Published on May 25, 2020
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In keeping of my current theme of looking back at The Cut-Up method, let's get into The Yage Letters.

William Burroughs’ Junkie ended with Yage may be the final fix. In letters to Allen Ginsberg, a young poet in New York at the time, recorded his journey to the Amazon jungle, detailing vividly incidents of a search for Yagé — the common name for Ayahuasca, or Banisteripsis Caape — the fabled “soul-rebooting” hallucinogen of the Amazon region treated as a traditional spiritual medicine and usually consumed in shaman-led ceremonies. Author and recipient of these letters met again in New York, Christmas 1953, and edited the writings to form this single book, The Yage Letters. The correspondence contains the first seeds of the later Burroughs' bizarre fantasy style in Naked Lunch.

In this Psychedelic Sunday video, I use excerpts from the documentary, which is narrated by Burroughs himself — likely directed by Rodrigo Salomon, director of the Salomon Arts gallery — the story of a curandero on the Putumayo River in Colombia. Also, audio of Ginsberg reading a letter from Burroughs that was added later in the Redux Edition of Yage Letters and Ayahuasqueros sings an Icaros.

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psychedelics consciousness yage surreal

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