Who is an Authentic Jungle Shaman, How to choose a good Shaman for Ayahuasca Ceremony
Choosing to drink Ayahuasca for the first time can be a daunting process. At Shakruna Ayahuasca Retreats we always ask every potential Client to ask their hearts if this is the retreat for them. We offer every potential guest an opportunity to speak to us over Skype to ask and questions you may have and hear our hearts. We are not like most centres. We are a big family and we welcome each and every guest as a member of our family. The Maestros we work with are Maestro Leonardo who is 85 years old, he has been dieting and learning from all the plants of the jungle since 12 years old. When we sit in ceremony we also sit with Maestra Lucia who has studied under her father and carries on his lineage. To sit with both of them in ceremony is a dance between male and female, old and young. It is an honour to work with these 2 Maestros
Before choosing to come on retreat with us or anyone, I ask you to sit in a quiet space and ask your heart, is this the Maestro for you. I understand that drinking Ayahuasca is a big step for many people, especially those who are drinking for the first time. It is important to feel really safe and held through every step of the process.
To aid you in your decision-making process I will share with you a little about this wonderful family. Family is an important word. Shakruna Ayahuasca Retreat centre was built upon the land of a family home. When I first met Lucia and Leonardo none of the buildings that you see were there. Thanks to donations from our campaign and sales of the clothes I have made with the community we have built the beautiful centre that we can now welcome you to. We have done all of this together as a family. Both with Augusto, Lucia’s husband who is an incredible natural builder and our global family who have come forward from far and wide to raise funds for building the centre.
When you arrive at Shakruna Ayahuasca Retreat you will be welcomed into a family as a long-lost child. You will be accepted just as you are and loved and guided through your process of healing each day. This is part of the medicine of these people. The tribal way is to honour the group and to love and respect everyone. Many of us feel estranged, obligated or disconnected from our own blood families in the West and these people are are remaining strain of the old way, the way of community and a deep connection to spirit and to nature. They are people of the earth who know what it is to be truly human. Where in our modern world can you get a taste of being so welcomed, so loved from a person you have just met? Many of you who come here will feel more loved by this family than you do your own blood family and this is just one of the many gifts that you will receive in your time in this space.
At Shakruna Ayhuasca Retreats you will meet a true Shamanic family who are born from generations of living in deep connection with the jungle. Lucia and Leonardo are the Maestros and they live together with Lucia’s husband Augusto who is a master builder and a great support in Ceremony. Lucia and Leonardo also have three boys under 7.
Maestro Leonardo is pure love. Leonardo is 85 years old and he first started drinking the medicine when he was 12 years old as is customary in the Shipibo lineage when a young person begins his training. Leonardo is the most humble, calm and loving individual I have ever had the honour of meeting. To sit near him is to feel healed and he is the medicine. Every breath and every utterance from his person is from the medicine. Leonardo speaks mostly Shipibo, yet he understands Spanish and he will deeply understand you and what you need without any language at all. You will come to know and love his chuckle of understanding and be touched by his powerful Ikaros as they wash over you within the plant world and help you to release that which no longer serves you. Leonardo once said to me that his wish before he goes is to know that his daughter, Lucia, has a place where she can share the medicine with the world. Thanks to all of you and your help, this lineage will continue and we can continue to serve the medicine.
Lucia is a powerful Maestra and has been studying under her father for the last 4 years. When I first met her she had been studying for 2 years and she considered herself to be a novice and unable to hold space in ceremony without Maestro Leonardo’s guidance. This is a testament to the level of training that is undertaken by a Shipibo Maestro and made me feel very safe. When I first came here I had heard of many Westerners holding ceremony with guitars and hippy music and I was never drawn to join them. After spending 2 years with this authentic Shipibo family I have seen how much work goes into really holding space in ceremony and what a great responsibility that is. It is not a responsibility to be taken lightly as if not held properly ceremony can be a dangerous space energetically.
Lucia began her training when her third born son was 15 days old. As part of her sacrifice to learning this path she left her son in the care of her husband Augusto and went into the jungle to begin dieting under Maestro Leonardo’s guidance for one year. This was a grueling time for her, one year without salt, eating small portions of rice only up until midday, living under a tarpaulin and in the evening, ingesting the jungle plants she that she could learn their medicine to be able to help heal others. As a mother her sacrifice was that her son was without her for the first year of his life and this I can tell pains her still to talk about but this is what she gave up so that she could help each one of us to heal.
Today Lucia is the Maestra that will guide your healing with Shakruna Ayahuasca Retreats. Maestro Leonardo knows that he is in the last part of his life and so he is stepping back so that he can help his daughter to continue in ceremony when he passes. Maestro Leonardo will still be in ceremony with us and you will experience the wonderful dynamic of the two of them singing in unison. The dance of the Old and the Young, the Male and the Female but it is Maestra Lucia who will guide your daily healing, speak to you before and after each ceremony, bring you teas or make you saunas.