Exploring the Power of Ancestral Medicine in Peru
Our journeys shape us. Each place I have traveled to has left an indelible mark on my wellbeing, it has helped me grow and nurture parts of my soul. So, when I decided to go to the heart of the Amazon rainforest, I knew I was opening myself up for a rare adventure. But what it held for me was more than I could have ever imagined.
My expedition to Peru commenced in Seattle, leading me to Lima and eventually Pucallpa. From there, I embarked on a two-hour truck drive along treacherous, rain-soaked roads, followed by a boat ride on the unique "boiling river," called Shanay-Timpishka, also known as La Bomba, finally taking on an up-hill trek through the dense green forest.
My destination was Santuario Huishtin, a center of shamanic healing and personal discovery. I was here to try the ancestral Amazonian plant medicine healing through Ayahuasca, a medicine that has been used traditionally by indigenous cultures in the Amazon for thousands of years. Ayahuasca is made from two plants — the Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis Caapi) and the leaf of the chakruna plant (Psychotria Viridis). Both plants are collected from the surrounding jungle to create a potent mixture that offers access to realms we are typically unable to perceive in our ordinary state of consciousness.
Cleansing the Body and Mind
Santuario Huishtin, is a sanctuary with a humble rustic and serene layout. This healing center is amid a clearing in the forest, it consists of a few huts and a big wooden hall called Maloca where the ceremonies take place.
My tiny wooden cabin had a small bed, shower, and basic amenities. And each day time was marked to the rhythmic symphony of jungle sounds - the cicadas, and other fauna going about their daily routines in the rich flora around us. It’s a place where modern distractions fade away, allowing one to fully immerse themselves in ancient wisdom.
The shamans or healers believe that to receive the energies of the plants we must cleanse the body. Before I could partake in any ceremony, I had to prepare my body, to be ready for the ancient medicinal brew. This involved following a "dieta," a cleansing diet designed to purify the body. This dieta is a powerful process it not only allowed me to detoxify physically but also served as a metaphor for letting go of old patterns and embracing new possibilities. The dieta involved abstaining from eating salt, red meat, peppers, sugar, and any stimulants including coffee or tea, I could feel a sense of renewal and vitality growing within me.
The shaman specified that 'intention' is critical when you are working with ancestral medicine like ayahuasca. One needs to consider and clarify what your intentions are for wanting to do this healing work with your body.
The Journey Within
After a day of strict diet, I was ready for my first ceremony, I had only one meal in the morning, to keep the body ready for the medicine. Late evening, I was asked to enter the maloca. It was a wide hall made of wooden slats and a big domed roof. I could only carry a flashlight, a bottle of water, and a mat for myself to sit on. There were others in the tent ready for healing and exploring wellbeing using this natural brew.
Maestro Enrique, the chief shaman at Santuario oversaw the ceremony. We settled down in the dark hall that had a single candle lit in the middle of the maloca. Each of us was then offered a cup of the medicinal brew. For my first time, I tried half a cup. It was a dark liquid that didn’t have a distinct taste. The shaman then began the icaros or chanting. With the sounds of the cicadas in the forest in time with the icaros, I could feel the medicine unwinding inside me.
The candle in the middle of the room was put out, and it was pitch dark. The effects of ayahuasca on my body and mind were like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was lying down on my mat, and I was aware of all the sounds around me. Soon, all I could focus on was my own thoughts and fears. It was as if the forest itself had become my therapist, unearthing buried emotions, fears, and dreams with relentless precision. It stripped away the layers of my conditioned self, leaving me face-to-face with my truest, most authentic self — no filters or facades to hide behind.
I felt an intense emotional purging. It was a rush of thoughts, feelings, and memories. I could see myself rising above the veils of confusion and uncertainty that have weighed on my being. I could see myself and the world with unprecedented clarity. It was an experience of a lifetime!
Wisdom at Work
So, did Ayahuasca help me with my intention? It surely did. I was back home immersed in the ebb and flow of everyday life, yet infused with the spiritual riches and clarity! I now move with newfound sense of purpose and vitality. I feel connected to everyone and everything and gratitude for all the people in my life.
Being a founder and philanthropist, I value the essentials of true leadership which demands self-awareness, empathy, and an understanding of our own strengths and limitations. I am highly dedicated to my company’s mission, and this has helped me in understanding on a profound level the significance of Roundglass and its impact on the world.
Ancestral wisdom has shown me the potential of self-exploration and inner reflection. It feels like a new journey to spiritual wellbeing has just begun.