In this episode, I speak with Dr. Joe Tafur — Family Physician, Shipibo-trained Shaman, Integrative Medicine activist, and the author of ‘The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor's Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine.’ We discuss Dr. Tafur’s years of work integrating Western medical knowledge and practice with traditional Amazonian plant medicine, in particular the administering of the psychedelic brew ayahuasca, and other plant medicines, under the traditional practice of Shipibo shamanism.
In this conversation, Dr. Tafur discusses how two seemingly different traditions (i.e. Western medicine and Shipibo shamanism) can become more integrated with each other, in ways previously not understood or considered possible, for doctors and shamans alike. Dr. Tafur elaborates on how Western medical research and practice has been successful in very specific forms of healing, while simultaneously failing in many others — hence the widespread, growing interest in traditional plant medicines and healing practices in ancient shamanic traditions, often found outside of the broader Western model of medicine and healing. In particular, we discuss how Shipibo shamanism and the administering of sacred plant medicines within this shamanic practice works on the epigenetic level of the illness, generating dramatic changes within the “emotional body” of the individual, manifesting on the physical level of the body. As someone who is well-educated and well-versed in both of these traditions, Dr. Tafur is revolutionizing the collective understanding of how “modern” medical practitioners have plenty to learn and integrate from the shamanic use of traditional plant medicine, and vice versa. Dr. Tafur expounds upon this subject in this episode.
Dr. Joe Tafur is an Integrative Medicine activist, having studied medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. After residency, Dr. Tafur subsequently completed a two-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry under psychoneuroimmunology expert Dr. Paul Mills. While in San Diego, he also served on the board for the Alternative Healing Network and on the Steering Committee for the UCSD Center for Integrative 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 Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine. At the center, Dr. Tafur completed traditional apprenticeship in ayahuasca shamanism. He is both doctor and shaman. ✦
- Find out more about Dr. Tafur and his work at his website: https://drjoetafur.com
- Learn more, and purchase, Dr. Tafur’s book ‘The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor's Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine’ here: http://bit.ly/FellowshipRiver
- Learn more about Dr. Tafur’s organization Modern Spirit here: https://modernspirit.org
- The traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual: https://www.nihuerao.com
- Watch the presentation “Ayahuasca Shamanism and Epigenetics” featuring Dr. Tafur here: https://youtu.be/QbsXOO7AB_U
- The song featured in this episode is “Ikaro de la Ayahuasca” by Don Evangelino Murayay from the album El Canto del Tiempo/Ayahuasca Ikaros.