Ayahuasca, Sapo and Nu-Nu Medicine, Jungle People
Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
215Trip End Dec 20, 2010
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Jungle Huts In a Village
What an intense week in the jungle it has been with Peter Gorman. River boating, indigenous jungle people, children, magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca, sapo and Nu-nu medicines, jungle trekking, shamans, story telling and the company of some wonderful people from all over the world who we are proud to call friends.
We checked out of the hotel and stashed some of our gear at La Noche restaurant
About twenty minutes into the journey we see a speedboat flooring it on a mission to catch the boat and there was Carolyne in it waving at us from the water below
We were woken at 3am by Juan who informed us that we were to get off the boat in the darkness at the next town. We got our packs together and tried to get off the boat whilst all the jungle people on land tried to get themselves, containers and all kinds of produce on board at the same time. We went to someones house where they fired up their stove and made us coffee and tea. The sun rose and we watched as the tiny jungle town came alive and a market sprung up where fresh vegetables and produce like fish were sold, they had been brought fresh form the boats and people turned up to see what was available this day. We made friends with lots of happy children in the town who were most delighted when Steve played his guitar for them. The game of marbles was very popular with the kids as was getting their photographs taken and looking at their own faces on the digital screen as you zoomed in and out. There was a helado ice-cream guy in town pushing a little cart with fruit ice-creams in a tub. We bought all the kids in the town one at around ten cents a piece and it was like Christmas morning as they all enjoyed their little luxury of the day
Eventually the little wooden longboats with motors were ready to take us to the jungle camp a further two hours away down some tributaries of the river that we would never have been able to navigate on our own. There was one point in this journey where it looked like we were going to take the boat right through a fence of trees but it was an illusion and there was a gap for the boat to get through. Peter Gorman has spent so much time in the jungle and with these people that he is sensitive to the area. For example he has the ability to sense bad weather in the clouds and then blow the clouds away to make clear skies. Believe it or not! We witnesses this psychic type ability quite a number of times over the week.
We arrived at the simple jungle camp that would be our home for the week and dropped ourselves into some hammocks set out under a thatched jungle hut for a rest. The camp had a nice open kitchen at the centre of the buildings and we had the choice of sleeping in hammocks or in simple beds covered with mosquito netting housed in thatched huts
The next morning we were up and walking in the jungle with the aim of finding a healthy Ayahuasca vine that would be brewed up into our medicine for two ceremonies
Heiro´s son Ling is a little ball of light and quick to give you a hug at anytime. Ling always had a smile for us and Nadine had a giant crush on him. It is evident that Ling has the shaman blood too. We would sneak lolly-pops to Ling whenever we could and Nadine bought him his very own monkey like Mono Loco when we went in to town. We also met Sidily´s mums pet toucan and a green parrot who were both quite ill looking and most likely saved by the humans. The birds would eat all our meals with us and sometimes steal food and get into the fruit. They were not too friendly but sometimes liked to give you a light peck or kiss.
In the afternoon we went for a long jungle walk with George and Juan who showed us many medicinal plants and jungle survival craft things. The point of the walk was to get us accquainted with the jungle so Mother ayahuasca would be kind to us. Apparently the vine does not work away from it´s jungle source. We had alot of fun swinging on real Tarzan vines that you could swing right up and out on. Carolyne had a go at swinging on Juan´s back. Classic. There were some giant trees with buttress roots and the boys cut a large palm tree down in order for us to take out the palm huts and eat it, a staple food out here in the Amazon. One of the guys made a weaved basket from the leaves of the palm and picked all the little berry nuts from the tree to take back in the basket. unfortunately the basket couldn´t hold them all and i stole it as an Amazon jungle hat when the bottom of it fell out. When we returned to the camp i noticed that the Ayahuasca brew had been reduced, the leaves and vine taken out and the colour changed into a deep chocolate-y brown colour, it was nearly ready and the thought of drinking it made me cringe because it tastes so terrible
There was also the inclusion of a trip to a jungle swamp but the mud was so thick and deep in places that we really couldn´t get through the walk.
Below is some information about the Matses indians, the jaguar people written by Peter Gorman. These indigenous Amazon people are the kind of tribespeople living in the area and the ones who use the Sapo and Nu-Nu medicine that Peter introduced us to. The jaguar people have blue-ish black tattoos drawn from their mouths up to their ears. At times throughout our stay, i saw some of the men hunting with the bows and arrows and we had the chance to purchase a set of these to take home with us. These weapons are not generally sold because what they make, they use. We did get a chance to shoot at a target with them though. We assumed that Austrlalian customs would not let us in with these superior items and had to let the opportunity go. Some of the guys from Canada bought them though.
While many other Amazonian tribes use blowguns to hunt, the Matsés are specialists in the use of bows and arrows
Below is some information about the frog sweat medicine that we had applied to our skin and about the nu-nu snuff blown into our noses. With the Sapo, I had two hits one day and four the next, this gear really packs a punch and we have the burn scars in a line up our arms to prove it.
Another ritual practiced by the Matsés involves the application of a frog emetic. To the Matsés, this frog emetic is not poison, rather it is a medicine. Indigenous medicines often function by cleansing the system through vomiting. The exudate ("sweat") is scraped off the skin of a poisonous tree frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor). The frog is not injured and is released afterwards. Points are burned on the arms or chest and the frog poison is applied, resulting in a rapid heartbeat, extreme lethargy, and vomiting. After resting, the recipient of the frog poison is ready to go hunting. Indeed, the Matsés often refer to this remedy as "hunting magic" and believe it enhances the user's hunting ability. Hunting often involves conversation with the animals, invitations to them to provide him with meat. For this he uses special medicines to make contact with the animals on levels difficult for those of us who are not part of his world to understand
Nu-nu is a vision drug. A "giver" puts a little of the powder into one end of a hollow bamboo tube; the "user" puts the other end of the tube to his nose. The powder is then blown into the user's nose, where it explodes into his face, burning his nose and eyes and blurring his vision. He chokes up green phlegm and his blood pulses as though his body were short-circuiting. Over and over, the process is repeated until his eyes glaze over and he can no longer stand. Numbness replaces the sharp pain. He falls to the ground and his visions begin.
Animals appear: tapir and peccary, monkeys and jaguar. The user sees himself walking in the jungle, and the animals there come to him
In the morning the hunter will go to where he "saw" the animals and wait for those he spoke with. When they arrive, he hunts them. The Matses believe that the animals are offering themselves freely to the slaughter.
The Matses say the jungle taught them the secret of nu-nu. In return, they never cultivate the plants whose leaves and bark are used in its preparation. They fear angering the animal spirits by having too much of an advantage over them.
The second hunting drug is not a vision drug and its use is not limited to hunters. Sappo is made from the secretions scraped from the dav-kiet (a sacred swamp frog) onto a bamboo palate and dried over a low heat. When the frogs are plentiful, several palates are made and the resin is stored in a leaf bag for later use. The scrapping is a gentle process and the frogs are never hurt
To use the drug, Tumi (or one of his brothers) moistens a bit of the resin with spit. The user's arm or chest is burned with a smoldering twig and the sappo is introduced onto the freshly opened skin. Instantly the body heats up, burning from within, and the user begins to sweat. His blood races and his heart pounds rapidly! He feels his veins and arteries opening to allow for the pulse of the rushing blood. Suddenly he cramps and vomits violently. All control of bodily functions is lost and the user falls to the ground. In his unconscious state, an animal side of his nature emerges. He may bark or crawl about on all fours. For fifteen minutes the rushing of his blood grows faster and louder before the pounding begins to level off; the user gasps for air. He may wish that he could die, but he does not. As the pounding becomes rhythmic and steady, he knows that he will live. He might defecate on himself, but it does not matter; it is enough to be alive. Finally, the pounding subsides altogether and the user, overcome with exhaustion, sleeps.
There are no dreams or visions. Instead, when the user awakes, he feels like a kind of god. Everything about him has become larger than life: He sees in the dark effortlessly and his physical strength is overwhelming. He can run through the jungle for hours without tiring and go without food for two or three days without hunger
For most people in the puebla, sappo is used sparingly to cleanse the body and heighten the senses, to give strength to the lazy and replenish the sick. But, for the hunter, it is used in massive quantities, and, for him, its use goes beyond the physical realm: The sappo is his communicative link to the animals and plants. It allows him to project an animas (three-dimensional spirit) who can stalk the jungle at night while he sleeps; an animas to lure animals into traps or near the puebla, to talk to plants and learn their secrets
Most of us were fairly apprehensive about taking these two medicines but we were up for the challenge. The sapo experience was difficult. The Matses indian guy Pepe burned our skin then applied the frog sweat straight into our bloodstream through the burns. After about thirty seconds the effect took hold and you felt dreadfully ill and your face swelled up for around twenty minutes before coming out feeling great. The nu-nu snuff was equally as uncomfortable. Pepe used a straw type blow pipe to blow the mixture into your nose then it seemed to hit the back of your head like a shotgun blast, the process repeated between 4-6 times
Also to note is the two intense Ayahusaca ceremonies we did with Heiro and Peter Gorman guiding the shows. These ceremonies were extremely powerful ones, the medicine potent as hell and this provided us with many stepping stones for our spiritual paths. Tobacco smoke was used as was Tomar perfume and Agua de Flora plus the circle was protected very nwell by Peter and Heiro and it was a safe ceremony. Heiro had a simple way to do things and his songs were wonderful. During the second ceremony i was able to leave my body completely and enter the other dimension safely.I like my medicine strong. I was able to find Heiro easily to come back when i was ready. I recieved among other visions the gift of one of my teachers who came in the form of a dancing Shiva type character who was on top of an elephant in a kitsch-y, gaudy and grand parade of elephants who were attended by beautiful beings
On one of the last nights the crew put on a fiesta complete with Sidily´s toilet paper decorations in the moloka, they cooked a special chicken soup and musicians came from surrounding areas to play all night whilst everybody danced. The songs got a little tiresome after awhile and we went to bed early after Peter fell asleep only to be woken by Amy in the early hours of the morning after she had drunk too much chi-cha (jungle liquor).
We were sad to be leaving our jungle home and going back to civilisation but we still had the Shamanism conference to look forward to and Mother Ayahuasca was not finished with us yet. We enjoyed a wonderful Amazon sunset when we took another river boat back down the river to Iquitos and Peter Gorman gave us some sweet magic mushrooms for the journey. It was a full moon. Peter had left Steve in charge of us before he fell asleep in his chair and hit his head on the railing on the boat making a large gash into his skull and leaving lots of blood pouring from the wound.
On returning to Iquitos we hit the Yellow Rose of Texas restaurant for breakfast where we all ate ourselves silly and relished the flavour sensations after eating bland food for days. I had peaches, pancakes and ice-cream for breakfast.
We checked into the comfortable Maranon Hotel for the week where we scored the biggest room of the venue with air conditioning and free internet downstairs.
Here is an email i recieved recently talking of one person Nadya´s positive experience on the journey:
Hi all! I've been meaning to write since I got back and today is the first full day I've actually had all to myself in the month that has passed since our Peruvian adventure. It's hard to believe it's only been a month. So much has happened in the course of just a few weeks...mostly on the inside but becoming more and more visible on the outside as people tell me these days
Link to a Peter Gorman article from High Times
If you are interested in more visit www.lamadrejourneys.com
I pulled this information below from Cielo´s site above , an awesome and genuine, Australian woman living in the Amazon in Peru whom we met at the Shamanism Conference
Shamanism is the oldest spiritual healing tradition still in general use today
A key element of 'shamanism' is the belief that everything has a spirit or life essence, from the plants and the trees to the wind, the rivers and the mountains. In the shamanistic worldview there is a continuous interaction between different dimensions, forces and entities of the cosmos. This complex reality is organised in a world tree or mountain with many levels. The shaman masters the technique to travel through these levels and act as a mediator in order to bring healing to the people.
The Curenderos of the Amazon have a lifetime of knowledge of plant medicine and in transversing the levels in the spirit world to bring healing. Ingesting ayahuasca shows them where the illness is in the body and they can then go in and heal. The Icaros, or songs are given to them by the plants and they use them to guide us and them through the spirit realms and to also heal.
The Ayahausca Experience
AYAHUASCA BREW Ayahuasca is the most sacred of plant medicines of the Upper Amazon. The word Ayahuasca comes from two Quechua words: aya meaning spirit or ancestor, and huasca meaning vine or rope - hence it is known as the 'vine of souls'. It plays a central role in the spiritual and cultural traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Region.
The 'Ayahuasca brew' used in Ayahuasca Healing Ceremonies is made from Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis Caapi) and the leaves of the Chacruna plant (Psychotria Viridis). Some Shamans add other plant medicines to their brew, such as tobacco or datura. Both Banisteriopsis Caapi and Psychotria Viridis are collected from the rainforest in a sacred way and it is said that a Shaman can find plentiful sources by listening for the 'heartbeat' that emanates from them.
The 'Ayahuasca brew' is prepared firstly by scraping, pounding and cleaning the specially-chosen Ayahuasca vines and adding the Chacruna leaves
The ceremonial use of Ayahuasca dates bask to ancient times. One of the oldest relics related to it is a specially-engraved stone cup, found in the Amazon around 500 BC, which proves Ayahuasca was used as a holy sacrament at least 2,500 years ago, long before the birth of Christ.
THE AYAHUASCA CEREMONY We gather in the evening at the Moloka (ceremonial space) take a place around the outer wall and get comfortable. It is wise to bring about a litre of drinking water and a blanket. Buckets, for purging, will be given to you on arrival. A candle is lit in the center of the Moloka and the Shaman starts to sing into the medicine and begins with the blessings. He invites the plant spirits in as he sings. In turn and one by one each person approaches the shaman, kneels and is passed the small glass of medicine, at this time you should think of your intention as you take the cup and drink.
You then go back to you space. After everyone has taken the medicine the candle is snuffed out and we wait in darkness and quiet for 20 minutes meditating on your intention. The Shaman then begins to sing the icaros as he shakes his shapaka, he may remain seated or at times he may walk around the circle stopping and performing healings as he sees the need for them on individuals. During these healings the Shaman may sing, spray floral waters on you, shake his rattle at you, rub camphor on your hands or chest even blow through your crown chakra.
After one hour he will ask if everyone is high and if not invite you back for a second cup. Individuals will have vastly differing experiences from the same shaman and the same brew. Some people will have a constant dialogue with "Mother Ayahuasca" during the night, receiving a huge amount of information. Others will have very high visions, "Light Language", silent teachings from the cosmos and so on. Others will be in worlds of spirits or gods or other beings (from a variety of realms), maybe being helped, or maybe dealing with unpleasant things they need to understand or face. Others will be seeing scenes out of their life, maybe from the past, or maybe the future. Others may be feeling themselves becoming other beings or creatures, and those creatures somehow helping them change from the inside
Others may be purging emotions, trauma and so on, maybe with understanding, or perhaps without knowing exactly what they are purging. Others will have experiences of physical sensations in their bodies, perhaps related with a physical purging. Others find that they get very little in the way of visions/etc, but find that they can work very consciously on issues of their choice, calling people and situations into their consciousness to resolve things. In short, given the wide variety of experiences people have, it is best not to fix your hopes on any particular experience, because it is hard to say in advance what will happen, especially if you have no experience of Ayahuasca before, your experience could be any of the above or perhaps something quite different.
After about 4 to 6 hours, when the Shaman decides, he will close the ceremony by thanking the spirits and closing the space. You may still be quite high and will make your way back to your hut and continue to process your journey.
ICAROS Integral to Ayahuasca Ceremonies are the chants and songs of the Curendero. These are known as icaros, and they direct the ceremonial and visionary experience
For example, an icaro may tell of the power of a sacred stream to wash away illness or uncertainty, or of brightly-coloured flowers to attract hummingbirds whose wings fan healing energies. You might see such things in your visions. What provides the healing, however, is the understanding Ayahuasca brings of what is happening in your life, allowing inner feelings to unblock so that sadness, anger, and other negative energies are transmuted into ecstasy and love.
FLOWER BATHS Baths to restore balance and harmony to the soul are known of and practiced in many shamanic cultures. By cleansing, 'flourishing', and bringing a new sense of balance, the spirit and body are able to heal themselves. These baths call in the powers of our allies in nature and prepare the ground for our healing.
They are prepared by Master Shamans, using specially-chosen plants and flowers which create particular energetic and spiritual effects, to which is added cooling river waters. The mixture is then poured over the body as a blessing or even a baptism of sorts
WORKSHOP As part of your program you are invited to attend Circle Meetings to discuss your ayahuasca experiences, and to clarify your insights. There are also explanatory seminars and workshops to put your experiences in context as they relate to Plant Spirit Shamanism.
PLANT DIETA The Plant Dieta is a journey of self-exploration and discovery, bringing greater self-awareness and knowledge of the plants. The diet enables you to 'take in' the spirit or essence of the plant and initiate into its powers.The Plant Dieta will be undertaken in the traditional way under the guidance and direction of an Ayahuasquero and Maestro.
The plant dieta will take place in a natural setting where the work with Ayahuasca ceremonies and Teacher Plants have a deep and profound effect. The Dieta will include working with a specific Teacher Plant, a strict traditional diet, silence, lots of inner contemplation and meditation and participation in ayahuasca ceremonies.
Diets are not invented by Curenderos, but are given to them by plant spirits themselves. They involve a state of purification, retreat, commitment, and respect for our connection with everything around us.
There is also some strict diet requirements before and after undertaking the Dieta.(see foods to avoid in the members section)
Please see members section for dates, costs and requirements.
Excerpt from: THE ANTIPODES OF THE MIND by Benny Shanon Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew consumed throughout the entire upper Amazon region. The term is a Quechua compound word meaning 'Vine of the (dead) spirits'
Indeed, it appears that the indigenous peoples of this region have used the brew for millennia. In the past, Ayahuasca was used in the making of all major decisions of a tribe, notably locating game for hunting and declaring war. It was also believed that the brew made it possible to see distant places and foretell the future.
Even today, Ayahuasca is the basic instrument of shamans in the entire region. On the one hand, the brew is said to enable the shaman to see the inner constitution of his patients, and thus establish a diagnosis; on the other hand, it is said to bring the shaman in contact with wise beings and guiding entities that pass information to the shaman so that he knows how to perform the appropriate treatment. In addition, Ayahuasca is purported to allow the shaman to be in touch with the spirits, the beings of other worlds and the dead.
For many, Ayahuasca is not merely a potion or a plant but also a being with special, unique qualities or even a deity.