The Ayahuasca, also called the vine of the soul, is a climbing plant that has been growing in the Amazon and used by shamans for thousands of years. How exactly was found out that the plant has such curative power is the root for many mythical stories. To become a shaman, in the old days the apprentice had to stay in the rainforest by him (or her) self for at least a year to study the plants and their medicinal purposes. Their believe is everything has a spirit, including the plants.
The apprentice is, as it were, being taught by the spirits of the different plants and by the long isolation in the jungle and the intense contact with the spirits of the plants, the apprentice acquired all the knowledge he or she needs to treat and cure the people in their community.The icaros (songs) they sing during ceremony, are revealed to them through contact with the spirits of the plants.
By inviting the Shipibo to Holland the result will be that, apart from facilitating beautiful groups to share their ancient knowledge, their culture will be preserved by sharing their traditions with other people. These days there aren’t that many shamans left per family, most children attend regular Peruvian schools and lose touch with their Shipibo culture and heritage.
The shamans have an immense knowledge of the medicinal plants that grow in the Peruvian Amazon and they know treatments based on plants, trees and even animal contents for almost all illnesses. They have educational insights to offer, besides the possibility for personal development and growth.
Hopefully when the young Shipibo generation realise the shamans in their community are invited to other parts of the world to educate us in their traditions and heritage, they will be motivated to reconnect with what in history has been taught from one generation to the next.
The Ayahuasca that the groups will be drinking is a mixture of two different plants, the Ayahuasca vine and the leafs of the Chacrunaplant. The branches of the vine are squashed and cooked and recooked in water for several days with the leafs of the Chacruna plant. It is the combination of the two plants that leads to the immense healing effect that Ayahuasca has and also the visions that can occur after drinking the medicine.
Ayahuasca is considered a mother as well as a teacher and when she is treated with respect and in the proper way, anyone can accomplish great things by working with her.
She can give you insights in yourself and the universe, bring you in contact with the spirit world and heal you on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. The challenge is to integrate these lessons in your daily life. Many people decide after their first ceremony, that they need to learn more and want to continue working with Ayahuasca on a deeper level.
After scientific research into how Ayahuasca works (Dr. Charles Grob developed a Hoasca Project in 1993, to research what the physical and psychological effects of Ayahuasca are, he had a group using Ayahuasca and a control group that never have used Ayahuasca) it turned out that the ability to absorb serotonin that is naturally found in the body increases after drinking Ayahuasca.
The group that drank Ayahuasca had, without any relapses, a distinct decrease in addiction issues, depressions and anxiety disorders.
Another result that came forward during research was that Ayahuasca has better results than antidepressants, because these increase the serotonin level in the body in such a way that the body automatically compensates by breaking down the serotonin receptors.
The healing in fact takes place on two different levels; Ayahuasca cleans and purifies, in the first instance, on a physical level. It is possible that it manifests itself in the form of physical inconvenience like vomiting and/or diarrhea, but very necessary to prepare yourself for the stages of emotional and spiritual purification that will follow.
On the spiritual level, Ayahuasca works on your personal transformation, finds the path to your inner self, rebalances your body and soul and helps you overcome old trauma and dilemmas.
Working with Ayahuasca might bring you to a better understanding why you had to go through certain stages and situations in life. You could be faced with issues which you put away for a long time, because they were too hard or painful to deal with at the time.
It’s deep, emotional and hard work, but you will carry the fruits of your labour with you for the rest of your life.
Important to mention is not everybody gets visions during their ceremonies. Don’t put your expectations too high, the spirit of Ayahuasca has a tendency not to respond to demands, but just to requests.
Unfortunately it is necessary to emphasize that Ayahuasca can not be seen as a recreational drug, the effects and results should not be taken lightly!! Your intention, perseverance and patience will lead to the best results, after you reach the deeper levels of cleaning and purifying, the visions will come without a doubt.
The outcome of a ceremony is hard to predict, every ceremony is different from the next one and besides that, it is a personal journey for everyone.
Naturally, the work the shaman does during ceremonies is significant for the healing process. Because he drinks Ayahuasca himself as well, he can make contact with the spirit world in order to obtain insight in everyone’s personal matters and find the energy they need to heal.
And of course, if ceremonies get intense, he will be there to guide you through it and make sure that you feel safe.
In the end, the shaman and the Ayahuasca are no magicians, the ultimate results are in your hands and the effort you are willing to make.