Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shipibo healers --indigenous communities and real healing of an incurable brain tumor AYAHUASCA

II Description of haling properties of ayahuasca vine and plant-they work in symbiosis releasing

DMT gateway to spiritual world- Nothing comparabe in Western medicine which does not comprehend the healing dimension afforded by linking the two worlds . The indigenous peoples always sought and saw this link clearly

III Potent liquid brew described of this entheogen.

IV Master healer and teacher -hallucinogenic a misnomer

V Led to temple of the way of Light by synchronistic experiences which always seems a recurrent pattern on quests of this dimension.

VI Matthew Watherston Vision of the temple its ethos

VII Use of female indigenous healers- Shamanic healing

VIII Background of the temple Workshops near Iquitos

IX Moloka housing the ceremonies

X Physiological flushing rancid decay. Knowing of healing from bones not intellectual.

XI Decsription of the Shipibo healers

XII Description of Shipibo ceremonies icaros sacred songs otherworldy ambience.

And so, I came to South America with urgency, acutely aware the decision to
reject the western approach in the 11th hour might mean imminent death. But if
my illness were to seal this fate, then I knew ayahuasca would give me peace.
Ayahuasca, also known as "vine of the soul" or "vine of the dead," is a
visionary plant and master curative. The active agent, DMT (dimethyltryptamine),
is also the chemical that is released from the pineal gland during birth and
death. In other words, DMT produces the consciousness that we experience at our
major transition points between the material world and the spirit world.
Ayahuasca is, therefore, literally a gateway to the spirit and as such, a very
sacred medicine.
This potent liquid brew is comprised of two plants:
ayahuasca (banisteriopsis caapi), a vine, and chakruna (psychotria viridis), a
leaf. Sometimes other plants with different healing qualities are added.
Chemically speaking, chakruna contains DMT, which is normally suppressed from
activity in the body, by the MAO (monoamineoxidase) enzyme, but the vine
ayahuasca contains natural MAO inhibitors, in the form of harmalines, which
literally contain light. They allow the disintegration of the DMT to be
by-passed, resulting in a psychoactive state. But it is naive to reduce the
magical properties of this symbiotic combination of plants to mere

Ayahuasca and other plants that produce trance states are grossly
misrepresented in the West, often understood to be simply "hallucinogenic." This
is a derogatory term for a medicine that is actually a master healer and
teacher. The correct conceptual term for this class of plant medicine is
"entheogen," meaning "revealing the divine within" And indeed this is what
ayahuasca does; it clears toxicity on every level, removes the dross, the stuck
patterns and programs, the negative thoughts and behaviors, and indeed, anything
that prevents us from being who we truly are, by revealing the full potential of
humans as divine creators. The spirit of ayahuasca is perceived as a female, a
mother, or a grandmother (Abuela). This is because it is a very loving spirit,
and compassionate, though the lessons and the cleaning process are not always
easy. However, the depth of the process reflects the depth of the
transformation. The results are always astonishing.

The Journey to the Right Place
Coming to South America, I had no
specific destination in mind. I prayed that somehow I would find the right
people and places, following the advice of an experienced friend who told me,
"let the plant guide you." I arrived in Iquitos, a jungle city, accessible only
by boat or plane, in Northern Peru, that is also renowned as a hub for
ayahuasca. From here, I intended to go over the border into Amazonian Brazil to
meet that friend, who was going to bring me to a powerful ayahuascero that she
knew. However, our paths were never to cross as a couple of twists of fate
thwarted my plans and instead led me to the Temple of the Way of Light
met the Temple's founder, Matthew Watherston, in Iquitos and he accompanied me
to the premises, where its very first group retreat, in its present form, was
underway. On the journey, he told me a little about the background of the Temple
and its unique ethos. Matthew believes medicine and healing should be accessible
to people of all walks of life, all races, and all financial circumstances, and
so his vision was to create a place where money was not a barrier for anyone
desiring true healing. And so, the Temple is not-for-profit, and is certainly
the best value in Iquitos. This contrasted sharply with the rest of the
ayahuasca based centers in the area, which are expensive and run as businesses.
My cure was absolutely priceless; I would have paid anything for it, regardless
of the financial repercussions. I just wanted to be sure I was spending my money

It pleased me that the Temple matched my own ideals concerning money and
access to health services. And the greater vision for it also impressed me.
Matthew plans to build a hospital to treat all sorts of dis-ease and illness,
including those of chronic degenerative type, and to build a self sustaining
community that would produce jungle superfoods and provide everything needed to
create a truly healing environment. It also has a fundraising arm in the West,
with a view to setting up projects in the indigenous communities such as water
purification, dengue eradication projects, permaculture, cottage industries,
etc., and to build a network of schools to restimulate the youth's interest in
their traditional medical culture, focusing on plants, botanical gardens, and
their cosmological vision of the world. But there was another aspect of the
Temple's works which set it apart.

Ceremonies are led by at least four female indigenous healers and one male.
This is an unusual and special situation as normally there is one central figure
leading ayahuasca ceremonies. The ratio of healer to participant is thus very
high, and as such the quality of the healing is deeper. The fact that it is
mainly women led was also very unusual. Shamanic traditions, like every other
facet of life in the modern world, have a tendency to be male dominated. On the
other hand, women, Matt says, "have a gentler and more caring approach, working
primarily from the heart with loving compassion, and therefore, offering a safe
and comfortable environment in which to deal with personal issues." Being a
woman, I was excited to work with female adepts, but, I was also doubtful as I
had heard many grand proclamations of healing ability before, which had never
lived up to the hype

Matthew expounded on the history of the Temple, which began life in Feb
2007, when he bought a place near to Iquitos. He started to run workshops with
the original male curandero
[i] connected to the property, but
as time went on he became more and more concerned about the integrity of this
individual, as he witnessed incidents that "showed his machismo, ego, control,
and a begging bowl." It was totally at odds with the sacred process guided by
ayahuasca, which involves opening to the higher self. After a couple of sinister
occurrences involving alcohol and sexual inappropriateness, Matthew replaced him
with a female curandera. It turned out she was not a true healer. However, the
energetic content of the ceremony was completely different, and he realized that
women brought a purer quality to the ceremonies as well as a significant lack of
ego. Shortly after this, a series of synchronicities led him to a group of
female indigenous healers, and drinking with them, he says, he "had my head
blown off my shoulders by several Mother Theresas of the jungle, who were
clearly the real deal, and who typically had not worked with Westerners. Some of
them spoke only their indigenous language, not even able to speak Spanish." He
recounted that he was "blessed with an incredible vision and healing that was
connected to divine feminine energy." He was clearly shown that the world's
suffering was due to domination of the negative aspects of the masculine, and
that it was his mission to promote the work with female healers, thus connecting
with Mother Earth and Mother Ayahuasca as a way to redress this global imbalance
and bring in the divine feminine, in line with the transformation that is
happening across the planet. These were the women he brought to work at the
Temple, to the workshop I landed into.

We conversed over the hour-long journey by boat from Iquitos, which
navigates a sprawling river that spills into the surrounding jungle. Another
half hour walk through jungle brought us to a gently undulating glade where an
impressively large "moloka" -- a circular building made of timber and giant
fronds -- was the first sign of civilization to greet us. The moloka holds the
ceremonies and it overlooks a natural swimming pool that has been created by
damning the central stream. Dotted around the lush jungle setting of wooden
bridges and diverse flora are smaller wooden and mosquito netted "tambos,"
simple individual accommodations where guests are
I was only going
to stay for one ceremony, because at that point I still intended to move on. But
ayahuasca had other plans for me. That night was the most powerful sacred
medicine experience that I had had to date. This was due to a potent combination
of the medicine and the Maestra's[ii] work with me. Mostly, I felt,
and even distinctly smelt, volumes of rancid decay pouring out of my body. From
a Chinese perspective, my condition is conceived as a stagnant one, and this is
exactly what I felt was being cleaned out of me; old, stale and putrefied
energy. Sweating profusely, I expelled a lot of phlegm, water streamed out of my
eyes, and, I vomited heavily. Somewhere deep in the midst of this strong
physiological flushing, I understood that this is where I would be cured. This
knowing came from my bones, and not from any intellectual place
. But, the
message was loud and clear; I had to stay. Somehow, my body knew that I had
found real healers, not merely facilitators, but people who could actually cure.

Shipibo Healers
This was my first encounter with
healers from an ethnic group I had never heard of before; The Shipibo, a jungle
dwelling indigenous people numbering about 45,000 individuals. They live in
Amazonian Peru, in tiny villages dotted along the upper and lower Rio Ucayali, a
large river that becomes the Amazon just before it enters Brazil. The Shipibo
are an egalitarian culture, with a traditionally strong connection to the plant
spirits of the jungle and the mysteries of plant medicine. Not many Shipibos are
"Onanyas" (healers), as it is a highly specialized ability that is mostly
inherited and learned through family lineages. Their vocation is developed by
going through "dieta" with ayahuasca, which entails following certain food and
lifestyle restrictions to foster a deep understanding and connection with the
spirit of ayahuasca. Dietas may be followed with other plants too, each of which
has a unique spirit and a unique healing gift to bestow on the seeker. The
healers diet, mostly, in solitude, for a number of years, and, whilst under the
guidance of a more experienced Onanyo(a), they actually learn all of their
knowledge and capability directly from the plants that they diet. And so, they
possess esoteric knowledge, healing abilities, and techniques inaccessible to
the populace at large, due to their deep relationship with the spirit of
ayahuasca and the other plant spirits of the jungle. As such they are called

Shipibo ceremonies are simple and unembellished. At the
temple, mattresses for the participants are arranged in a large circle, with the
Maestros stationed in the middle. After dark, small shot glasses of ayahuasca
are distributed. The medicine takes about an hour to take effect, and as it
does, the Maestros being to sing their beautiful "icaros." These are sacred
songs and musical weavings that fill the ceremonies with otherworldly ambiance.

Icaros are in fact powerful healing tools, given directly by the plants to the
healers, that can be understood as prayers or instructions that direct
ayahuasca's work in each individual
. The Maestros describe themselves as
channels for the spirit of ayahuasca, and they work by attending to each person
and applying their magic through the icaros and complementary healing techniques
such as blowing tobacco smoke, applying floral colognes, and massage.

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