Ayahuasca Retreats And Workshops Interview With An Amazonian Shaman In Peru

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

After being virtually ignored by Western civilization for centuries, there has been a huge surge of interest in Ayahuasca recently. There is a growing belief that it is a kind of ‘medicine for our times’, giving hope to people with ‘incurable’ diseases like cancer and HIV, drug addictions and inspiring answers to the big ecological problems of modern civilization. Interviewed with Peter Cloudsley.\r\n\r\nAfter being virtually ignored by Western civilization for centuries, there has been a huge surge of interest in Ayahuasca recently. There is a growing belief that it is a kind of ‘medicine for our times’, giving hope to people with ‘incurable’ diseases like cancer and HIV, drug addictions and inspiring answers to the big ecological problems of modern civilization. \r\n\r\nAyahuasca is not a drug, it is regarded as a gateway to another reality, a reality which co-exists with our physical world. From this reality an experience of the totality of inter-connectedness can be personally experienced. Ayahuasca is also known as La Purga (The Purge) due to it’s powerful physical ‘clearing’ effect, but it is more than just physical clearing it is also an energetic clearing of personal history as well. It is never to be taken lightly and only under the supervision of a shaman who is well versed in the ways of the plant.\r\n\r\nSpirituality is at the centre of the Ayahuasca experience. Purification and cleansing of body, mind, and spirit in a shamanic ceremony can be the beginning of a process of profound personal and spiritual discovery. This process can continue indefinitely even if one never drinks Ayahuasca again. One thing is sure, and that is that every person gets a unique experience. We believe that by seriously looking at the way Ayahuasca is used we can improve our life experience and benefit more from this medicine.\r\nAyahuasca is the jungle medicine of the upper Amazon. It is made from the ayahuasca vine ( Banisteriopsis Caapi) and the leaf of the Chacruna plant (Psychotria Viridis). The two make a potent medicine which opens the doors to experiencing the energetic world which underlies the world of everyday. The vine is an inhibitor which contains harmala and harmaline among other alkaloids, and the leaf contains vision inducing alkaloids. As with all natural medicines, it is a mixture of many alkaloids that makes their unique properties. For example, Peyote, the cactus used by the North Native Americans, is said to contain 32 active alkaloids, so when one of those alkaloids, mescaline (LSD) is synthesised in a laboratory, contrary to popular opinion, the result is not at all the same. \r\n\r\n Ayahuasca is a name derived from two Quechua words: aya means spirit, ancestor, deceased person, and huasca means vine or rope, hence it is known as vine of the dead or vine of the soul. It is also known by many other local names including yaje, caapi, natema, pinde, daime, mihi, & dapa. It plays a central role in the spiritual, religious and cultural traditions of the Indigenous and Mestizo (mixed blood) poeples of the upper Amazon, Orinoco plains and the Pacific coast of Colombia and Equador. \r\nThe plants are collected from the rainforest in a sacred way and it is said that a shaman can find plentiful sources of the vine by listening for the \\\’drumbeat\\\’ that emanates from them. The mixture is prepared by cutting the vines to cookable lengths, scraping and cleaning them, pounding them into a pulp, and then adding the chacruna leaves. The mixture is then boiled about twelve hours until it is a thick brown liquid. \r\n\r\nTo understand ayahuasca in the local context, one cannot avoid taking a look at the ecological environment, such as the rainforest, cultural environment and indigenous cultures. This has structured the cultural content of ayahuasca.\r\n\r\nOne of the more romantic stories takes place amongst the Shipibo people who live up the river in the heart of the jungle in the Peruvian Amazon.\r\nThis tale is centered around women, more so than men, as they look after the children and their health, whilst the men are out hunting and fishing. Men are more interested in plants that aid their inner spirits when hunting , whilst women are more interested in plants that will allow their children to grow.\r\nThere was one particular woman who was very interested in plants, who liked to pick the leaves of different plants. She would then crush the leaves into a pot and soak them in water over night. She would then take a bath every morning before sunrise (the way to find out about various plants and their effects is to bathe in them). She bathed in them every morning until she had a dream. In her dream a woman came and said, “why are you bathing every day?” She answered “I am doing this as I want you to teach me.” The other woman said “You must seek out my uncle, his name is Kamarampi. I will show you where to find him”. The woman led the other woman to her uncle. The uncle showed her how to mix the leaves of the chacruna, which was a bush she had taken leaves from to bathe in. He showed her how to prepare the brew of Ayahuasca, he told her to go and tell the people the knowledge of how to use the brew. \r\n\r\nOne of the many mysteries surrounding Ayahuasca is how the vine became to be used with the Chacruna leaves as although they both come from the same soil but always grow apart otherwise the ayahuasca winds around the Chacruna and kills it. No one knows this but we get a clue from how the shamans interact with the plant. Javier Arevalo a shaman from the Peruvian Amazon told us “ that his grandfather and uncles used to sit around after taking ayahuasca and he said that ayahuasca was originally taken alone and in the visions they saw that chacruna was missing. Ayahuasca would say I am the doctor that gives the vision. His grandfather responded, how can we find this plant? The response in the vision was, you can find it by turning two corners. So they went around two corners and found a bush which attracted them which was chacruna i.e the ayahuasca showed them. \r\n\r\nThis is a fundamental principle, in the visions it is the spirit doctor of ayahuasca which tells them what is wrong with their patient, what medicine they need, or who has caused the illness or malaise. \r\n\r\nAyahuasca and the spirit of plants.\r\n\r\nIn the West there are lots of stories like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ reminding us that plants have spirit power, Alice in Wonderland explored this world too. There is a large body of knowledge of power plants even if the form has been adapted to fairy tales and ‘domesticated’, not to under rate the richness of Grimms’ tales.\r\n\r\nAll the plants used in medicine today were known by our ancestors. McKenna suggested that the evolution from primates to humans was achieved when we left the tropical rain forest to inhabit the savannah regions. We learned to stand on two legs and consumed psychotropic mushrooms. Interaction of plant and animal, change of diet meant a change of consciousness. Goats have a habit of eating all kinds of herbs which is why in the Andes, you are not supposed to eat goat’s milk or meat if you are having mental problems. In Lapland the reindeer eat the hallucinogenic mushrooms and the shamans drink their urine which has been “processed”. \r\n\r\nWhen a person drinks Ayahuasca, especially with a trusted shaman, there is a chance to learn and trust the plant. You discover that it works in its own way. It is a great moment getting to this point. Then there is the question of whether the plant trusts us, because it can be abused and used for getting the wrong kind of personal power. Without intention, vision, preparation, and a shaman, it is a drug not a healing medicine. \r\n\r\nIn the Amazonian world Ayahuasca, as indeed all plants, has a spirit which is angelic but also has human emotions projected like jealousy, vengefulness, wroth etc. When it is being prepared, the shaman has to watch over it at all the time to prevent bad spirits being introduced. The fire needs tending regularly throughout the 10 hours concoction and the shaman should diet during this time. It is said that the spirit of Ayahuasca is very jealous and that if the rules of its preparation are not respected it is resentful. We wonder if this is a cultural thing or would it happen to us Westerners as well. During our interviews we constantly found that the general rules about the working of Ayahuasca did not always match up with our own experiences. For example the addition of toe (bella dona) and tobacco to induce vomiting is supposed to make you have a clear head the next morning but we found sometimes it was the other way round. We found it hard to pin down which were the decisive factors. \r\n\r\nSexual abstinence is another thing which is emphasised yet this seems to be a very individual thing. It would seem though, on reflection, that the purpose and intentions of the shaman are among the more important factors, that he follows the diet during preparation and for the session. At all times he is placing his energy where the Ayahuasca is. This also means that not anyone can be present to watch the brewing process, their quality as people as well as whether they had dieted, practised abstinence or had a period, all have an influence. When we watched the shaman Javier Arevalo preparing, his wife would do the washing and shredding of the Ayahuasca. After it had boiled for a while, Javier lit a large mapacho (hand rolled jungle tobacco) and blew smoke over the top of the concoction. The two of us were invited to do this as well. When this is done you can feel a blast from the boiling Ayahuasca in your face. Later in the session, the shaman or the person who has blown the smoke, feels the return of this blast and passes it on to his clients.\r\n\r\nIt is also important that none of the clients watch the process of preparation. In particular, a woman passing by who was having her period, could leave a bad energy with the medicine. This is a vexed question, the origins of which seem to be traceable to Christian, Amazonian and countless other traditions. \r\n\r\nAnthropologists call it taboo for want of a rational explanation, but as with all things of the primordial world, there are reasons inherited from ancestral times, which may have been forgotten. At the dawn of time, realities were very different from what they are today. Mythology may shed some light on the matter, but one thing is sure we don’t really know! However it’s reasonable to make the assumption that our ancestors were not frivolous.\r\n\r\nWe worked extensively with Javier Arevalo and we had many discussions on the role of the Amazonian shaman and the use of ayahuasca. Javier comes from Nuevo Progreso, a community of 50 families on the Rio Napo, Department of Loreto, Peru. Several generations of his family before him have been shamans and already at the age of 17, he knew this would be his future. However it was not until he was 20 when his father died from a ‘virote’ (a poisoned dart in the spiritual world) sent by a jealous brujo, (sorcerer) that he felt compelled to follow the arduous five-year apprenticeship to be a shaman. \r\n\r\nJavier, what is the role of a shaman?\r\nHe learns everything about the rain forest and uses that knowledge to heal his people since they do not have money for Western style doctors. He uses Ayahuasca to discover in his visions, which plants will be effective for which illnesses.\r\n\r\nHow do you perceive this?\r\nThe sprits or plant doctors tell us. As they are pure, they are made happy when we are too, so we must diet in order to attract them. That means we should not eat salt, sugar or alcohol, and abstain from sex. The spirits come and say, for example they will cure in two months if the patient takes a particular plant. Then the shaman goes out to look for the plant.\r\n\r\nIt is said that every environments has the necessary plants to heal the people?\r\nYes, every plant has a spirit, the shaman goes into the forest as part of his apprenticeship and spends two years taking plants and roots. He takes Ayahuasca too and the spirit tells him what it cures. Then the shaman tries another plant, each time remembering which ailment is cured by what.\r\n\r\nDoes each shaman have to find it all out for himself or is there a body of knowledge handed down?\r\nThe maestro goes with the apprentice into the wilderness and gives him the different plants and it is like a test or trial to overcome. The maestro is usually a member of family. In my case both my grandfather and my uncle were maestros. You go off deep into the forest with your maestro and make a very simple shelter or ‘tambo’. A shaman must not live in a big house, its just for sleeping and dieting.\r\n\r\nHow long do you have to diet the plant?\r\nJust one day to know its process, the next day you move onto another. This is if you do not return to the city, you can get through a lot of plants. This is different from dieting a plant for a month say.\r\n\r\nSo does every condition or illness have a particular plant to remedy it or is it a spirit energy which comes through the plant which can cure many things?\r\nOne plant may cure lots of ailments. A particular plant has a spirit which can either heal or kill. As for example with another shaman (who we worked with earlier) , who had not dieted Ayahuasca correctly and poom! it caused fever and people caught colds.\r\n\r\nSo why would a plant kill or cure?\r\nBecause an hechicero (sorcerer) also learns from the plants. He may for example learn from dieting a plant which has spines or phlegm which could be good for certain things. But if he is bad no one can stop him and in the night ‘ffoooo’ he uses it for harm or to kill. These are the brujos who come back from the forest with eyes red like the huayruro (red beans with black spots). He is a bad shaman and we have to cure the people they harm. \r\n\r\nWho would want to do such things?\r\nThere are some people who have a squabble with someone, and then they go off to see a brujo and say “this Senora talks too much and has insulted me, kill her and I’ll pay you”. They pay them and they do harm.\r\n\r\nBut the shaman who made us ill did not do it intentionally.\r\nNo, of ignorance. It was a shaman from the city not from the forest. He went away and left us to mop up the ill effects. He may have had a good teacher but does not diet, he is very fat! (People in the jungle are rarely fat.)\r\nIn addition he probably eats the day of the session and that is why he threw up himself!\r\n\r\nHow does this affect Westerners?\r\nIt doesn’t matter, they will probably throw up and not have any vision because when he blows he has condiments on his breath. However, it matters much less if the clients have eaten or not stuck rigorously to the diet. The important thing is that the shaman diets.\r\n\r\nNote: There is much discrepancy between shamans concerning the question of vomiting. Some say it is necessary for the body to rid itself of what ever is necessary and that if they are not sick they might get ill. (Ayahusaca is often referred to as La Purga.) Others say if you vomit you will not have such good vision and on no account should a shaman vomit.\r\n\r\nWhy and how did you become a shaman?\r\nI never thought of being a shaman. I took Ayahuasca from 14 years old just to clean my stomach. Later my father said I heard you chanting, you are going to be a shaman. I don’t want to I said. Later when I was 20 my father died from sorcery so then I wanted to learn in order to take vengeance. During my apprenticeship I had a change of heart and understood that God knew best in such situations.\r\n\r\nWhy did the brujo want to kill your father?\r\nBecause he was a curandero who had cured someone who had been harmed by the brujo. It happens because we curanderos undo the work of the brujos and they get angry with us. This is the famous spiritual battle between the brujos. When you cure you send the bad magic back to where it comes from and the brujos get their own dirty medicine back. This is why there is a fight between the good and the bad.\r\n\r\nHoward tells story of his battle with one of Javier’s assistants 3 weeks earlier.\r\n(Javier laughs a lot and explains.) Well because he was not really a shaman, he works as a guide, he drinks liquor. Then when he takes Ayahuasca and chants icaros he is not pure and his doctors don’t take any notice of him. The spirits start bothering (molesting) the people participating in the session. That is what happened to Howard. When I take Ayahuasca I talk to the doctors who give visions, I ask them to cure, I have dominion over them because I diet. If I don’t, they make you crazy or annoy you.\r\n\r\nSo if the shaman cannot control himself, then the spirits get out of hand?\r\nIf you can’t dominate the spirits of the jungle you are nobody, instead of curing they run away or take no notice of you.\r\n\r\nSo the control of the spirits is fundamental?\r\nSpirits are like angels. God withstood 40 days of hunger and temptation by the devil and was resurrected. That’s what we have to do too.\r\n\r\nThis is Christianity, but your (Javier’s) people were practicing long before the missionaries came. Is it possible to separate the Christian from the wisdom of the jungle?\r\n\r\nNo, no, they work together. But it has nothing to do with going to a church. You learn all this in the wilderness. The spirits there are the angels of each plant to which you add your will to heal the client. This is the will of Christ.\r\n\r\nWhere does the power of the shaman end and the spirits begin?\r\n\r\nThe shaman receives the power from the jungle, he doesn’t have any power of his own that he doesn’t get from the forest.\r\n\r\nWhen I look at you by day I see just a normal young man, when you wear your clothes and move into the ayahuasca space you become different, a different presence, you become larger… \r\n\r\n(Javier laughs!) The medicine is not in the body, the body can wear clothes for example, and you see that by day. But at night you don’t see my body, you see my spirit which receives the medicine which transforms me through the vision. I have to be pure so as to be a receptacle of the spirit of the medicine. It is essential too for a shaman to be happy, the shaman laughs at everything, because a happy heart is what cures. He can’t have a long face or fight with his wife and children.\r\n\r\nYou started off with a desire for revenge, what changed you into a shaman?\r\nMy grandfather saw that my heart was bitter and he told me that it would not get me anywhere. My heart was still hard and wanted to kill! Bit by bit through taking the very plants that I had intended to use for revenge, the spirits told me it was wrong to kill and my heart softened.

Howard G. Charing is a partner in Eagle’s Wing Centre for Contemporary Shamanism. His initiation into the world of Shamanism was sudden, which was caused by a serious accident, which resulted in severe injuries and a near-death experience. After many months of physical pain and disability, he had a transformational experience, which started him on a path to healing. If you like to know more about his work, Howard conducts “Plant Spirit Medicine” journeys to the Amazon Rainforest.

Albert Hofmann Father Of Lsd Dead

Posted by Ina Woolcott

Dr. Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD, and the man who launched a thousand trips died age102 on the 29th April 2008. I wish we would have gone to Basel this year now – ironically we did say that we should go this year as it nay be the last time we see Albert Hoffman, who first synthesized the drug in 1938 and then learned of its hallucinatory effects 5 years later, after accidentally ingesting it.

Dr. Hofmann called LSD ‘Medicine for the Soul, and although he took LSD hundreds of times, he saw it as a powerful and potentially dangerous psychotropic drug that demanded respect. The pleasures of the psychedelic experience were unimportant to him, rather it was the drug’s value as a revelatory aid for contemplating and understanding what he saw as humanity’s oneness with nature. That perception of union, which came to Dr. Hofmann as an almost religious epiphany while still a child, directed much of his personal and professional life. His love for life can be seen clearly in his face no matter what age. You can clearly see his loving soul shine through.

According to Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Dr Hofmann died of a heart attack at his home in Basel, in a statement posted on the association’s website.

Rapture And Revolution

Dear New Friends of www.future primitive.org

We would like to alert you to a new series of five discussions beginning 29 December 2007 between Joanna Harcourt-Smith and John Lash:

RAPTURE AND REVOLUTION

Discussions on Entheogens and the Planetary Shift:

The Wasson Thesis and the Religious View of Nature The Psychonautic Adventure – Three Generations of Discovery

The Organic Light and Telestic Shamanism

The Planetary Shift – Society or the Species

The Revolution and Evolution of Love

www.future primitive.org

Another great interview-podcast. This time a second conversation with Dr. Ralph Metzner psychotherapist writer and researcher who has been involved in the study of transformations of consciousness since graduate school when he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. He is the co-founder and president of the Green Earth Foundation an educational and research organization dedicated to the healing and harmonizing of the relationships between humanity and the Earth
http://www.futureprimitive.org/GAIAlogues.html

Please listen and give us feedback

Warm regards

Jose Luis G. Soler
Production Assistant
futureprimitive.org
[email protected]

We Are All One A Call To Spiritual Uprising J M Harrison

“When you venture beyond identity, you realize that what you are is awakened consciousness. No longer a separate piece of the puzzle of life, but interconnected existence itself.” J.M. Harrison

An ordinary man tells an extraordinary story – written in just 6 days following a near death experience, this book shares the insights of the author’s meeting with universal consciousness. Using simple language and everyday examples, he reveals how the present global spiritual awakening is revolutionising our understanding of the links between mind, matter and spirit, reflecting upon the profound effects it has on our lives and the collective future reality of our species.

His message is that through consciously aligning with the spiritual truism “We are all one”, we can learn how to access our true selves with increasing frequency, gradually overcoming our addiction to the “I”, eventually entering a new realm where oneness is a living reality. J.M.Harrison is a spiritual guide, intuitive healer, and mystic. We Are All One, is his first publication, offering followers on the path of self-realisation, a doorway to the deepening of awareness by sharing his experiences of awakening. This book is original, pure and a blessing to all spiritual truth seekers.

Ayahuasca Shaman Javier Arevalo Interviewed In The Amazon Rainforest Peru

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

Spirituality is at the centre of the Ayahuasca experience. Purification and cleansing of body, mind, and spirit in a shamanic ceremony can be the beginning of a process of profound personal and spiritual discovery. This process can continue indefinitely even if one never drinks Ayahuasca again. We believe that by seriously looking at the way Ayahuasca is used we can improve our life experience and benefit more from this medicine. This article is extracted from the original interview by Howard G Charing and Peter Cloudsley which appeared in Sacred Hoop Magazine.

We worked extensively with Javier Arevalo on our Ayahuasca Retreats since 1998, and we had many discussions on the role of the Amazonian shaman and the use of ayahuasca. Javier comes from Nuevo Progreso, a community of 50 families on the Rio Napo, Department of Loreto, Peru. Several generations of his family before him have been shamans and already at the age of 17, he knew this would be his future. However it was not until he was 20 when his father died from a ‘virote’ (a poisoned dart in the spiritual world) sent by a jealous brujo, (sorcerer) that he felt compelled to follow the arduous five-year apprenticeship to be a shaman.

Javier, what is the role of a shaman?

He learns everything about the rain forest and uses that knowledge to heal his people since they do not have money for Western style doctors. He uses Ayahuasca to discover in his visions, which plants will be effective for which illnesses.

How do you perceive this?

The sprits or plant doctors tell us. As they are pure, they are made happy when we are too, so we must diet in order to attract them. That means we should not eat salt, sugar or alcohol, and abstain from sex. The spirits come and say, for example they will cure in two months if the patient takes a particular plant. Then the shaman goes out to look for the plant.

It is said that every environments has the necessary plants to heal the people?

Yes, every plant has a spirit, the shaman goes into the forest as part of his apprenticeship and spends two years taking plants and roots. He takes Ayahuasca too and the spirit tells him what it cures. Then the shaman tries another plant, each time remembering which ailment is cured by what.

Does each shaman have to find it all out for himself or is there a body of knowledge handed down?

The maestro goes with the apprentice into the wilderness and gives him the different plants and it is like a test or trial to overcome. The maestro is usually a member of family. In my case both my grandfather and my uncle were maestros. You go off deep into the forest with your maestro and make a very simple shelter or ‘tambo’. A shaman must not live in a big house, its just for sleeping and dieting.

How long do you have to diet the plant?

Just one day to know its process, the next day you move onto another. This is if you do not return to the city, you can get through a lot of plants. This is different from dieting a plant for a month say.

So does every condition or illness have a particular plant to remedy it or is it a spirit energy which comes through the plant which can cure many things?

One plant may cure lots of ailments. A particular plant has a spirit which can either heal or kill. As for example with another shaman (who we worked with earlier), who had not dieted Ayahuasca correctly and poom! it caused fever and people caught colds.

So why would a plant kill or cure?

Because an hechicero (sorcerer) also learns from the plants. He may for example learn from dieting a plant which has spines or phlegm which could be good for certain things. But if he is bad no one can stop him and in the night ‘ffoooo’ he uses it for harm or to kill. These are the brujos who come back from the forest with eyes red like the huayruro (red beans with black spots). He is a bad shaman and we have to cure the people they harm.

Who would want to do such things?

There are some people who have a squabble with someone, and then they go off to see a brujo and say “this Senora talks too much and has insulted me, kill her and I’ll pay you”. They pay them and they do harm.

But the shaman who made us ill did not do it intentionally. No, of ignorance. It was a shaman from the city not from the forest. He went away and left us to mop up the ill effects. He may have had a good teacher but does not diet, he is very fat! (People in the jungle are rarely fat.) In addition he probably eats the day of the session and that is why he threw up himself!

How does this affect Westerners?

It doesn’t matter, they will probably throw up and not have any vision because when he blows he has condiments on his breath. However, it matters much less if the clients have eaten or not stuck rigorously to the diet. The important thing is that the shaman diets.

Note: There is much discrepancy between shamans concerning the question of vomiting. Some say it is necessary for the body to rid itself of what ever is necessary and that if they are not sick they might get ill. (Ayahusaca is often referred to as La Purga.) Others say if you vomit you will not have such good vision and on no account should a shaman vomit.

Why and how did you become a shaman?

I never thought of being a shaman. I took Ayahuasca from 14 years old just to clean my stomach. Later my father said I heard you chanting, you are going to be a shaman. I don’t want to I said. Later when I was 20 my father died from sorcery so then I wanted to learn in order to take vengeance. During my apprenticeship I had a change of heart and understood that God knew best in such situations.

Why did the brujo want to kill your father?

Because he was a curandero who had cured someone who had been harmed by the brujo. It happens because we curanderos undo the work of the brujos and they get angry with us. This is the famous spiritual battle between the brujos. When you cure you send the bad magic back to where it comes from and the brujos get their own dirty medicine back. This is why there is a fight between the good and the bad.

Howard tells story of his battle with one of Javier’s assistants 3 weeks earlier. (Javier laughs a lot and explains.) Well because he was not really a shaman, he works as a guide, he drinks liquor. Then when he takes Ayahuasca and chants icaros he is not pure and his doctors don’t take any notice of him. The spirits start bothering (molesting) the people participating in the session. That is what happened to Howard. When I take Ayahuasca I talk to the doctors who give visions, I ask them to cure, I have dominion over them because I diet. If I don’t, they make you crazy or annoy you.

So if the shaman cannot control himself, then the spirits get out of hand?

If you can’t dominate the spirits of the jungle you are nobody, instead of curing they run away or take no notice of you.

So the control of the spirits is fundamental?

Spirits are like angels. God withstood 40 days of hunger and temptation by the devil and was resurrected. That’s what we have to do too.

This is Christianity, but your (Javier’s) people were practicing long before the missionaries came. Is it possible to separate the Christian from the wisdom of the jungle?

No, no, they work together. But it has nothing to do with going to a church. You learn all this in the wilderness. The spirits there are the angels of each plant to which you add your will to heal the client. This is the will of Christ.

Where does the power of the shaman end and the spirits begin?

The shaman receives the power from the jungle, he doesn’t have any power of his own that he doesn’t get from the forest.

When I look at you by day I see just a normal young man, when you wear your clothes and move into the ayahuasca space you become different, a different presence, you become larger…

(Javier laughs!) The medicine is not in the body, the body can wear clothes for example, and you see that by day. But at night you don’t see my body, you see my spirit which receives the medicine which transforms me through the vision. I have to be pure so as to be a receptacle of the spirit of the medicine. It is essential too for a shaman to be happy, the shaman laughs at everything, because a happy heart is what cures. He can’t have a long face or fight with his wife and children.

You started off with a desire for revenge, what changed you into a shaman?

My grandfather saw that my heart was bitter and he told me that it would not get me anywhere. My heart was still hard and wanted to kill! Bit by bit through taking the very plants that I had intended to use for revenge, the spirits told me it was wrong to kill and my heart softened.

Howard has also authored the book Plant Spirit Shamanism published by Destiny Books (USA) with a Forword of Pablo Amaringo.

Howard G. Charing is a partner in Eagle’s Wing Centre for Contemporary Shamanism. His initiation into the world of Shamanism was sudden, which was caused by a serious accident, which resulted in severe injuries and a near-death experience. After many months of physical pain and disability, he had a transformational experience, which started him on a path to healing. If you like to know more about his work, Howard conducts “Plant Spirit Medicine” journeys to the Amazon Rainforest.

Deva Premal Miten Music

Posted By Ina Woolcott

Where do I start… my love for Deva’s and Miten’s music started in 2004 after my time im Brazil. From personal experience I can recommend The Essence album, which I fell in love with in Brazil and played over and over again during my pregnancy along with Embrace and also The Deva Premal and Miten Story. When my daughter was born I sang the mantras to her during the day and at night and also had the music on softly in the background. One of my favourite songs has got to be the Gaiatra Mantra, which is to be found on The Essence . I also saw Deva and Miten live in Brighton back in the summer of 2004 with my MUM,and I have to say the CD’s cannot truly capture the beauty, the power and the deep reverberating tones of her voice which go right to your very core and give you goosebumps and make you tingle….absolutely awe-inspiring. I have never heard anyone sing like her. I also have Dakshina, which I refer to as meditating with my eyes open. Absolutely amazing, im listening to it now, I listen to it when I cook, when I lay in bed with my daughter to get her to sleep. We have a huge collection we listen to at night, and this is one of my favourites…(how many favourites do I have?!?!)

Seth Material Jane Roberts Robert Butts

Posted By Ina Woolcott

Jane Roberts 08-05-1929 – 05-09-1984, was an American author, psychic and trance medium or spirit medium who channelled a personality named Seth. The subsequent publication of the Seth texts established her as one of the pre-eminent figures in the world of paranormal phenomena. She also authored novels, short stories, children’s literature and various philosophical texts.

In late 1963, Jane Roberts and her husband, Robert Butts 20-06-1919 – 26-05-2008 experimented with a Ouija board as part of Roberts’ research for a book on extra sensory perception. According to Roberts and Butts, on 2nd December 1963 they started to receive coherent messages from a male personality who eventually identified himself as Seth. Soon after, Jane Roberts reported that she was hearing the messages in her head. She began to dictate the messages instead of using the Ouija board, eventually stopping the use of it. For 21 years until her death in 1984 – with a one-year hiatus due to her final illness – Roberts held regular sessions in which she went into a trance speaking on behalf of the ‘personality essence’ called Seth. Her husband Robert served as stenographer, taking the messages down in homemade shorthand, although some sessions were recorded.- I HAVE HEARD SOME OF THESE SESSIONS ON TAPE, AND I OWN AND HAVE READ MANY OF SETHS/JANES/ROBERTS BOOKS AND I MUST SAY THEY OFFER SOME OF THE BEST MATERIAL EVER ON THE NATURE OF PHYSICAL REALITY, THE PSYCHE, THE ORIGINS OF THE UNIVERSE, THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION, THE CHRIST STORY, THE NATURE OF GOD, THE PURPOSE FO LIFE AND MUCH MUCH MORE ETC. A MUST MUST MUST READ!!

The messages from Seth, consisting mostly of monologues on a very wide variety of topics, are collectively known as the Seth Material. Beginning with the 511th session in January 1970 Seth began to dictate his own books. Roberts claimed no authorship of these books beyond her role as medium. According to Roberts and Butts, these books were published verbatim with only minor editorial corrections. This series of “Seth books” eventually totalled 10 volumes, although the last two books appear to be incomplete due to Roberts’ illness. Robert Butts contributed notes and comments to all the Seth books, and thus was a co-author on all of them.

The Seth personality described himself as an “energy personality essence no longer focused in physical reality”, who was independent of Roberts’ subconscious, although Roberts herself expressed scepticism as to Seth’s origins. The Seth personality said that he had completed his earthly reincarnations and that he was speaking from an adjacent plane of existence – or “system of reality” or “universe”, all terms which Seth used. He described himself as an educator whose task was to impart the principles set forth in the Seth Material to the current generation of human beings.

The Seth personality’s demeanour was notably different from Roberts’, as reported by witnesses who included Butts, friends, acquaintances and students. He could be stern, jovial or professorial, frequently assuming a distinct accent which was not identifiable. Roberts’ syntax and sentence structures were modern and clear when speaking as Seth. Sessions were held at regular intervals, usually 2 weekly. For many years Roberts conducted one, and then two, ESP classes in addition to the regular sessions. With the exception of these ESP classes, Roberts gave few readings to the public and was mostly focused on publishing the Material in printed form.

I strongly recommend anyone who is ready for these books to purchase them. They are first class, amazing, informative reading….

What The Bleep Do We Know

Posted by Ina Woolcott

What the Bleep Do We Know? is a lecture on mysticism and science mixed into a sort-of narrative. Marlee Matlin stars in the dramatic thread, about a sourpuss photographer who begins to question her perceptions. Interviews with quantum physics experts and New Age authors are cut into this story, offering thought provoking theories.

Basic principles of quantum physics are applied to human psychology. In the main this film consists of interviews with experts in related fields, who pose existential questions and answer them with theories of endless possibilities. They explain that reality is only as we define it, that matter is permeable, and that experiences in life should be approached as controllable by the human mind.

Opening doors to broad ideas, e.g. that we could exist simultaneously in many realities, that we could be in multiple places at once, that we could observe ourselves from outside our bodies, that time travels backwards and forwards – experts encourage positive thinking and open-mindedness. A situational plot involving a deaf photographer who is assigned to work at a Polish wedding serves to illustrate how the theories discussed could be applied to everyday experiences. Meanwhile, intense sequences of computer animation offer illustrations of outer space, the neural functions in our brains, the way that various hormones work, and even some funny Jello-like characters representing chemical reactions in our bodies. Anyone on the spiritual path will love this movie, and also the extended director’s cut of the international hit What the BLEEP Do We Know!? (What the BLEEP – Down the Rabbit Hole). Down the Rabbit Hole includes new scientific findings that supplement the original movie, and goes more deeply into the concepts explored. The interviews are lengthened and a full 95% of all interviews is never before seen footage exploring the links between quantum mechanics, neurobiology, human consciousness and day-to-day reality. Featuring 1hour of new interviews and 2 new scientists, Dean Radin, Ph.D., and Dr. Masaru Emoto, and author of The Hidden Messages in Water, as well as Lynne McTaggart author of The Field; and introducing Dr. Quantum in 20 minutes of new animation, this is the deeper film exploration audiences have been asking for.

I have seen the movie and recommend it. Nothing I didn’t know already, but its good to hear the same things over and over again so it really sticks!

Ayahuasca The Visionary Paintings And Wisdom Of Pablo Amaringo

Pablo Amaringo is one of the world’s greatest visionary artists, and is renowned for his highly complex, colourful and intricate paintings of his visions from drinking the Ayahuasca brew. Pablo wrote the foreword, a spiritual and ecological message as the foreword for my book ‘Plant Spirit Shamanism’, published by Destiny Books (USA).

Pablo Amaringo trained as a curandero in the Amazon, healing himself and others from the age of ten, but gave this up in 1977 to become a full-time painter and art teacher at his Usko-Ayar school. His book, Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, co-authored with Luis Eduardo Luna, brought his work and the rich mythology of the Amazon to a wide audience in the West.

Pablo Amaringo was born Puerto Libertad, in the Peruvian Amazon. He was ten years old when he first took Ayahuasca—a visionary brew used in shamanism, to help him overcome a severe heart disease. The magical cure of this ailment via the healing plants led Pablo toward the life of a vegetalismo in which he worked for many years.

My visions helped me understand the value of human beings, animals, the plants themselves, and many other things. The plants taught me the function they play in life, and the holistic meaning of all life. We all should give special attention and deference to Mother Nature. She deserves our love. And we should also show a healthy respect for her power!

Plants are essential in many ways: they give life to all beings on Earth by producing oxygen, which we need to be active; they create the enormous greenhouse that gives board and lodging to diverse but interrelated guests; they are teachers who show us the holistic importance of conserving life in its due form and necessary conditions.

For me personally, though, they mean even more than this. Plants—in the great living book of nature—have shown me how to study life as an artist and shaman. They can help all of us to know the art of healing and to discover our own creativity, because the beauty of nature moves people to show reverence, fascination, and respect for the extent to which the forests give shelter to our souls.

The consciousness of plants is a constant source of information for medicine, alimentation, and art, and an example of the intelligence and creative imagination of nature. Much of my education I owe to the intelligence of these great teachers. Thus I consider myself to be the “representative” of plants, and for this reason I assert that if they cut down the trees and burn what’s left of the rainforests, it is the same as burning a whole library of books without ever having read them.

People who are not so dedicated to the study and experience of plants may not think this knowledge is so important to their lives—but even they should be conscious of the nutritional, medicinal, and scientific value of the plants they rely on for life.

My most sublime desire, though, is that every human being should begin to put as much attention as he or she can into the knowledge of plants, because they are the greatest healers of all. And all human beings should also put effort into the preservation and conservation of the rainforest, and care for it and the ecosystem, because damage to these not only prejudices the flora and fauna but humanity itself.

Even in the Amazon these days, many see plants as only a resource for building houses and to finance large families. People who have farms and raise animals also clear the forest to produce foodstuffs. Mestizos and native Indians log the largest trees to sell to industrial sawmills for subsistence. They have never heard of the word ecology!

I, Pablo, say to everybody who lives in the Amazon and the other forests of the world, that they must love the plants of their land, and everything that is there!

This expression of love must be a sincere and altruistic interest in the lasting well-being of others. We are not here simply to exist, but to enjoy life together with plants, animals, and loved ones, and to delight in contemplation of the beauty of nature. A shaman has in his mind and heart the attitude of conserving nature because he knows that life is for enjoying the company of this world’s countless delights.

Any painting, or book, or piece of art that spreads this message is to be respected, and every reader who picks up a book on this subject is to be honoured.

I invite you to read on, and to learn from the greatest teachers of all—the plants, our sacred brothers and sisters.

Howard G Charing and Peter Cloudsley met with Pablo at the school which he founded (Usko-Ayar school of painting) in Pucullpa where he lives and paints, and interviewed Pablo about his life as a shaman and artist. The original interview with Pablo Amaringo, first published in Sacred Hoop Magazine (including some of his paintings) is on the Eagle’s Wing website www.shamanism.co.uk

Dom Romulo Spiritquest Interview Iquitos Peru

Conducted by: John Alexander. Translator: Howard Lawler. Redacted by: Victoria Alexander
Victoria can be reached at [email protected]

JA = John Alexander
DR=Don Romulo

JA: Victoria said she saw your spirit guides.

DR: Yes, yes. They come to me when I drink Ayahuasca. In the Ayahuasca State I call for the doctors to come. Doctor Ayahuasca is the doctor that makes all the medicines. I call each doctor, whether it’s a plant or a spirit doctor, to come to help me heal. All the maestros, all the curanderos who work with Ayahuasca come back to work with other curanderos after they die. The word for these spirit doctors is genio. Some of these spirits I knew before they died.

JA: Are they different now from when they were alive?

DR: They come in union with Ayahuasca. They have become one with Ayahuasca. And with the bringing of these medicines that comes when Dr. Ayahuasca is summoned. They are part of that. They are joined with that. These spirit doctors, the genios, live on other planets and come here when we call them. By their powers, they can tell when we are drinking Ayahuasca.

JA: How do they get here?

DR: They can come like air. They are able to come here virtually instantly just by thinking about coming here. When they think of coming here, they are here.

JA: What is the difference between spirits from other planets and from earth?

DR: Those from planets don’t have earthly bodies, they are in spirit form. They have other forms. Those that are from the earth manifest in an earthly form that can be recognized as of the earth. Sometimes when they come they look like dragons. Sometimes they look like eagles or birds. Some of these birds live in the very top of mountains but they can fly into space.

JA: From your area, which is quite a distance down river from Iquitos, have you heard of any instances of people being taken by these spirits?

DR: Yes, people do see things like this. They often come from the water. They transform. They first come in what looks like a boat. It comes from underneath the water. It has lights on it that are flashing. Inside this boat that comes from beneath the water, there are people who look like spirits. They look like the genios.

JA: Have you seen this yourself?

DR: Yes. They have the form of people. I have only seen them from a distance of about 50 meters. They have the form of people but I can’t describe their appearance in detail. They are humanoid.

JA: Are there cases of people being harmed by these spirits?

DR: Oh, yes. There are cases where they have harmed people. If people are in a canoe or motor boat what happens is a whirlpool forms and this pulls the boat into the whirlpool. They are sucked down into the whirlpool and they disappear. This also happens in cases of witchcraft in order to get rid of people. Witches cause them to get caught in a whirlpool.

JA: How often has this happened?

DR: Not just once. Several times.

JA: Are these disappearances ever reported to the police?

DR: Okay, for example, I’m a shaman. What I would do in the case of a person missing is go into an Ayahuasca ceremony and speak with the spirits to try and find out what happened to the person.

JA: Can you go into the Ayahuasca state without taking Ayahuasca?

DR: No, no. To go into that state I have to drink Ayahuasca.

JA: How many times have you taken Ayahuasca?

DR: I’ve taken Ayahuasca thousands of times.

JA: Have you ever taken Ayahuasca during the day?

DR: Yes, I have experienced Ayahuasca in the daytime, but I do not see as well in the daytime. I can see much better at night.

JA: What happens when you die?

DR: You go to the underworld – Inferno, that is, Hell, if you have led a bad life. After you serve your penance you can be released from Hell. It’s not forever. If you leave clean of sin you then go straight to glory. If you die in sin, your spirit is going to suffer.

JA: Tell me about the spirits you encounter during an Ayahuasca ceremony.

DR: The spirits come back through the trunk – the stem – of the Ayahuasca. This form of Ayahuasca is called “Cielo Ayahuasca,” which means “Ayahuasca of Heaven” because it is the pathway through which healing spirits travel back to earth. They come through the vine into the curandero to bring their healing from Heaven. “Cielo” in Spanish has two meanings. It means “Heaven” and “sky.” It’s the same word and many people loosely interpret it to mean “Sky Ayahuasca.” What it really means is “Ayahuasca of Heaven and its pathway from Heaven to earth.”

JA: What is the most important thing I can ask you?

DR: What you need to know about Ayahuasca is that there are many things to learn, and many things to see. There are many medicines to be found along the path. This has the power to heal everything that’s bad in a person, especially disease. Because Doctor Ayahuasca tells us what the disease or what the problem is with the person and what causes the problem. In many cases its witchcraft or some bad intention or something generated by the bad intention or the will of others. When I can find out what it is and who did it, I can take it out.

JA: On earth we have seen new diseases like AIDS and Ebola. Where do they come from? Can curanderos stop these diseases?

DR: These come at the same time from the same world – from this world. They emerge at the same time.

JA: Can they be prevented?

DR: For every disease like this that comes along there are treatments. There are medicines. Even for AIDS there are vegetable medicines that work very well to control it and people don’t always die from it. One of these remedies for people infected with AIDS is to eat tortoise. When the tortoise – from the time it hatches and throughout it’s life – eats a variety of forest fruits and plants which keep it from getting sick. The tortoise never gets sick. It has a strong immune system. So eating the meat of the tortoise passes on the strength of its immune system to the person who eats it. Here, we very much believe in the strong adage “You are what you eat.” That’s why we don’t eat pork because pigs eat a lot of stuff that we wouldn’t think of eating. So basically what people eat makes them conscious that they are part of the food chain. They are in that flow of nutrient or flow of medicine depending on what characteristics that plant has.

JA: What have I not asked you that I should?

DR: I have dedicated myself to shamanism to help people. There are people who come who want to learn how to be a curandero, how to be a shaman. They have to be dedicated to learning the good side of it and not the lies. They have to learn how to do good and not to carry forth the lies.

JA: Are you training anyone?

DR: Right now the only one is my son. My son is studying under me. My son is 28 years old.

Victoria Alexander: When you were working on Tom, I saw that your icaro [power song] called forth a spirit. He was dancing rhythmically to your icaro. He was powerfully built, very tall, and wore a headdress of feathers. When I asked who he was, and how to make contact with him, I was unable to get his attention. Who was he? DR: (nods and smiles) This is Lashingo. It is a spirit guide of the ——– tribe. He has worked with me for years. You would not have been able to contact him.

HOWARD LAWLER: You probably would not have been able to contact him. These spirit helpers are very specific to the people they work with. They don’t work with just anybody. Just anybody can’t call them. They’re not going to respond. This kind of work – when he comes back through the door to be in this world for a brief period of time – he is specifically an ally of Don Romulo. But with time, you certainly would find your own sprit doctors who would work with you. There are many out there that who are unaffiliated and waiting for the right person to come along. But there is a destiny to this and when the spirit meets you on the other side and makes that commitment to you then that spirit is with you forever. I have my spirit doctors also. They are mine, they come to me in my work and they are with me. Its not any one person who is gifted to have this connection but anyone can attain it if they want to.