Recommended Read: Spiritual Tourism

Photo by Andrew Le.

Just read this great piece at Bitch Magazine, The Heart of Whiteness: On Spiritual Tourism and the Colonization of Ayahuasca by Bani Amor. It's a fantastically scathing article about the way white westerners sample and commodify spiritual traditions of other (generally Indigenous) people groups, turning them into expensive tourist experiences administered by other white people alongside a mishmash of yoga, colonics, and other vaguely spiritual wellness practices. Oh, and it also endangers the actual plant source of the medicine.

Some quotes:

"Only in our current capitalist system is wellness considered a luxury, something that can be purchased from the great Western mall of New Age nothingness—or Etsy. And like many goods pawned off in a structure that favors settlers, it’s been stolen from Natives."

"People of color would like to reclaim their traditions so that they may communicate with and honor their ancestors, and that white people consume them to get away from theirs. In effect, ayahuasca is nothing more than a Band-Aid for the symptoms of 'first world problems': boredom, loneliness, and a lack of real community; it’s no different than the pharmaceutical drugs white people so often turn their noses up at, meds that many people of color struggling to access basic healthcare cannot afford. The heart of whiteness is nothingness, and its function is to consume and destroy. It can never heal so long as it exists."
Give it a read!


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