Ayahuasca Medicine And The Role of Ayahuasca Shaman
The sacred medicine Ayahuasca, or Yagé, is a brew of two plants which are native to the Amazon rainforest; the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of the Diplopterys cabrerana bush. The shaman prays over and sings to these plants for days as they cook together in water over an open bonfire, and it is largely those prayers that determine the healing power of the brew. Ayahuasca has been the cornerstone of spiritual and community life for many indigenous peoples in the Amazon for thousands of years. When used under the supervision of experienced healers in a guided ceremony, the brew is capable of creating profound moments of introspection, love, clarity, and self-knowledge.
The term Ayahuasca comes from the Quechua language, in which ‘aya’ means “soul” or “spirits” and ‘huasca’ means “vine”, therefore translating to “vine of the soul” or “vine of the spirits”.
At Eagle Condor Alliance, participants are offered Ayahuasca that is found, harvested, prayed over and brewed by our healer Greison Leonidas Lezama according to the ancient traditions of his Coreguaje, Inga, Siona, Secoya, and Cofán teachers. These communities, historically and currently, are revered as the primary and original caretakers of the plant medicine and its traditional uses in the Amazon. In these communities, one must dedicate himself to studying plant medicine for life under the guidance of various elder shamans before being authorized to prepare and cure with the medicine. They are primarily located in the western section of the Colombian Amazon in the Putomayo, and in northeastern Ecuador.
Ayahuasca is believed to contain within it the spirits of all other plants, trees, waters and animals of the jungle. And while the components that the Ayahuasca brew contains may indeed produce visions and connect us to other energetic dimensions, it is medicine. As a medicine, it purges us what doesn’t serve us, relieves us of emotional baggage, opens spaces for new forms of creativity, and breaks thought and behavioral patterns which limit our growth as individuals.
It purges on the physical level as it expels toxins, mucus, and parasites from our bodies. On the emotional level it cures by showing us to ourselves and giving us the self-knowledge and self-love necessary to overcome life’s obstacles. And on the spiritual level, it has the capability to show us that we are both one with the universe and that we each carry the universe inside of us.
ECA Ayahuasca ceremonies are presided over by Greison Leonidas Lezama that begin around 10pm and last until sunrise. Participants are invited to drink a cup of the brew before returning to their spot in the maloka. The process that each drinker undertakes during the ceremony is an extremely personal one. What each participant feels, thinks, reflects on, or sees during a ceremony is a unique reflection of that person’s past, present and future. This process demands that participants have not drank alcohol or stimulants for a period of days before the ceremony.
The shaman determines how much Ayahuasca each person should drink. This determination does not depend on body type or size but rather on each participant’s energy and purpose for being there. In order to allow the plant to communicate with the deepest parts of who we are, it is recommended that communication is kept between the drinker and the shaman, the drinker and the fire, and the drinker and the plant. It is also recommended to approach the ceremony with no expectations, but rather with an open mind and the objective of letting the medicine show you what you need to see by simply observing and not waiting for something to happen.
Once we have drunk the medicine, the maloka is one of profound internal reflection, connection with our own spirits and hearts, and healing. Participants may be offered a second cup later in the night. During the ceremony the healer will sing his icaros, conjuros, or songs of the wilderness, which summon the spirits and guardians of the rainforest and accompany and guide us on our own internal journeys.
In this context, the miraculous healing powers of Ayahuasca can be brought forth and participants who have approached the plant with respect and have prepared properly may have one of the most impactful experiences of their lives.
Have lingering questions about traditional Ayahuasca ceremonies? Feel free to contact us anytime!