If you enjoy a fast-paced read and a true story, Five Weeks in the Amazon is the book for you . It's packed with humor, full of unexpected twists and there is never any way to know how it will end. Author Sean Michael Hayes has written a book in a similar style to current blockbuster success, Cheryl Strayed's "Wild". His adventure puts him face to face with universal problems that we all must overcome in life. His search is a desperate attempt at something he has fought for since first being diagnosed with depression--how to live a happy life. Hayes presents solutions which seem like wins not just for himself, but for the reader that's right there with him. Want to find out what happened to a backpacker that hiked alone into the Amazon jungle to live with a shaman?
EXCERPT "At the beginning of the ceremony, nobody knows how the Ayahuasca will react, for them or anyone else. Even though I couldn't see anybody else in the dark room, I could sense overtones of apprehension among the group. We were sitting there, waiting for the Ayahuasca to do its magic, wrapped in the darkness of the night. With no warning, an explosion of sound and light shook the entire house. The startling interruption made someone gasp, and I heard a quick squeal from somebody else. The sky crackled to life. I knew at that moment why long ago people thought the thunder came from the sounds of the gods fighting. I imagined Zeus' sword crashing through the clouds. The small room became lit again and again by blasts of purple light. Thunder exploded at the same instant as the lightning flashed and I knew the storm was right on top of us. The storm shook the wooden house with every strike towards the Earth it took. I could feel the sky's energy and I looked across the room. Through the door, I could see the jungle illuminated with each white-hot flash of light. The room was still electrified and loud, and the Ayahusaca made its presence known. People started purging, Otillia started singing, and all the sounds mixed together..."
Sean Michael Hayes
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I got sucked into the title of the book, at least the first two phrases. "Five Weeks in the Amazon: A backpacker's journey..." but I should have paid more attention to the second half of the title, namely the "Ayahuasca, and a Peruvian shaman's ancient diet." This is NOT a travelogue and there is no backpacking involved except for what the author throws over his back to and from the airport and to his hostels or tambo.
This is a spiritual journey of a man trying to make sense of his life. He flies down to Peru to spend time at Ayahuasca ceremonies with a reputable shaman. Ayahuasca is a psychedelic drug that makes people feel more empowered. It is legal for "religious ceremonies" just like peyote is in Arizona among the native tribes. Peru is making a great business of running shaman-led Ayahuasca ceremonies for wealthy westerners. I do not question the plant's innate powers of heightened introspection (its powers come when it is mixed with a...
An engaging story of the author traveling to the Amazon to find himself. After a troubled past, he gradually begins searching inside of himself for true happiness. Vivid details of his travels in a few cities, then he meets a Shaman, Otillia. While she speaks no English, she understands some and the author (Canadian) speaks only a smattering of Spanish. The author provides good insight of what it's like to travel, alone, to countries where a foreigner has difficulty communicating. He also talks of his drug use, loneliness and the excitement of new experiences. One of his new experiences was participating in an Ayahuaska ceremony. Ayahuaska is a South American vine, the use of the bark is a hallucinogenic alkaloid used by Amazon Indians.
Downfalls, While the book is well written, there are a few typos, words in the wrong place, a double period that I noticed, however it doesn't detract from the story. I'll read this again and look for books by the same author.
Thank you Sean, for sharing such an honest, open memoir through your journey to Otilla's retreat in the Amazon. I read and shared all the joy, excitement, sorrow, beauty, dreams, and nightmares with you. I liked you. I'd love to meet one day, share a split and memories from your and mine trips. I'll search for your other writings. All the best!
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