Stepping Into the Fire

Stepping Into the Fire

2011, Society  -   30 Comments
Ratings: 7.64/10 from 96 users.

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin mushrooms, and mescaline-bearing peyote are the more well-known psychoactive drugs, but by no means the only ones. Stepping Into the Fire is a documentary about a much lesser-known option in this arena, ayahuasca. The film follows two recent first-time takers of the drug, Bo and Rob. Bo being a rather straight-edge lifetime professional diagnosed with a terminal case of cancer in his esophagus, Rob a former stock broker accustomed to hard work and hard living along with his wife Donna and son Declan.

After hearing about the potential transformative experience that can come from taking ayahuasca and tired of dealing with their lives in the way they currently were, they each set out for a shaman in Peru that is known for administering the ayahuasca experience.

In a series of interviews both subjects explain how much more "in touch" with themselves and their environments they were after that first go-round with the drug. Bo cites that it's not so much the taking of the drug itself, in which dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is the active ingredient, that heals you, but more how it opens you up the plant life and all the benefit they can bring you. Bo goes on to explain some of his experiences, thoughts, and breakthroughs achieved during that first experience - psychedelic visuals of the moon and facing long-forgotten love life regrets.

Rob describes the boon of the experience being that it allowed him to see the positives in even the most negative of situations in his life. That, and a realization that he was supposed to use his financial achievement to create a compound of sorts where others could comfortably gain access to the same enlightenment he feels he stumbled into. In doing this, he has expended his entire life savings and it's created a sizable rift between he and his wife.

Attention then turns back to Bo, who has made a number of other changes in his life since trying ayahuasca. He has trimmed his diet to raw, unprocessed vegan cuisine that has resulted in a loss of around 90 pounds - one of numerous changes both men go through over the course of this film about what they deem the "teaching plant."

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30 Comments / User Reviews

  1. alex33

    This is a fairly good documentary relating to ayahuasca.
    (I do not think this was meant to be a complete overview of ayahuasca.)
    I wonder if my atheist friends will want to watch it?

    1. Trippy

      I'm an atheist and I watched it. I'm skeptical but it was interesting.

  2. Rulight

    This is not a documentary, it's just advertising of a shamanic center that doesn't exists anymore. Do your research and please don't waste your time watching this piece of cr*p. I'm not against ayahuasca, but the practices shown in this film are far from responsible and should not be taken by any shaman.

  3. Laird Beevor

    Even though, at this particular centre, Kyle Nolan died. RIP. I am not dissuaded from partaking. The Doc was well done and the experiences authentic. Thank you. I am going to Dr Gabor Mate's website to find advice. A Canadian Dr with much experience in such matters. Find him as well on you tube

  4. trumpsahead

    I take issue with the Shaman suggesting Marijuana is not a means to becoming one with our spiritual selves. I've always seen marijuana as something of a "religious" experience. I use it now, and I feel it makes me "real", makes me sensitive to BS so I do not tolerate it in my life, but gravitate towards truth and harmony in my daily life. I value exercise and quality food and creative outlets to sustain my body and soul.
    Marijuana used properly, that is not like an entertainment drug but an "awakening herb", can open your eyes to Reality.

  5. Pedro

    Peruvian shaman confesses he buried body of U.S. teen who died from drinking hallucinogenic herbal brew at spiritual retreat

    A Peruvian shaman admitted to police on Wednesday that he had buried the body of a U.S. teenager to cover up his death during a spiritual retreat in the Amazon last month.
    Shaman Jose Pineda Vargas, 58, told the authorities that 18-year-old Kyle Joseph Nolan, from northern California, died on August 22 from exceeding the dosage of a medicinal brew called Ayahuasca while staying at the Shimbre Shamanic Center.
    Vargas then buried Nolan’s body at his jungle retreat and said that the teenager disappeared. Nolan's mother began searching for him after he failed to return from Peru as scheduled August 27
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    1. don kanis

      What is bloody wrong with Americans? Why would you focus and scream bloody murder on one death from Ayahuasca (and the 18 year old in question was taking prescription drugs) when 38,000 Americans were killed by taking Vioxx (rofecoxib), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and a prescription painkiller, was approved for use by the FDA in 1999. In the years that followed, it was mired in scandal. Merck was accused of misleading doctors and patients about the drug’s safety, fabricating study results to suit the company’s needs, continually thwarting an FDA scientist from revealing the drug’s problems and skirting federal drug regulations.

      In 2004, Merck withdrew the drug from the market after a study revealed the drug more than doubled the risk of heart attacks and death. By that point, more than 38,000 deaths were related to Vioxx use, and up to 25 million Americans had taken the drug.
      The Vioxx Recall and FDA Scandal:
      Vioxx caused so much damage and destruction that some have called it the worst drug disaster in history. The Vioxx scandal wasn’t just devastating to the injured patients and their families; it also underscored problems within the FDA. Many suspect that the New Jersey-based Merck and the FDA worked together to keep the drug on the market and quiet the health concerns.

      Americans only know the religion of four F's:

  6. grant

    For those that have a negative viewpoint of this film...I can understand the need to vet everything out, to not be a "fool". This is especially true when it comes to things of a spiritual nature; there are so many con artists making a buck off of those who are gullible enough to believe them. Many people are not just cautious however, they are quite stiff in there way of thinking. Having an open mind and remaining flexible in your thought process is a greater display of strength. By all means, question the world we live in. Question everything, but don't get that quality mixed up with feeling superior to other "fools" who don't believe as you do. Especially if you have not personally experienced something you consider false. That way of thinking is what we can see in the lives of former "fools" throughout history. Just because you don't understand something does not mean it doesn't have the potential to be real.

  7. Sarah Fillmore

    Yes, it's an interesting documentary but important to note that there are many of us out here that don't need to go to the Amazon to take a drug with some shamans to come to the same conclusions (that it's the simple things that count, closeness to nature is important, etc). It's just too bad that we're all too often surrounded by these selfish, materialistic, ego-driven people (these people pre-Amazon) who only have s*it to spew on others until they clue in (after the damage is done to us). Makes one want to be a hermit, staying at home watching documentaries online.

    1. alex33

      Sounds like u need an ayahuascsa experience :-)))

  8. FollowTheFacts

    ...a fine documentary (I really admire all the great documentary film makers)...maybe a bit long and a tad "disjointed" for me, at times...I have it 8 stars but was hesitating if I should stay with a photographer I was puzzled by how the time-lapse star movement sequences were made....very compelling....

    1. Jim Bunion

      Star lapse sequences made with video special effects editing.

    2. FollowTheFacts

      Thank you, Jim – I thought it would have to be...there really was no other way...and it was a very powerful effect...especially when camera position was moving!

  9. Kansas Devil

    Then there are all the quacks who have murdered people with this psychotropic chemical mixture.
    Everyone wants a drug to fix everything. Something to take all the responsibility because they are too lazy to do the work themselves.
    Then there's the miracle cure nonsense that con men have been using for centuries with anecdotal evidence being claimed as proof.
    Humans are good a deceiving themselves.

    1. Jim Bunion

      But no one in this video says the drug fixes everything, they say it is a tool, to open the mind, to use natural plants to further help the mind and body. You are an i*iot.

    2. Clayton Reese Christian

      Yes, Kansas Devil. You are a prime example.

    3. leighatkins22

      It is one thing to know something, it is entirely another to believe it. These people knew that their lives were wrong, but they didn't believe it enough to put what they knew into action with conviction. Everyone knows they shouldn't be doing something in their lives, but how do you make yourself commit to that knowledge & change your life????????
      Ayahuasca is just suggested here as the tool to help you step over that infinite chasm between knowing & believing - that's all, nothing more.
      YOU still have to do the work...

  10. Sanatana

    Nice documentary, although no direct mention of coming to understand their position as an eternal servant of a supreme consciousness. Human life is simply meant for breaking the bond of material nature and making it back to the spiritual sky. There is so much evidence of this. Learning to love god is the perfection of life, and acting appropriately. A nice impersonal effulgence of the supremes mercy is contained here, but I don't see any devote liberation in changing their position to understanding that God is Great. We are tiny fragments of god, who are desiring to lord it over material nature, and have come here by our own energy to enjoy. Now with this higher intelligence than the animals, we need to purify our existence and learn to act transcendentally and subside sense gratification, or simply continue our way through evolutionary process accepting bodies life after life. Birth, death, old age and disease are the problems of life. If we are eternal souls, why not our eternal bodies? This is intelligence. This plant is a pointer to supreme consciousness.

    1. LoggerheadShrike

      "Birth, death, old age and disease are the problems of life."

      Birth and death aren't problems. Immortality is selfish, and we're not spiritually superior to animals.

    2. jackmax

      Can you show us the evidence, as I have looked for many years and still have found nothing to convince me the you "magic man" in any form is real.

    3. Clayton Reese Christian

      Hi, Jack. Words cannot transmit the psychedelic experience. Not even the finest poet can give it to you. Similar to great sex. If you would like to experience what these people are referring to as magic, you might consider researching ways to make or purchase DMT. Then smoke it. This is the quickest and least subtle way to see for yourself if it's for real, or a con game. I don't know how many people would claim much 'healing' is to be found in the DMT experience, unlike Ayahuasca. Beware, it is what it claims to be.

    4. jackmax

      G'day mate,

      If I need to use a mind altering drug to see the "magic man" it actually proves my point even further than the whole argument about religion is nothing less than mind manipulation of the weak by the parasite that brainwash them into believing the unbelievable. The christian believe there stories are right, the muslims believe that their story is right and so on, but it doesn't matter who's story you follow when some one with the capability to think for them selves comes along and questions this religee they start to attack you because you have shown them the floors in their belief system.

      I find it concerning that all over the world religion can effect the outcome of some extremely important measures that need to be taken for the wellbeing of this wonderful plant.
      In my country our current government doesn't believe in climate change (much to the disgust of the majority of the population) and their creationist views are nothing less than criminal as they are making decisions that effect all of us using the belief rather than the scientific evidence that is readily available for all to read and understand.

    5. Clayton Reese Christian

      Yeah Jack, I totally understand your qualms with religion! I'm not a religious man, myself (unless I'm in a real crunch). But this psychedelic thing doesn't have much of anything to do with religion, in the sense that you're talking about it, anyways. The psychedelic thing is about a direct, subjective, personal, YOU, having an experience with something intelligent.

    6. leighatkins22

      G'day Jack, possible fellow countryman here, I also find it very concerning that religion has so much power, especially when religion no longer serves the original purpose it was designed for (helping people find their spirituality, not helping the church find its political power). I especially find it disturbing that the Holy See is the ONLY religious entity with a seat in the UN! THAT should disturb everyone...
      Spirituality is what ALL

    7. jackmax

      G'day mate,

      You may be one of my luntsmen, however that wont stop me pointing out the errors of your ways.
      It has been shown many times before that the bible is nothing more than a book of fairy tales and lies so for anyone to think it is a worth while text when we are looking for evidence from the past the bible can not be taken serious.
      You believe that if you study it you will start to see thing.
      Mate I have studied it but without the rose coloured glasses on and the lies that are in it are still just lies.
      The problem with the writing is not my reading it is the text it self. there are to many contradictions and straight out lies in the book to be taken as an actual historic account of any event in history.

      You can believe in the magic man all you like mate but don't tell me that he is nothing more than a figment of your imagination and you have no evidence that he/it/she is real.

    8. dewflirt

      The bible has the oldest sacred texts? What about the Vedas? Or Gilgamesh for that matter?

    9. Achems_Razor

      Meet him?? what him? are you talking about a male figure? are you saying everything was just made for us little carbon units? OUR little blue pixel of a planet is basically invisible in the cosmos and the vastness of space, not counting the 10^500 alternate universes and multiverses. And in the time scale of the universe as a whole we are here like a neutron colliding with a hydrogen atom, a flicker.

  11. Kuko

    Excellent documentary!
    It´s beautiful and heart-touching to see people change so rapidly from self-centered, insecure, materialistic and confused people to ones that have more compassion, understanding and inner peace and happiness just after one or two ceremonies, amazing!
    Ayahuasca is truly a medicine. I hope that it will reach more and more people and that we will see more and more changes like we´ve seen here in people.

    Live in peace

  12. Patrick Adrien Varencaus

    Than you need a substance for happyness !! Dont need nothing of this planet except water and food

  13. Colonel Sanders

    Wow. Blow my mind. Best part was at 1:08:45 to 1:09:14. I had to learn that one the hard way.
    Kudos to Rob. I only ever imagined people like you exist.
    Going to take me awhile to digest this one, but damn great doc.
    Thank you