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I place the phenomenon of shamanic tourism within the historical context of the relationship of the West with the exotic and spiritual "other", a history that has gone hand in hand with colonialism and exploitative relationships. I argue that shamanic tourism is not an anomaly but is consistent with the nature of shamanism, which has historically been about intercultural exchange, as shamanic knowledge and experience has been sought cross-culturally. In addition, in the West, esoteric knowledge has often been sought in faraway places, thus this intercultural exchange is also consistent with Western tradition. Through my data I show that the western interest in ayahuasca is much more than a pretext for drug use but rather is often perceived as a pilgrimage and should be looked at in the context of a new paradigm, or rather a shift in the discourse about plant hallucinogens, a discourse that tackles them as sacraments, in sharp contrast to chemical drugs Ritual in this context is instrumental but not as something that reproduces social structure; rather it fosters self transformation while at the same time challenging the participants' very cultural constructs and basic assumptions about the world.