Lecture Notes: After Test 2: Guest Speaker: Paula Rayo

        © 2015-17 Imants Barušs

Accuracy of Mediumship: Julie Beischel and colleagues found that a statistically significant 38 of 58 sitters, or about 66%, chose the transcript intended for them rather than the control transcript (Beischel, Boccuzzi, Biuso, & Rock, 2015). In a separate study, a statistically significant 13 of 16 transcripts (81%) chosen by sitters were the transcripts intended for those sitters (Beischel & Schwartz, 2007).

Guest Speaker Paula Rayo: "Surrendering to the Vine of the Soul: Ayahuasca Shamanism as a Logotherapy." The following is a lightly edited synopsis, written by Paula, of what she said in class:

"The existential vacuum is an inner void wherein the inflicted individual feels a lack of meaning and purpose in life. The opposite is existential meaning, wherein life is inherently meaningful and fulfilling. My research question was to determine whether participating in ayahuasca ceremonies could help people overcome the existential vacuum.

"Ayahuasca is plant medicine from the Amazon rainforest, which has psychoactive ingredients. According to indigenous tradition, ayahuasca is drunk to access the spiritual realms. Because the ayahuasca experience can be so intense, it should only be used ritualistically in the context of indigenous practices. These practices have been passed down from generation to generation within indigenous communities. The practice is called ayahuasca shamanism.

"A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in the world of good and evil spirits. The purpose of a shaman during an ayahuasca ceremony is to guide participants’ experiences with their songs, which are called icaros. Icaros are used for different purposes, such as to clean the space where a ceremony is held, to protect participants from certain spirits, to clean out a participant, and to intensify or reduce the effects of ayahuasca. Shamans diet the plants to receive the icaros and it is said that the songs are actually coming from the plants, which are channelled through the shaman.

"In my study I found that participating in these ceremonies does help people increase in existential meaning and that the greatest predictor for this change in meaning is to surrender to the ayahuasca experience. Surrendering is a philosophy that is found in many different spiritual texts, therefore I think it must be a significant guide for life. I believe that what is going on with the existential vacuum is that we have cut ourselves off from the "feminine," yin, “negative” force of energy, which is a receptive type of energy rather than a productive type of energy. I think this is because we have inherited a very "masculine," yang consciousness, so we are always productive but rarely receptive so we do not have a direct relationship with life, therefore there is not a healthy flow of energy. The key is to balance out the energetic forces of yin and yang, feminine and masculine, positive and negative, productive and receptive to have a healthy flow of energy re-established."

You can see the video that Paula showed in class here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuJqUvBj4rE and read Paula's thesis here: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1040&context=psychK_uht.


Beischel, J., Boccuzzi, M., Biuso, M., & Rock, A. J. (2015). Anomalous information reception by research mediums under blinded conditions II: Replication and extension. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing, 11(2), 136-142. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2015.01.001
Beischel, J., & Schwartz, G. E. (2007). Anomalous information reception by research mediums demonstrated using a novel triple-blind protocol. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3(1), 23-27.