I have now had the blessing of working with master plants in the Amazon for four consecutive years. My motivation to take the first trip was purely professional. During my training as a Shamanic Practitioner, I had learned a powerful technique of extracting negative-feeling energies from the body but was instructed to not practice it until I went to the jungle and did a dieta with tobacco.
Tobacco is a very powerful medicine when worked with in a sacred way. It is used in healings, space clearings, and ceremonies by Shipibo shamans (as well as healers of many other indigenous traditions). When worked with in this way, tobacco aides in purification, prayer and protection.
Tobacco cleanses and clears lower frequency energies and serves as powerful protection to keep such energies away. As part of my shamanic training, I learned how to connect with the spirit of tobacco, ask it to be my ally, and how to work with tobacco through prayer and songs to provide healings and protection, to clear spaces, and to speak my prayers to Spirit.
Normally, one works with tobacco smoke for all these purposes. During the dieta, however, the plant medicine is ingested into the body in a special brew that is prepared by a shaman. This process provides one with an internal matrix of protection, which is needed in order to do techniques such as extractions safely.
I really did not know what to expect from my first dieta. I was both excited and nervous to journey to the Amazon and found my time in the jungle to be both beautiful and challenging. The beauty of a dieta is difficult to convey. There is some magic that takes place when you work with a plant with reverence and respect that is indescribable.
The dieta consists of three night-time ceremonies with one specific master plant and seven day-time immersions of deep work with whichever plant one is dieting with. In the night-time ceremonies, the shamans facilitating sing icaros (sacred healing songs) throughout the night and perform healings on all the participants.
These ceremonies can be quite intense and incredibly powerful. I have received amazing insights and healings through the ceremonies, and they have served to heal and empower me in ways I cannot even begin to describe and never imagined would be possible.
The three ceremonies take place at the beginning, middle and end of the dieta. Each ceremony has a distinct purpose: the first serves to clear out the body and open the heart and mind to work with the dieta plant; the second ceremony serves to enhance and deepen the work being done through the dieta, and the final ceremony is for integration of the learning and sealing of the work.
I have now completed dietas with four master plants: tobacco, reneequia, bouasca, and camalonga. Each dieta builds on the previous. In the tradition I work in, starting with tobacco is essential because it establishes the foundation. And each plant dieta brew contains some tobacco in it, so you continue to work with the foundational plan every year.
With each new dieta, the energies of the new plant are added to the matrix first established with the tobacco dieta. These plant medicines become powerful allies through the dieta and have served to guide me through life and to enhance my healing work immensely. They work through me in everything I do and guide me in ways that are difficult for me to describe.
It was during one of dietas in Peru that I was instructed to dedicate myself more fully to the shamanic path. I was told it was time for me to “throw my hat in the shamanism ring” and to focus on it more in my work. This inspired me to rename my healing practice from Alchemy of Presence to Shamanic Soul Center.
The work with these master plants has greatly enhanced my intuition and my openness to divine guidance. It has allowed me to get out of the way more and more with each passing year and allow Spirit and my allies to work through me more easily and powerfully.
The plants have healed pain, trauma, limiting beliefs, and illusions from this and other life times. They have provided me with protection and strength I had not imagined possible. And they have taught me such incredibly deep spiritual truths and enhanced my awareness and consciousness in utterly life-changing ways.
During my first dieta, I asked the Shipibo shaman facilitating the dieta how he learned everything he knew. His reply surprised me and was something I did not understand at the time. He said, “I have learned everything I know form the plants. They have taught me everything I know.”
At the time, I could not understand this. But now I do. After having worked with the plants in ceremonies and dietas, I understand why they are referred to as Master Teachers. They guide me in my work and in my life every single day.
I find myself saying things during sessions I never consciously thought of, performing healing techniques I have never been taught, and receiving beautiful inspiration and ideas out of the blue. My work with the plants is the most powerful work I have ever experienced, and it’s what keeps me going back to Peru year after year.
There is so much more I would love to share with you. If you would like to learn more about the properties of the specific plants I have worked with and the lessons I learned and insights I gained during my most recent trip, please join me tomorrow (December 1st) at 10am Pacific Time for my monthly Shamanism, Spirituality, and Energy Medicines class.
If you cannot make the class live or are reading this after, please know a recording of the class will be available for you to access in your account library when you sign up for the monthly class. The first month of the class is free, so you can try it out with no charge.
Here’s the link to get more information and sign up. You will get immediate access to the recordings of the most recent classes I have taught. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Big hugs and blessings to you,