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Practicing Death

Marti was a bright, optimistic, attractive 40-year-old woman when she first entered a support group for cancer patients that I facilitated at the Center for Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon, California. It wasn’t until a few years later that her illness wrought its devastation on her body and her spirit. During that time we had become friends, and she became interested in my shamanic work outside the center.When her death was imminent, she became quite frightened and anxious. I shared with her my experiences with a psychedelic agent, 5-Methoxy Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT), with which I had been working for a number of years, and which might be helpful to her in dealing with her concerns and the challenges to come.I told her it was a “spiritual medicine” from the Amazon, used shamanically by indigenous peoples there to contact the spirit world. Indigenous cultures typically use 5-MeO-DMT as a snuff, although on some occasions they use it as an admixture to ayahuasca. Rather than making a snuff, contemporary users prefer to vaporize extracts of 5-MeO from plants and inhale the smoke.She became especially …

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