Ceremonial tools used by the Shipibo Healer
There are many different ways to work with Ayahuasca or to do a Dieta with a Masterplant. I'm learning and working with the Mahua Shipibo family. Every maestro has their own way of connecting you to spirit, and guiding you through the “Mareacion” (the felt experience under the effect of Ayahuasca).
Even if a Shipibo family belongs to the same lineage, each has, over many years, developed their own personal way.
The ikaro is the main working tool of a Shipibo Healer. They're the healing songs which the Healers sing. Through the vibration of the songs they connect to spirit and to various energy fields and forces. With the ikaro the Healer opens the plant medicine world and connects you with it. The Healer does the work on you through this connection, as well as giving you protection through the singing.
According to the shipibo maestros, the Ikaro is used to channel the specific energy of the plant that the maestro has been dieting with for many years. They also call the spirits of the plant the "Plant Doctor" or "Plant Teacher".
Receiving an ikaro can be experienced as an energetical surgery.
Sometimes they sing while sitting in the middle of the Maloka (ceremony building), and sometimes they may sit directly in front of you.
The effect of the Ikaro is experienced differently by each person.
The way to become a Shipibo Healer is to do many Masterplant Dietas over many years. It's by connecting to the energy of the plants that they receive and learn to channel the songs (Ikaros) from the worlds of the plant spirits.
Shipibo shamans also use other traditional healing tools. Mapacho is a jungle tobacco. Perfume may also be used with the most common one being Agua Florida.
Mapacho and the perfume are both used for connecting, cleaning, protecting, centralizing, focusing, strengthening, manifesting, reinforcing, and implanting the energetic work of the healer and the plants.
The shaman sprays it with his mouth into the communal space or onto the person directly. This technique is called "soplado", the word soplar means to blow.
If necessary some of the healers do “chupas”, which is to say they suck out “bad energies” with their mouth from your body.
If needed they also give massages. Maestra Juana is especially famous for her healing massages.
Procedure of the Ceremony
Ceremonies start in the evening and last, depending on the group, for between 2 to 6 hours. Everyone stays in the Malokka the whole time, except to use the toilet. Everyone has a mattress, a pillow, a blanket, a bucket and gets offered Mapacho.
In our retreats there is usually a ceremony every other night. This is a strong way to go deep and this is the way my maestros are accustomed to work.
We meet in the evening in the Maloka before we drink Ayahuasca. This time we can use to be present, to meditate, to relax, to connect to one’s self, to focus on our intention, or to have a talk with the maestra/maestro and the facilitator.
After a time, the maestro or maestra prepares and blesses the medicine, then everyone gets served their individual dose. After 30 min to an hour the healer starts to sing to connect the group to the medicine world (rao nete).
During ceremony everyone stays on their own mat, there is no talking or touching. Everyone is asked to stay present with their own process.
The maestros/maestras sing the ikaros for a couple of hours, and, depending on the situation, they sing from the center of the Maloka or they may move in front of someone's mat.
The effect of the medicine during the ceremony is different for everyone. It can be mellow or it can be a huge roller coaster. You can feel it mentally, emotionally, physically, or on all layers at the same time. You can travel far or be very present in your body. Anything is possible.
Purging is a very important part of the process as it helps with your cleansing. Everyone is purging, or releasing energies, in different ways. This can happen through vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, sweating, freezing, muscle contracting, excessive thoughts, and/or strong emotional experiences, ..etc.
The spectrum of how your experience will be is unlimited. We can prepare what is very helpful and important (Preparation), however our experience is unpredictable.
During the ceremony, whenever it's necessary, there will always be an experienced facilitator to support you. In some cases there will be a 2nd facilitator to assist.