Shipibo Ayahuasca Shaman Leoncio Garcia Interviewed

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

The Shipibo are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Peruvian Amazon. These ethnic groups each have their own languages, traditions and culture. The Shipibo which currently number about 20,000 are spread out in communities through the Pucallpa / Ucayali river region. They are highly regarded in the Amazon as being masters of Ayahuasca, and many aspiring shamans and Ayahuasqueros from the region study with the Shipibo to learn their language, chants, and plant medicine knowledge. In this article we interview the Shipibo maestro Leoncio Garcia.

We interviewed Shipibo maestro Leoncio Garcia, a man in his mid seventies but with the appearance of a man twenty years younger. Again a testimonial to the youth giving qualities of Ayahuasca and the plant medicines of the Amazon Rainforest.

Interviewed at Mishana Private Retreat Centre, Amazon Rainforest with Peter Cloudsley August 2005.

Leoncio Garcia

I didn’t become a shaman until I was 50. I am now 74. I was always so busy working in the chacra, or cutting wood, it was only when I began to get a bit older. Until then I had taken Ayahuasca for all the usual reasons of health, but that was all. After deciding to do the diet I drank Ayahuasca seriously but I didn’t see anything and didn’t think I would learn anything but still I kept on drinking every night and didn’t sleep. With just one day to go before completing three months’ diet, I had a tremendous vision and I began to chant and continued all night until dawn. I saw under the earth, under the water, and into the skies, everything. Probably I was learning from the sprits during the diet but I didn’t understand. After that I could see what the matter was with people. I dieted pinon Colorado and tobacco first and then tried all the other plants.

This was in San Francisco, a Shipibo community on Yarinacocha, Pucullpa where I was born. After this I went to Huancayo for six months to try my medicine. Then I went to Ayacucho and then a Senor took me to Lima to heal his wife. After two months I was taken to Trujillo and then Arequipa, Cusco, Juliaca, Puno. Everything worked out well and I worked with a doctor once who was not very successful and soon there were people queuing outside her consultancy. Eventually I came to Iquitos in 2000 and I haven’t had time to return to my family since then, I just send them money.

When I go round to people blowing tobacco smoke it is to give them arcanas, to protect them so that when things happen around them it doesn’t hurt them or make them ill.

Leoncio tells a Shipibo (cautionary) myth?

There was once a wise man called Oni who knew what each and every healing plant could be used for. He knew all their names and one day he saw a liana and recognized it as Ayahuasca and he learned to mix it with Chacruna. One night he tried it and learned so many things that he carried on drinking it. But because he went on drinking so long and often he stopped eating and drinking, and just chanted day and night. Now he had two sons and they said ‘come and have breakfast Papa’, but he carried on drinking Ayahuasca and when they tried to pick him up, he was stuck to the ground and couldn’t be moved. So they left him chanting to all the plants everyday and night and they noticed that Ayahuasca was growing out from his fingers. So the sons went back to their chacras and after a month came back again, to see their father. Everywhere Ayahuasca ropes had tangled around him and still he continued chanting day after day and the forest carried on growing around him. After a few more months, he had merged with the forest itself and that is why it’s called Ayahuasca, rope of the dead and in Shipibo Oni.

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.

Spiritual Traditions Of The Andes Doris Rivera Lenz Howard G Charing Peter Cloudsley Part 2

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

Part 2: A look at the rich and powerful spiritual legacy of the Andean civilization which is only now being properly recognised after 500 years of obscurity. This interview of Doris Rivera Lenz, was conducted by Howard G. Charing & Peter Cloudsley. This interview appeared in Sacred Hoop Magazine Issue 57, and the book Plant Spirit Shamanism (Destiny Books USA).

Are people who come to you for coca divination often unwell?

If you ask me if people are unwell, the majority are unwell, in their spirit or mind, there are lots of problems today. They are particularly afflicted in the stomach, the solar plexus, and the belly button. It’s the place of emotional pain, and also where we are joined to life. This is what ayahuasca is, the rope that connects us to life.

What about people who sense that their bad luck is caused by someone putting a hex on them. What do you do? Can you send the hex back to its place of origin?

The first thing is to discover what is going on in the present. The wife had an accident, the husband was unfaithful, they haven’t got a job, the house is falling down… Then I look to see their capacity to accept a criticism, to listen to the mother leaf ticking them off saying: you have done this, you are insecure, weak, a drunk, or a prostitute. What is the story? Is it karmic or something that they are doing?

When there is jealousy in the jungle the black brujo might send out virotes (poisoned darts in the spirit world) while a good shaman blows mapacho tobacco smoke, and cleanses you with his shacapa leaves, but this sounds like a more psychological approach, you are seeing what people are doing themselves. How do you make sense of the belief that the problem is caused by sorcery?

You have to show the person he is not the victim of sorcery and that he is creating the problem in his mind. They need to go back over it; talking about it brings it out and is the first part of becoming well again.

It is true that some people will take vengeance through black magic when they feel prejudiced or offended in some way, because they are sick. When people think they have power and feel superior, the ego can become very negative. The first thing I do is to wake up the consciousness of the person who has been harmed and tell them that evil does not exist! ‘You are inventing it’, I tell them. Black brujos do exist of course, but you need to use a bit of psychology.

The power of black magic does not exist?

Neither good nor bad exists, it is a universe, and we create the good and the bad. But I recognise that the person may feel attacked. When someone falls ill it means they are weak and the curandero must speak positively and encourage them to shine light on it. Then they can create positive thoughts for themselves. If I agree and say they are bewitched its makes them worse.

I see you are trying to shift that person’s reality around but do you recognise that it can exist?

Of course, but the act itself is not so powerful as white magic, it is the negative spirit of the black brujo which creates the power of the spell. If you get hold of a chicken and take off its feathers, put a toad inside, and hang it in the doorway of a hated neighbour, you can give them a nasty fright, but without a powerful negative spirit nothing will happen. But if the intentions are very negative and the person is weak they will pick it up quickly.

The most powerful brujos are found in the jungle where there are powerful plants for healing just as there are dangerous plants that can paralyse your body and so on. But plants have much more wisdom than people. Do you think that if I go to a floripondio and say I want help to do harm to so and so, that it will be at my disposal? You have to make a pact with the spirit.

Do people need to believe that your ceremony has done something?

When people trust that you are a white curandero they open up, you have special permission to go into their soul, and work with suggestion. Lets say you give them a bath in a herb with spines, and you ask permission from the spirit of that plant to heal the person with fright or a bad spell – you bathe them, you put them on a diet, you cleanse them and purify them. You call their soul and give them strength and they get well.

You are a psychologist?

Its OK to say that.

A lot depends on the mind and education of the person. Some curanderos hardly speak to their clients, do they?

Yes, I talk a lot, but there are times when I can’t say anything.

Is there something similar going on when you pass eggs over people?

There are several ways of working with an egg. We know that an egg is the union of the masculine and the feminine. We should recognise that this union is supremely sacred. We are the product of an egg too. So the egg is the total energy of the mother’s and the father’s cells. You take the first egg of a hen, which is virgin, and ask the ‘angelic’, elemental spirit to take away the illness of a person, you ask the spirit for permission to do it. Then you pass it over their body, its like an X-Ray. You can also do it with guinea-pigs or rabbits, but I don’t like doing it with animals.

Is it a mechanical process or is there a link between you and the client?

There is a link, a connection with the spirit of the egg, because I don’t have X-Ray eyes. When I break the egg into a glass of water, there is no set interpretation that says that a bubble here always means this or that. The moment the human mind comes into the passing of the egg or a coca leaf reading, the process goes out of balance. If I want to comfort you, and I say: you’re not going to die, you’ll be OK, its spoiled.

The fact that there is a long tradition behind these methods of divination helps you?

Of course, its an ancestral thing.

What is different about people from the West? What do they need?

Their heads cutting off! No, its only a joke!

To be serious though, their religion has failed them, the church authorities have kept vested interests and institutions going. Eventually people have thrown the baby out with the bath water. In Peru, the campesinos have never really believed in the European religion, the Pope, sin, guilt etc. which has only confused them.

When the Inca Atahualpa was told by the Spanish he should be baptized, he replied: ‘No, I won’t change my God, for a God which has died already. I believe in one with never dies.’ Mother Earth is the feminine aspect of God, and father Sun is the masculine aspect, and we are a product of that. We are Gods and we should believe in ourselves first. Its fine to have Gods; the Oriental ones, an Inca, an extra-terrestrial, Buddha or Crishna, but there will never be anything like Mother Earth and the Sun, or the moon. Think what would happen if we lost them? That is God!

All Gods come through Nature. You can have as many Gods as you want, it doesn’t close any doors, no one is being judged, but what has become of Western religion? Materialism, loss of identity, loss of customs. How can we help people in the face of the avalanche of problems being created today? Cut off their heads? Give them a heavy dose of positive cosmic radiation?

There is so much struggle today. Take the climatic changes, for example, it shouldn’t be raining at this time in Cusco, yet it is pouring down, so people are no longer thinking about nature but money and the help they need. People have become completely insecure. Imagine if we went to live in nature again, surrounded by mountains, or in the rainforest, in nature.

Yet the tendency today is for everybody to want to move into the cities everywhere, to live like America, build motorways.

Its sad. I’ve spent time with people in the Andes. I have seen people leaving their traditional clothes and customs for the Maranata religion. They are a group that says why do you believe in the Earth, the Sun, the puma and the condor? Again religion controlling the Andean campesino. These people go to the city and see a TV and think, ‘what a beautiful TV!’ They sell their llamas and buy one. I am sad to see their children who are so pure, being contaminated.

They learn negative habits and are hypnotized, and no longer want to work their land. It really hurts in my soul to see a Q’ero curandero obsessing about dollars meanwhile forgetting his power. This loss of values for material things is happening so fast, its incredible! It’s the Western influence which has been working over 500 years.

They see on TV the huge kinds of potatoes which can be produced using fertilizers, and they think ‘how beautiful, I want that’, but they don’t know how the earth is ruined by fertilizers.

What do you see happening in the future on a planetary level?

People will get a nasty shock from seeing the increasing changes and natural disasters on the earth and we will be shocked into changing.

The only way we can change?

Unfortunately yes. To avoid the fear we need to work daily to balance ourselves, so that the collective fear will not infect us. Even if those around you are overcome you must be a maestro and maintain your centre. We have forgotten the power that an offering has, look how we are eating this chocolate and we have forgotten to give a little to the Earth.

Every body worries about their future, no? But there will come a time when no one will want to consult about it any more, they will have finally woken up to the realisation that there is no future in the way we are going. They will be shocked into living in the present and this will create a new human being. We will realise that individualism doesn’t work and this will unite us in a shared future.

The desperation will show the necessity of love. Who will want to do harm or be aggressive when money and material things have become useless? We will come back to a new kind of community consciousness. We are beginning to anticipate all this and becoming more conscious, but we are swerving about. However, people who see only the material world, are blind to it and live isolated from humanity. What happens to them when there is an earthquake or tidal wave? This is what Pachacuti is about, an awakening of a new consciousness, a return.

There is so much wisdom in nature, she rears us like her children, teaches us to ask permission, to care for her like ourselves.

Related link:
Spiritual Traditions of the Andes | Interview with Doris Rivera Lenz

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.

Spiritual Traditions Of The Andes Interview With Doris Rivera Lenz Part 1

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

Part 2: A look at the rich and powerful spiritual legacy of the Andean civilization which is only now being properly recognised after 500 years of obscurity. This interview of Doris Rivera Lenz, was conducted by Howard G. Charing & Peter Cloudsley. This interview appeared in Sacred Hoop Magazine Issue 57, and the book Plant Spirit Shamanism (Destiny Books USA).

Are people who come to you for coca divination often unwell?

If you ask me if people are unwell, the majority are unwell, in their spirit or mind, there are lots of problems today. They are particularly afflicted in the stomach, the solar plexus, and the belly button. It’s the place of emotional pain, and also where we are joined to life. This is what ayahuasca is, the rope that connects us to life.

What about people who sense that their bad luck is caused by someone putting a hex on them. What do you do? Can you send the hex back to its place of origin?

The first thing is to discover what is going on in the present. The wife had an accident, the husband was unfaithful, they haven’t got a job, the house is falling down… Then I look to see their capacity to accept a criticism, to listen to the mother leaf ticking them off saying: you have done this, you are insecure, weak, a drunk, or a prostitute. What is the story? Is it karmic or something that they are doing?

When there is jealousy in the jungle the black brujo might send out virotes (poisoned darts in the spirit world) while a good shaman blows mapacho tobacco smoke, and cleanses you with his shacapa leaves, but this sounds like a more psychological approach, you are seeing what people are doing themselves. How do you make sense of the belief that the problem is caused by sorcery?

You have to show the person he is not the victim of sorcery and that he is creating the problem in his mind. They need to go back over it; talking about it brings it out and is the first part of becoming well again.

It is true that some people will take vengeance through black magic when they feel prejudiced or offended in some way, because they are sick. When people think they have power and feel superior, the ego can become very negative. The first thing I do is to wake up the consciousness of the person who has been harmed and tell them that evil does not exist! ‘You are inventing it’, I tell them. Black brujos do exist of course, but you need to use a bit of psychology.

The power of black magic does not exist?

Neither good nor bad exists, it is a universe, and we create the good and the bad. But I recognise that the person may feel attacked. When someone falls ill it means they are weak and the curandero must speak positively and encourage them to shine light on it. Then they can create positive thoughts for themselves. If I agree and say they are bewitched its makes them worse.

I see you are trying to shift that person’s reality around but do you recognise that it can exist?

Of course, but the act itself is not so powerful as white magic, it is the negative spirit of the black brujo which creates the power of the spell. If you get hold of a chicken and take off its feathers, put a toad inside, and hang it in the doorway of a hated neighbour, you can give them a nasty fright, but without a powerful negative spirit nothing will happen. But if the intentions are very negative and the person is weak they will pick it up quickly.

The most powerful brujos are found in the jungle where there are powerful plants for healing just as there are dangerous plants that can paralyse your body and so on. But plants have much more wisdom than people. Do you think that if I go to a floripondio and say I want help to do harm to so and so, that it will be at my disposal? You have to make a pact with the spirit.

Do people need to believe that your ceremony has done something?

When people trust that you are a white curandero they open up, you have special permission to go into their soul, and work with suggestion. Lets say you give them a bath in a herb with spines, and you ask permission from the spirit of that plant to heal the person with fright or a bad spell – you bathe them, you put them on a diet, you cleanse them and purify them. You call their soul and give them strength and they get well.

You are a psychologist?

Its OK to say that.

A lot depends on the mind and education of the person. Some curanderos hardly speak to their clients, do they?

Yes, I talk a lot, but there are times when I can’t say anything.

Is there something similar going on when you pass eggs over people?

There are several ways of working with an egg. We know that an egg is the union of the masculine and the feminine. We should recognise that this union is supremely sacred. We are the product of an egg too. So the egg is the total energy of the mother’s and the father’s cells. You take the first egg of a hen, which is virgin, and ask the ‘angelic’, elemental spirit to take away the illness of a person, you ask the spirit for permission to do it. Then you pass it over their body, its like an X-Ray. You can also do it with guinea-pigs or rabbits, but I don’t like doing it with animals.

Is it a mechanical process or is there a link between you and the client?

There is a link, a connection with the spirit of the egg, because I don’t have X-Ray eyes. When I break the egg into a glass of water, there is no set interpretation that says that a bubble here always means this or that. The moment the human mind comes into the passing of the egg or a coca leaf reading, the process goes out of balance. If I want to comfort you, and I say: you’re not going to die, you’ll be OK, its spoiled.

The fact that there is a long tradition behind these methods of divination helps you?

Of course, its an ancestral thing.

What is different about people from the West? What do they need?

Their heads cutting off! No, its only a joke!

To be serious though, their religion has failed them, the church authorities have kept vested interests and institutions going. Eventually people have thrown the baby out with the bath water. In Peru, the campesinos have never really believed in the European religion, the Pope, sin, guilt etc. which has only confused them.

When the Inca Atahualpa was told by the Spanish he should be baptized, he replied: ‘No, I won’t change my God, for a God which has died already. I believe in one with never dies.’ Mother Earth is the feminine aspect of God, and father Sun is the masculine aspect, and we are a product of that. We are Gods and we should believe in ourselves first. Its fine to have Gods; the Oriental ones, an Inca, an extra-terrestrial, Buddha or Crishna, but there will never be anything like Mother Earth and the Sun, or the moon. Think what would happen if we lost them? That is God!

All Gods come through Nature. You can have as many Gods as you want, it doesn’t close any doors, no one is being judged, but what has become of Western religion? Materialism, loss of identity, loss of customs. How can we help people in the face of the avalanche of problems being created today? Cut off their heads? Give them a heavy dose of positive cosmic radiation?

There is so much struggle today. Take the climatic changes, for example, it shouldn’t be raining at this time in Cusco, yet it is pouring down, so people are no longer thinking about nature but money and the help they need. People have become completely insecure. Imagine if we went to live in nature again, surrounded by mountains, or in the rainforest, in nature.

Yet the tendency today is for everybody to want to move into the cities everywhere, to live like America, build motorways.

Its sad. I’ve spent time with people in the Andes. I have seen people leaving their traditional clothes and customs for the Maranata religion. They are a group that says why do you believe in the Earth, the Sun, the puma and the condor? Again religion controlling the Andean campesino. These people go to the city and see a TV and think, ‘what a beautiful TV!’ They sell their llamas and buy one. I am sad to see their children who are so pure, being contaminated.

They learn negative habits and are hypnotized, and no longer want to work their land. It really hurts in my soul to see a Q’ero curandero obsessing about dollars meanwhile forgetting his power. This loss of values for material things is happening so fast, its incredible! It’s the Western influence which has been working over 500 years.

They see on TV the huge kinds of potatoes which can be produced using fertilizers, and they think ‘how beautiful, I want that’, but they don’t know how the earth is ruined by fertilizers.

What do you see happening in the future on a planetary level?

People will get a nasty shock from seeing the increasing changes and natural disasters on the earth and we will be shocked into changing.

The only way we can change?

Unfortunately yes. To avoid the fear we need to work daily to balance ourselves, so that the collective fear will not infect us. Even if those around you are overcome you must be a maestro and maintain your centre. We have forgotten the power that an offering has, look how we are eating this chocolate and we have forgotten to give a little to the Earth.

Every body worries about their future, no? But there will come a time when no one will want to consult about it any more, they will have finally woken up to the realisation that there is no future in the way we are going. They will be shocked into living in the present and this will create a new human being. We will realise that individualism doesn’t work and this will unite us in a shared future.

The desperation will show the necessity of love. Who will want to do harm or be aggressive when money and material things have become useless? We will come back to a new kind of community consciousness. We are beginning to anticipate all this and becoming more conscious, but we are swerving about. However, people who see only the material world, are blind to it and live isolated from humanity. What happens to them when there is an earthquake or tidal wave? This is what Pachacuti is about, an awakening of a new consciousness, a return.

There is so much wisdom in nature, she rears us like her children, teaches us to ask permission, to care for her like ourselves.

Related link:
Spiritual Traditions of the Andes | Interview with Doris Rivera Lenz

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.

The Attributes Of Plants And The Spirit Of Life A Shaman S Perspective

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

The shamans work with the power of the plants in many ways, the colours of the flowers, the perfume, their shape, form, and associations. This although does not play a role in modern medicine, this understanding has a long history most notably introduced by the 16th century alchemist and philosopher Paracelsus, who in his famous “Doctrine of Signatures” treatise proposes his premises which are based upon the view that Nature itself is a living organism which must be considered as an expression of the One Life, and that man and the Universe are one in their essential nature, and that there is a ‘magnetic’ attraction between every part of nature and its corresponding part in man. He held that the inner nature of plants may be discovered by their outer forms or signatures. Paracelsus also applied this principle to food, “it is not in the quantity of food but in it’s quality that resides the Spirit of Life”.

Nowadays these are principles which are very familiar, in particular it one of the fundamental reasons for eating organic food. The huge concerns regarding the consumption of genetically modified (GM) food is a powerful demonstration of the notion and ‘gut-feeling’ that it is basically wrong.

Even with this in mind, Paracelsus’s premise is a far more subtle, spiritual, and in essence shamanic then it’s rational minded critics deride, in as much the outer form is the just the gateway (i.e. an outer sensorial portal) to the inner spirit or consciousness of the plant.

Of Paracelsus, Manly Hall the Canadian philosopher, and author has said, gained his knowledge “not from long-coated pedagogues but from dervishes in Constantinople, witches, gypsies, and sorcerers, who invoked spirits and captured the rays of the celestial bodies in dew”. As an observation it sounds just like the kind of people who do communicate with the plant spirits!

To illustrate the connection between the alchemical knowledge and the knowledge of indigenous peoples is this understanding of the form, and characteristics of the plant is not confined to the physical but also other attributes too, as an interview with the Amazonian maestro Artiduro Aro Cardenas who remarks; ‘A smell has the power to attract. I can also make smells to attract business, people who buy. You just rub it on your face and it brings in the people to your business, if you are selling, people come to buy. I also make perfumes for love, and others for flourishing. These are the forces of nature, what I do is give it direction with my breath so it has effect. I use my experience of the plants, which I have dieted. I have a relation with the plants and with the patient; I can’t make these things on a commercial scale.

When I diet I take in the strength of the plant and it stays with me. Later I find the illness or suffering of the person or what it is they want, and the plant guides me and tells me if it is the right one for that person, and I cure them’

He also (as do many maestros) works with the plants not only to heal illnesses but to resolve domestic and family problems;

‘I get people coming for help to give up drug addiction, people with family problems, supposing the man has gone off and left his family, the Mama is here with me and the Papa is far away. I pull him back so he returns to his home so that the family can consolidate again. In a short time he will be thinking of his children and his wife, and he comes back. I don’t need to have the actual plants in front of me, I call the plant spirits which work for that, Renaco, Huayanche, Lamarosa, Sangapilla, perfumes and I call his spirit back to the family home. I blow smoke to reunite them.’

Another (in a very enjoyable way) the qualities, consciousness or spirit of the plant is used to attract benign forces is “los baños florales” or flower baths. In this the individual is bathed in flowers, which have been soaking in water for many hours. The maestro prepares the water by blowing mapacho (jungle tobacco) smoke and at the same time placing his intention into the flower soaked water. Again these flowers and plants have been gathered from sometimes deep and not easily accessible locations in the rainforest and have been selected for their specific qualities, which the maestro feels, are needed to help that person.

On the edge of the Amazonian town Iquitos is the market river port of Belen, which has the famous street ‘Pasaje Paquito’ where many of the rainforest, herbs, plants, mixtures, tinctures are sold. Chatting to Delia the owner of the stall where I buy plants from, I remember her describing some of the potions, lotions, plants, tonics, barks, perfumes, roots, oils, aphrodisiacs and leaves, and remarking “when you talk to the plants you will get to know them like friends, they have their own spirits, their own personalities”.

Related link: Alchemy, Shamanism, Organic Food, and the Doctrine of Signatures

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.

Keepers Of The Children Native American Wisdom And Parenting Laura Ramirez

Keepers of the Children, Native American Wisdom and Parenting uses little known Native American secrets to teach parents how to raise children who know their nature and use their strengths to create lives of meaning and contribution. By bringing up children to unfold the uniqueness in their hearts, parents touch the depths of their own. By teaching children the secrets of genuine fulfilment, they grow up to lead purposeful lives and cherish their parents for this gift.

I personally have this book in my collection, and it is a truly amazing book. It is easy to read, and makes sense – you read it and think how obvious, why didn’t I think of that? If only all children were raised this way. (Minus the going to public school bit!) I love the Native American wisdom and simple yet effect adnd correct approach to life, how they treat each other and themselves.

The Celestine Prophecy James Redfield

I have 3 of James Redfields book, and have seen the movie version of The Celestine Prophecy , ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!

The Celestine Prophecy contains secrets currently changing our world. Drawing on the ancient wisdom found in a Peruvian manuscript, it tells you how to make connections between the events happening in your own life right now and lets you see what is going to happen to you in the future.

This diamond of a book is a work that has come to light at a time when the world deeply needs to read its words. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life, and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimism as you head into tomorrow.

What 1 reader on Amazon said:

I first read this book about 3 years ago when I was 16. At that time I was depressed, ill and thought nothing could make that go away. I read this book in just 3 days, I just couldn’t put it down. I can only describe it as a ray of light that shattered that darkness and changed my life. I have read the other reviews posted here and resent those people who try to make those of us who enjoyed this book look naive. I am an English honours degree student at one of the top universities in the country and yes, I recognise the weaknesses in the books written style, but I feel we should overlook this. James Redfield is not trying to present us with a piece of great literature, he trying to give us something enlightening, something to make us think and give some hope for our future, something many of us desperately need. The Celestine Prophecy remains one of my favourite books, I remain grateful to James Redfield for writing it and mostly I would hope to unreservedly reccommend this book to everyone who feels there is something missing in their life.

What 1 person said about the DVD version of the book:

This is a very uplifting and inspiring movie version of the amazing book The Celestine Prophecy. James Redfield the author produced this himself in order to retain his creative control over how this was made and it shows. If you have ever read any of the Celestine Prophecy books you will really enjoy this movie and it follows the story line of his first book completely. I was truly moved and inspired by the message, and I will give this DVD out as gifts for all my friends. There will always be people who will not understand this kind of Spiritual film and give it a bad review but that’s ok, as more and more people are looking for inspiring films to see and own and I believe that this one is definitely one worth adding to your library. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Magic Of Machu Picchu

By Carolynne Melnyk www.AndeanTriangle.com

Andean Shaman and Healing Guide

All of my life has been a spiritual journey.

I’ve been all around the world on this journey and when it finally led me to Machu Picchu, Peru, I knew I had found my spiritual home. And now it seems natural that I personally guide others who also want to explore the mystical powers and gifts of this ancient sacred site.

I have always had psychic abilities and been drawn to nature. Yet the practical side of me pursued two degrees in Education and Educational Management. In 1983, I left Canada for a two year job in Nigeria. This turned into 20 years of wandering around the globe working in international schools in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

During these years exploring different cultures and places I developed more compassion and understanding for all the people on Earth, a greater trust in my intuition and the many synchronicities that flowed in my life, as well as a deep respect and love for Mother Earth. So it was a natural step for me to become interested in shamanism which holds that we are connected to all people, plants, animals, rocks and earth on this planet as well as all things in the universe.

Over the years my interest in shamanism led me to work with shamans in Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil and Peru. But it was in March, 2003 that this interest changed my life very drastically. While working with a shaman in Brazil I had a powerful vision that showed me very specifically that it was time to go to Peru and more specifically to Machu Picchu. I was shown that if I followed this path it would be necessary to step outside my comfortable world of international education with all of its perks and devote myself to the path of spiritual understanding. It was an enormous decision but I knew within that this was what I had to do. So in June, 2004 I found myself in Cusco with only my vision and trust in a higher force to guide me.

A short while after arriving in Peru I made my way to Machu Picchu. The moment I had my first view of the sanctuary of Machu Picchu I knew that after 20 years of wandering I had come home. With tears running freely down my cheeks the site spoke to my heart in a way that no other place on Earth had.

It was during this first visit that I met the Guardian shaman of Machu Picchu. From that first meeting we both felt like we had known each other all our lives and a strong connection was made. Since then, with the help of this man as well as a few others, I have learned to walk the path of the shaman and share my knowledge with those who come on my guided journeys.

Although I am considered a shaman, it is only a label, for everyone is a shaman waiting to be awakened and once the spirit is awake then the learning, growing and expanding continues as long as we walk on this Earth. The label is not important, rather it is the integrity with which one walks the path that is most important.

Andean shamanism is like shamanism the world-over in that it is nature based. The essence of Andean shamanism is a strong connection to Pachamama or Mother Earth, all the elements of nature and a respect for the divine creation. By connecting with all the elements of nature and the divine flow of the universe we also learn to flow and create. We literally become part of the oneness of all things.

Andean shamanism teaches us that all things have energy and properties beyond the material and physical and when we learn to work with them we discover their hidden powers as well as the great powers hidden within ourselves. When one uses the techniques of the Andean shamanism, one is able to connect and transcend the physical and enter the realm of the spirit world.

Since the Andeans believe that all the Earth is sacred the whole planet is considered a sacred place. But there are places that are considered special or sacred based on location, the combination of various elements of nature such as the relationship between earth, air, and water or those considered to have special powers or spirits.

Machu Picchu is considered one of those sacred places because of its location within concentric circles of mountains, the river circling the base of the mountain it stands upon, the great quantities of quartz crystal found there (which is why it is also called the Crystal City) and the fact that it was constructed in complete harmony with the physical and cyclical aspects of nature.

The most important spirit in the Andes is the Apus or the mountains. The Apus represent the Hanac Pacha or the upper sphere and act as antennae to other dimensions. There is an inner and outer ring of mountains which act as guardians and create a power circle with Machu Picchu at the centre. Each of these mountains has special properties and energies. To those who come with a clear and pure intent these ancient mountains will open up and share their energetic powers with you.

Machu Picchu sits at 2,450 metres above sea level and around its base flows the waters of the Wilkamayu River that eventually flows into the Amazon River. In the Andean shamanic tradition, water is a great purifying force.

We begin our journey in Lake Titicaca because by working with the water to wash and balance us we begin to clear away any heavy energy we are carrying around with us. It also helps to open us to the work we do with the other elements in the different locations.

Lake Titicaca is also considered sacred because it is from Lake Titicaca that Wiracocha, the creator, brought the sun, moon, stars and planets out of the lake to take their place in the sky thus providing light for a dark world. With time the sun and the moon had children who also arose from the lake and went on to populate the four corners of the world.

Another sacred place is the ‘Gate of the Gods’ or Amara Muru Doorway. This inter-dimensional portal, which faces Lake Titicaca, lies in a wonderland of strange natural rock formations that are in stark contrast to the surrounding area. Legend says that Amara Muru stepped through the portal leaving this three-dimensional world forever. There are many legends in the area telling of people who have gone through the portal never to return (although I do know one person who entered the portal and did return). The area within the triangle of Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu and the Amazon is considered a power vortex. The jungle of the Amazon basin is also considered sacred because of the great life force that lies within it. Within these three areas are strong energy lines that connect the various sites and the regions. In addition to these energy lines, each of the areas we visit on my guided tour connects us to the four main elements. Lake Titicaca represents the element of water that washes and balances us. Machu Picchu represents the element of air that purifies and enlightens us. The Amazon represents earth that cleans and transforms us. Above us, Tayta Inti (or Father Sun), shines on us representing the element of fire that transmutes and sanctifies us.

I had a very powerful experience working with the earth element. We do a ceremony where we ask Pachamama to take or absorb something in our life that we no longer want to carry around. In this instance, I wanted to be rid of a fear I was carrying. In this ceremony each person runs around a circle stating the thing that that they wish the earth to rid of them of. Then after some time we lay on the ground in the exact middle of the circle with our belly buttons pressed into the earth and feel what ever it is we are getting rid of the flow into the earth. As I lay there feeling the earth take my fear I began to feel my self enter the ground and Mother Earth wrap her arms around me like a mother would do for a child. As my fears left I felt the intense love that Mother Earth has for each us. This experience made me realize the earth is a living breathing soul.

I had one client who was carrying around great amounts of anger and frustration. After leaving the lake and proceeding along to Machu Picchu and then the Amazon, the source of the anger and frustration began to reveal itself and she was able to acknowledge and clear them. Upon returning to her home and work, her friends and family thought that a new person had arrived home. Since then she has made changes in her life to incorporate what she learned on this trip.

I had another client who, after the tour, left a job that he disliked and found the courage to pursue a career more in line with what he really wanted to do.

The tour is designed specifically so that awareness opens gradually so that there is some time for reflection and integration. Each place and each step leads to the next level. This is more than a tour it is an experience!

As published in Mosaic Mind, Body and Spirit Magazine. May 2007 edition.

The Shamans Healers And Psychic Surgeons Of The Philippines Part 3 Placido Palitayan

Submitted by Howard G. Charing

A healer and psychic surgeon working in Baguio is Placido Palitayan. He is an extremely confident and skilled psychic surgeon. It was again a privilege to meet, interview, make videos, and work with him. I have a full interview on video with Placido, and this is the transcription following some healing sessions where Placido operated on three people (including me):

Howard: Can you tell me more about the healing and psychic surgery that you have just done which we have just videoed?

Placido: I am not a medical doctor, so it is difficult to provide a medical description or explanation. In the healing process, when I heal, I heal with my total being, my mind, my heart, and my soul is praying that god will help you.

The mystery here is the power, or energy, or what we call god. Our bodies are complex, often having problems caused by emotions. Everybody has that; no one is perfect in health. But our mind in connection (he points upwards) to him, is doing miracles, moment to moment in our life.

Howard: When you start your healing as I have just seen, you say your prayers and you meditate, and this external power enters you, and then you start to make the openings in the person’s body. Is that how you see this?

Placido: Yes it is something like that. I am doing the healing, I am not thinking about myself, or about anything. I just serve, so that the divine power will work through me, the patient just has to relax, and open their mind, not thinking about any problems, so that the divine energy works through and through the whole body system.

Howard: I understand. This is consistent with what I have heard from other psychic surgeons.

Placido: This is how the healing works.

Howard: I was feeling very relaxed with you, feeling very open, and now I am feeling a lot better, much clearer.

Placido: I know.

Howard: I would like to ask you some questions. As we have discussed, I bring groups of Westerners to the Philippines, and they would like to know more about the healer, their background and so on. So can you tell me how you started your healing work?

Placido: I think that it is a divine plan, and beyond my knowledge. I was very young when I broke my fingers. It was after my studies at school, and I was with my friends. I had to leave my friends as it was twilight time, as I wouldn’t be able to see my way home in the dark. The place I used to go was downhill, and I ran home as it was getting dark, I fell and tumbled down, and struck my finger on a big rock. My fingers went completely backwards (he demonstrates this). In my mind, because I was very young, only nine, I had thought that I had destroyed my hand. I only had one thing to do, and that was to pray. It wasn’t what I had learned in church, or what others had taught me. I prayed very deeply in my soul, a very short prayer, I can’t remember what I said even now, but it was from my soul. Suddenly after my prayer, I rubbed my hand, and shook it, and it was perfectly restored.

I went home, I could not, I could not talk, and I was so amazed at what had happened. I did not think that god did it. The next day when I went to school, the teacher asked “Placido, will you answer the question?” I could hear her, but could not speak. I was maybe in what they call a in a trance. A trance which nobody knew where it came from. The teacher came close up to me, and slowly waved her hands a few inches from my face. I knew that she was doing this, but I could still not respond. Only when she touched me, could I reply “yes maa’m”, only then was I aware.

Since that time, I couldn’t go to school anymore, as they said I was crazy! So after that I went in the mountains in solitude. In the mountains there is nobody, only sugarcane. So all I was doing was drinking was the sugarcane, and just thinking. I knew that I must be crazy; I said to myself “what am I doing here, I’m only eating sugarcane”. I could not even urinate as I had drunk too much sugar from the sugarcane. So I knew that I had to drink otherwise I would destroy my health. And that was the beginning of what they now call ‘spiritual awareness’. So after that, when ever I saw people, I was able to tell if they were ill, sick, or unhappy. I also found that I could talk to them in ways that put them at ease or made them feel happy. They said to me “you are not crazy, because you know how to answer our problems”. I said that I didn’t know how, but being young, and having nothing to lose, I said just what I saw, and they started to believe me.

When the Missionaries came, and talked about god, I felt magnetised by their words, and I became close to them. I asked if I could go with them, and when they visited other communities, I would touch people and they would get better. I realised that what the bible was saying about healing was happening to me. Later the missionaries became jealous of me, as when I talked to people they liked me, and would gather by me and not the missionaries.

The missionaries didn’t want me to be with them, and I became alone again, I felt as if no one liked me. Anyway I had to work, as here in the Philippines you have to so you can eat. My work was very hard, digging, breaking rocks, hard work like that. It’s a long story, but then along came the great psychic healer Eleuterio Terte (he was the first psychic surgeon), then Tony Agpoa, Ricardo Gonzales, and they all wanted me to work with them. I said that I couldn’t divide myself into three. Anyhow I decided to work with Gonzales (he made a better offer!). I was still very young and didn’t yet speak English. I travelled with Gonzales to Australia in August 1958. After that I was able to complete my education.

Howard: May I ask how old you are?

Placido: 65

Howard: Listening to your story, it is obvious that your healing has developed over the years, and you perform your work with great confidence. Did you start with ‘magnetic’ and psychic healing?

Placido: At the beginning of my studies with Gonzales, I went to a tribal community of head-hunters. One of them had a big tumour, and I started to manipulate (magnetic massage) the area, and suddenly the body opened and blood spurted up and flowed out. I didn’t know why or how this had happened, as I was only manipulating the body. Then I looked behind me, and the Chief had raised his arm and holding a large bone, he wanted to kill me. He must of thought that when the blood spurted out, that I had stabbed the patient. The Chief wanted to cut off my head (they are head-hunters!), but the bone broke in half, and his arm couldn’t move. Then he saw that there was no more blood and that the wound had healed. The patient was starting to get up and was laughing too. The Chief smiled, and said that I should stay here, be with his family. I said “no thanks, I do not belong here, I belong to all people who need my help”.

Howard: Well at least you made some good friends there. As they say, it’s good to be on friendly terms with the head-hunters!

Placido: Yes, he wanted to kill me, and then he became my very close friend. After that I came to Baguio, and I joined with the healers. I didn’t do any psychic surgery, as I thought that this happened to me just once. In Baguio, I met with Tony Agpoa who was working with hundreds of people. He said “Placido, I am so tired, it is already 5 ‘o clock and I still have many people to heal! I said that I will help, and in 30 minutes, I helped all the people with psychic surgery. I was very organised, I made sure that everybody was prepared, and I just did it. He was very surprised, “how did you do it?” He asked, “All those people in such a short time”.

There are many stories to tell, but all I want is peace. I give spiritual advice, I talk not about religion, as to me religion is man made, ‘Him’ (pointing upwards) in his work is the most important thing for me. I need to train my son to do this work and help me.

Howard: Listening to what you have been saying, it really seems that the most important thing is this ‘feeling’, as a young boy you gad no thoughts about what was happening, but you had a feeling. Well I really want to thank you for your time, and I appreciate you sharing your story and adventures with us, many thanks for that.

Related links:
Healers, Shamans, and Psychic Surgeons of the Philippines
The Enigma of Jun Labo

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.

The Visual Music Of The Shipibo Tribe Of The Amazon

Submitted by Howard Charing

The Shipibo people of the Upper Amazon in Peru have a unique and complex form of visionary art. Underlying the intricate geometric patterns of great complexity displayed in the art of the Shipibo people is a concept of an all pervading magical reality, which can challenge the Western linguistic heritage and rational mind.

The Magical Art of the Shipibo People of the Upper Amazon

Underlying the intricate geometric patterns of great complexity displayed in the art of the Shipibo people is a concept of an all pervading magical reality, which can challenge the Western linguistic heritage and rational mind.

These patterns are more than an expression of the one-ness of creation, the inter-changeability of light and sound, the union or fusion of perceived opposites, it is an ongoing dialogue or communion with the spiritual world and powers of the Rainforest. The visionary art of the Shipibo brings this paradigm into a physical form. The Ethnologist “Angelika Gebhart-Sayer” calls this “visual music”.

The Shipibo are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Peruvian Amazon. These ethnic groups each have their own languages, traditions and culture. The Shipibo which currently number about 20,000 are spread out in communities through the Pucallpa / Ucayali river region. They are highly regarded in the Amazon as being masters of Ayahuasca, and many aspiring shamans and Ayahuasqueros from the region study with the Shipibo to learn their language, chants, and plant medicine knowledge.

All the textile painting, embroidery, and artisan craft is carried out by the women. From a young age the Shipibo females are initiated by their mothers and grandmothers into this practice. Teresa a Shipiba who works with us on our Amazon Retreats tells that “when I was a young girl, my mother squeezed drops of the Piripiri (a species of Cyperus sp.) berries into my eyes so that I would have the vision for the designs; this is only done once and lasts a lifetime”.

The intricate Shipibo designs have their origin in the non-manifest and ineffable world in the spirit of the Rainforest and all who live there. The designs are a representation of the Cosmic Serpent, the Anaconda, the great Mother, creator of the universe called Ronin Kene. For the Shipibo the skin of Ronin Kene has a radiating, electrifying vibration of light, colour, sound, movement and is the embodiment of all possible patterns and designs past, present, and future. The designs that the Shipibo paint are channels or conduits for this multi-sensorial vibrational fusion of form, light and sound. Although in our cultural paradigm we perceive that the geometric patterns are bound within the border of the textile or ceramic vessel, to the Shipibo the patterns extend far beyond these borders and permeate the entire world.

One of the challenges for the Western mind is to acknowledge the relationship between the Shipibo designs and music. For the Shipibo can “listen” to a song or chant by looking at the designs, and inversely paint a pattern by listening to a song or music.

As an astonishing demonstration of this I witnessed two Shipiba paint a large ceremonial ceramic pot known as a Mahuetá. The pot was nearly five feet high and had a diameter of about three feet, each of the Shipiba couldn’t see what the other was painting, yet both were whistling the same song, and when they had finished both sides of the complex geometric pattern were identical and matched each side perfectly.

The Shipibo designs are traditionally carried out on natural un-dyed cotton (which they often grow themselves) or on cotton dyed in mahogany bark (usually three or four times) which gives the distinctive brown colour. They paint either using a pointed piece of chonta (bamboo) or an iron nail with the juice of the crushed Huito (Genipa americana) berry fruits, which turns into a blue- brown-black dye once exposed to air.

Each of the designs are unique, even the very small pieces, and they cannot be commercially or mass produced. In Lima I met with a woman who had set up a government funded community project, which amongst other matters established a collective for the Shipibo to sell their artisan work and paintings. She tells that a major USA corporation (Pier 1 Imports), enamoured by these designs ordered via the project twenty thousand textiles with the same design, this order could never be fulfilled, the Shipibo could simply not comprehend the concept of replicating identical designs.

The Shipibo believe that our state of health (which includes physical and psychological) is dependent on the balanced union between mind, spirit and body. If an imbalance in this occurs such as through emotions of envy, hate, anger, this will generate a negative effect on the health of that person. The shaman will re-establish the balance by chanting the icaros, which are the geometric patterns of harmony, made manifest in sound into the body of the person. The shaman in effect transforms the visual code into an acoustic code.

A key element in this magical dialogue with the energy, which permeates creation and is embedded in the Shipibo designs is the work with ayahuasca by the Shipibo shamans or muraya. In the deep ayahuasca trance, the ayahuasca reveals to the shaman the luminous geometric patterns of energy. These filaments drift towards the mouth of the shaman where it metamorphoses into a chant or icaro. The icaro is a conduit for the patterns of creation, which then permeate the body of the shaman’s patient bringing harmony in the form of the geometric patterns, which re-balances the patient’s body. The vocal range of the Shipibo shaman’s when they chant the icaros is astonishing, they can range from the highest falsetto one moment to a sound, which resembles a thumping pile driver, and then to a gentle soothing melodic lullaby. Speaking personally of my experience with this, is a feeling that every cell in my body is floating and embraced in a nurturing all-encompassing vibration, even the air around me is vibrating in acoustic resonance with the icaro of the maestro. The shaman knows when the healing is complete as the design is clearly distinct in the patient’s body. It may take a few sessions to complete this, and when completed the geometric healing designs are embedded in the patient’s body, this is called an Arkana. This internal patterning is deemed to be permanent and to protect a person’s spirit.

Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, Professor of Ethnology, University of Marburg writes that “Essentially, Shipibo-Conibo therapy is a matter of visionary design application in connection with aura restoration, the shaman heals his patient through the application of a visionary design, every person feels spiritually permeated and saturated with designs. The shaman heals his patient through the application of the song-design, which saturates the patients’ body and is believed to untangle distorted physical and psycho-spiritual energies, restoring harmony to the somatic, psychic and spiritual systems of the patient. The designs are permanent and remain with a person’s spirit even after death.”

Whilst it is not easy for Westerner’s to enter and engage with the world view of the Shipibo which has been developed far away from our linguistic structures and psychological models, there is an underlying sophisticated and complex symbolic language embedded in these geometric patterns. The main figures in the Shipibo designs are the square, the rhombus, the octagon, and the cross. The symmetry of the patterns emanating from the centre (which is our world) is a representation of the outer and inner worlds, a map of the cosmos. The cross represents the Southern Cross constellation, which dominates the night sky and divides the cosmos into four quadrants, the intersection of the arms of the cross is the centre of the universe, and becomes the cosmic cross. The cosmic cross represents the eternal spirit of a person and the union of the masculine and feminine principles the very cycle of life and death which reminds us of the great act of procreation of not only the universe, but also of humanity, and our individual selves.

The smaller flowing patterns within the geometric forms are the radiating power of the Cosmic Serpent, which turns this way and that, betwixt and between constantly creating the universe as it moves. The circles are often a direct representation of the Cosmic Anaconda, and within the circle itself is the central point of creation.

In the Western tradition, from the Pythagoreans, and Plato through the Renaissance music was used to heal the body and to elevate the soul. It was also believed that earthly music was no more than a faint echo of the universal ‘harmony of the spheres’. This view of the harmony of the universe was held both by artists and scientists until the mechanistic universe of Newton.

Joseph Campbell the foremost scholar of mythology suggests that there is a universe of harmonic vibrations, which the human collective unconscious has always been in communion with. Our beings beat to the ancient rhythms of the cosmos. The traditional ways of the Shipibo and other indigenous peoples still reflect the primal rhythm, and their perception of the universal forces made physical is truly a communion with the infinite.

Howard G. Sharing 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.

The Way Of The Shaman Michael Harner

Posted By Ina Woolcott

This book offers a comprehensive, compelling insight into Shamanism and it’s ways, teachings and the lessons to be learned from their simple yet structured lives. Beautifully written by Harner, conveying true empathy for the subject and making every situation and occasion seem as though happening before your very eyes. This is a book for those either already interested in shamanism, and yet it is also simple enough to follow for the uninitiated. A hard-to-put-down book. A nice accompaniment to Carlos Castaneda’s books!