For the last decade, family physician Dr. Joe Tafur, author of The Fellowship of the River, has been exploring the role of spiritual healing in modern healthcare.
Dr. Tafur’s exciting new book explores his extensive experience with ayahuasca and traditional medicine in the Amazon Rainforest. During his intensive work at the Peruvian healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, Dr. Tafur studied Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine (TAPM) and Shipibo shamanism under master ayahuasquero Ricardo Amaringo. At the center, he learned how shamanic approaches can help to heal modern health problems like anxiety, depression, PTSD, migraine headaches, and digestive problems.
Dr. Tafur continues to work in both allopathic and shamanic medicine, and is focused on connecting the worlds of academic medicine and spiritual healing. In his years at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, he collected a number of integrative case studies from which he developed his theories linking the profound world of shamanic healing to modern medical understanding. Woven into the stories of his Amazonian adventures, Dr. Tafur has summarized these theories in his thought provoking new book The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor's Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine.
In the Amazon, Dr. Tafur saw hundreds of people find help for problems that Western medicine was unable to heal.
Dr. Tafur has observed that modern medicine struggles with certain mental and psychosomatic health problems because it fails to address the emotional and spiritual dimensions of these illnesses. Under the guidance of master shamans, Dr. Tafur has learned about the importance of acknowledging the emotional body and its role in modern disease. Once acknowledged, spiritual approaches can be used to heal the emotional body and, in turn. the mind and physical body.
In Peru, Dr. Tafur learned how ayahuasca shamanism could be used to heal the emotional body (Ayahuasca shamanism involves the ceremonial use of ayahuasca, a traditional Amazonian plant medicine known for its spiritual properties). After observing hundreds of people go through this kind of spiritual and emotional healing, Dr. Tafur recognized the broader value of spiritual healing techniques. Spiritual healing is spiritual practice. Spiritual practice is spiritual healing, and both can help to heal the emotional body and in turn, the mind-body. In order to spread this message, Dr. Tafur, his brother Mario Tafur, and their associates have started the non-profit educational organization Modern Spirit, dedicated to demonstrating the value of spiritual healing in modern healthcare.
Dr. Tafur continues his bridgework through educational programs with Modern Spirit and the Modern Spirit Podcast. Modern Spirit has now initiated, in collaboration with USC and MAPS, the Modern Spirit Epigenetics Project, one of the largest mechanistic assessments of psychedelic medicine to date. He has lectured on his work in the community and has spoken at a number of conferences including the MAPS 2017 and MAPS 2013 Psychedelic Science Conferences, PlantTeachers 2015 Visionary Convergence, and will be presenting his book at the upcoming ICEERS World Ayahuasca Conference in May 2019. He is currently promoting his book and is available for speaking engagements. Dr. Tafur is also in the process of starting his private medical practice based in both Arizona and California, focused on coordinating integrative care and psychospiritual counselling.