of the Peruvian Amazon
by Don Choque Chinchay
The western Amazon region of South America is the epicenter of a vast pharmacopoeia of medicinal plants growing in the largest and most biological diverse rainforest on Mother Earth. Some offer very special gifts of spiritual healing, cleansing, communion, and knowledge to those who approach them with open mind and heart. These are the magical shamanic teacher-healer plants of ancient Amazonia.
A most unusual discovery made thousands of years ago in this region has provided humankind with a powerful holistic purgative medicine capable of great healing and transformation.
It is the sacrament of several large and growing syncretic spiritual movements originating in South America and spreading to North America and Europe. The best known of these are the Brazilian-based Santo Daime, Uniao do Vegetal, and Barquinha.
SpiritQuest shamanic healing retreats introduce you to the
deeply rooted indigenous and mestizo shamanic Ayahuasca healing and therapeutic
processes practiced in contemporary Amazonian culture.
The classic Ayahuasca medicine of the Peruvian Amazon is made by combining two fundamental elements; the woody vine ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of chacruna (Psychotria ssp., usually P. viridis), a small jungle tree, or other plants containing DMT (dimethyltryptamine) or related alkaloid compounds.
Other medicinal or visionary plants are often added according to the formula of the presiding shaman, the purposes of the ceremony, or geographic locality.
soplando with mapacho
Ayahuasca is regarded as the supreme holistic plant medicine throughout the western Amazon. It is claimed to cure a wide range of physical, psychological, and spiritual maladies. Western scientists and traditional shamans classify different forms of ayahuasca according to botanical or functional characteristics.
Western scientific studies are confirming beneficial medical and psychotherapeutic applications. For example, investigators in the Hoasca Project at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) are investigating the role of Ayahuasca as a vermifuge treatment for gastrointestinal parasites among natives of the Amazon region.
The Heart Opener
The medicine is properly consumed in a ceremonial setting which has been cleared of negative and harmful energy by sacred protective rituals called arkanas, the smoke of the sacred tobacco mapacho, the mysterious shamanic potion camalonga, and the scents of agua de florida, agua de kananga, and other perfumes deemed especially appealing to the spirits.
Vomiting is a fundamental aspect of the holistic purge and is almost inevitable. Temporary diarrhea may also occur as the medicine cleanses the system. These effects are generally transient and experienced by most, but not all people partaking of La Medicina.
The generally negative western attitude toward vomiting is a culturally biased viewpoint not absolute in any biomedical sense. It is not solely a manifestation of illness.
In the shamanic culture of the Amazon, purging by vomiting and defecation is considered a positive and beneficial aspect of the cleansing process.
The shamans work cooperatively to protect the group from harmful energies and summon the healing spirits to aid each participant in their personal quest whatever it might be.
The magical icaros and gentle rustling rhythm of the schacapas (acoustical shakers made of the leaves of the schacapa plant) are integral in achieving the trance state enabling communion with the Spirit World and facilitating the healing.
The experience may at some point reveal remarkable visions, some beautiful, others frightening and cathartic, typically producing a positive, life-changing experience of renewal and rebirth.
Not everyone receives visions the first time they partake of Ayahuasca. Multiple sessions are usually needed to realize this gift. Work with Ayahuasca is a process which takes dedication, discipline, perseverence and time for fullest benefit.
Once effectively cleansed, the processes of renewal and transformation continue indefinitely. The greatest work with Ayahuasca comes later as we assimilate the experience in our daily life and become more aware of the subtle spiritual dimensions that are always with us.
Personal preparation and positive attitude are critical. Adherence to dietary and disciplinary requirements is essential to receive the greatest blessings possible.
This experience is greatly empowered by giving oneself fully to the teaching and healing energy with open mind and heart.
Ceremonial Protocols and Preparations
for those considering holistic cleansing or healing treatment with Ayahuasca.
Touch the Otorongo Blanco to send e-mail with your questions or comments about shamanic cleansing and healing experiences in Ayahuasca SpiritQuest workshop retreats in the Peruvian Amazon.
You can call us in Iquitos, Perú at (011-51-065 22-3595.
Be sure to visit our
Online Reference Library
addressing Ayahuasca, ethnobotany, plant healing,
and traditional shamanism in the western Amazon
Magical healing songs, sonics, and chants
from SpiritQuest Ayahuasca healing ceremonies
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Listening To The Plants
Transformative and Vitally Rejuvenating Healing and Consciousness Retreats
Exploring Traditional Ayahuasca Shamanism and entheobotany
in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon
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