An open heart has no limits

Amazonian Shamanism


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The Peruvian Amazonian shamanic tradition focuses on the use of Ayahuasca for the purpose of healing and communication with the spiritual world. The learning in Amazonian shamanism is experiential. The shaman learns directly from the spirits (primarily trees and plants) through Shamanic diet and ceremonies. The spirits of trees teach the shaman how to use their medicine and in which situations. This learning may take place independently, or under supervision of a Master Shaman. It usually takes 3 to 5 years for a shaman to complete his learning. Once the shaman completes his initial learning, he continues to have diets in order to maintain his energy body pure and to deepen the connection with the spirits. Maestro Alberto says one is to walk the path of shaman slowly but surely, with patience and persistence. The relationship with the spirits grows the same way friendship grows - over time,

and the shaman is to present him/herself to the spirits with open heart, courage and determination, which will continue to be tested throughout his time of learning. As it takes time for a tree to grow, so does it take time for the guiding spirits to grow within the shaman. Characterisitic to Amazonian Shamanism is the juxtaposition of good and bad / black and white. Belief in witchcraft and sorcery, known as brujeria in Latin America, exists in many societies. Some societies distinguish shamans who cure (curanderos) from sorcerers who harm (brujos). In order to cure the disease caused by witchcraft, the curandero first has to defeat the brujo, who has invoked the illness. Shamans participate in vicious battles, that take place in the spirit world, utilizing their knowledge of spells and icaros and harnessing the help of ally spirits.
By engaging in their work, shamans are exposed to significant personal risk. Risks may emerge from the spirit world or from enemy shamans. As curandero, Maestro Don Alberto utilizes pure white medicine and love in order to perform healing and protection. Don Alberto's philosophy is that light illumintaes dark and that any dark energies and malicious spirits flee when confronted with pure light and love.

The shaman beleves that each and every thing or being has it's spirit. There are spirits that represent individual tree, and there are head spirits, that represent all trees at once. The shaman interacts with the spirits during trance or during a ceremony. Spirits often guide and direct the shaman in his/her travels. These spirit guides are always present within the shaman. The spirit guides energize the shaman, enabling him/her to enter the spiritual dimensions.


Plant Medicine
Many shamans have expert knowledge of medicinal plants native to their area, and they often prescribe an herbal treatment in addition to the shamanic healing methods. Often shamans learn directly from the plants, harnessing their effects and healing properties, after obtaining permission from the indwelling or patron spirits. In order to learn, the shaman enters Shamanic Diet. During the diet, the shaman retreats from his home and daily activities into the jungle. The shaman fasts and connects to the spirits by ingesting a tea of tree barks or medicinal plants. Through the tea, the spirits enter the shamans body and teach him or her their medicine and their icaros. The shaman may acquire many medicine spirit guides through numerous diets.

Icaros, the shamanic song, is the backbone of amazonian shamanism. The icaros are communications between the shaman and the world of plants, animals and spirits. Usually the shaman learns the icaros directly from spirits during a diet or during deep meditative and receptive states, or in a dream. Traditionally the icaros call onto teachers and helpers, protectors and guides in order to facilitate or assist the spiritual communion taking place in the ceremony. The more icaors the shaman knows, the better he is able to conduct a ceremony, ready to address any situation that may come up and ready to support and guide the participants through their journey in a smooth and productive way.
The icaros can be whistled or sung in any language. At El Corazon the icaros are primarily sung in a blend of languages: Spanish and Quechua with a special formation of suffixes, specific to ayahuasca tradition. Each shaman has his own unique style of singing, however some of his icaros may be passed on to an apprentice, and this way a lineage may appear, where certain icaros are passed from generation to generation. Maestro Alberto Torres Davila has learned from his grandfather and from Julio Llerena Pinedo, master shaman and medicinal plants expert, and carries on their powerful medicine in his icaros.

The icaros is accompanied with chakapa, a rattle made of jungle leaves, that when shaken, make a soothing sound similar to wooden shakers. The shaman uses chakapa to move the energies during the ceremony: to send mariacion (the effect of ayahuasca) to the participants, to decrease the mariacion and to remove the negative or unwanted energies from the ceremony space.


The use of the jungle tobacco - Mapacho is also very important in Amazonian Shamanism. It is said that the spirits truly enjoy the smoke of Mapacho and they ask the shaman to smoke for them. The shaman blows mapacho smoke on trees and plants in gratitude for their medicine. The smoke is also used for smudging and purifying space and the body during a ceremony or in any situation where purification is needed.

The mesa consists of a cloth with rocks, jewels, and other sacred objects.  It is a symbolic and energetic centre for the combined energy and intentions of the shaman and the participants. The mesa is usually placed in front of the shaman, inside the ceremony circle.

Shamanism: intro

Role of the shaman

Types of shamans

Shamanic Diet


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