Will Smith’s “Hellish,” & Seemingly Prophetic, Ayahuasca Trip

Did ayahuasca have something to do with Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars?

By Enrique Santos Last Updated: May 20, 2023
Last Updated: May 20, 2023
Artwork by: César Reyes

After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, an interview where the actor mentioned his ayahuasca use began to seem a little strange.

In said interview, Smith talked about how, in one of his journeys, he saw his career and success slipping away but was later able to manage the experience.

At the time, there was nothing strange about the remark, but after the Oscars, fans have begun to wonder if ayahuasca somehow let Smith glimpse into the future.

Will Smith’s ‘Subtle Sickness’

When Will Smith was on David Letterman’s show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the actor opened up and talked about the ‘subtle sickness’ he began to notice in himself shortly after the opening of his 2007 film I Am Legend.

Smith knew something was wrong when his manager called and told him the movie had opened at a record-breaking 77 million dollars, and his only response was: “I wonder what we could have done to make it 80 million.”

Looking back with admirable honesty, Smith expressed how chasing after material success can often lead one to feel that “nothing is ever enough” and how these feelings were troubling his inner emotional life. As has happened with dozens of celebrities over the years, for Smith, the appeals of superstardom had “lost their luster.” 

These feelings of inadequacy started Smith down a path of emotional and psychological discovery. First, he went 14 days without talking, which, according to him, “really helped [him] see the madness that was going on inside his head.” Eventually, he landed in Peru, where, over the course of two years, he had a total of 14 ayahuasca sessions.

Smith’s Ayahuasca Experience

In one of these 14 ayahuasca journeys, Smith explains to Letterman how he had to undergo what was the “individual most hellish psychological experience” of his life. On this trip, Smith saw how his money, house, and career started flying away despite his best attempts to keep his life from falling apart. In other words, the actor saw his worst fears coming to life.

Later though, with some assistance from the shaman, Smith was able to regain control over himself and describes how although the negative voices and visions were still present, he was able to rise above them and remain calm. After the trip was over, the experience impressed upon Smith the lesson that “anything that happens in my life, I can handle it.”

Smith goes on to say how his “psychological training” under ayahuasca allowed him to understand that “99% of what you worry about in life never happens” and how most of one’s pain and misery is self-generated and “is not real.” Later he credits ayahuasca with helping him develop the ability to trust and love himself.

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

It’s no surprise that after Smith’s infamous incident at the Oscars, the Letterman interview seems a bit strange. Let’s just say that his decision to physically assault Chris Rock does not necessarily portray him as someone who is in a healthy emotional and psychological place.

Was Smith’s ‘hellish’ ayahuasca experience a glimpse into the future or a strange sort of self-fulfilling prophecy?

Obviously, these are questions we are unable to answer, but the whole thing is quite thought-provoking.

The more plausible explanation might be related to the known ability of psychedelic compounds to provoke psychotic episodes, but it could have also just been a momentary lapse of judgment from someone who is otherwise completely fine.

We could speculate endlessly…