Inside one of those anonymous high rises on Wilshire in LA, there is a bedroom in which all of the windows have been darkened and the walls covered in padding. The space is low lit and filled with electronics; it’s been converted into a recording studio. EDM is blasting from the speakers.
This isn’t, however, your run of the mill electronic music. These tracks are laced with icaros, traditional shamanic songs and chants from Peru. This modern electronic music is part of a larger effort to bring traditional shamanic practices to the masses. These tracks feature the apartment’s inhabitant, 35-year-old Hamilton Souther, either as singer, or co-producer. Souther is not your standard DJ/producer. In his perfectly pressed button down and close cropped haircut, he looks like an investment banker.
In fact, he is a “master shaman” who, in addition to his musical pursuits, has developed what he calls 420 Ceremony and the 420 Shamanism Movement. He is the co-developor of something called Blue Morpho Cannabis Shamanism. And yes, this is all related to weed.
This story starts the year after Souther graduated from college. He was training to be a professional golfer when he had a “spontaneous spiritual awakening.” He began, he says, seeing and communicating with spirits. “I definitely knew something weird was happening.”
Still fully functional in the everyday world and looking for explanation, Souther eschewed western psychology, knowing that most any therapist would tell him he was delusional. He had never been a spiritual person before.
In 2001, the voices guided him all the way to Peru, where a seemingly synchronistic series of events led him deep into the Peruvian jungle. Here, he posted up with a group of shamans doing work with the Amazon-derived plant medicine ayahuasca. (This community of elders told him they had visions of his arrival.) Souther stayed in the jungle for 12 years.
Our colleagues at the LA Weekly have the rest in their cover story, “This Dude Was Going to Be a Pro Golfer. Instead, He Lived in the Jungle for 12 Years”