Opinions about ayahuasca from the shaman’s apprentice
The best part of running a restaurant is meeting interesting people and making new friends. It happened again this afternoon.
When we met at the Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, Anon was reading Faust. He’s a very articulate and literate shaman’s apprentice. Yes, I said a shaman’s apprentice. I know that is not on most of our resumes. We had an interesting conversation, part of which I want to share with you.
Anon has been apprenticed for three years to the shaman Javier Arevalo, from up the Napo River. Anon says “Maestro Arevalo is an amazing shaman with great capabilities.”
I asked Anon, “What do you think of ayahuasca tourism?”
“…it is important that the tourist go on a special diet for a few days before the ceremony, partially to reduce the effect of the cleansing, purging process. The tourist should stay long enough to participate in 5 ceremonies.”
“I often talk to tourists, especially the younger ones about ayahuasca and the fact that they want to drink it. They are often not informed about many aspects, and so I try and spend time with them explaining the symptoms, and also how to drink it safely. I worry a lot about the safety of first time drinkers, especially as ayahuasca can be brutal on body as well as mind and spirit, and so try and offer as much advice as possible. I worry that a lot of foreigners think they have to drink the strongest portion, the huge heroic dose that Terrence McKenna often wrote about. This is not necessarily the route to unlock the full power of the ayahuasca. The reason is the full power of the ayahuasca comes when you work with the spirits of the plants. There are people that have drunk 70 to 100 times that never meet the spirits of the plants. They never get that far. When a foreigner drinks a large dose of ayahuasca they may see into the spiritual world, such as a puma, condor or anaconda, and these are spectacular visions, this type of vision is what the vast majority of ayahuasca tourists are hoping for in their first ceremony. However spectacular the visions are some shamans will tell you they are only seeing a tiny fraction of the potential of the spiritual world. The vision of the shaman is qualitatively different than the visions of the novice ayahuasca drinker, and that is because the shaman has learned to commune with the spirit of the plants via the consciousness of his or her heart. The spirit of the plants will take the shaman to their home which is deep in the spiritual world. This world has rarely been described in the ayahuasca literature, but it is a world where the shaman and the spirit of the plants are as one. The reason the shaman visits the spirit world is not because they have drunk ayahuasca but because of the combination of the ayahuasca, (itself a spirit) and the spirit of the plants.”
I asked; “Is ayahasca a medicine or a means of diagnosing an illness in a patient?”
“It is both. Unlike foreigners, the shaman does not drink ayahuasca and hope to see the visions. The shaman sings to the plants his sacred songs called icaros. The plants hear the icaros and can tell how much love and desire to heal others the shaman has. It is the “doctores” that decide to come and work with the shaman. The power of the shaman is not in the shaman. It comes from the spirit of the plants or the “doctores”. It is the power of the “doctores” that make it possible. This is the stage I have reached in my apprenticeship of 3 years. I can see illnesses in patients, diagnose the illness, and be shown which plants to use for the cure.”
I expressed my opinion that; “I thought it would take most of a life time to get to the stage you are at as a shamans apprentice that can diagnose and cure illnesses with plants.
Anon replied, “Well, I think it helps that I’ve followed the Celtic shaman’s path for 10 years and worked with the teacher plant, San Pedro. I have much experience in drumming to create trances, and play other musical instruments important in ceremonies. For instance, some people think you just shake the shacapa, which is made from Corriza leaves, to a rhythm during the ceremony, but actually it is much more complicated than that and is part of the apprenticeship to learn the proper way.”
I was impressed with Anon, the shaman’s apprentice, and his knowledge about ayahuasca. What do you think? Is this a subject you would like to learn more about? Leave a comment and let us know your opinions. Thanks.
Opinions about ayahuasca from the shaman’s apprentice.
If this article was interesting to you, check out Bill Grimes’s other articles about shamans and ayahuasca at;