The sages call it by many names: yagé, ambiwaska, aioasca, but most know it as ayahuasca: a hallucinogenic brew drunk during a spiritual ceremony. That’s why the Spanish conquistadors outlawed it, and the U.S. government classified it Schedule 1. But renewed interest in ayahuasca lies less in the trip and more in the hopes of reversing climate change and healing our spiritual and social discord. People are turning to plants for answers, and, as The Medicine shows, ayahuasca might hold many. Combining animation, time-lapse photography, and interviews with historians and botanists, The Medicine presents the ceremonial brew as something old and something new. For one participant, ayahuasca is a miracle cure. It unlocks the mind and teaches the body to be present. For another, it is a painful way to race through emotional maturity. Both are understandable, but, as shaman Taita says, you have to drink the brew for 45-50 years before you “get it.”
ON THE BILL: The Medicine, Naropa University — Performing Arts Center, 2130 Arapahoe Ave., 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.