This film takes us on an astonishing journey, from the director’s near fatal encounter with polio as a child in Ireland to an archaic world of ritual magic deep in the Amazon jungle. Here rainforest dwellers consume powerful hallucinogenic plants, to communicate with ‘spirits’ not only to diagnose and heal illness but also to do harm through witchcraft.
Inspired by a chance meeting with Pablo Amaringo, the renowned visionary painter and former shaman, Donal Ruane went on a year long odyssey to the Peruvian Amazon in September 2001 in the hope of learning about the magical practices around the legendary hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca, but more importantly, to heal himself. When he was 3 years old Donal had a near-fatal encounter with polio and spent two years recovering physically; but the psychological scars remained. As he grew older, he suffered increasing bouts of depression that were exacerbated by years of alcohol and drug abuse. By the age of forty, Donal’s life was a mess. In a desperate attempt to turn it around he decided to take a trip to the Amazon to visit Amaringo.