolution of human consciousness through education and transformational services. He is also co-founder and Chairman of Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine. Steve is a former Army Major, war veteran and rescue helicopter pilot who discovered psychedelic medicines while seeking treatment for his own PTSD. He is a long term student of the Hermetic mystery traditions and has practiced Taoist kung fu and energy healing arts since 1999. He is a First Nations stolen generation descendent and lives and works on his traditional land, Gooreng Gooreng country in Central Queensland.

Neil Pike is a musician, video-maker, life-time activist and professional weirdo. He is an active proponent of Optimistic Cynicism™, and lives in the rainforested hippy warrens surrounding the rural Australian town of Nimbin. Raised by peace activists in the ’50s & ’60s, he has been making music and causing trouble since the early 1970s, involving himself in a range of causes from environmental protection to various social justice issues. Neil is the founder and Grand Authenticated Bush Turkey of the Pagan Love Cult inc, probably the longest running contemporary psychedelic music group in Australia. He is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who has performed at gigs & festivals extensively all around the world.

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