We need your help on IndieGoGo to create a visionary animated film to share the art and cosmology of the Amazonian Shipibo with the world.
If you have been inspired by Shipibo visionary art, guided by icaro healing songs, transformed by Madre Ayahuasca, touched by a profound experience of universal connection, or are passionate about protecting the Amazon rainforest and our Earth, we are asking you to join us in making this important & innovative film.
We are fundraising on IndieGoGo, and offering some great perks! Watch a video about the film and learn more about our project.
To make this film happen, we need your help! Join the Song!
ICHABIRES IRAKE! (Shipibo for thank you very much!)
| Icaros | Kené | The Project | Videos | Visionary Art |
Written on November 20, 2014
We are very excited to share this animation test short for Song of the Amazon!
Song of the Amazon is a mind-expanding animated film we are creating to share the cosmology, visionary art, and wisdom of the Shipibo-Konibo people of the Peruvian Amazon.
Art, myth and story have always been powerful catalysts for change. By sharing the creative voice of the Shipibo people and their worldview of nature as a wise and conscious teacher to humanity, we expand consciousness, allowing us to rediscover our own connection to each other and live harmoniously with our planet.
We need your help to make this visionary film that will share vital knowledge from the heart of nature and awaken humanity to create a better world. Please Join the Song and contribute to our indiegogo crowdfunding campaign today.
| Icaros | Kené | Shipibo Healing | Videos |
Written on November 14, 2014
According to the cosmology of the Amazonian Shipibo-Konibo people, the primordial anaconda Ronin, brought the Universe into existence by singing a song that was depicted in the patterns of her skin. This conveys an understanding that existence is essentially comprised of vibrations, encapsulating the connection between the energetic and material worlds and expressing the link between light and sound.
This sheds light on the popular understanding and perhaps over simplification of the complex geometric designs seen in Shipibo art. These intricate patterns, called kené, are seen in Shipibo pottery, embroidery, ink work and visionary paintings and are thought to be illustrations of the underlying vibrational make up of the universe.
The serpentine energy of Ronin can be seen expressed in these traditional Shipibo kené designs, and every plant, animal and person is thought to possess their own unique design. The visionary state brought about by ayahuasca medicine is thought to reveal these energetic patterns to the ayahuasca healers. Spiritual imbalance and illness in a patient can be perceived as breaks in or misalignment of that person’s kené. Disorder in a person’s pattern can be repaired by healers through the application of medicinal animal or plant vibrations via healing songs called icaros. These songs are sung as a tool, which can correct imbalances in a person by bringing their energetic designs back into cohesive harmony.
video by Keith Rozendal
In posting this informative video, we feel the need to respond the video’s conclusion that the true meanings behind the kené designs have been lost. This limited view acts on an anthropological presumption that this knowledge is purely cultural or mythological and does not consider the ability humans have to connect directly with the spirits of the plants and animals to regain and recover the deeper meanings existing behind the kené pattern. Nor does it recognize that these deeper meanings are a result of an experiential knowingness that comes from the realm of each individual’s relationship with their own specific plant and animal teachers and allies.
| The Project |
Written on October 27, 2014
We at Song of the Amazon are excited to announce the launch of our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign to help fund the making of a full-length animated film to bring the art, wisdom and music of the Shipibo people to life!
To create this innovative animated film, we need your help! Please Join the Song and contribute to Song of the Amazon on IndieGoGo today!
Be the Connection!
Please help us spread the word about Song of the Amazon and our IndieGoGo campaign! Right click on the Image above and click ‘save image as’ to download, and upload to your favorite social media to share with your friends. We can’t do it without you!
ICHABIRES IRAKE! (Shipibo for thank you very much!)
| Icaros | Nature Connection | Shipibo Healing |
Written on October 16, 2014
Known commonly as ayahuasca, Oni is a sacred Shipibo medicine that is used in a traditional ceremonial context for the purpose of healing. As information about this sacred traditional medicine is disseminated to the modern world, misconceptions about ayahuasca and ayahuasca ceremony are becoming widespread. We would like to offer clarity about Oni and its usage, from a traditional Shipibo medicine perspective.
Oni: An Indigenous Shipibo Medicine
To the Shipibo, Oni is an herbal decoction made from two plants: the woody stems of the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine (known by the Quechua word, ayahuasca) and the leaves of the Psychotria Viridis plant (known by the Quechua word, chacruna). Oni is an entheogenic mixture that when ingested, induces an often visionary, altered state of consciousness.
For Shipibo ayahuasca healers known as Onanya, Oni is mainly taken for the purpose of curing and communication with nature and the spirit world. Conducted by an Onanya, the Oni ceremony provides a container for divinatory, diagnostic and healing work to take place. The Onanya orchestrates this work and the ceremony itself, through the singing of traditional chanting songs called icaros.
Grounding the Tradition
The ayahuasca ceremony is considered by the Shipibo to be only one small part of their complex and extensive indigenous spiritual tradition and cosmology. The foundation of the Shipibo spiritual system is an intimate connection with nature and the universe. In this worldview, plants, animals, and other elements of nature such as wind, earth, and the waters, are thought of as specific and distinct conscious beings that can be interacted with and learned from.
The communication that takes place between a person and these nature beings comes from connecting to the level of consciousness of that particular nature spirit. This ability to connect to and communicate with nature is part of the birthright of every human being and does not necessarily require the taking of ayahuasca.
The Onanya: The Master Healer Teacher
For the Shipibo, the ayahuasca ceremony is facilitated by a trained practitioner of the medicine, called an Onanya in the Shipibo language. This healer has developed a mastery of the art of ayahuasca healing and is often referred to in the Spanish vernacular as maestro or maestra, meaning teacher. In order to learn to heal others through the use of ayahuasca medicine, the novice healer spends many years as an apprentice under the guidance of an Onanya master healer teacher.
In their training, the apprentice healer learns through a series of aesthetic practices that create a space of consciousness, which allows him or her to communicate with and therefore be taught directly by the spirits of the Master Plants and of Ayahuasca itself. These learning practices, known as “dietas” or diets, are different than the preparation diet that people wanting to drink ayahuasca undergo to get ready to take part in the ceremony. The educational diet (sama in Shipibo) serves an essential purpose— to build alliances with Master Plant spirits who will aid the practitioner in their healing work. Depending on the master plant, the educational diet also serves to purify the body and mind, to offer protection, and to cultivate the nervous system to be able to navigate higher states of consciousness.
Do you have any questions about ayahuasca healing or ceremony? If so, send us an
email, and we will try to answer it in a future post.
| Nature Connection | Shipibo Stories |
Written on October 10, 2014
“Everything is an inseparable piece of a greater whole, including our own human community… If we were connected to our Earth, we would not have an environmental crisis.” -Jon Young
Shipibo artist and Song of the Amazon creative partner Reshin Bima shared a few stories with us recently about changes he has seen in the Amazonian environment near his home village of Santa Clara. He recalled a certain aquatic plant that grew in abundance in the waters near his village as a child. This green leafy plant floated on the surface of ponds and lakes and was known to be extremely effective in removing toxins and oils from the water.
This particular quality of the plants attracted the attention of Westerners “scientists”, that came into Shipibo territory and began to harvest these wild, naturally growing plants. The local story goes that the plants were apparently being used by a big company for crude oil clean up. I looked up the technique, which is called phytoremediation, and learned that over the past 20 years, this “technology” has become an increasingly popular way of cleaning up pollutants in contaminated soil, water or air.
On the surface, it sounds like a great solution, but I learned from Reshin, that the plant was over harvested and has since disappeared from the area. This plant’s disappearance had a detrimental impact to the local environment, effecting everything from the animals and insects in the area, to food sources and clean water. To put it simply, one area’s environment was destroyed to clean up the man-made destruction in another.
Reshin shared another story about a beautiful river tributary that was good for fishing and known to be home to a large anaconda. Some men came up the river and captured the anaconda to sell to a European zoo. With the anaconda gone, the surrounding environment shifted drastically, and all of the fish in the area were eaten by other predators or died out.
This brings light to one of the reasons why the Shipibo people consider large anacondas to be the guardians and protectors of the rivers. In ecology terms, the anaconda would be described as a keystone predator species that is vital to a certain ecosystem.
Stories like these from Reshin Bima, offer a grounded understanding of the Shipibo concept of interconnectedness. Rather than an obscure spiritual idea, the interconnectedness of all things can be seen clearly in the natural world. With this nature connected awareness, the impact of every plant, animal and even human can be seen as both clear and profound.