Ayahuasca, Sapo and Nu-Nu Medicine, Jungle People

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2010

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Jungle Huts In a Village

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Friday, July 18, 2008

"The curandero is seeing what each person is dreaming. His icaros, songs, are sending some further out into their dreams and pulling others back down to earth at the same time. He's healing everyone simultaneously as well, even those who don't know they need it. He is asking his plant spirit allies to work with everyone and his allies respond."
Peter Gorman

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. We had breakfast here of fresh juices and someone passed a plate of alligator meat to try. Tastes like chicken of course. We were supposed to take copies of our passports otherwise Peter would have to pay our way into the jungle past some police or military checkpoint. We hit the busy docks in Iquitos before sunset where it was all action go to get onto the Amazon riverboat that would take us twelve hours upstream and deep into the heart of the Amazon jungle on this crazy tour. There was lots of action as the boat was loading and people secured their hammock positions. We were instantly taken back to our previous Amazon river trip from Belem to Manaus in Brazil. It was a similar boat scenario and we had to push and pull ourselves and our luggage to get onboard. We were very happy to discover that Peter had a roped off VIP section for us and the Gorman crew on the top and second decks where we had overnighter cabins that consisted of radio, fan and two small bunk beds to sleep in. There were eleven of us all together and thirteen Gorman crew so we were well looked after. The crew were very intuitive to all of our needs. The weather was hot jungle temeperature all the way. The boat took off and we settled in with guitars and conversation.

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. Apparantly there was a confusion with her luggage and she had left her bags in the wrong spot and had to go back and get them. Anyway it was a classic site as she came up on deck full of adventure adrenalin and telling us the story of how she had paid a guy to transport her. A couple of extra Gorman staff also snuck onto the speedboat and were coming with us too. We named it the Carolyna (Indiana) Jones incident and talked of it throughout the week whenever we felt the need for a laugh. We had mystery tamales for dinner and some laughs before retiring to our cabin with Steve and Carolyne for a talk about Amar the Indian guru who i have always wanted to visit and who Carolyne is a big believer in. All the people in the crew with us are cool cats and it looked to be a very good week.

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. We honked the ice-cream guys rubber horn and shouted helado! helado! and all the children came out running bringing their younger brothers and sisters out to get one. We were particularly taken with a young boy wearing an oversized sailing captain´s jacket who had a giant smile and who was as curious about us as we were about him.

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. We went for a hut with hammock and bed. The mosquitos are horrendous here but interestingly enough, they don´t bite the indigenous jungle people who live here. We had some of the repellant from the medicine market so thought we would be safe. There was also a simple covered deck for ceremonies on the site. We met some of the families and children who live around the area. Our shower would be the cold Amazon river out the front of the camp which was okay until fish nibbled at your skin. Meals were fairly basic and usually consisted of fresh jungle fruit juice, coffee, tea, rice, salad, fish and chicken. All the meals were fresh and we know they were because the crew had brought chickens with them that they would run around the site yahoo-ing at until they caught them and did what they do before cooking them. The jungle this deep into the heart of the Amazon  is rich and abundant. It was blissful to fall asleep surrounded by all the sounds of the jungle, nature´s symphony of life. A wonderful orchestra of sounds. Jamie, Steve and us all chose to sleep away from the main camp in huts but Mollie was scared of the animals and went back to the hammocks. The women would collect our washing in the morning and hand river wash it then hang it in the trees to dry.

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. An important task. We were accompanied by George and also Heiro who is the 28year old shaman of the village. Heiro comes from shaman lineage and it was his father Julio who was the shaman previously and who Peter Gorman has done most of his work with. We talked of Julio and his work and then were shown to a vine that we were told that Julio had planted before he died, we were in for a treat. The vine was thick and hung high up in a tree. The guys climbed the tree and with the help of our crew, we cut it down and Peter, George and Heiro all blew the natural jungle tobacco over the vine as they cut it up. We were able to get a close up view of the interesting cross-section of the vine and watched a sit was cut into smaller pieces and loaded into a sack. We all took turns at carrying the sack back to camp and Heiro immediately put the pieces into a pot and onto a fire to simmer away. Some Ayahuasca leaves had been collected and counted earlier, this brewing of the medicine is really a long process but critical to the end product´s effectiveness as medicine. For this brew the masculine leaves and the feminine vine was used in balance and another couple of types of plant and barks were added. The procedure is an ancient jungle tradition and we felt blessed to be so intimately involved in it. At intervals throughout the day, I watched Heiro tending to the pot, he never left the pot and was often joined by his wife and special child Ling as the Ayahuasca cooked.

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. Also, there was a new friend in the jungle camp in the form of a little howler monkey that was hooting away. The monkey was a newborn howler only a couple of days old and thought to have fallen from a tree and been abandoned. The fate of the monkey was unsure but we assume the jungle people would now keep it as a pet because it was really very sweet and adorable. Mono loco had a good time and chat with it posing for photos. What a lucky monkey he is. There was also a visit from an ancient river turtle that looked very old and tired. I am sure the poor creature was eaten by locals after we saw it but that is the way of the jungle. These people have been known to cook sloths while they are still alive.

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.  Formerly, they were used for war, but presently are only used for hunting game.  Arrows measure about two meters in length and very complex workmanship is involved in their manufacture.  The arrow shaft is constructed from a cane that they cultivate in their gardens.  After drying, the cane shafts are decorated with cotton string and a special golden colored grass.  The fletching commonly consists of paujil (curassow, Mitu tuberosa) feathers, but eagle, condor, vulture, and macaw feathers are also used.  The feather is split in two, trimmed and attached to the shaft with a resin and beeswax mixture.  Then the feather is sewn to the shaft with fine thread obtained from the trunk of plantain trees.  In order to insure that the trajectory of the arrow is straight, the Matsés attach the feathers with a slight spiral, a feature that is lacking in the arrow construction of most other Amazonian tribes.  Arrow points are made from a wild bamboo and attached to the main arrow shaft with another short shaft of wood.  Therefore, the arrow actually consists of three pieces:  the main cane shaft, the bamboo arrow point, and the connecting wooden shaft.  A mixture of resin and beeswax is used to attach the three pieces which are also tied with cotton thread and decorated with red achiote dye.  To keep the arrows sharp, a paca (Agouti paca) tooth sharpener mounted on a peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) shaft is always carried by the hunter while in the rainforest.  Matsés arrows are incredible works of art and craftsmanship.  

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. Two of the most effective medicines used in hunting are nu-nu (a hallucinogenic snuff) and sappo (a preparation of frog secretion mixed with spit and burned into the skin). The hallucinogen is a fine green powder made from the leaves of the rare nu-nu tree mixed with the ash of the bark of the macambo tree and infused with the spirit of the maker of the drug. Both trees are so vital to the Matses' life that when they are searching for a place to build a new puebla, both trees must be within a few hours' walk of the intended home; their presence assures the Matses that the surrounding jungle will be benevolent.

Nu-Nu information
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. He communicates with the jungle animals, telling them that he is hungry and they are needed for food. He announces his intentions for hunting them and notes the location and time of day he sees them. Within a few minutes, the visions fade and a pleasant drunkenness washes over the user. If the nu-nu was especially potent, the visions may return unexpectedly for hours.
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.

Sappo information
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. He sees animals before they see him and senses which plants are benevolent and which are not. Each of the user's senses is sharpened and in tune with his surroundings--as though the sappo put the rhythm of the jungle in his blood.
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. The benefits of the medicine were hard to evaluate but i am sure i recieved clearer Ayahuasca visions as a result of using the Sapo and Nu-nu. Again, we felt incredibly grateful to be a part of these traditions because very few outsider people have been allowed a part in these rituals. After all, the Matses indians were at war with the outside world until 1969.

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. There was golden rain, gorgeous colours and the Shiva kept morphing into different gods, animals and gurus like Osho and a jaguar face. I knew then that India has been calling me for so long for  a good reason. The sessions were long and exhausting but well worth the effort and we had been through every shade of emotion and everything in between. Some people on the tour had come specifically for the medicine component of the trip and i am sure they got what they came for because there were some definite changes in people throughout the week. The meal and hammock time in between ceremony was vital to the group´s journey because there was time to share and reflect on what was happening to each of us.

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. We all helped with the first aid and i used the samll amount of saline solution that ni had in my pack to clean it.

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.   First of all, let me just say that I miss you all very, very much! I saw Ami on Saturday for the first time since returning and was so happy to reconnect. I see San all the time fortunately and have talked to Mollie a bit over email.   Something's been happening with me since I came home which I don't quite understand and which can be overwhelming but which at core is something I recognize I've been yearning for my entire life. I've come alive in a way I didn't know was possible. I can only describe my experience by saying that it's like having new eyes to see through clearly for the first time. My heart opened there in the jungle and with it opened a new sight and a new self. I wish the language existed so I can speak of this way of being that I find myself able to step into more and more fully with each passing day. It takes work and perseverance and unrelenting awareness to keep the opening from closing back in but I'll do whatever it takes. My priorities have shifted entirely. I've been waiting all those years for my life to begin but the life I've been waiting for is a life I no longer want. What I long for is all around me, right here and right now. What I yearn for is to feel that radiance in the center of my chest where my heart now rests exposed and unprotected and more secure and empowered than I ever imagined possible. My one wish these days is to continue to think, act and be as though everything is a miracle. None of this makes taking care of the practicalities of life any easier - quite the opposite. But I'd rather build a life from my own blueprint and lay the structure down brick by brick with patience and endurance and great effort but on my terms, on my land than to live a borrowed life of luxury and leisure. Forgive my exuberance but I've given up on trying to restrain and contain and refuse to apologize for it. I've been apologizing my whole life...I realize now I've been apologizing for being alive...no more...   Peter, I am more deeply grateful to you than words can begin to express...in this life and beyond... You've a karmic debt to collect here next time around... In my vision that last night she told me ever so gently and compassionately to give gratitude not in tears but with joy and she made sure I never forget that. So I'm thanking you with the deepest joy I've ever known!   And a huge thank you to all of you my friends for your presence, your compassion, your love, your acceptance and your companionship on the journey! It all meant and means more to me than I can hope to find words for. I love you all! Waves of good thoughts and wishes are coming your way now and always!   And thank you all for the beautiful photos! Jamie, I really, really appreciate the time and effort in setting up the flickr account! I'll be sure to upload my photos very soon - I have them in an album on the kodak site but it's better to have everything in one place, so I'll make sure I get that done in the next couple of days.   I hope you all are happy and have peace inside and I very much hope to stay in touch and to see you all again soon!   Love, Nadya

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. This pre-religious belief system dates back at least 60.000 years and takes a holistic approach to healing. The shamanic practice is more a set of local activities, perspectives and world-views then it is a formal institution and ideology. The term 'shaman' itself comes from the Evenki language of Siberia and means 'the one who knows'.
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 mixture is then brewed with water and reduced for several hours, attended by the Shaman who sings his sacred songs (icaros) and blows his intention for healing (soplada) into the brew. When taken orally in the correct ritual context, this mixture becomes a powerful agent that can help you step into the visionary world.
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. The Curendero has specific songs for each person's needs, the vibrations of which summon healing energies, and the words of which are symbolic, telling of the ability of nature to heal.
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. Our shamans will provide floral baths for us as a means to heal, centre, and cleanse our spirits.
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.
These journeys are for those who have previously worked with Ayahuasca. For more information and a detailed explanation of what is involved in a Plant Dieta, please enquire.  cielo@lamadrejourneys.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->
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'. Depending on the region and the context of use, the brew is also known by a variety of other names; the most well-.known are caapi, yage, natem, cipo, mariri, Daime, hoasca, and vegetal. Typically, Ayahuasca induces powerful visions as well as hallucinations in all other perceptual modalities. Pronounced non-perceptual cognitive effects are also manifest. These include personal insights, intellectual ideations, affective reactions, and profound spiritual and mystical experiences.
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.
Love, Cielo!


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