Category Archives: Other

Naysha: Save the Palo Santo tree

A couple of days ago I called my mom in Peru to order some Palo Santo wood that I use in my work. To my surprise my mom said that the Palo Santo tree had being declared IN DANGER OF EXTINCION and I would therefore like to ask the people buying online to make sure the Palo Santo comes from sources with certificates to prove that they protect the environment. If you are in Peru there are places that are authorized to sell Palo Santo.

Palo Santo means “Sacred Wood” and is the name for Bursera Graveolens. It was also called Quebracho by Spanish settlers because it was so hard that the axe broke when people tried to cut it.

The tree

At about 18 meters high it is a medium tree with small leaves, lots of branches and dark green fruit capsules. The tree lives in the South American region of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil’s Mato Grosso. The Palo Santo we import comes from the dry forest of Lambayeque region of northern Peru and is known worldwide to have the highest quality of all because of its privileged location.

To use essential oils by steam distillation the tree should die by itself and should be allowed to dry for at least 4 years. From the wood of the tree body oil, incense and aroma are obtained. The bark macerated in alcohol is used to increase sweating and against rheumatism. The leaves are used against spasms and as an insecticide.

Aroma

It has a surprisingly strong and sweet smell when burned which is why the Palo Santo is used as incense. It is considered to be a tree with medicinal qualities. Its multiple benefits make it a perfect energy cleaner due to substances like LIMONENE, which there is a high percentage of in the trunk. The LIMONENE belongs to the family of solvents or turpentine which are responsible for cleaning physically and spiritually.

The Palo Santo is used to cleanse and purify the environment from evil spirits, negative energies and other negative forces. By burning a small piece of wood you will have a peaceful environment which leads to a relaxed state of mind. This wood has a very pleasant and soothing aroma, not comparable to any other .

The aroma of Palo Santo is sweet and woody. Palo Santo fragrance reminds of a combination of sweet incense, atlas cedar, sweet grass, lemon, eucalyptus and a subtle hint of mint.

Collection process

The tree must die naturally and should remain uncollected for about 7-8 years. In this natural process of decomposition the tree secretes oil and acquires its medicinal and aromatic properties. In fact, if we cut the tree without all this we will not benefit because there it will not have acquired its properties.

By collecting dead Palo Santo trees we contribute to cleaning the forests where they grow and protecting the habitat in a completely organic way .

Origin

Widely used by ancient pre-hispanic cultures like the Tiwanaku and the Incas.

Inca Shamans used it in their religious and spiritual rituals as a tool to attract good luck, ward off signs of negativity and as a means of getting a better spiritual communication with their gods. Their settlers used it on a daily basis in their spiritual activities, in prayers, for luck, to improve mood and for cleaning spaces and environments.

This tree is also present in the ritual of indigenous marriages. In the absence of witnesses the couple must plant a seedling of this tree to link their destinies and to make their union last forever.

It was used to ignite Sacred Fires in ceremonies and rituals, thus protecting the space in which it will work. It has been used in rituals to harmonize with the natural elements to this day.

The Language-Maskoy have the belief that a fire made with Palo Santo wood prevents evil spirits from coming to the houses. They attribute this property to the particular clarity of flames emerging from this wood when it burns. In fact, it can be seen that many Language-Maskoy make their fire almost exclusively with Palo Santo wood. If someone from the indigenous population has seen an evil spirit or had contact with a person who has seen a spirit they purify all the people with this smoke.

Often you can see that old Palo Santo trunks are hollow inside. In these holes rainwater remains. The Paraguayan Chaco, where this species is naturally distributed, has a dry climate and seasonal water shortages. The Language-Maskoy drank from it during their migrations or hunts when supplies were exhausted . Nivacle indigenous however never drank the water found in the hollow trunk.

Women use an infusion of the tree as birth control and the ash is used in the treatment of external wounds.

Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: Palo santos against Beagle Lake by Sara Yeomans on Flickr

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Naysha: Uses of tobacco in shamanism

The image of tobacco nowadays had been severely damaged thanks to the industry of commercial cigarettes and the ego of the business man.

I remember a beautiful experience that was shared with me after an Ayahuasca ceremony. A guy from England told me that the tobacco spirit had talked with him:
– I saw a beautiful black woman crying. She introduced herself as the female energy of the tobacco spirit. She told him that she was so sad for what people are doing with her. “They are putting poison in my leaves and then people believe that I am making them sick. You must tell them this. The traditional way of using my power must be known and people should know the difference between a cigarette and the tobacco itself.”

Why is tobacco used in Ayahuasca ceremonies?

Tobacco is known to be a very powerful spirit which is used for protection, cleaning and also as a vehicle to give energy.

1. For protection it is used to open and create a safe ceremonial area before ceremonies. The shaman uses it to bless the four directions – north, south, west and east – and to call the spirits that will guard the ceremony. Spirits love tobacco; it’s like chocolate to women. When closing the ceremony some shamans like to go to each participant and give them protection against other energies that can disturb the person after the ceremony is closed. When the shaman closes the ceremony again he or she thanks the spirits for the journey by using tobacco.

2. For cleaning. If the space where the ceremony is being held has a kind of heavy or stuck energy the shaman will detect it and blow tobacco smoke to clean it, and it is the same with people. If a person feels that the energies that s/he is seeing during the ceremony are not of a good vibration the shaman can blow tobacco smoke around the aura of the person.

Tobacco also helps with vomiting. If you are struggling to vomit during Ayahuasca, smoking a mapacho will fix the problem. A mapacho is a natural cigarette made from dry tobacco leafs without any additives. It is what the shamans in the Amazon always use.

3. As a vehicle to give energy. When a person feels weakened during the ceremony or is struggling too much with the purge process, then the shaman can transfer a part of his or her energy in the mapacho smoke. This action is known like “ikarar”.

Some shamans like to give tobacco purges before the Ayahuasca ceremony because it helps with cleansing and purifying the energy. It is also good for activating the third eye.

What is a tobacco purge?

The night before one leaves a couple mapachos without the paper in glass of water. Next morning you will drink the water and after a couple of minutes you will vomit. Don’t try to do this if you don’t know how many mapachos you need, because if your tobacco purge preparation isn’t strong enough you won’t be able to vomit and you will just end up intoxicating yourself. Never cook tobacco from mapachos because it’s already a hot plant and if you boil it you are just making a poison. Some shamans likes to cook the Ayahuasca with mapachos and in my experience it just creates distractions for the body. My liver hurts most of the time and it’s an ugly experience. I don’t know why these shamans do it? In my opinion it is pure stupidity. If you want to meet the tobacco spirit it would be better to cook the Ayahuasca with a fresh leaf of tobacco.

The tobacco diet is an important diet for the shamans that need protection for the work they are doing. It’s a hard diet and its follow the same diets rules but you only drink the tobacco/mapacho juice for 3 days.

Can mapachos create addiction?

No, in my experience it does the absolute opposite. Before my training and diets I used to smoke a lot of store bought cigarettes, like 2 or 3 boxes per day. Then somebody invited me to smoke a mapacho and as soon I smoked it I just couldn’t smoke ordinary cigarettes anymore because I immediately react to the poison in the cigarette. I can feel all the chemicals inside the cigarette and it is disgusting. When I moved to Sweden I didn’t even notice that I was not smoking because it’s not possible to find mapachos in regulars stores in Sweden. After having smoked mapachos I didn’t have any problems even not smoking mapachos. After almost two years away of Peru the cigarette smells still make me feel sick.

Naysha Silva Romero

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Naysha: A Guide to Diets

What is a diet and what is the purpose?

Diets are part of the triangular base of shamanism. For shamans who use master plants to heal the diets is the most important part. Through the diets the shamans get their knowledge and healing powers. If we compare it with university studies we can say that the diets are the different courses that one takes.

When you do a diet you make an ally for life, according to the shaman Jungle Svonni. These allies help out in the shamans work in the ceremonies. The shaman works with the energy of plants that s/he has dieted and not with her/his own power. In that way they can keep their energy strong and in balance. Otherwise each ceremony would weaken the shaman, but instead it is the opposite. More diets, more energy and better work.

When you do a diet you create a contract with the spirit of what you will diet. Note that some shamans specialize in using one or more specific plants, which they have dieted for long periods of time or in succession. We do not always connect or feel a connection with the spirit of what we are dieting. As in normal life we are more compatible with some people than with others, and it is the same with the plant spirits. We are compatible with certain plant spirits but not with all. With time you will recognize which plant spirits connects with you better.

In his article Withdrawals or allowances Dr. Rosa Giove tells us that:

“Diets are temporary retreats in the mountains, usually ten days in isolation, with ritualized ingestion of so-called ‘plant teachers’ under a certain diet and very strict physical and psychological management.

A space in contact with nature, dedicated to the physical and energetic purification, to remove substances that block sensitivity is thus created. This favours the production dream, remembrance of past situations and not metabolized deep introspection; in short, the encounter with the ‘inner teacher.’

We opened an inner door that allows us to contact our being deep, but at the same time makes us vulnerable. By Therefore, energy measures are stringent protection for both ‘dietador’ m person doing the diet, and the person who treats you.”

Kinds of diets

In my experience there are two types of diets:

Learning Diets. All diets are about learning, but the degree of learning depends on the effort we put into each diet and the connection you get with the spirit of what we are dieting. The more restrictions you have in your diet, the more benefits you will get from it.

Healing Diets. All diets are for healing, but there are specific diets to cure specific diseases or problems. A person who performs a healing diet can vary the level of restrictions depending on the severity of the illness. The restrictions will depend on what the shaman recommends, but the basic rules do not change. The only thing that varies in this case is the food and that depends on the body. A person who is old or physically very weak may have a little more to eat, but always without SALT.

What to diet

You can basically diet everything, because everything that comes from our mother earth has a spirit. So it depends on what you want to achieve with the diet. Do you want to learn, cleanse or heal?

Photo: perfectly imperfect by Bùi Linh Ngân on Flickr
Photo: perfectly imperfect by Bùi Linh Ngân on Flickr

In the end you will achieve all, but to what degree will also depend on your intention and your needs. For example a person that wants to heal a specific disease such as diabetes will just do a healing diet for the diabetes. The plant spirit won’t be teaching much, but will be working with the body and the energy during the entire diet.

Usually you look at the characteristics of what you will go to diet. In the Amazon the shaman’s training consists in doing plant diets and that is what is offered in the Amazonian shamanic market. Therefore, knowing the characteristic of the plant is recommended before starting a diet. A shaman knows the plant by investigating it through diets, by working with the spirit in ceremonies or by dreams where it is shown how to use every part of the plant.

A common way to investigate a plant in addition to the diet is to cook a leaf, stem or root with Ayahuasca. The Ayahuasca will make the contact with the spirit more visual. When you start a diet you will drink it as a tea or eat a specific part of the plant, such as the bark, root, leaves or flowers. Each part has a different energy, a different function and purpose.

Diet rules

If you look at the meaning of the word diet, one understands that it refers to the “restriction of something”. What are these restrictions in a shamans diet?

Alcohol
Alcohol consumption, for obvious reasons, is not allowed while one performs a diet.

Sex
Sex or masturbation is not allowed for simple reasons. At the moment of orgasm you release your energies or you catch energies from your partner. When we are on diet we want the energy that is contained in the plant or crystal that we are dieting to become a part of us. If we have an orgasm we will lose the energy that we have accumulated.

Place
When one is on a diet it is recommended to stay away from the city, because our body is in an open state, which helps us to be receptive to the energies. Therefore the place will influence the outcome of our diet. You must be isolated or surrounded by those who are helping you with the diet, like the shaman or other people on diets. How isolated you need to be also depends on the plant that you are dieting. Some plant spirits can be more demanding than others, just like people.

Food
This point is very important because nowadays, especially in the city of Iquitos, various centers have no idea of the importance and the reasons behind the food that should be served during a diet. When you are on diet, you want to create the least amount of distractions in your body so that the spirit of the plant can work on you. The food should generally contain little nutrition or energy. It is usually recommended to eat rice and lentils once a day, since everything you eat will compete with the spirit of the plant that you are dieting. For example, if you eat a carrot, the carrot has lots of “personality”, which will compete with the plant spirit that you are dieting. This does not mean that you cannot eat a carrot. You can, but the benefits from your diet will decrease. If you eat vegetables in your diet your learning might decrease by 40 percent.

Chilis by Adam Baker on Flickr.
Chilis by Adam Baker on Flickr.

Chili
In Peru the shaman will normally close a diet or post diet with chili, since it cuts energies. Chili also has a hot energy, which can give you a headache while on diet. The only exception to this case is when one is dieting chili, but that is a very special diet and not very common due to its degree of difficulty. Then it is usually consumed as powder up the nose and it is mainly for protection.

Salt
Salt is one of the most powerful sources of energy for our body. Therefore it is a big interference for plant or crystal. Since we don’t want the energies to compete, salt is generally used to end the diet. It is a signal to the body that the diet is over. When you stop eating salt before starting a diet you are also opening your body to energies around you. It’s important that you eat salt before ceremonies or your body will feel weak. Also nowadays we are eating far too much salt. The amount of salt that we need is only 2 grams a day. It is also good to keep in mind that salt sometimes comes with additives such as Fluoride, which is a poison.

Touching
As I mentioned, when you’re on a diet, you are in a receptive mode, or one might say that your WIFI is switched on. Therefore it is important that the diet is done in a secluded place in nature, not only because of the importance of creating a safe place and being in contact with nature, but also not to expose yourself to other people’s energies. It is highly recommend not to have any physical contact with people. Remember that our skin can absorb everything, not only creams or water, but also energy. Handshakes and hugs are not allowed during a diet. The only contact you may have is with the shaman. Usually the shaman asks the patient to hold his/her hands as if to receive something and then blows smoke for healing, cleaning or to provide energy.

Electronics
You should not use any electronic apparatus during a diet, so forgot about your laptop or your mobile. The signals that electronics emit are not good for you during a diet. They can make you feel sick or give you headaches. Using your cell phone to communicate with the rest out the world while you are on a diet is not good, especially if you receive bad news. You need peace, not problems.

Note
Every shaman has their own specific rules about diets. These are kind of general rules. Some shamans are stricter and won’t even allow people to read books, but I think that is to exaggerate. You won’t be with your diet energy 24 hours a day, so you can have moments when you distract the mind. Just make sure that you read something nice.

If you have taken the decision to start a diet, you must finish. You have made a promise to yourself and might very well get sick if you don’t keep it. I will talk more about that in another post.

How to start a diet

Before giving a diet the shaman will first do an Ayahuasca ceremony with the person for the following reasons:

  1. To clean the energies and the body of the person who will do the diet. Obstacles are removed to be able to work with the spirit of the plant.
  2. Ajo Sacha
    Ajo Sacha

    To identify the plant that the person will diet. In the ceremony the shaman calls the spirits of different plants to see which is best suited to the diet that the person will start. The most common diet for those starting shamanic training is Ajo Sacha. It is a very popular plant because of its effectiveness to clean energy.

  3. The shaman also sets the time the person must do their diet. Diets generally have an average minimum duration of 3 days, which are usually fastings (just with water). 7, 10 and 15 days are the normal times of diets, but if you want to specialize in the use of a plant then diets are longer or repeated several times. It could be 30 days, three months or a year. After you have done several diets you will feel in advance how long to make your diets.
  4. The diet starts early in the morning the day after the ceremony by drinking tea or eating bark, roots, flowers or leaves of the plant that the shaman saw during the Ayahuasca ceremony. You will drink this tea for the first 3 days of the diet. You can also drink it throughout the diet, but it depends on the shaman and whether the diet is for learning or healing. In diets for learning it is enough to drink the tea the first 3 days. For healing diets the tea plant is taken during all the diet.

It is important to mention that diets usually are performed by taking one plant at a time. No two plants are mixed in a diet unless it is for healing the body or to heal a disease. In some Ayahuasca centres there are diets with up to 100 plants in one diet, but that is outright crazy. The only thing you get from these diets is CONFUSION. As we mentioned before, plants are not compatible with all energies. Also some plants are not compatible with each other, either for chemical or energetic reasons. Please, if someone offers you such diets – run!

Crystal diets

The crystal diets follow the same rules as the plant diets. This is how you prepare for a crystal diet:

  1. Clean your crystal. You can use fire or leave it over night in a glass of water touching the earth.
  2. Next day put the crystal in a glass of fresh water and leave it there all day and night. If you don´t have a plant ceremony to cleanse before you start your diet, then you try to water fast all that day. Drink plenty of water.
  3. The next day you drink the water from the glass. To continue dieting you pour fresh water into the glass with the crystal, leave it over night and drink it next day. You do so for as long as you want to diet it.

Remember that before you start the diet you must tell yourself and the crystal energy how long you want to diet it – 3 ,5,7 days – and then you must do it. During the diet you eat once a day, usually rice and lentils without salt and not too much. Just one portion.

NOTE: Before you do a crystal or stone diet, check if the stone or crystal has any kind of toxic metal in it. You will find plenty of information about it through Google.

How to close a diet

A diet ends at mid day. If you decide to do a 3 day diet, for example, then you close the diet around middle day on the third day.

You cut an onion and mix it with lemon juice and salt. If you don’t like onions you can use garlic. You make a salad with the onions, lemon juice and salt and then eat it .This will send a signal to your body that the diet is over.
.
Some shamans likes to close the diet with chilli. I don’t like to close my diet like that because chilli is too strong for the spirit. For me it is too hot.

Post diet

The post diet helps the spirit of what you were dieting to root firmly in your energy field. If you think in terms of making a new friend the post diet will help you make the relation stronger.

So how does it work?

You will continue to follow certain rules for a period of time. The post diet starts as soon as you have ended your diet.

aya diet 2 by Paul Hessell on Flickr
Photo: aya diet 2 by Paul Hessell on Flickr

In the post diet you can eat normally again, but you must avoid pork, chilli, refined sugar, lactose and alcohol. You must also avoid sex and masturbation, in order to help the energy of what you were dieting to grow roots. You don’t want to celebrate having finished your diet by having sex and drinking alcohol. Remember that your body and spirit just went through a very powerful and special experience.

How long should the post diet last?

Normally you can choose the number of days but remember that the longer your post diet is, the more benefits you will get from it. So for example if you were dieting for 15 days, then you should post diet for at least 7 days.

I normally end my post diet by eating chilli but that isn’t a rule. At the moment you eat pork, have sex or drink alcohol your post diet is over.

Now you can begin to appreciate how hard the shamanic training is. I have been dieting almost one and a half year, doing diets of different lengths and resting 3 days in between.

If you start different diets with only a few days between them, then you can have one post diet for them. For example if you do 7 days, then you rest 3 days, and start another 7 days diet , your post diet when you finish the second diet will be enough to cover the first diet also.

Love and gratitude

Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: BUTTERFLY by whologwhy on Flickr

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Naysha: Sacred plants and exorcism

During my shamanic training it was never easy to take the next step and it was never easy to overcome a fear. A shaman with fears is not good, especially in the moments when bravery is needed. At the same time that higher light energies exist, there are also dark energies. Dark energies are not God or the spirit creation. Dark energies are a human creation.

When we came to this experience as humans we forgot our divinity and got lost in pleasures. Our souls went down different paths because of our free will. We learnt to hate, to steal, to lie, and more. These feelings, actions and thoughts also are energies; low frequencies of energies. But also inside this dark energy there exist levels of consciousness. Some souls decide not to return to the light after death. They continue living the emotions that they could not let go of, such as hate and resentment. This is not about hell or heaven. For me that does not exist.

I believe that what many religions describe as “hell”, and people with near death or other kind of supernatural experiences describes as hell, is an intermediate state between the human and spirit world. A state in between, a shadow state we can call it. You cannot pass to the light until your decide that light is your origin and you cannot return as human. These spirits are still attached to the human world. But also when we are spirits, we have a choice. We always have a choice. They will see the light when they understand that only light is possible, and that the light is where they come from.

For me this intermediate dimension that we have created with our bad feelings and attachments is the shadow state which can explain things like witchcraft. Witchcraft is not Gods creation. Witchcraft was created in Africa, were researchers’ claim the first humans came from, so we can assume that witchcraft and humans came together. Exactly when and how? No idea, but I believe that at some point in our story there was a really dark moment and it was from this dark time the shadow spirits could communicate with the shamans in the ceremonies. Remember that plant medicines OPEN spaces, not only for different dimensions inside yourself, but also in reality. So these shamans got in contact with these shadow spirits and before that the shamans did not know of those kinds of energies, so some shamans learnt from those spirits. The shadow spirits understood very well the tricks of the human ego and some shamans felt really great with all this new information. And since then dark spirits also come to ceremonies and can again enter the human dimension and continue spreading hate and other bad feelings.

It’s very easy to learn witchcraft. Learning how to heal is what is difficult. Witchcraft is a sad reality and I will take time on this subject for another article.

Ok, until this point we are clear that these shadow states are what we can call the demon state. Every bad feeling, every bad thought, like “I want to kill myself” creates a demon, a low energy vibration around you. This is what we see as ugly visions during plant ceremonies. It’s our own creation. And every bad feeling, thought or reinforcement to this kind of thought, “I want to kill myself” for example, will feed the energy. That’s why there are different levels of consciousness to the low frequencies. Some of them have personalities like you and me. Yes, I have seen them. My first experience with exorcism in ceremonies started in my third year, when I was helping a shaman during ceremonies. I was watching his back , especially during exorcisms.

In my experience there are three kinds of “demons”.

  1. The ones that have a mission, like wanting to stop you from finding your mission. Normally the people experience these kinds of demons. They are born with these energies, they feel depressed almost all their lives and they describe something like “I really want to feel, but I cannot. It’s like I have a block in my heart that does not allow me to feel. I want to feel love. I know my family love me, but I want to feel it. I know I love them, but I cannot feel them. What’s wrong with me?”
    These energies usually have a very clear mission. When they manage to disconnect people from their hearts they disconnect them from their life path as well. Life becomes a sad reality for these people.
  2. The ones that came by accident, for example through playing with a Ouija board. Some of these games are not so innocent and really work. Sometimes people get in touch with energies that were passing by and they call them to our human dimension through portals like the Ouija board, and because these energies don’t have a particular mission, they manifest more intensely. Then it can be like in movies with exorcism, because these energies are not supposed to be here. They don’t have a purpose.
  3. The ones that come by trauma. Sometimes during our spiritual experience as humans we experience very traumatic situations that OPEN US, such as the death of someone very close. When you are open and vulnerable energies that are around you can attach. Normally these are not very strong energies, but they can create discomfort like the sensation of being disconnected.

People with the first and second group of demons are difficult to work with using plants. They normally do not feel anything; they cannot see. They are disconnected, so then it is good to work with diets. A shaman will recognize the demon energy inside of the person, normally through a plant ceremony and sometimes before that. We can smell these entities. I have personal experience from a very difficult exorcism where I could literally feel the evil in my skin. It was awful, but I am still here. That’s why, dear readers, working with plants is not a funny hobby. It’s serious work.

What shamans do when people with these kinds of entities come to ceremonies?

First is to check in a ceremony to be 100 % sure that there is an entity.

Second is to evaluate the power of the entities. Some are easier to take out than others.

Third. Normally all people with entities should go to diets to clean energies. This makes the demons energy weaker and weaker, so they will show up during the ceremony. Normally they will try to hide from the shamans, if they can.

Fourth. After the diet there is a ceremony, normally with special Ayahuasca or San Pedro cooked with an extra plant, like Toe, Ajosacha or Pinon Colorado. There are different sorts and it always depends on the level of energy that we are dealing with. In cases of San Pedro shamans cactus with four lines are the favorites for exorcism. During the ceremony the demon is expelled with help of the shaman’s icaros. These ceremonies are not violent like in movies, but there is always a risk, so the shaman will have support from another shaman to do the exorcism.

After the exorcism people normally do not remember much, but they suddenly feel much much better. Finally they can get in touch with their hearts and some, if not all, can finally get in touch with the visions of Ayahuasca.

My personal experience with demons and dark energies is not to fight them. When you deal with these energies , what you do is to increase your light. When your light is strong there is no space for darkness. Nature does not support these dark energies. They are tired of them, so nature is a big ally. When the shaman has taken out this kind of energy, then the nature spirits take care of the rest. Once I saw a Roman army coming from the forest to take an entity with them. I look at them and asked “What are you going to do with him (the demon)?” They just said “Do not feel sorry for him. He does not feel for you. Do not worry. We have been looking for him for a long time.” And then they disappeared with the screaming entity.

Love and gratitude
Naysha Silva

Photo: Cuckoo by andrea floris on Flickr

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Naysha: My shamanic training

Some people have been interested in my shamanic training, so I will write a little about it. I have being dieting in the shamanic tradition for one year and a half year and I have trained for three years drinking Ayahuasca four times a week in the deep jungle of Iquitos. But the training never ends.

Before coming to Europe and before cooking my Ayahuasca I did diets alone in the mountains of the high jungle of my town Tarapoto, drinking Ayahuasca every night for 15 days to prepare myself. My teachers were two indigenous shamans; a Witoto man named Luis and his wife, a Yahuar woman. When you train as a shaman much of the knowledge is not talked about. It is up to the student to find the right questions and then the answers come.

My teachers were mostly silent and most of what I learnt was by observing and in our communication during ceremonies, where I could see and understand and then ask my teacher if my understanding was correct. The knowledge that you understand from the inside never leaves you. When you understand and you are able to explain it in your own words, then you have mastered the subject. All the information I share comes from the knowledge I got during my training and has been confirmed by my teachers.

During this time I also understood that the process of understanding is what transforms the student into a teacher. The process of waking the teacher inside of you takes time and the first part of the training to become a shaman is about self exploration and self destruction (we experience many small deaths during this process). Then we are reborn. We clean our lives before the training, our families heritages and our past life karmas.

After that you are ready to learn how to heal and help others, because you had done it with yourself. Because you had understood pain and mastered love, compassion and humbleness. Then you can help others.

Everyone has a calling to become a shaman, but few are ready to do the work.

But everything about my path with Ayahuasca started long before I found my teachers, which you can read about in my earlier article Ayahuasca brought me home.

Love and gratitude
Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: Naysha Silva by Jaško Jan

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Different feelings of love

When doing readings I have often been asked ”Does s/he love me?”.

This might seem like a straight forward question, but it has a dimension to it that many people often don’t think about. There is no fixed definition of love. We might both say that we love each other, but the feeling we are describing as love might be very different, to the point where they are not even compatible.

Someone who is emotionally evolved might be well equipped to feel, express and receive love. They might be able to distinguish between different kinds of love and be able to love at different levels of their being. A person who on the other hand is emotionally crippled will not be able to do so. For that person love might actually mean something along the lines of “I don’t want to hurt you” or “I’m happy that the apartment isn’t empty when I come home from work”. But for the emotionally crippled person that might genuinely feel like love. That is what love is to them.

But for the person asking me “Does s/he love me?”, that might not at all be what they have in mind. Being someone to come home to might not cut it.

– Does he love me?
– Well, it depends on what you mean. He might feel quite strongly that he loves you, but it might not qualify as love in your book.
– What?
– His concept of love might be different to yours. What he calls love, you might not call love.
– It’s a simple yes or no question.
– I agree that it is a question with a simple answer, but yes or no depends on perspective. He seems to feel that he loves you, but it doesn’t seem to be what you would call love.
– But love is love.
– No, love can be different for different people.

For me this is all very simple, but some do get terribly frustrated when this comes up. I don’t know where they got the idea that love is a well-defined constant or that it is a yes or no question with only one possible answer. I hope you understand the difference, because I don’t really know how I can express it any simpler.

Photo: Love in Milan by 西文 Simon on Flickr

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Reconstruction under way

I have seen this coming for some time, but I have been too comfortable in my routines to actually do it. Now I have reached the point where I really need to do it, in order to be able to do other things.

This blog has been bi-lingual from the start – Swedish and English. English is my mother tounge, but having lived in Sweden since I was a child my Swedish is better. I had two reasons to start blogging in English. One was to reach readers outside Sweden, which this blog has really done. The other was to improve my English, which I have also done.

But there has been one definitive down side to blogging bi-lingual and that is the translation work. It is really boring, sucks energy out of me and slows me down considerably. I often have posts lying around waiting to be translated.

The past month I have looked at possibilities to open up new social channels and I am super excited to do so, but I need time. So now, long over due, I am going to do what I should already have done. I am switching over to English.

It will take some time to get everything in place, so give me some patience and a week or so. When I’m done with that I’ll show you the new stuff I’ve been fiddling around with. I think you’ll like it.

Photo: Wayne National Forest Solar Panel Construction by Wayne National Forest on Flickr

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Naysha: San Pedro, part 3 – Seven interesting facts about San Pedro

1. It’s a really good medicine for treating gastritis, and organ inflammations in general.

2. It’s good for fertilizing other plants.

3. The cactus grows more with sunlight than water, which it almost doesn’t need at all.

San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) by zug55 on Flickr
San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) by zug55 on Flickr

4. The flower is very beautiful and likes to bloom during the night.

5. The ceremonies are much better if you have been doing a couple of Ayahuasca ceremonies before, because your energy will be cleaner and you will be able to process your Ayahuasca experience better. You will also feel much more comfortable in the San Pedro energy. While Ayahuasca is a very strong female energy, like a mother that loves you but also corrects you, the San Pedro is more like a grandfather who will teach you with patience, laughing and loving you.

6. If you are planning to visit Peru, go to the archaeological site of Chavin. There you can find one of the oldest San Pedro cactuses still growing. Some people call it the father of San Pedro.

7. San Pedro cactus with 4 lines are very difficult to find. It is like trying to find a four-leaf clover.

Naysha Silva Romero

Main photo: Psychedelic Butterfly Dreams @ Ness Creek Music Festival (Assignment 5.4)by Kyla Duhamel on Flickr

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Naysha: San Pedro, part 2 – The Ceremony

San Pedro ceremonies start early in the morning. Normally you don’t eat the night before and you won’t feel hungry during the day. If you start to feel hungry it is because the effect of the medicine is starting to disappear.

Huachuma, ready for preparation by lance and ines khoury on Flickr.
Huachuma, ready for preparation by lance and ines khoury on Flickr.

The shaman serves everyone the preparation. It can be fresh liquid San Pedro or San Pedro in powder which is mixed with water. In areas where it is available shamans always offer liquid San Pedro.

When everybody is ready the shaman opens the ceremony. Some are really strict and like to sit in circles that they don’t want you to move far from. The other way, which I prefer better, is that the participants can choose an area they want to be in after the ceremony is opened. For these ceremonies it is really good to be in an open area such as a big garden.

Different shamans view singing and music differently. Some sing and others let the participants sing or play instruments.

How it works?

San Pedro works approximately 12 hours. You begin to feel it work after 30 minutes if it is fresh or 2 hours if the San Pedro is in powder form. During that time you need to try to keep the medicine inside. The effects goes up until middle day and then slowly goes down. If the person needs healing it is really good to do such work around midday.

Water makes the San Pedro energy increase. If you take a shower you will feel it stronger afterwards. Don’t freak out.

You can drink water during the ceremony. It will help you to vomit. Yes you will vomit. It’s a medicine, not apple juice.

Watching the sky is very beautiful while in a San Pedro ceremony.

Dose

The dose is different from person to person and has nothing to do with body size or weight. It has to do with how sensitive we are and our energy level. The shaman will read you while serving the San Pedro.

Why isn’t it recommended to take it alone for the first time?

The limbo effect. If you didn’t take enough of the cactus preparation you can get stuck in what I call the limbo effect. You don’t feel normal but you don’t feel entirely in the San Pedro energy either. This is a very uncomfortable experience that can be solved by taking more San Pedro, but when you do so you will again need to wait until it starts working and you will have more than 12 hours of the San Pedro effects.

Overdosing. You won’t die of San Pedro, but taking too much will be very intense. If you are alone and start to freak out you have a long journey ahead of you, because the effects last up to 12 hours. This is a very serious plant to take alone.

Naysha Silva Romero

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Naysha: San Pedro cactus – part 1

The original name for this cactus in the Peruvian tradition is Wuachuma or Huachuma. In Peru the shamanic use has been tracked back to at least 1500 B.C. When the Spanish came to conquer the Incas the people started to use the name of San Pedro, because it is a plant that can open the doors to heaven for you, just like San Pedro (Saint Peter) from the bible.

Kinds of San Pedro

There are several kinds of San Pedro cactus, and I won’t name them because that is a classification that scientists love to do. In the shamanic tradition the following differences are noted:

  1. The female and male San Pedro. The first one doesn’t have many spines around it, while the male San Pedro has a lot of spines. The male San Pedro is stronger and the shamans or curanderos often prefer them.
  2. The lines. The cactus has a numbers of lines, or columns, which also indicate the power of the cactus. Shamans prefer to use cactus with more than four lines. San Pedro with four lines are used for exorcisms.

Uses

  1. Better connection with nature. You might for example perceive the aura of trees, animals, rivers, lakes and people. For San Pedro ceremonies the ceremonial place is therefore very important, since it is the most important part of the ceremony. The shaman knows this.
  2. Healing. The energy of San Pedro harmonizes the chakras and helps us to get more benefits from practices such as reiki, reflexiology, kinesiology, massage, taichi, yoga, etcetera. The San Pedro shaman is one of the first practitioners to work with hands on healing of the body.
  3. Opens our creativity. It is very good for artists, painters, musicians and dancers, because it opens our eyes to the beauty of our mother earth.
  4. Visions. The San Pedro spirit shares visions and knowledge, which are really vivid experiences.

Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: Wuachuma by Pipe Acuña on Flickr

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