I've used a few terms in my texts that could use a quick explanation. Perhaps you'll find these definitions helpful.
A culture usually has a story about where it came from. Like a mythology. Like God created a feminine being who created the earth. Like it was Eve's fault. And so on. Science has its "big bang" cosmology, but I'm not speaking of science. In the West, our cosmology is a mixture of the stories of Abrahamic religion, Greek rationalism, and scientific thinking.
Ontology has to do with our most fundamental and sometimes unconscious sense of who we are as a species--the relationship humans have to everything else. This is also a kind of mythology, a kind of subset of cosmology. Its an important idea, because our medicine experiences tend to jerk the rug out from under our idea of who we are in the cosmos. In the West, our basic ontology suggests that we are separate beings--separate from God, separate from Nature. The medicine put the lie to that one for me.
Epistemology is the study of how we know anything. In Western culture, the general message is that science knows more than you and that rationality is enough to get by, along with scientific facts. Facts and reason are what we are used to working with. Western Christianity suggested that belief is a sufficient way of knowing. In my writing, I call belief a "pseudo-epistemology," because it doesn't allow us to know anything at all.
But, when we encounter the medicine, we find that neither the facts we've gathered or our rationality are sufficient to navigate what we find on the other side of medicines door. Beleif pretty well gets wiped out first.
The shamans and mystics consistently say you have to resort to the heart if you want to know what is important to know. The medicine finally showed me my heart, and what the heart knows changed what my mind thought it knew.
Belief is an epistemology. In the West in particular, we think belief is a way to know something. I have argued in my books that the kind of belief that is not based either in science or personal experience is not a way to know anything. I call belief a "pseudo-epistemology."
The distinction between belief and personal experience is important, because the psychedelic medicines start their work by using personal experience to knock our beliefs out of the way. Integration is how we grow new understandings based upon the experience of the larger reality to which the medicine introduces us.
If this is an issue that interests you, read more in my blog PSYCHEDELIC, CHRISTIANITY AND FACEBOOK.
In the West, we think of "heart" in many ways, but science and religion don't acknowledge that what we often call "heart" represents the location of our most important form of intelligence. All of my experience with the medicine and with Andean teachers directed me to my heart as a primary source of intelligence. The heart has its own way of "knowing," so we can say there is an "epistemology of the heart" that the medicine teaches. the catch is that, to learn what the medicine teaches, we have to meet it with our intelligent hearts.
How do you know that you love someone? Where do you feel it? Its not a rational conclusion. You can't prove it with "facts." Its more than a belief. It's not something that happens in the "brain mind." It happens in the chest. We experience that knowing, rather than think it up. In fact, there is something in the chest region of the body that experiences the world in a way that "knows" directly, long before the brain mind can catch up. We have not been trained to use it, even though we often refer to the "heart" as though we know what we're talking about. We can learn to use it. I finally realized that the way to use it is to pay attention to it and listen with my entire body. That is a start on an "epistemology of the heart."