Our experience in the jungle is very difficult to describe with true words.There are journeys that change your perception of reality and this is one of them.
No matter how much we can dream about understanding nature and our relationship with it, being surrounded by the true essence of it in such a place is witnessing paradise on Earth to the fullest.We left behind our comfort zone and stayed four days in the middle of nowhere with a caring family from the Witoto lineage, originally from Colombia.We were introduced by Nicolas to the tribe leaders, Sarita and Luis (wife and husband) and their children, as well as to other family members living together with them. Daily duties are different here in the jungle. Time is not a factor as we concern in western culture. Stress does not exist. Air is pure and Night is dark and mysterious. Nature is all here.
Life in the jungle
Life is much more simple and enjoyable, as well as hard and based on daily survival.There is much need and poverty and lack of education. Even so, they share with you everything they have, from food to stories. This is a real gate for “city” people to get back to basics.We witnessed different aspects of the amazon jungle and community living during our stay here.With emphasis on sharing and keeping a very basic lifestyle, the temperatures were high and humid, encouraging us to stay hydrated and drinking water regularly.
We had time to be alone and reflect on our inner thoughts, share experiences together, play with the children, get to know each other better and get closer to the environment and nature around us.
The Ayahuasca experience
Following a short diet based on 1 meal per day without salt or sugar, we had two ayahuasca rituals.
In opposition to the vision about Ayahuasca shown and spreaded in the West, we experienced a traditional ritual with love, respect and honor to Mother Ayahuasca and the sacred healing plants from the jungle. First with Sarita and then with Luis, we took part in two ceremonies during night time in our primitive cabin made of wood and wire mesh to protect us from dangerous insects and animals. During our rituals they sang Icaros songs to honor, great and thank Mother Ayahuasca together with all other ingredients (roots, plants and herbs) used in the mixture they gave us was chacruna and ayahuasca ajo sacha ,ina yunga,chiri sanango lupunamanta.
We shared our ritual together but our individual journeys through the healing powers and visualizations were individual, exclusive and unique. Each of us encountered different aspects of ourselves, allowing the plant to set up a cleansing process which is yet active in us.
We are not interested in giving a wrong approach to our Ayahuasca experience, since our purpose was not to “get high” or get in trance, but to welcome the spirit medicine to enter ourselves and guide us through a healing and conscious journey beyond our perceptible reality.
With profound respect, we encourage people to be serious, honest and very careful when considering taking Ayahuasca, being very concerned about the psychological and mental situation and strength, reflecting in why the person really wants to take the plant.
Where to take it, how and specially, with who is a truly important factor. Ayahuasca is not about enlightenment at any cost and should not be taken without guidance, help and care of a true shaman/man of knowledge.
Therefor, we had the chance to interview respectful men of knowledge in this field during our journey, like Alan Shoemaker and Juan Manuel Redondo. At the same time we met other individuals and people staying there doing their journey-retreats. Two of them shared their breathtaking life-story and told us in front of the cameras about their personal experiences with the healing powers of Ayahuasca, like Darren Steiner, as well as our team guide Nicolas Prassinos.
The celebration day
On Sunday 4th, two days after our arrival, we had a really special day together with Witoto family and other temporary guests doing Ayahuasca retreats coming from different regions of the world (Greece, Russia, Spain, Norway, Chile, Denmark, Hungary, US…).
In this day we witnessed a historical family reunion.
The mother of Sarita and Luis´s father came from far away to share with us their knowledge, stories and traditions.
Children and women prepared the traditional ceremony costumes and painted their tribe symbol on them before wearing them for the dance.
The grandmother and other women were in the kitchen space preparing the food, consisting on traditional flat yuca bread, grilled fresh fish that men brought from the river, grilled bananas, boiled pineapple juice and Maní (special recipe made by Laszlo Bartha from Hungary).
Before we ate, they performed a traditional dance. It is possible to watch it here. (video coming soon).
The grandfather was our storyteller. We sat around him and listened to his stories in jungle-spanish and witoto muiro language. His speech was direct and very honest, focusing on his people´s legacy and identity. He shared with us childhood memories about wisdom and nature and projected his wishes for the preservation of Witoto´s culture and tradition.
Fragments from his speech:
“You’re going to take our word for what we are, Muroy-Huitoto.
Just as you want our words, our knowledge, and therefore we want from you too. Hey, you hear what I’m saying? So we need that you do not abandon us.”
“You are my brothers, our brothers.”
“Just as you want from us, we want to you to not forget our culture. We ask you to help us, so we can do what we do. I give my word to you. It’s okay?”
The jungle trip
The third day we went for a trip into the jungle to visit the Temple of Chullachaqui (God Pan in the greek mythology). This is not a physical temple but a spot in the jungle where this Nature spirit lives together with other magical creatures and spirits that are part of the legends and myths of these regions.
Nicolas and our local guide from the tribe showed us plants, roots, herbs and trees that are used in medicine, healing, therapy, for mixing with ayahuasca to prepare the ritual mixture.
During this beautiful trip, we met astonishing ancient giants aka trees. All kind of trees, roots and textures all around. We had to be very aware of where to place our feet and our hands, due to dangerous spots full of termites, tricky roots, holes in the ground, poisoned leaves and trunks with spikes. Besides these inconvenients and our funny jumps to cross from some places to others, we had a beautiful introduction journey into the wild and magic side of the Peruvian Amazon.