Ellen, a young professor, gives up a promising university career to immerse herself in the mysterious world of Amazonian shamanism. There, drawing on untapped courage, self-reliance and a spirit of adventure, she fulfills her highest potential in a way she never dreamed possible. The novel provides a satirical look behind the scenes in academia, and also takes the reader into the world of Amazonian shamanism, a subject Ellen studies in her research. When she meets Hugo, an enigmatic stranger with first-hand knowledge of Peruvian shamanism, her life takes an unexpected twist. Hugo brings about a remarkable transformation in Ellen’s sick mother, and also introduces her to ayahuasca, the most powerful entheogenic healing plant in the Amazon. She then, too, begins to change. Through a series of events at the university, including sexual harassment and a suicide, Ellen heads to the Amazon for a rendezvous with Voluptua, an elusive forest spirit calling to her in her dreams. There she participates in ayahuasca ceremonies led by Hugo’s shaman, and spends time in a native village before going off to stay in the jungle on her own. Living in a simple hut, she learns the rhythms and ways of the rainforest, acquires a monkey as a friend, and merges with Voluptua, beginning the process of her own transformation. Voluptua encompasses one woman’s transformation from university professor to an inspired, courageous, spiritual being embracing her power through her travels to the Amazon and beyond.
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