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The use of Ayahuasca and other plant teachers for visionary experiences as well as for healing purposes appears to be ancient. According to tradition, Yage contains a sentient intelligence which reveals guidance; the proper steps to follow in case of emotional or psychological problems, and even remedies that may be used for healing.
Chilean novelist Isabel Allende told The Sunday Telegraph in London that she once took the drug in an attempt to "punch through" writer's block. The paper wrote:
But after forcing down the foul-tasting brew, she was catapulted to a place so dark her husband feared he had 'lost his wife to the world of spirits'. Her life flashed before her as the hallucinogen took hold. She faced demons, saw herself as a terrified four-year-old and curled up on the floor, shivering, retching and muttering for two days.
'I think I went through an experience of death at a certain point, when I was no longer a body or a soul or a spirit or anything,' Allende says matter-of-factly. 'There was just a total, absolute void that you cannot even describe because you are not. And I think that's death.'
Nevertheless, the process proved transformative. Allende emerged aching but lucid and was able to complete [a trilogy she was writing], now being adapted for film by the co-producers of The Chronicles of Narnia.