First-time users of ayahuasca have described their experience as transformational and uplifting. Imagine the profound metamorphosis of enthusiasts and repeat users.
These testimonials have increased the number of foreigners trooping to the forests in pursuit of psychological healing and spiritual awakening/enlightenment.
Some individuals have reproduced their journey into documentaries to help those interested in ayahuasca understand the realities of their trip.
Below are the 30 best ayahuasca documentaries you should see before your adventure, divided into the best of all time and the best of recent times:
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Top 15 Ayahuasca Documentaries of All Time
1. The Mirror of the Spirit (2014)
In this film, the lives of 3 characters are intertwined as they disclose their personal reasons and motivation for seeking the mysteries of ayahuasca.
Through their perspective, you’ll understand the parity between indigenous, mestizo, and Western shamanic practices. The documentary also helps individuals still starting their journey. You’ll understand the plant’s mysteries, the existence of fake healers, and the cross-cultural mimetic relationship between indigenous tribes and Western tourists.
One of the movie highlights is the healing story of a recuperating drug addict and how he became an ayahuasquero.
2. The Last Shaman (2016)
James Freeman seeks the last option for his chronic depression, which has defied modern medicines.
He travels to Peru to try out shamanic healing. There, he meets a Shibipo Shaman and undergoes a profound transformation through rites, meditation, and isolation. His story unveils the medicinal plant’s ability to heal personal traumas, scars, and wounds.
Although the documentary has a mixed reception, it is one of the detailed documentaries to portray a westerner’s search for ayahuasca therapy. It’s available on Netflix.
3. Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul (2010)
The need to demystify and find the potential use of ayahuasca leads a naturopathic doctor and an accountant to the Amazon. They experience life-changing encounters with the medicinal brew after participating in shamanic ceremonies.
They recount the capabilities of the hallucinogen in therapy, spiritual growth, and nature. The film also reveals the opinions of modern and traditional shamans, scholars, and scientists on the mysteries of ayahuasca.
If you’re into the medical world of this all-powerful tea, Vine of the Soul is a good watch.
4. Ayahuasca (2014)
Follow the story of 3 brave adventurers that travel from Chile and Spain to Iquitos, to better understand the magical plant.
While you enjoy stunning images of the Amazon forest, you’ll learn more about how tourism and economic interests have impaired the ancestral tradition.
The 55-minute video also portrays how the sacred plant gives a sign of hope to the human race while connecting deep inside the heart and the human spirit.
5. Metamorphosis (2009)
Metamorphosis is a documentary on several foreigners who partake in 5 ayahuasca ceremonies. The movie captures their emotions, experiences, and expectations.
It also explores the lives of curanderos and the different aspects of an ayahuasca ceremony. Learn how a former atheist, Hamilton Souther, awakened to his spirituality and became a curandero.
Following its title, the movie shows the transitional stages in the subjects’ trips.
6. Shamans of the Amazon (2001)
If you don’t mind the picture quality of old movies, you’ll enjoy the storyline of this one.
It focuses on how westernization destabilized indigenous cultures. However, through traditional shamanic practices, ayahuasca has become a tool for reaffirming and preserving cultural identity in these societies.
You’ll discover how city dwellers use the brew and other psychedelics to gain insight, relate with nature, and find answers to their personal, spiritual and environmental questions.
It perfectly captures the ayahuasca culture of Brazil, Ecuador, and the Netherlands.
7. Living with Spirits: 10 Days in the Jungle with Ayahuasca (2013)
This journal-styled documentary is about filmmaker Michael Wiese’s 10-day dieta, under the tutelage of renowned Peruvian shaman Don José Campos.
Michael shares his experience tripping on ayahuasca at a lodge in the Amazon forest, in the hands of a pleasant shaman. Pay attention to the steady transformation of Michael’s well-being from the first day to the final day.
Also, see what a proper ayahuasca ceremony looks like in this 55-minute clear-cut film.
8. Aya: Awakenings (2013)
Aya is an adaptation of Rak Razam’s book Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey. It revolves around a character’s journey into the metaphysical world of plant medicine.
It also reveals how shamanism has become a flourishing business in recent years. The documentary features ayahuasca artworks, folk songs, and interviews.
The movie may not appeal to you because it is narrated from the book. However, if you don’t mind the style, you can add it to your viewing list.
9. Ayahuasca: Nature’s Greatest Gift (2014)
This hour-long piece extensively assesses the socio-cultural facts surrounding the increasing rage for the Amazonian psychedelic brew. It has 30 subthemes exploring the drink’s history, use, rituals, physical and supernatural experience, and plenty more.
In addition, it discusses the potential healing benefits, especially for psychological issues like PTSD, addiction, and paranoia.
It also creates awareness of the dangers of fake shamans and the risks of traveling to the Amazon forests to seek an ayahuasca experience.
10. Other Worlds (2004)
“Other Worlds” unfolds the use of plant drugs to unlock the secrets of consciousness. The movie narrates an expedition into the heart of Shipibo shamanism and the pertinent opportunities and obstacles involved.
It is based on Jan Kouen’s books, experiences, and interest in Shipibo-Conibo culture while visiting Peru and Mexico. The documentary will reveal everything you should know about shamanistic rituals.
11. Ayahuasca Diary (2009)
Four Americans describe their experiences with different diseases, prompting them to find healing in traditional plant-based medication.
They spend three weeks in a shamanic retreat and receive healing from cancer, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
You will enjoy how the story evolves, as the characters open their minds to receive healing and expel negative energy.
12. DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)
The Spirit Molecule analyzes dimethyltryptamine through two different lenses: science and spirituality. The movie contains research and experiences using psychoactive plants during clinical trials, plus their relationship with advanced neuroscience, quantum physics, and human spirituality.
Scholars in the field also share their views and experiences with DMT, including detailed information on the nature and role of DMT in human life.
The documentary is purely on science, and if you love science truths (or even fiction), you should see this movie. It’s not exactly about ayahuasca but since DMT is the main ingredient, it’s worth a watch.
13. The Shaman & Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms (2010)
Michael Wiese uses this documentary to reveal the secrets of ayahuasca to new seekers of the psychedelic mixture. It captures images of shamans and conversations with healers, including Don Jose Campos and artist Pablo Amaringo. At the same time, it dwells on self-reflection, healing, and self-discovery.
14. The Reality of Truth (2016)
The Reality of Truth covers the firsthand experiences of writer Mike Zapolini with Ayahuasca and San Pedro Cactus. Zappolini travels with his friends on a personal journey to South America, to find meaning in his life.
While there, he engages in different spiritual practices that give him a deeper understanding of his life and spirituality.
He also interviews people who have used plant medicines to reach gateways of spirituality. So, this documentary provides a theoretical view of personal experiences with ayahuasca.
15. The Dangerous World of Ayahuasca (2017)
A 30-minute film that covers the hazards of navigating to the Amazon to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony. The story follows 24-year-old Matthew, who dies of complications following nicotine poisoning while in the jungle.
This film will help you understand why you should follow the right ayahuasca diet before joining any ceremony. You’re responsible for the choices you make on your trip, so please be well-informed when making your decisions.
Top 15 Ayahuasca Documentaries of Recent Times
While the first 15 books are old documentaries on ayahuasca, the following entries feature its use in recent years. They expand the research of this visionary plant, plus the picture quality is better and more modern because of today’s technology.
1. The Nature of Ayahuasca (2019)
Ayahuasca is an entheogenic plant that treats physical and psychological conditions and improves a person’s spiritual well-being. This film documents its usage, disputes its stigma, and sensitizes people on the plant’s ethics.
2. Ayahuasca Documentary from Aubrey Marcus and Mitch Schultz (2020)
This documentary also emphasizes ayahuasca’s potential benefits to physical and psychological health. It unveils the transformation of Aubrey Marcus and other guests at SpiritQuest Sanctuary.
The subjects were interviewed before and after the ceremony, and each explained how the sacred ritual helped them deal with trauma and depression.
The film—also known as Drink the Jungle—describes the nature of ayahuasca ceremonies, what happens there, and who should drink the potent tea.
3. The Songs That Calls You Home (2020)
This is one of the best documentaries on ayahuasca. It explores the personal, scientific, and mystical reality of Amazonian healers, highlighting the healing and vision-inducing properties of ayahuasca and other spirit plants.
It similarly explores the beautiful culture of the Shipibo people and how they visit a plethora of spiritual realms through their diets and rituals.
The movie serves as a guide to those who wish to understand the dynamics behind ayahuasca experiences. Many viewers tag the documentary as poetic and lucid.
4. Léa and I (2019)
Two best friends, Leah and Camille, travel to the Amazon to find a cure for Lea’s chronic cystic fibrosis. The duo hoped to elongate Lea’s 37-year life expectancy and sought shamanic answers to their plight.
The 84-minute video shows the different steps these courageous women take toward Léa’s healing. They explore several South American traditional psychedelics, including ayahuasca.
From this film, you’ll understand that true healing comes from the willingness to live and not from finding a way to conquer death.
5. From Shock to Awe (2018)
Two military veterans come home with battle scars of the mind that resist Western medicine. After they were diagnosed with PTSD, they sought help by participating in a weekend ayahuasca retreat.
Follow their quest as they tell their experiences fighting depression and anxiety, including their failed attempts to respond to prescribed treatments.
From Shock to Awe follows a scientific thought process that suggests entheogens can heal post-traumatic stress disorder. Watch this movie to see the health outcomes of these men after contact with the visionary plant.
6. Ayahuasca and the Path of the Shaman (2018)
Through the lens of different individuals who have used the plant, this 96-minute film investigates the healing properties of ayahuasca.
It explores the stories of Dave, who suffers from depression and leaves Vancouver to find a cure in Peru. He becomes a Shaman after healing and training under a Shpibo Master.
Through Dave, you will see how Shannan, Lisa, and Libby recover from mental trauma after starting a journey with ayahuasca. The movie is inspirational and will help those fighting different demons take a step toward transforming their lives for the better.
7. Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics (2020)
This one is unlike other documentaries. It’s a light-hearted, star-studded production that features actors, authors, musicians, comedians, and an array of pop culture sensations.
Psychedelic experiences are not only for everyday people. Many celebrities have their stories to tell about tripping to the Amazons for a taste of this life-changing drink.
Hosted by Nick Offerman, it digs deep into the impact of hallucinogens, like shrooms and aya, in the entertainment industry. We’re treated to personal accounts from celebrities who have used these substances and the pros and cons of their experiences.
This documentary was filmed for over 11 years, exploring the short- and long-term effects of psychedelics on several big names. Enjoy light-hearted conversations from A$AP Rocky, Sting, Anthony Bourdain, and Carrie Fisher as they share their jaw-dropping entheogenic experiences.
This documentary doesn’t dive deep into the spiritual or scientific part of the visionary plant. Still, you’ll enjoy the warmth of listening to your favorite superstars telling honest stories of their adventures.
Pick this one if you’d like to laugh while learning more about celebrities and mind-altering plants.
8. Awakening the Soul (2021)
This is a psychedelic adventure to find out why pharmaceuticals and modern medicine are flunking in treating the root cause of mental health-related issues, plus how ayahuasca addresses this troubling situation.
The documentary gets you up to speed on the potency of ayahuasca in treating certain health problems. It dives deep into the nature of ayahuasca and why this plant medicine effectively reveals and relieves the root causes of trauma, addiction, and mental illness.
9. Ayahuasca: Kosmik Journey (2019)
Get immersed in a psychedelic experience of ayahuasca through this 18-minute virtual reality video. Writer and film director Jan Kounen uses VR technology to reproduce his understanding of the mystical realities of ayahuasca.
Kounen explores the possibility of immersive tech in simulating visuals similar to those under the influence of ayahuasca and if this media experience can alter sober people’s sense of reality.
This film is short but direct and engaging. Although the experience might seem absurd or a bit scary, it is worth a try even if you’re an experienced ayahuasca user.
10. Down to Earth (2020)
Actor Zac Efron travels around the world in the company of wellness expert Darin Olien to search for a healthy, all-green, and sustainable way of living.
One of their destinations is the Iquitos, where they explore ayahuasca tourism by visiting the Ayahuasca Foundation in Mishana, Peru.
If you’re a fan of Zac Efron, you’ll love this flick. But if you’re looking for in-depth research on ayahuasca, this one will not give you that.
11. The Medicine (2019)
“The Medicine” seeks to unravel the mysteries of our beloved medicinal plant, by exploring the science and lore behind it. This documentary focuses on the first ayahuasca experience of actor AnnaLynne McCord and former NFL player Kerry Rhodes, under the guidance of spiritual leader Taita Juanito.
The film steers the audience through AnnaLynne and Kerry’s trips as they reveal their innermost thoughts, fears, and revelations. It also features educational interviews with expert researchers and will open your eyes to the bigger picture of our world.
12. Ayahuasca: Expansion of Consciousness (2018)
Follow the origin of ayahuasca from its inception in Amazonia to its trend with the Santo Daime religion and among modern shamanic centers.
This documentary deals with the medicinal plant from different perspectives, including science, religion, and anthropology. It also captures Fausto Noro’s healing through ayahuasca use.
So, if you want a clear idea of the mystic plant, this documentary will feed your curiosity.
13. (Un)Well (2022)
How truly do the drugs we ingest make us well? Watch this docuseries to discover the nature of wellness and if the methods used genuinely do what we think they do.
The film examines 6 wellness trends: essential oils, tantric sex, bee venom therapy, the consumption of human breast milk, fasting, and ayahuasca.
During the ayahuasca episode, we explore the different uses of the plant and its rising popularity and promising potential.
Get enthralled with personal stories of recipients of the hallucinogenic drink, as well as cautionary tales and the booming ayahuasca tourism industry.
14. Kentucky Ayahuasca (2018)
Watch this docuseries by Vice on the ayahuasca story of convicted bank robber turned modern shaman Steve Hupp. His deal is to help broken individuals recover from psychological traumas and addictions.
When a Peruvian shaman named Guadeloupe told Steve about ayahuasca, the hardcore atheist found meaning in life by founding a church and legally serving ayahuasca after his release.
The Ayahuasca Kentucky documentary gives an outlook on ayahuasca ceremonies in a westernized pattern. Watch it compare the rituals of Amazonian tribes with the Western method of tripping to spirit worlds.
15. Reconnect (2020)
Dedicated to the legendary Terrence McKenna(1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terence_McKenna, this film investigates the world of psychedelics and their teachings on overcoming difficulties. It follows Brian Rose’s journey to Costa Rica, where he partakes in multiple ceremonies of ayahuasca.
Soon after these rituals, Brian reconnects with his family, personal vision, and life purpose – everything he initially felt disconnected from. He also unravels a childhood trauma that contributed to his shortcomings. And by addressing his fears, he achieves inner peace and healing.
The film features renowned scientists, doctors, psychologists, and scholars of psychedelic plants, including Jordan Peterson(2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Peterson, Dennis McKenna(3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_McKenna, and even bodybuilder Dorian Yates(4)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorian_Yates.
Much like anything, ayahuasca has its pros and cons. But the spiritual, mental, emotional, and scientific benefits are enormous and out there.
There’s a lot more about the visionary plant than meets the eye. Thankfully, these documentaries are proof that the healing plant is powerful and has aided many people in overcoming spiritual corruption and mental disturbances.
We hope these documentaries give you a deep insight into ayahuasca and guide you on your journey. Good luck!