Tag Archives: Naysha

Time for new beginnings

Today is the Spring Equinox which is a time for endings and new beginnings, death and rebirth. We lay old projects to rest and see the first seedlings of new ones.

Today I will climb to the top of a hill together with friends, light a fire and we will all burn something from the past that we no longer need or want in our lives. Then we will wish for the new things we want to invite into our lives with the support or the energy of the Spring. Afterwards we’ll have a meditation, eat and talk about our new projects.

Photo: Spirited Away by Stephen Brace on Flickr
Photo: Spirited Away by Stephen Brace on Flickr

I have a couple of new projects that are yearning for my attention and also a few old ones that need to come to an end to make room for the new ones. This blog is one such thing that will be coming to an end. I have been writing it for two years now and it has been a great therapeutic tool and also a way to share and connect with others. I am truly grateful for the healing it has given me and also grateful for the wonderful people it has put me in contact with. Thank you everyone who has supported me such as Naysha, Azarius and Zamnesia. With a smile and a light heart I will now move on to other even more interesting projects.

I wish you all the best of luck with your projects and please feel free to get in contact with me with questions, thoughts, bookings, new friendships and such.

Daniel Wilby

Main photo: Almost Over The Rainbow by Adrian Ruiz 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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Naysha: Different kinds of Ayahuasca

1. Ayahuasca as a vine (physical aspect)

Scientific classification: According to botanists they had found approximately 20 types of Ayahuasca vine.

Shamanic classification: This classification is different from shaman to shaman, tribe to tribe and from tradition to tradition. Some maestros name the vine according to the colour of the flowers, other according to the colour of the vine when they scrape it.

2. Ayahuasca as its psychoactive effect

● The Harakmbut natives differentiate between 22 types of Ayahuasca that they use in ceremony.

● In the north of Peru the vine is defined as: tigre-ayahuasca, rayo-ayahuasca, cielo-ayahuasca, boa-ayahuasca, but they do not agree at all about the characteristics and effects.

The most popular classification for Ayahuasca seems to be:

1. According to the type fo vine

YELLOW AYAHUASCA or MASTER AYAHUASCA is a soft preparation, without a lot of purge and visions. It’s very good for first timers. The visions are soft and the taste is not so strong.

PINK AYAHUASCA or SKY AYAHUASCA is much stronger than the Yellow Ayahuasca and is good for people with a little bit more experience. It is very good for cleansing and healing. It is also known as RED Ayahuasca and is the most popular Ayahuasca.

WHITE AYAHUASCA works mainly in the sexual energy center.

BLACK AYAHUASCA has a big potential for healing and energetic protection. It is not very visual though. Most of the visions are covered by a dense black cloak. It is strong and does a lot of cleansing work. Visions are short but intense.

2. According to the mix

Here we can find differents kinds of Ayahuasca that target a problem more specifically. In the mix a third or fourth plant can be added. This is usually done at the end of the Ayahuasca preparation and which parts of the plant – bark, leaves or roots – will depend on what the shaman wants from the Ayahuasca, energetically speaking.

Ayahuasca + Chakruna+ Tabacco: This Ayahuasca is not one of my favourites. It can be demanding, especially if you have a delicate liver, but it depends on if it is Mapacho or the tobacco leafs from the plant. If it is a Mapacho the mix is very hot for the liver and can create physical distraction. Tabacco is a very powerful plant and spirit and is used for protection and cleaning. I am working on an article about this plant. There are Tabacco shamans in the Amazon.

Ayahuasca + Chakruna + Bobimsana: This is my favorite Ayahuasca mix because the Bombisana plant has the ability to open the heart and get in touch with all the magic inside and outside of us. It is very strong visually and the mareacion (MAREACION is the common word to describe the state one can find in Ayahuasca ceremonies) comes in waves, is strong and then disappears, then is strong again and then disappear. It does so approximately 3 times.

Ayahuasca + Chakruna + Toe: This mix has a very bad reputation, but mostly because people do not know much about Toe. This mix is one of the most powerful mixes, and it is a very visual Ayahuasca, like crystal water. The shaman must know how many Toe to put in this mix, because Toe has a very strong spirit and can be mortal. Toe is in my opinion more powerful than Ayahuasca. Therefore one must be very respectful, do several diets and train to work with this spirit. It is one of my favourite Ayahuasca and I never had any problems with this mix, but I had proper guidance and the shaman I worked with knew a lot about Toe.

Once more: guidance is very important in every Ayahuasca ceremony. There is a lot more to know about this sacred tea.

– Love and gratitude –

Naysha Silva Romero

* For details on classification I used the book: Shamanismo y plantas de poder. Piki EDITORIAL. The translation is mine and I have also added my own knowledge.

Photo: Ayahuasca Vine by Paul Hessell on Flickr

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Naysha: How can you know if Ayahuasca is for you?

Before attending a ceremony it is important to have good information about what are you getting into, especially if you don’t have any experience with visionary plants. Ayahuasca is a tool for opening, cleaning, healing, transforming, diagnosing, revealing and learning. There are several such tools, so how can you know if Ayahuasca is the right tool for you? Ayahuasca is not a magic wand that will solve all your problems. It is very important that you have that understanding in advance so that you are not disappointed with what you get. The plants and the spirit world give you what you need, not what you want.

There are certain things to consider before attending a ceremony.

1. Do you qualify medically to be part of an Ayahuasca ceremony?

If you are taking medication like antidepressants, sleeping pills, antibiotics, or drugs like cocaine, heroin etc. it can be mortal in combination with Ayahuasca, not because of the Ayahuasca itself, but because these substances don’t go together. It’s important that you consult your doctor so that you know how much time your body needs to be free of these chemicals in your blood. There are certain medications that you can avoid 48 hours before a ceremony, but it’s important you check. Chronic heart problems, hepatic and immune system problems should also be considered.

2. Are you mentally ready?

Ayahuasca is not something to mess around with. It is not a recreational drug. It is a strong spirit that will open your perception to the reality. Such information can be difficult to handle for some people – it can blow your mind. It’s very important that you do a ceremony with somebody that has experience working with this plant, like a shaman. If you have mental disorders it is important that you let the person in charge of the ceremony know, because depending on your problem the shaman can better know if Ayahuasca can help you or not. In my opinion people experience mental disorders because:

  • They are too open and and sensitive to everything around then. What they need is to balance the channel or connection again. Shamans for example have learnt how to work with the channel, when to open and when to close it. If you have a mental disorder of this kind Ayahuasca might help, but I haven’t tried it. There are other plants that can help before taking the step of going for an Ayahuasca ceremony. I would personally rather do a ceremony without the person taking the Ayahuasca, just to diagnose the situation and understand how it can be fixed. Most people with mental disorders have an imbalance in the substances in the brain. They have too much or too little, but these substances can be found in nature. Remember that most medications come from plants, some come from animals and some from minerals. Plants help us recover the balance in all senses, physically, mentally and emotionally, because they live in harmony. They are truly connected.
  • Possession. This might sound strange, but in native cultures it is a common belief that people can be possessed by entities of different kinds, because we are living and interacting with different dimensions. This 3D dimension is not the only one. Ayahuasca shows us this. Certain kinds of depressions can be caused by these entities and there are different kinds. There are the ones with a purpose – they don’t manifest or show themselves so much, but they are sucking your vital energy. Their mission is to stop you from your mission in life. They can enter at the moment of birth and it is often easier these days because of all the anesthetics that are used. The well known psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Brian Weiss, who is specialized in regression, has explained that it is at the moment of birth that the soul and the body are truly unified. If the soul is entering a sleepy body under anesthesia, the soul won’t be fully aware about other energies lurking there.

Traumatic situations can also allow entities to enter us, because in traumatic situations you are very vulnerable and open. If you are unlucky you are in the wrong place when you are traumatized and such energies can latch onto you. Other entities can also enter when people play with things they don’t understand, such as Ouija or by taking plants like Ayahuasca without guidance. When you take such plants you open different portals. That is why the shaman does diets as part of their training, because with the diets they get spirit allies or friends that help them in ceremonies. A shaman also learns how to create a safe space and how to hold a ceremony. Most shamans say that taking Ayahuasca without guidance is like going for a swim without knowing how to.

3. Have you tried other tools?

Before attending a ceremony, make sure that your problem can’t be solved in another way. Meditation, yoga and healthy lifestyle choices can help. Remember that you have all the potential to change your life within yourself. The plants help us when we had tried, but can’t change or heal because our blocks are so big. If you feel that you have big blocks that do not allow you to feel or to open yourself to embrace change, then Ayahuasca is something that will really help you. But it is important that you are fully aware that one single ceremony won’t be enough. Sometimes people do not feel or experience anything in the first ceremony, because the first ceremonies are mainly for purging and cleansing the body. It is very important that you do a diet before attending a ceremony, because this will help you clean your body a lot so that the Ayahuasca can work better.

You should also understand that Ayahuasca can help with certain problems, but not all. If the problems you are experiencing in your life come from emotional sources, then ceremonies will help you for sure. But if you want to heal a disease, then you need to take other plants. In that case Ayahuasca can be used to see what the root of the problem is, but because the problem has already manifest physically causing a disease, you will need to diet with other plants. You will also need time to heal. The shaman will know what other plants to do diets with, because in ceremony the spirit of the plants will let him/her know what help is needed.

4. Do you want to learn?

Ayahuasca is definitely a great source of information. It is how shamans manage to know about the healing properties of several plants, because Ayahuasca is a translator for other plants. I call it the Google of the spirits. Ayahuasca has learnt how to communicate with humans. She is the consciousness of the forest talking to us clearly.

Shamans learn about the healing properties of plants trough diets and ceremonies. In the diets the shamans connect with the spirit of the plant and in the ceremonies the plants show the shaman, much in the same way as having a conversation. They look like people, but different, and depending on which part of the plant you want to learn from the spirit appears different. Flowers are always shown as children and it is because they have the highest energy vibration. Roots and barks are shown as adults. They have skin colours and dress themselves with the plants. Chuchuwasa and tobacco spirit, for example, are black and can appear in a female or male energy. Plants have both energy inside, but sometimes one is stronger than the other. Usually the tobacco spirit shows as a black woman or an old man. In some traditions the stories about the first humans explain that they came from a tree and it was a woman. This can explain why the spirits of plants look like humans.

If we are conscious that we are all one, then we can understand that we can experience incarnation as plants, animals, humans and others things during our earth process, since everything that exists has a consciousness.

Ayahuasca help us make our unconscious conscious and through this process we can see, we become observers and thus can find the roots of our problems. With Ayahuasca you will experience death, a small spiritual death where your fears, your ego, your habits and your attachments must disappear so that you can be to reborn again as pure and clean as when you came the first time. Death in this sense only means transformation.

Taking Ayahuasca is a ceremony which begins with the preparation of the Ayahuasca. There are many details that people must know in order to achieve all the benefits of these plants. What do you know about Ayahuasca ceremonies? What you know about ikaros and diets? When the ceremony starts and the shaman starts singing the ikaros, the purging (vomiting) begins and after that come the visions. Visions of your light and your darkness. You will meet your fears, desires and wishes. If you want to grow, to evolve, you must confront them and accept the consequences.

Are you ready?

Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: To Reiterate There Needs to be Artists to Remind Kids that the Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst World is Fucking Bullshit by Surian Soosay on Flickr

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Naysha: Ayahuasca brought me home

Beginning this week it is my great pleasure and honour to publish texts from the Peruvian shaman woman Naysha Silva Romero. She will be writing on shamanism, sacred plants and related topics. I thought it would be nice to introduce her with the story of her first ayahuasca experience.

Thank you for sharing, Naysha.

Daniel

● ● ●

My first ayahuasca experience

My first Ayahuasca experience started before I was born. My mother was 33 years old, married and although she wanted a baby girl, she could not have kids. She tried everything in modern medicine, but nothing worked. Like many Peruvians that are disconnected from their spiritual roots, she went to the shamans first after everybody else had said that there is no solution.

My father was at that time working with some San Pedro curanderos from the north of Peru, but they decided to go to Iquitos, which was the last town in Peru that I wanted to go before I went there.

In Iquitos my parents met several shamans before they found someone that could heal my mom. After diets and ayahuasca ceremonies they left. On their way back to my town of Tarapoto they stopped in the capital Lima where my mom went to a statue of the Virgin Mary. There she prayed again to be a mother and said once more that she trusted in the plants. One month later my mother was pregnant with me.

My mother never told me this story until I returned from my shamanic training in Iquitos. She somehow knew that my path was already chosen.

When I was 16 I began studying to become a lawyer. I didn’t understand why at the time, but I knew that I needed to go to Trujillo because something important was waiting for me there. On the day that I left I remember my mother saying:
– Now your life is yours, my child. I know you won’t come back to live with us again.
I just laughed and told her that I would be back. But she was right. After that I have never spent more than a month living with my mother.

The last year at university I was working for the Peruvian government when I began to lose faith in my intuition. The corruption I saw every day made me so sad and I understood that we cannot change society with laws that do not understand the laws of nature. I realized that the problem in society was deeper and that the change we need must come from within each individual. Ayahuasca was calling me but I could not find the right person to begin. I always had a lot of respect for these plants. These medicines are sacred for us in the Amazon.

I prayed for guidance, and the man who was to become one of my greatest teachers appeared in my life. How that happened is another story, but he was finished with his shamanic training with ayahuasca in Iquitos and we fell in love. So I quit everything – my profession, my future life as lawyer, and everything that in that moment was trying to stop me. And I ended in Iquitos, the town that I never wanted to go to, where I was once again introduced to ayahuasca. I spent three years of my life living with indigenous shamans, doing diets and working with ceremonies in Iquitos.

When I returned to my mother in our home town and told her that I was planning to move to Europe, she just said:
– The plants gave you to me and now they took you from me.
Then she shared her story about how ayahuasca help her have me, and on that day my whole life finally made sense to me.

The truth is that I love my mother and we have a good relationship, but I never felt like she was my mother. I was more like a friend, but also a mother to her, but I never felt like a daughter. My mother was somewhere else and it was ayahuasca, and my father is the sun, San Pedro.

I am no longer with my husband, but I am on a journey of sharing in Europe. Sharing and working for the planet I have seen so many times in the ceremonies.

This is me.

Naysha Silva Romero

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