Following the legal changes on the use of Ayahuasca in the Netherlands, an independent journalist contacted Willkamayu Spirit to ask for information into our practices. Requesting a visit to ask some general questions about the use of sacred medicine (especially Ayahuasca) in Peru, attitudes to this work on an international perspective and some details into our personal practices and opinions.
As we could never be certain about the final composition or placement for our contribution, we decided to ask the guidance of our maestro Juan Carlos, who in turn directed our question to the sacred medicine and called on the advice of mother Ayahuasca. Juan Carlos received affirmation, advised that we should invite those who come with questions, and to respond in the same manner that the medicine shows us… An open acceptance, a lack of judgement and pure intention.
Ayahuasca and its utilisation
Question 2: What training does a person need to be a guide during Ayahuasca ceremonies?
The maestros that we work with have grown up around the practices of the medicine, it is usual in indiginous tribes for specialisations to be passed down through the family, so our maestros often have a history of apprenticeship with their parents and grandparents.
Juan Carlos is explaining that the ways in which we can learn are so vast and the path in learning is a long one that never truly ends, this is life. When we walk the spiritual path it is the essence of opening our consciousness to align us as humans with all the energies around us. The shipibo principle ‘Sama’ is important in the initiation to become a maestro, and the process of dieting. In shipibo ‘Sama’ means to live in union with our brothers and sisters around us, the energies around us.
A diet is a process of connecting to a plant through a period of time with certain restrictions. These restrictions are helping us to become more sensitive so we are able to receive the energies and teachings of a plant. In a diet we are in silence and not eating salts and sugars, no intoxicants and stimulants, no physical and sexual contact. There is one person guiding you through the diet who is your guardian, teacher and maestro.
How many diets you need really depends on the person and how much work you have done. There will then come a time when your guide or maestro will allow and initiate you into guiding ceremonies. If you are in diet, you are not in a state to guide ceremonies because this stage is of receiving energies rather than giving.
Through the diets we are opening up our consciousness to understand life not only in an energetic way but in how to be a human being on this earth. We are learning to live in conscious union with the energies around us both spiritual Not only are we learning to be conscious in what we do but also in who we are as individuals. We not only work in the spiritual field but also to be a good person within society and to be of service to others and an example of how to share these energies and these are all shared to us through the ‘Abuelos’ meaning sacred energies.
When a person is initiated into the diets, we do not choose the plants ourselves, rather the ‘Abuelos’ choose which plants will be used that will work best for us and for each individual this is different. So the diets can differ in plants and duration from weeks to months to years but there is always a stop in order to integrate and practice what you have learnt. When you have done this, the next step in your journey will progress as you are ready. To grow spiritually could be seen as climbing a ladder, step by step we get a deeper understanding of ourselves, the energies and our place in this world.
Essentially the medicine is the trainer of the maestro/maestra, the medicine teaches us to sing, to hold the protective space in order to do her work. This process takes the medicine worker through a purification of their own life and then presents the gifts to bring others into this divine space. The life relationship that we hold true to the essence of the medicine―her teachings―are what we honour and the shamans that we choose to work with all extend their intention from what the medicine is to them personally. It is a great personal respect and commitment, such as a yogi in the Asian traditions, to become a facilitator for the medicine and her teachings.