During our side event „Shamanic Practices and related health and spiritual issues”, we had with a Danish shaman in apprenticeship from the Amazonian Sipibo-tribe, Jan Hansen, which is now convicted to 6 month imprisonment due to his beliefs.
Here is his story:
„My name is Jan Hansen, and I am a Danish shaman. After many years of meditation, psychotherapy and living with Buddhist monks in Thailand I came to Peru in 2007 to learn shamanic tradition from the Amazon’ Shipibo-tribe. After some years my Maestro invited me to be his apprentice, and since then I have practiced as a shaman. (...)
This ethnobotanic drink has been used since immemorial times in connecting to our inner nature.(...)
Late June I was sentenced to 6 month in jail for importing illicit drugs equal to 300-600 doses of LSD. Ayahuasca has nothing to do with LSD. It turns out that Ayahuasca contains <0,1% DMT, and DMT in its pure form is a classified drug. It seems the same as if the laws concerning alcohol would regulate the import of yoghurt.
The sentence is the first were a Danish shaman is criminalized for his religious practice. Shamanic practice is growing all over Europe, and I think it is important for every one to know how the law can misinterpret it. The laws used against me were meant to fight dangerous drugs, not shamanic practice.
I have found my spiritual path, only to find that misunderstandings within the law seem to hinder me to walk it home in Denmark. I implore the Danish government, European Institutions and experts to thoroughly look into the issue at stake. (...)
The shaman practice is new in Europe, and the institutions must secure that it is not criminalized due to ignorance and lack of understanding.”