The Shipibo-Conibo Tribe   

The profound power of the Shipibo

The Shipibos are one of oldest and most highly-respected lineages of ayahuasca healers in the Amazon. For thousands of years, Shipibo shamans have served as doctors in their local communities. Their work with the medicine is gentle, straightforward, and humble. They see their work with ayahuasca as a simple, clear process of cleaning the body, soul, and mind. The Shipibos treat working with Ayahuasca with a deep sense of respect and discipline.  Many begin training from childhood, learning from family lineages and traditions that trace back countless generations. Their near-monastic training is incredibly strict, and they spend many years undergoing rigorous “dietas” that build an extensive, ‘intuitive knowledge of different medicinal plants. Their devotion to their healing work is stunning, and the power of their deep connection to their medicine is felt in their “icaros”, or plant medicine songs.

The Sound of Healing

Traditionally, prayer in the form of song has been used for healing. In the Indigenous tribes of Peru, Icaros (or plant medicine songs) are an integral part of the healing process. In the Shipibo belief system, every single plant has a spirit, and its own song. When the Maestro or healer is in apprenticeship, those songs are passed on to them directly by the plants, during what is called a “dieta”. 

A dieta is a long period of isolation in which the apprentice shaman will diet with one plant at a time, and will learn the teachings of that specific plant. After long periods of isolation, the apprentice receives the protection and healing abilities of the plant through that plant’s particular “icaro”. Each plant spirit teaches a different song. The song is the pure healing sound of the plant itself. The more diets the apprentice carries with them, the more knowledge, healing abilities and icaros they have access to in their healing work.

Icaros work alongside Ayahuasca. In a traditional ceremony space, the maestro will sing these icaros into your body and will help you to purge all remaining blockages and negativity. The Icaro that the shaman sings to you becomes your healing ally. Because of this, they are often seen as seeds planted into your body. The reason for that is because they keep on blooming and adjusting energies, emotions in the body. Even after ceremony. They lay their roots and keep on blooming and expanding, because they are true spirit plant medicine.

Icaros are the seeds of healing that the Shaman plants into your body for it to realign, open up and transform. Medicine songs, Icaros have been used as a conduit for healing for thousands of years. In the Shipibo tradition, a Shaman spends many years in isolation. During this period of isolation they diet Master Plants, healing plants. When they complete the diet they receive the knowledge, the wisdom and healing properties of the plant in the form of an Icaro. The energetic imprint of every plant is different, so is every Icaro. 

When the Shamans invoke the plants, and sing the Icaros into your body, your body becomes aligned and impregnated with the plant healer. Every Icaro has a different purpose. Some are used to clear your body, others to align energies or release trauma. Once the deep cleaning work is done, the Shaman will use specific Icaros in order to impregnate your body in light, uplift it, plant a seed of love, and reconnect yourself with your heart and soul. 

The Vine of the Soul 

Ayahuasca is an ancient visionary healing medicine or brew that comes from the Amazon Basin. It is used traditionally in the Jungle of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela & Brazil. The Ayahuasca brew is made up of two main plant components – the Ayahuasca Vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) & Chakruna leaves (Psychotria viridis). Many traditional shamans use other additives to their Ayahuasca Brew and each plant additive has its function and purpose in the spiritual realm. The spirit and character of Ayahuasca is brimming with feminine, divine and abstract qualities and this is why Ayahuasca is often described as a divine feminine plant spirit. In ceremony, people often perceive the spirit of Ayahuasca in the form of a woman or a snake.

Ayahuasca holds immense intelligence and power. It is a medicine that must be approached with respect, integrity, and pure intention. This is a delicate process which is often not easy. It takes work to dive into this experience and courage to face the shadow subconscious aspects of ourselves. When one does, the drinker can be rewarded with the incredible teachings, insight, and healing that this master plant has to offer to each one of us and all of humanity.

The Ayahuasca Ceremonies 

An Ayahuasca Ceremony is one that often brings clarity to our deepest truths, purpose and the path ahead of us. Ceremonies that involve deep physical and energetic cleaning and clearing often precede ceremonies with deep vision, light and insight. Although every person will have a unique experience with Ayahuasca and ceremony is best approached with as little expectation as possible. Often the journey that Ayahuasca takes us on is hard to decipher at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight the profound wisdom of the plants begins to reveal itself. Ayahuasca Ceremonies will give you what you need however this may not always be what we want in the moment and the path to healing can be a very challenging one for some.

Icaro

 

Derived most likely from the jungle Quichua verb ikaray, “to blow smoke” for healing the Spanish word ‘icaros‘ designates the magical lyrics, incantations, either whistled or spoken, learnt by the shaman.