The Jaguar that Roams the Mind: An Amazonian Plant Spirit Odyssey

Excerpts & Samples

By Robert Tindall

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Robert Tindall

Robert Tindall
Robert Tindall is a writer, classical guitarist, and inveterate traveler who has lived in England, Argentina, Peru, and Mexico. With his wife, Susana, he leads groups into the Amazon rain forest to encounter the indigenous healing traditions there. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.



A journey into the deeper workings of indigenous healing in the Amazon

• Explores the three pillars of Amazonian shamanism: purging, psychoactive plants, and diet

• Shares the experiences of apprenticing with an Ashaninca master shaman

• Reveals the intimate relationship between shamans and plant spirits

The Jaguar that Roams the Mind is a journey into the vanishing world of Amazonian shamanism--an adventure of initiation and return--that explores the unique reality at the heart of the Amazonian healing system. Robert Tindall shares his journeys through the inner and outer landscape of the churches of ayahuasca and with the Kaxinawa Indians in Brazil; his experiences at the pioneering center for the treatment of addiction, Takiwasi, in Peru; and his studies with an Ashaninca master shaman deep in the rainforest jungle.

Moving beyond the scientific approach to medicinal plants, which seeks to reduce them to their chemical constituents, Tindall illustrates the shamans’ intimate relationships with plant spirits. He explores the three pillars of Amazonian shamanism: purging (drawing disease out of the body), psychoactive plants (including the ritual use of ayahuasca), and diet (communing with the innate intelligence of teacher plants). Through trials and revelations, the subtle inner logic of indigenous healing unfolds for him, including the “miraculous” healing of a woman suffering from a brain tumor. Culminating in a ceremony fraught with terror yet ultimately enlightening, Tindall’s journey reveals the crucial component missing from the metaphysics of the West: the understanding and appreciation of the sentience of nature itself.
“A beautifully crafted account of a man’s psychospiritual healing quest, from his traumatic childhood and early drug addiction, to an ill-fated pilgrimage to the Sahara, to finally finding his path in the depths of the Amazon. Robert Tindall writes with exquisite fluid clarity and fearless, openhearted honesty. The book is a riveting, pleasurable read but is also profoundly sophisticated and deeply informative. I couldn’t put it down.”
J. P. Harpignies, editor of Visionary Plant Consciousness

“Like the twists and turns of ayahuasca, the sacred vine of the Amazon, this wonderful narrative of love and self-discovery connects vast inner worlds of dream and vision, power and magic, with a passionate pilgrimage in time and space. A joy to read.”
Luis Eduardo Luna, author of Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine and coauthor of Inner Paths to Outer Space

“If you want to know what vegetalismo is really like, you could go to the Amazon, or you could read this book.”
Dale Pendell, author of Pharmako/Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path

"I invite you to sink your mind into one of the most delectable and rapturous soul-twisters I have read in quite a while. It is completely worth the effort and will leave you permanently changed."
Brian Wallace, reviewer, Nov 2008

"It is an exploration into the mind of the seeker as Tindall struggles to comprehend the culture around him--and, himself. . . . Well-crafted, this quest of indigenous healing in the Amazon could be read like a novel."
American Herb Association, 24:1, March 2009