Huachuma: The Documentary

Huachuma: The Documentary

I’m always excited to share information about plant medicine that I feel can be of service to the Straight Woo community. Today’s post is about the documentary Huachuma, a 45-minute film from Aubrey Marcus that delves into the spirit of Huachuma, and what it’s like to work with this teacher plant.

I consider part of my mission with Straight Woo to bring a bit of love & light to my dear friend Huachuma, “the teacher plant”. Working with this plant medicine has made an incredible difference to my life, so I hope some of you will have time to check out this short film.

The trailer for the documentary Huachuma is here below, to stream or download it go here.

Huachuma (aka San Pedro), has long been my plant of choice. When I was first introduced to Shamanism I could only find information online about Ayahuasca, and those very few personal accounts were usually from burned out hippies that had done it in their living rooms. I was totally spooked. I admit it: this spiritual seeker feared going home to Mamma Ayahuasca. On top of that, the thought of going into the jungle and being out in a hut, battling insects and vomiting all night long just wasn’t doing it for me. When I met my Shaman and understood she only worked with San Pedro in her European retreats, I was incredibly relieved. I honestly can’t say I would be where I am now if Ayahuasca had been my only choice, plant-wise. I might have never stepped onto this path if it were not for Huachuma.

[Click here to read more about Huachuma & San Pedro]

The Documentary Huachuma // MY THOUGHTS

Firstly, a huge thanks to Aubrey Marcus and his team for making this project happen. The documentary Huachuma is a major step in the right direction in building awareness about the amazing spirit of Huachuma. Ayahuasca has quickly become a hot buzzword in the wellness world, but Huachuma (San Pedro) hasn’t received nearly the same amount of attention. There is little or no information to be found online about the difference in experience or the reasons you may actually need to work with Huachuma instead of Ayahuasca. Huachuma is a god-send for people like me that want the depth of wisdom and learning this plant provides without the added physical intensity/purging of Ayahuasca.

Secondly, I have to say I find this documentary overall a pretty good representation of what it is like to work with “the teacher plant”. This documentary has been handy for my new clients interested in working with plant medicines. While in the first instance I always recommend they read an article written directly about my Shaman, the documentary Huachuma serves as a great follow-up.

Things I loved:

The Title The plant is called by its true name, Huachuma. This seems like a minor thing, but to me it’s not.

Integration I really appreciate how often they speak about the importance of integration. This is the key to successfully working with plant medicines. The point of plant work is to learn; you must allow yourself to be taught by these divine teachers and then integrate the wisdom once you get back into normal life. Integrating the learning is the best intention you can have for this experience. If you do it with just the hope for a spiritual experience, you won’t go very deep.

Surrender The documentary Huachuma also spends a fair amount of time discussing the art of surrendering. I can’t surrender all the time, whether I’m in a huachuma ceremony or in normal life, but its a worthy challenge and helps you to develop a deeper level of faith in the Universe. The medicine knows where to take you – so the more you can get out of the way and let it do its job, the better.

Opening the Heart ♥ I believe one of the reasons that my Shaman focuses on huachuma may be because it opens the heart immeasurably and brings it into a deeper alignment with the mind. We spend so much time in our minds in our everyday lives that often we neglect or completely disregard our hearts. The wisdom of huachuma allows us to employ both the heart and mind for our benefit.

Challenging & Rewarding There is a beautiful moment in the documentary where Aubrey Marcus says this medicine journey with Huachuma has been the most challenging and most rewarding plant he has ever experienced. I’m sure that for someone like Aubrey who has had lots of experience with Ayahuasca and other plant medicines he might have thought huachuma would be a walk in the park jungle. Working with huachuma is a deeply internal journey and challenges you to see yourself and the world as it is, not as you perceive it. It’s not the easier, simpler cousin of Ayahuasca as some people may think; Huachuma is a strong medicine.

I also loved the beauty of Don Howard’s mesa, and his commentary throughout, which was very beautiful.

Things I loved less:

Gringo Tourism Watching the ceremony participants go full gringo by indulging in indigenous people tourism did not excite me. I would have liked more coverage of the participants’ actual journeys in-depth as opposed to watching them have their faces painted in tribal patterns or playing with village children. Maybe this sounds very judgemental, but I just think it was unnecessary as a part of the documentary itself as it took away from time that could have otherwise been spent focused on the kinds of wisdom you can integrate in a Huachuma experience.

Daytime Ceremonies According to my Shaman, the plant is drank only at nighttime in a proper ceremony. Although I can’t tell what is happening 100% of the time during the documentary, it seems like they drank the medicine at least once during the daytime, and later spent a lot of time in the day out walking in nature while still ‘working’ with the medicine. I’m sure that’s a beautiful way to spend a day, but from what I’ve learned that is a lesser way of experiencing the spirit of Huachuma. I had to point out this discrepancy as daytime ceremonies are a major misconception about this medicine. You’ll find loads of Ayahuasca users online in forums that think Huachuma is a breeze – which I’m sure it is if you take it during the day and go for a hike. 🙂


Nota Bene: I don’t know this Shaman and have never worked with them, so although I trust the depiction of experiences in the documentary are accurate, I can’t endorse the Shaman directly. 

Have you watched Huachuma? What are your thoughts on this documentary??