In recent decades, there has been a shift in the modern world to seek out more holistic forms of health and healing. This has lead to an increasing interest in age-old systems of medicine from cultures around the planet that address not only the physical symptoms of an illness, but the underlying physiological, psychological, and even spiritual contributing factors that lead to imbalance and disease. One such healing tradition exists within the shamanic practices of the Shipibo master healers of the Peruvian Amazon.


The Shipibo people have maintained a close connection to nature, not only due to their need to survive off the land in isolated areas, but as a part of their worldview, which believes that animals, plants, the skies, the waters and other nature elements have a spirit. Certain plants with powerful curative properties, are known by the Shipibo to possess intelligence and are considered to be teachers to humanity.


The most notable of these “master plants” is Ayahuasca, called Oni in the Shipibo language, who is considered to be “la madre”, the mother of the plants and plant medicines. The ayahuasca ceremony is a central practice of Shipibo traditional medicine, during which Shipibo master healers apply their curative expertise.


The entheogenic brew of the ayahuasca vine mixed with the leaves of the chacruna plant, shifts consciousness, providing Shipibo healers with visions they use to aid them in their healing work. It also allows access to the realm of the plant spirits known as Rao Nete where knowledge and insight can be gained.


In the Shipibo worldview, all disease and emotional imbalance is thought to be rooted in the spirit world. Sicknesses are described as harmful spirits or energies that must be cleaned and removed from the body.


For those seeking healing from Shipibo medicine, it is important to understand that, although initiated and supported by the healer and the plant medicines, the healing process is very much driven by personal commitment. It requires one not only to take outward steps towards addressing imbalance (by choosing healthy lifestyle), but to look inwards, sometimes uncovering deeply hidden emotions and traumas.


One’s dedication to this inner work is integral to beneficial transformation, which in Shipibo medicine, is assisted by the master healer and reinforced by the plant spirits who offer humanity their healing power and wisdom.