If you think of sustainable travel, the thought of a Shaman is likely the farthest from your mind. In fact, many academics (e.g., Anthropologist, Wade Davis, is a great example) and sustainable travel shows, among others, are now recognising the true value of Shamans, whose work is interconnected with every fabric of our distant lives. Distant, because we are merely visitors coming back to the different realities of our lives. Interconnected, because at the very core we are all governed by the same principles of life – a life that can be harmoniously sustained by Shamans.
Some ecotours offer visits to local shamans where travelers can learn about medicinal plants and their properties, the process of healing, and the variety of illnesses (both physical and psychological) that can be cured. For instance, you can learn that the jungle offers a natural Viagra in a plant named “para para” which means “up up”. The demonstration by the Shaman quickly reveals the secret of its name when the crunched leaf in the Shaman’s hand springs back to its original shape after his hand opens up. The plant’s preparation is to be taken for two weeks, after which time the condition will be fully restored.
The Shaman’s entire process of healing is guided by the master-plant of the jungle – apparently every region has its master-plant – the Ayahuasca vine in the Peruvian Amazon. The shaman explains his work with such plants and its many species as “talking to them” for guidance in healing. It is meticulously prepared and combined with other plants for a ceremony which draws on its hallucinogenic but non-addictive properties, and the ability to present a solution to any given problem. The Shaman leads this process, usually with few helpers in training.
One such place where you can meet a Shaman and perhaps participate in such Ayahuasca ceremony is Posada Amazonas ecolodge in the region of Tambopata, Peru. But make sure to inquire and book in advance! To prepare, you need to be on a special diet for a week before the ceremony. After all, the most authentic travel experiences are ones involving all of our senses, and what a better way than to connect with the supernatural!
Photo By auldhippo flickr