'Plantas Maestras'

of the


Colita de gabilan
Extractions prepared from 'Plantas Maestras' are taken by a shaman's apprentice while following a diet. Apprentices under Shuña abstain from sugar, fruits, salt and cooking oil. The dwelling in which they stay is relatively isolated and they will be visited only by the shaman and the cook. Every so often the shaman may cover their bodies with clay from the river's bank that dries in the sun and is then removed. He may soak herbs and flowers in water for several hours, after which he pours it over them and asks them to rub the pieces over their skin. A selection of flowers is put in alcohol and the liquid is sprinkled on a bunch of certain dried leaves that is moved rhythmically over the body while the shaman sings. A stone of meaningful colour and form may be wetted with this essence too, and moved over the skin in circles or used to massage a painful area.
Colita de gabilan
Huayra runa
Resin may be burnt through which the apprentice will move, and to initiate or finalize a meeting, the shaman may blow tobacco smoke on top of his head, on the inside of his hands and along the back and front of his body. An extraction of a particular 'planta maestra' will be taken several times throughout a week, at a specific time of the day depending on each plant. The apprentice will only leave the hut to be refreshed and cleansed with the cool water of a small stream nearby, or to go for a walk with the shaman and be introduced to other plantas maestras, plants known purely for medicinal application or plants known for both. Most of the days and nights will be spent concentrating on noting the experiences and observing the changes that take place along with the ingestion of the plants under these circumstances.
Campana ayahuasca
Yana ayahuasca

The plantas maestras growing in the canopy, such as the epiphytes on this page, are generally taken after many years of experience with other plants because of their strenght.
Twice a week the shaman will generally lead a ceremony during which the ayahuasca mixture is taken and experienced by all who are invited to do so. During these ceremonies the shaman is focussed on healing those who are not well, and the apprentice is asked to join him under his guidance according to his/her ability to do so. See the bibliography under links for titles of books on shaman apprentices.

Cielo ayahuasca

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