“Metamorphosis – A Journey of Transformation” is a fairly recent Ayahuasca documentary that is more specifically about the well known Blue Morpho Ayahuasca retreat center run by Hamilton Souther; and in my opinion it is one of the best Ayahuasca documentaries currently out there.
The first thing you notice about Metamorphosis is how good it looks. It was made by Keith Aronowitz who has a lot of experience working in television and it clearly shows on the screen. The production values are really high, and whether you’re watching scenes of the jungle or just people talking to camera, you’ll notice that everything is beautifully shot and very well edited together.
But what about the actual content? Well that’s pretty interesting too, although if you’re already something of an ‘Ayahuasca expert’, it’s unlikely you’ll learn anything new here. The simple narative centers on about half a dozen westerners as they come to Blue Morpho for a 9 day Ayahuasca retreat to experience Ayahuasca for the first time. They are interviewed before and after ceremonies (and even filmed during ceremonies) about their coming to terms with the rather intense process they are clearly going through.
The documentary also features quite a lot of interview footage of Hamilton and his shaman talking about Ayahuasca and working with the medicine, which should prove to be very educational if you don’t already know a lot about the subject. I’ve never met Hamilton but he comes across as a very genuine and likable person, and I can see why a lot of people speak highly of him.
If I have only one main criticism it’s that I don’t think the footage of the ceremonies is a very acccurate reflection of what the majority of people will experience. All the ceremony footage is of people having really intense experiences, and showing them shouting, crying, writhing around, having their demons exorcised, and generally going through hell (or so it seems). Of course these types of experiences can certainly happen to people â€“ and they are always incredibly beneficial and healing. However, from my experience of doing over 70 ceremonies, seeing or hearing people have incredibly intense experiences like this is quite a rare phenomenon. I’m sure these scenes were included for dramatic effect to add tension and make the documentary more interesting, and it certainly succeeds on that level. But I wonder if after watching this documentary that a lot of people will be too scared to drink ayahuasca because of worrying they will lose control or have a really terrifying experience. So, I question whether those scenes do anything positive to promote the profound benefits of drinking Ayahuasca.
Overall though, I think this documentary gives a pretty accurate depiction of what it’s like to come to Peru and take part in an Ayahuasca retreat. But if you decide to watch this before having tried Ayahuasca, just keep in mind that the footage shown during ceremonies is more the exception than the rule. And even if you do have a particularly intense experience, it will absolutely be to your benefit. So don’t be scared of it.
This is not a free documentary, you have to buy the DVD, but I would say that if you have more than a passing interest in Ayahuasca then it’s definitely worth your money.
I was hoping to link to a page where you can buy the DVD, but Amazon appears to be out of stock and it doesn’t seem to be available through the Metamorphosis website at the moment. Also check out the Amazon page where it currently has ten 5-star reviews!!