The Marketing and Exploitation of Spirituality and Shamanism

Lynne Nardizzi
5 min readMay 18, 2019
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Or rather, is it even possible to sell spirituality?

So here’s the thing.

I’ve had a miraculous healing of an autoimmune disease by taking ayahuasca and medicinal plants, along with living in the jungle and having a skilled curandero (healer) to guide me.

After my healing, I initially thought that I wanted to open a retreat center in Peru. However, the longer I stayed there and saw the overblown commercialization and marketing of ayahuasca and retreats, the less interested I became.

Shamanism has become hip, trendy and commoditized. Shamanic practitioners are a dime a dozen, with schools churning out certification programs that mean nothing.

You don’t become a shaman by taking a class. In contrast, I’ve met many legitimate, genuine healers and shamans who have minimal online presence and have no need to show off. The fad of pop shamanism is a discredit to these true teachers.

True healers will dedicate their life to the path, sacrificing many things. There is a deep devotion and respect of the plants, the jungle, and the indigenous communities and cultures they learned from.

Shamanism schools are built on capitalism and greed. Traditionally in indigenous communities, the community decides if a person is a healer, based on their abilities. There is no certificate to become a shaman. A true healer would never go around promoting themselves, bragging about their exploits. Instead of taking away from indigenous cultures and traditions, we need to consider how we can give back to them.

The rise of the social media influencer has spilled over into the spiritual realm, where anyone can sell themself as a teacher or expert. When the focus is only on advertising and making money, there is a lack of compassion and authenticity. Lacking expertise and then preying upon vulnerable people who need help is manipulative. No one needs a guru or a life coach. Don’t give up your power and hand it over to someone else.

Everyone seems hellbent on constantly advertising themself, pushing their agenda all over social media. People talk about ayahuasca and the plants in flowery language, without acknowledging…

Lynne Nardizzi

writing, traveling, living my life after healing from an incurable disease with medicinal plants of the Amazon jungle// psychotherapist at