13: Sacred Plants

How we change nature and nature changes us, from wildflower picking in Israel to ayahuasca retreats in Peru.

There have already been a few sightings of anemones in Israel, and that means it’s the start of wildflower season. Many Israelis track wildflowers with a passion. There are traffic jams near popular flower-carpeted hills and even websites that tell you what’s popped up where. But what Israelis (or at least the vast majority of them) don’t do is pick those flowers. That restraint does not stem from any particular zeal for following the law that forbids such picking. Rather, it is the product of a fantastically successful public service campaign that began back in the early 1960s. Daniel Estrin brings us that story in “Act I: Flower Power.”

In Act II, we switch gears, locales, and just about everything else to follow the journey of Nathan Ehrlich, a Brooklyn-based reporter. For the past few years, Nathan has sought the help of Peruvian shamans (including one kindred spirit, Sergey, who came to Peru from Ukraine by way of Israel), whose work with ayahuasca, huachuma, and other sacred plants has helped him break through emotional and physical barriers. His story is “Where the Wild Things Grow.”

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