Ayahuasca: Visionary Medicine

Ayahuasca shamanism has been practiced in the western Amazon region for thousands of years. These practices have been passed down through tribal lineages and blood lines for at least this length of time. The shamans of tribes and villages are in part medical doctor, spiritual healer, as well as the keeper of knowledge. It is this knowledge that awards them the status, rights, and responsibility of their practice. As more and more Westerners express interest in the Amazonian and other shamanic traditions worldwide, this once-secret traditional knowledge is made more accessible to outsiders who are drawn to learning.

At Blue Morpho, we are very open to sharing the knowledge of the shamanic arts with you, to not only enhance your experience here with us but so that you can return home with a deeper knowing that will continue to inform and affect your life in positive ways.
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One of the main focuses of traditional medicine practice is healing. Ayahuasca can be used to address all kinds of ailments including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual forms of sickness. All of these afflictions are manifestations of what we call “crossed energies”. Crossed energies manifest as a result of disharmonious patterns within you and in your life. Ayahuasca medicine is used to help straighten these crossed energies to bring you back to a state of balance and harmony. The purge and cleansing that occurs during the ceremony is part of the process of straightening these energies.

The result of these internal energetic shifts open the space for not only healing but transformation and learning. As you release more and more of the energies that create blockages in your life, you become more and more open to direct realizations, knowledge and wisdom that ayahuasca can offer. Ayahuasca medicine and the corresponding traditions can be a wonderful aid to spiritual growth and method of strengthening your connection to the mystical world. It helps you learn how to live in a balanced state with everything around you.

Although traditional practices and belief systems are foreign to many who come to the Amazon seeking relief, ayahuasca shamanism has been shown to be very effective at transcending limitations of culture, background, ethnicity, religious and social upbringing. The lessons learned and transformation that occurs extends far beyond the immediacy of the experience. Hence, the power of ayahuasca is undeniable and needs to be used responsibly under the guidance of trained medicine men and women. At Blue Morpho, we take the shamanic arts and commitment to medicine very seriously; it is a hallmark of our longstanding history and integrity of shamanic practice.                     _

Ayahuasca and Medicinal Admixture Plants

The ayahuasca tea is made from a combination of two plants: the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and chacruna (Psychotria viridis). Along with other admixture plants to be included in the ayahuasca, the ayahuasca vine and chacruna are processed, mixed together, added to large pots and cooked over an open fire for 8+ hours. In Don Alberto’s lineage he describes the ayahuasca vine as the power source and the chacruna as the light. In Western terminology, the chacruna contains DMT and the ayahuasca vine contains an MAOI inhibitor, the combination of which allows the DMT to be orally processed. It is the uncanny combination of these two plants that forms the basis for all ayahuasca practice in the Amazon region.

Many traditional shamans and lineages have unique elements of practice that make their lineage distinct from other lineages. This is true of Don Alberto’s lineage. These distinctions include what plants the shamans use to heal, how they cook their ayahuasca, how they apply their knowledge and what belief systems they maintain. The shamans at Blue Morpho are ayahuasqueros and paleros, meaning that they specialize in the use of ayahuasca in conjunction with the shamanic trees of the region. This affects the preparation methods of the ayahuasca as well as how it is experienced.

A traditional ayahuasquero may only use a few ingredients when making their ayahuasca, including: the ayahuasca vine, leaves of chacruna or chalipangi, and mapacho (jungle tobacco). An ayahuasquero palero may use well over 15 different ingredients. At Blue Morpho, the shamans prepare ayahuasca using ingredients specific to each group of guests, as agreed upon by the shaman and the medicine spirits.

The barks of the medicinal trees and roots are added to the ayahuasca brew, bringing a practical and powerful diversity to the overall experience. The trees help to structure and support the ceremonies, each offering a specific form of medicine and energy that affects the movement and expression of the ceremonial experience in different ways. This variety of plants enables the shamans to work with a greater number of medicine spirits, increasing their capacity and shamanic abilities.

Medicinal plants and their properties at Blue Morpho:

  1. Ayahuasca vine  (Banisteriopsis caapi)
    Vine of the soul or spirit. This is the principal ingredient in ayahuasca. It provides the power and strength in the ceremony.
  2. Chacruna leaves  (Psychotria viridis)
    This is the second principal ingredient in ayahuasca. It provides vision.
  3. Ayahuma bark  (Couroupita guianensis)
    Dead Head Tree. Provides protection and is used in healing susto (soul loss from spiritual fright or trauma). Head spirit is a headless giant.
  4. Capirona bark  (Calycophyllum spruceanum)
    Provides cleansing and protection. It is noted for its smooth bark, white flowers, and hard wood. Head spirits look Caucasian.
  5. Chullachaki Caspi bark  (Byrsonima christianeae)
    Provides cleansing to the physical body. Used to transcend physical body ailments. Head spirits look Caucasian.
  6. Lupuna Blanca bark  (Ceiba pentandra)
    Provides protection. Head spirits take the form of giants.
  7. Punga Amarilla bark
    Yellow Punga. Provides protection. Used to pull or draw out negative spirits or energies. Head spirit is the yellow anaconda.
  8. Remo Caspi bark  (Aspidosperma excelsum)
    Oar Tree. Used to move dense or dark energies. Head spirit is a native warrior.
  9. Wyra (huaira) Caspi bark  (Cedrelinga caeniformis)
    Air Tree. Used to create purging, transcend gastro/intestinal ailments, calm the mind, and bring tranquility. Head spirit looks African.
  10. Uchu Sanango  (Tabernaemontana sanango)
    Head of the sanango plants. Provides power, strength, and protection. Head doctor spirit is a grandfather with a long, gray-white beard.
  11. Shiwawaku bark  (Dipteryx odorata)
    Brings purple medicine to the ceremony. Provides healing and protection.
  12. Camu camu Gigante  (Myrciaria dubia)
    Head spirit comes in the form of a large dark skinned giant. He provides medicine and protection in the form of warding off dark and demonic spirits.
  13. Tamamuri  (Brosimum acutifolium)  Head spirit looks like an old Asian warrior with a long white wispy beard. He carries a staff and manages thousands of spirits to protect the ceremony and send away energies that are purges from the participants.
  14. Huacapurana  (Campsiandra angustifolia) Giant tree of the amazon with very hard bark. Its head spirits come in the form of Amazonian giants and provide a strong grounding presence in the ceremony.

Note: The above botanical data is for informational purposes only. Due to the sheer size and diversity of the Amazon region, very little official scientific research has been conducted with many of these plants; some variations in species classification and exact detail may be present.

To reserve your spot on a Shamanic Ayahuasca Workshop, book your tour in advance online.

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Ayahuasca Information & Links

Shamanism at Blue Morpho: General information on shamanism as well as the kinds of shamanism we practice at Blue Morpho.
Upcoming Retreats: Dates and prices for our upcoming ayahuasca and plant dieta retreats.
Ayahuasca Cooking Process: Information on the ayahuasca preparation and cooking process that guests participate in.
Shamanic Retreats:
Details on what you can experience during our retreats.
Our Team of Shamans: Learn more about the history of Blue Morpho and our team of shamans.
Scientific and Medical Research: Extensive resource of links on ayahuasca-related research.