Veronica Hernandez is a clinical psychologist and shamanic practitioner. Born in Peru, since 2006 she has been trained on shamanic facilitation by Armand Bytton. She received her clinical training at the Institute of Rational-Emotive Therapy, New York, under the supervision of Dr. Albert Ellis. She was assistant professor at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and research assistant at the Hospital Psiquiátrico Noguchi de Lima (Peru). In the United States, she worked as a Social Services Clinician at John Muir Health Hospital’s Inpatient Psychiatric Adolescent Unit, California. Currently she is completing her doctoral degree at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco, where she is carrying out research on the healing and transformative benefits of entheogens, especially Ayahuasca.
Entheogens As Catalysts in the Process of Individuation
Entheogens have long been used as catalysts for spiritual and visionary experiences. Many of these, which people report in shamanic journeys show similarities to those described by Jung in his explorations of the human psyche. This is especially evident in the process of individuation. It could be argued that shamanism and Jungian analysis are concerned with what shamans call “soul loss/soul retrieval,” what Jung might call withdrawal of projections toward individuation. This talk will undertake a comparative analysis of entheogenic shamanism and Jungian Psychology to look at the way in which entheogens have been and are being used in shamanic practice as catalysts for exploring inner psychic realities. It will be argued that these two systems are complementary and mutually enhancing in the process of individuation, which ultimately helps us to reconnect to our own deepest nature. Plant medicines can be seen as substances, but also as emissaries, whose purpose is to catalyze consciousness in humans.