ayahuasca retreat

ayahuasca retreat

Ayahuasca is a magical rainforest medicine made from ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of the chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis).

The mixture is prepared by cleaning specially-chosen vines and adding them and the leaves to water. This is then boiled and reduced for several hours, attended by shamans who blow their intentions and good wishes (soplada) into it, make prayers to their spirits for good healings and singing icaros (sacred healing songs) into the brew during its preparation and in ceremony.

When ayahuasca is drunk it can open up a new world that is extraordinary, amazing and healing – and yet it is the same world we are part of every day; ayahuasca simply opens our eyes to what is really before us.

The experience normally begins soon after drinking with a feeling of warm presence in the stomach which spreads throughout the body. Most people describe this as very pleasant, like being in a warm, body-temperature bath.

Approximately 40 minutes later visions begin, which may be of “other worlds” or new perspectives on “this” world and/or recollections in words, sights, sounds or feelings of episodes and events from your life which need to be healed and which you can now approach from a position of knowledge and strength, aided by the spirit of ayahuasca.

Healing comes through a subtle shift in awareness, a deepened understanding of your place in the world or an increase in personal power.

 

Icaros, healing songs of the shaman, are integral to the ayahuasca experience and direct the ceremony and the visions which may arise. The shaman has songs for each person’s needs, the vibrations of which summon healing energies with words that tell of Nature’s ability to heal.

As the shaman sings you might even see these things in your visions (ayahuasca was once known by the scientific name telepathine because of its ability to work in this way). Another common experience is to see rainbows streaming from the shaman’s mouth as he sings to you, becoming white light or healing colours as they enter your energy field.

Healing takes place as the vibrations of these songs rearrange the patterns, waveforms and frequency of your energy system, also empowering and directing the ayahuasca you have drunk so it can act with greater intensity and focus on your behalf.

As a result of this shift in energy you become, in a sense, a new person who can see and understand life from a new perspective and sadness, illness, anger or other unhelpful energies can be transmuted into ecstasy, well-being and love.

THE HUMMINGBIRD RETREAT CENTRE PERU

At The Hummingbird Retreat Centre near Iquitos in Peru, healing with ayahuasca is also part of a process which involves other aspects of traditional purification and energy work.

The Centre is run by two Westerners – British author Ross Heaven who has written several books on plant medicines including Plant Spirit Shamanism, about ayahuasca healing, and The Hummingbird’s Journey to God, about healing with San Pedro, and Tracie Thornberry, an Australian addictions  release therapist – but works with indigenous rainforest healers. During your stay at The Hummingbird the shamans and staff act on your behalf as a therapeutic team and may also prescribe healings for you which might include the following.

 

TRADITIONAL CLEANSING SAUNA

Traditional jungle “saunas” help to cleanse, detoxify and “leave the outside world behind”. Participants are wrapped in blankets and absorb hot steam from a pot containing herbs which rid the body of toxins. The Centre is

 

also constructing a sweatlodge (not a traditional Amazonian method but nonetheless effective) and when this is complete purification ceremonies in the lodge will also be offered.

FLORAL BATHS

Herbal and floral baths are also part of the treatments. Special plants and flowers for cleansing and empowerment are added to cooling water from the Centre’s lagoon and the mixture is poured over the body to restore balance and harmony to the soul. By “flourishing” the person in this way the baths also prepare them for the deeper healing of ayahuasca. A series of floral baths are normally taken as directed by the shamans and people normally bathe after every ayahuasca ceremony.

HEALING CONSULTATIONS

Individual consultations with the shamans typically take place each day as an opportunity to discuss your ayahuasca visions and healing needs. Translation services are provided.

As a result of these meetings additional treatments and plant medicines may sometimes be prescribed which the shamans will freshly prepare for you. Occasionally there is a small extra charge for this (for example if you wish to have larger quantities of medicines made up for you to take home) but normally these treatments are included as part of your programme.

CIRCLE MEETINGS

In the morning following every ayahuasca ceremony there is a circle meeting led by one of the Centre’s counsellors so you can discuss your experiences and clarify your visions and insights. Participants usually find this very helpful but attendance at them is not compulsory and they may choose to rest or do their own integration work instead.

PLANT WALKS

The Hummingbird Retreat Centre is in the rainforest so the jungle is your playground and you are free to explore it every day. Some of retreats also include guided walks with the shamans however to introduce you to the medicine plants of the forest and explain their uses in healing.

The rainforest is home to many rare species which cannot be found outside this region and it is estimated that 60-70% of all pharmaceutical medicines are derived from its plants – yet Western science has still only explored about 3% of its healing potential. Shamans know thousands of plants and are experts in their uses.

SHAMANIC WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS

On some of courses at The Hummingbird (for example, The Magical Earth and Plant Spirit Shamanism programmes) shamanic healing techniques are also taught and explanatory seminars and workshops are offered so you can put your experiences into context and learn more about the rainforest, its myths, legends and the approach of its shamans to healing. Previous subjects have included:

  • Soul retrieval and ‘spirit extraction’
  • The doctrine of signatures in rainforest healing
  • Ayahuasca, icaros and spirit songs
  • Making your own pusanga, the “love medicine of the Amazon”
  • Exploring ayahuasca visions
  • Ancestral healing and symbols of power
  • The journey of the spirit canoe
  • Shipibo art and the nature of reality
  • And, during one event, a special spirit journey and baby-naming ceremony for a participant mother-to-be

 

If you would like to know more about ayahuasca or the healing work of The Hummingbird Centre with this powerful jungle medicine visit the website at http://www.ayahuascaretreats.org or email ross@thefourgates.com for a copy of its brochure.

Tags: ayahuasca, healing, ayahuasca retreats, ayahuasca ceremonies, shamanism, ross heaven, peru, the amazon, shamans, curanderismo, pusanga

ayahuasca retreats

Ayahuasca retreats

 

If you are thinking of going on an ayahuasca retreat in the Amazon please check out the Hummingbird Retreat Centre. The Hummingbird is one of the most comfortable and best-equipped Centres in the Iquitos area. It’s run by Tracie Thornberry and Ross Heaven. Combined, their knowledge of ayahuasca is second to none. The Centre is well-connected and they know all the local shamans so know where to get the best ayahuasca medicine for you. The visions and their rewards of love and the feelings of deep interconnectedness and everything ayahuasca teaches amazed me. My last journey with the vine was so mind-blowingly beautiful that I laughed danced and cried tears of sheer joy. It really let me see the beauty and magic of the spirit world and I just laughed and sang to the shaman’s icaros. If you want to know more please feel free to ask me any questions. I’m putting a group together to visit the Centre next year and if you’re interested in joining me I’d love to hear from you.

Ross, Scotland

 

Just sending a big thank you for the beautiful experience of the ayahuasca workshop and the tour of the Iquitos market. I especially notice the effects of the healing work now that I’m in Cusco and have been around lots of people here. I am much more calm and grounded than I would probably normally feel.

The retreat was unique from the one I was at in 2002 and from ones I’ve read or heard about and this is a nice positive. For one thing, having strongly grounded female energy guiding the participants and someone who has done years of work with healing before, that seems to be missing in many of the aya retreats. From my perspective, feminine energy in leadership particularly in this kind of healing retreat gives more of a feeling of continuation of connection to the earth and plants than it did when in my first retreat with Howard Lawler [el tigre journeys]. I really liked, too, the bringing together of the employees, participants, friends, shamans, and local musicians, especially with the fiesta. The setting also is conducive for someone from a city needing deep healing.
Muchas gracias.
Sincerely,
Robyn, Canada

THE HUMMINGBIRD AYAHUASCA RETREAT CENTRE, PERU

The Hummingbird ayahuasca retreat Centre is a rainforest shamanic healing Centre specialising in plant spirit medicines and traditional cures.

It provides a safe haven for contemporary seekers to find the healing and vision they need through the effective use of proven shamanic techniques and jungle medicines, leading to resolution, well-being, positive transformation and happiness.

The Centre takes its name from the hummingbird (el colibri) which in Peru is the guardian of healers and those who seek healing or wish to learn the shamanic arts and wisdom of the plants.

Located 14 kilometres from the jungle town of Iquitos within the Amazon rainforest, it offers healing retreats with some of the most respected and powerful ayahuasceros (ayahuasca shamans).

 

ABOUT THE CENTRE

The Hummingbird is a private retreat Centre owned and run by Tracie Thornberry and Ross Heaven.

Tracie is a counsellor specialising in drug and addictions release therapy who previously ran the Tranquilo Healing Centre in Iquitos. Professionally trained and qualified she integrates shamanism, plant spirit medicine and work with ayahuasca and San Pedro into her therapeutic programmes to provide a most effective way of leading people to wellness. She is very experienced with jungle medicine and has attended hundreds of ayahuasca ceremonies with many shamans, assisting in their work.

Ross is a psychologist, healer and the author of more than 10 books on shamanism, spirituality and healing, including the well-known works on ayahuasca and San Pedro, Plant Spirit Shamanism and The Hummingbird’s Journey to God. He first visited Peru to drink these medicines in 1998 and has worked with many of the country’s best-known and respected shamans both in the Amazon and co-facilitating workshops in Europe and the UK. He has drunk ayahuasca well over 200 times and led plant medicine workshops and ceremonies throughout Europe for several years. Since 2007 he has also brought groups to the Amazon and Andes to work with ayahuasca and San Pedro on his Magical Earth and Cactus of Vision journeys.

THE ETHOS OF THE CENTRE

The focus of The Hummingbird’s work is on vision and healing, a term which, in the Amazon, has a wider meaning than its Western usage and refers to an ultimately beneficial outcome brought about by the restoration of balance and positivity to the mind, emotions and spirit as well as the physical self.

It offers a pioneering yet ancient path towards these outcomes by blending its knowledge of shamanism, medicine ceremonies and the therapeutic arts with the expertise of indigenous healers who embody a compassionate, sincere and heartfelt desire to assist in healing and personal transformation.

Its aim is to make the profound benefits of ayahuasca accessible to all while at the same time preserving the wisdom of tribal people, their culture, medicines and methods of healing.

LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION

The Hummingbird is set in 11 acres of beautiful rainforest well away from the noise and rush of city living. Some of its land is virgin forest which has remained pure for generations; some is open garden planted with trees and flowers where you can also see the blue of the sky (something of a rarity in the rainforest!) There are some lovely walks at the Centre, a lagoon and trees and flowers with brilliant blossoms.

Accommodation is in traditional palm leaf thatched huts called tambos or in the casa grande – the “big house” – a wooden longhouse which has been reformed to make individual rooms so that guests have the privacy and space they need for personal work and reconnection to nature but never feel isolated or alone; for some the best of both worlds.

All rooms are clean and comfortable and have a bed with a mosquito net (although mosquitoes are rarely a problem here), a lamp, a table and chair – and nothing else. This is authentic rainforest accommodation, used for centuries by indigenous people, and there are no gadgets, TVs, internet or other “mod cons” to get in the way of your experience so you can let go of the outside world and focus on your healing work with ayahuasca, the vine of souls

AYAHUASCA

The brew is made from ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of the chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis). It is said that a shaman can find many sources of both by listening for the “heartbeat” that emanates from them.

The mixture is prepared by cleaning specially-chosen vines and adding them and the leaves to water. This is then boiled and reduced for several hours, attended by shamans who blow their intentions and good wishes (soplada) into it, make prayers to their spirits for good healings and singing icaros (sacred healing songs) into the brew during its preparation and in ceremony.

When ayahuasca is drunk it can open up a new world that is extraordinary, amazing and healing – and yet it is the same world we are part of every day; ayahuasca simply opens our eyes to what is really before us.

The experience normally begins soon after drinking with a feeling of warm presence in the stomach which spreads throughout the body. Most people describe this as very pleasant, like being in a warm, body-temperature bath.

Approximately 40 minutes later visions begin, which may be of “other worlds” or new perspectives on “this” world and/or recollections in words, sights, sounds or feelings of episodes and events from your life which need to be healed and which you can now approach from a position of knowledge and strength, aided by the spirit of ayahuasca.

Healing comes through a subtle shift in awareness, a deepened understanding of your place in the world or an increase in personal power.

 

SACRED SONGS

Icaros, the healing songs of the shaman, are integral to the ayahuasca experience and direct the ceremony and the visions which may arise. The shaman has songs for each person’s needs, the vibrations of which summon healing energies with words that tell of Nature’s ability to heal.

As the shaman sings people might even see these things in their own visions (ayahuasca was once known by the scientific name telepathine because of its ability to work in this way). Another common experience is to see rainbows streaming from the shaman’s mouth as he sings to you, becoming white light or healing colours as they enter your energy field.

Healing takes place as the vibrations of these songs rearrange the patterns, waveforms and frequency of your energy system, also empowering and directing the ayahuasca you have drunk so it can act with greater intensity and focus on your behalf.

As a result of this shift in energy you become, in a sense, a new person who can see and understand life from a new perspective and sadness, illness, anger or other unhelpful energies can be transmuted into ecstasy, well-being and love.

For more information on The Hummingbird Healing Centre visit http://www.ayahuascaretreats.org or email ross@thefourgates.com for a copy of its brochure.

Tags: ayahuasca, healing, ayahuasca retreats, ayahuasca ceremonies, shamanism, ross heaven, peru, the amazon, shamans, curanderismo, pusanga

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There is a Welsh myth which tells how the universe began when God, awakening to self-awareness, sent Three Shouts out into the world and sang His name into the Void. Within this song was light, and within this light was form, and this was the birth of all things.

 

The first to hear these shouts were the Gwynfydolion, who awoke in the Circle of Blessedness. They became the first shamans, travelling between Ceugant [Infinity] and Abred [the physical world], and from them all knowledge arose – of the plants, the spirit, and of inspiration. Through their teachings, the Orders of the Bards (inspired poets), Druids (priests, healers, and magicians), and Ovates (omen-readers and future-seers) were formed.

 

No mention is made of the sin eater, however, because he was the most important and respected of those that the Gwynfydolion taught. His healing skills – and his very existence – were protected by the mystery surrounding him.

 

The sin eater had the inspired, poetic, and philosophical abilities of the Bard and story-teller, but was also a seer who knew how to ‘read’ nature for signs of the future and for guidance now, and, more importantly, he was the shaman-healer who knew how to care for the soul.

 

At this point, the mythology ends, for sin eaters were real people; individuals who existed at the edges of society and who dealt in sin, redemption, and atonement, and whose purpose was to ensure the balance and survival of the soul and, thereby, the natural order of the universe.

 One of the most visible jobs of the sin eater was to eat a last meal of bread and salt from the belly of the dead when their bodies lay in state. By so doing, the sins of the deceased were removed and they had clear passage to the hereafter. This ritual is extremely ancient. It is even referred to, in part, in the Old Testament, where, in Leviticus, the ‘scapegoating’ or sin eating practice is mentioned. Another reference comes from John Aubrey, in Remains of Gentilism, 1688, who describes “an old Custom at Funerals” in Hereford and Wales, “to hire poor people, who were to take upon them all the Sins of the party deceased… and free him from Walking after they were dead”.  The sin eater was given a few coins for this service but, other than that, was avoided by the community who regarded him as sin-filled and unclean because of his work. For this reason, like many shamans and Holy men, sin eaters usually lived outside of society itself and often at the edge of the village. 

The nature of sin

For those interested in the spiritual practices of the British Isles, sin eating is a fascinating subject. Sin eaters had, for example, a rather different view of what constitutes ‘sin’ than that of the Bible, and one that we might find more likely – or, at least, more appealing – today. In their tradition, we are not born to Original Sin which is only redeemable through Christ. Rather, sin is an energy which we create within ourselves through unspiritual actions on Earth, and which we can remove through our own efforts.  While the energy of sin remains, it forms a kind of blemish or weight on the soul which can hold us trapped in a sort of purgatory while alive, or limbo when we die. It can be dissipated, however, through awareness of our actions, by atoning for them, or, in the last case scenario, by employing the sin eater to devour this energy of sin after our deaths, so that our souls are returned to balance.  Because of this somewhat revolutionary philosophy in the face of Christian orthodoxy, sin eaters were not popular with the Church, which regarded them as ‘false saviours and prophets’. But then, in every culture of the world, shamans have always been revolutionary spirits who are demonised by religion (just as Christians were once denigrated themselves). The ritual of eating from the corpse incorporates a number of shamanic manoeuvres. Firstly, it is a healing action which shamans call ‘spirit extraction’. The energy of sin is a spirit which is attached to us, that is, and, since spirit craves matter, it will be attracted to the stronger life force of the ‘living’ food upon the corpse than to the dead body itself. The food will therefore absorb the sins of the dead and, when that food is eaten, they will be devoured and the weight on the soul removed.   For this reason, the finest and freshest food was sometimes offered to the corpse to make it more enticing to the spirit of sin. This was of little benefit to the sin eater, however, who, in fact, would prefer a meal of salt and water since salt-water is an aid to purging, the unseen part of the sin eating ritual being for the healer to go into nature following his corpse-side duties and vomit away the sins he was carrying so that the Earth could defuse these unwholesome energies.  Secondly, as the sin eater went about his work he would pray for the soul of the corpse to be free so it might enter the world hereafter. This is psychopomp work: the escorting of the soul to the Land of the Dead.  The belief here is that the soul can become lost or confused after death because of the guilt or shame it carries as a result of Earthly misdemeanours and inappropriate actions towards others – or, indeed, because of the actions of others towards the deceased – and must therefore be helped and guided into the spirit world.  The soul, in fact, can be damaged in two ways: either because the person who carried it has acted in a way that has caused pain to another (there is a parallel here with the Buddhist notion of ‘right-living’: that no matter what our interactions with others or what they do to us, there is a correct way for us to behave in order to preserve our spiritual integrity), or because they were the victims of shameful acts and now carry a guilt which is actually not theirs to bear. Victims of abuse, for example, may sometimes come to believe, at an unconscious or deep soul level, that they were somehow to blame for, or invited such abuse. This may be incorrect, but it is the belief itself and the shame of the event, and not the reality of what happened, that causes the wound to the soul. Thirdly, the ritual of sin eating is a community healing for the people present at the wake. When a relative or close friend dies, there is often a feeling of guilt on the part of those who live on: ‘Why didn’t I do more to help?’, ‘Why didn’t I pay attention to him when he was alive?’ etc. This guilt arises as a result of the perceived sin of neglect on the part of the relative or friend. The ritual of sin eating helps to assuage this since the relative can at least say now that the deceased has been helped and healed through his employment of the sin eater, who will oversee the most important journey that the soul will ever take. 

Healing the living

Sin eaters rarely just worked with the dead, however. Many of them, because of their closeness to nature and rural locations, were also skilled in folk medicine and plant spirit shamanism. Folk medicine is ‘root doctoring’ or herbalism, which works with the medicinal properties and the spirit of plants. Thus, the sin eater might administer to a patient a tonic made from vervain to help ease depression, paranoia, and insomnia, just as a modern herbalist might. For the sin eater, however, these conditions would all be symptoms of guilt or shame as a consequence of being in the presence of sin, and it was the spirit of the plant that would remove this sin by strengthening the soul and driving away sinful energies. By the same token, marigolds were used to treat skin rashes, inflammation, and ulcers (again, stress-induced as a result of the sinful situation), and, at the same time, to soothe and calm the soul. The 13th century herbalist Aemilius Macer also knew of the power of marigolds to do this and wrote that their flowers are able to draw “wicked humours out”. Interestingly enough, marigolds are also used, even today, in places as distant from Wales as Peru, to guard against negative energy and protect against ‘the evil eye’. Patients visiting a sin eater would, first of all, however, find a confessor with whom they could unburden their sins. In this respect, the healer plays the role of anam cara – or ‘soul friend’ – whose task is to listen without prejudice to what is said, the intention being, not to judge, but to understand the nature of the patient’s problem and their impact on the soul. Even this can have a profound healing effect since it releases the energy of sin; hence its enduring practice in Catholic confessionals, as well as its modern incarnation in counselling and psychotherapy (“the talking cure”). Having heard his patient’s confession, the sin eater might then offer advice from the Land of the Dead (the spirit world) for how his sins could be recompensed. This advice was often of a practical nature, the belief being that sins need to be reversed in this lifetime rather than waiting for ‘karma’ to take its course, and with action in the world rather than simple prayer. The penitent might therefore be advised to make an offering, not to the spirits, but to the person he had harmed. In this way, he could atone for his sins in the here-and-now before they began to erode his soul and cause him ill-health and spiritual problems. Sin eating, therefore – a practice many thousands of years old – recognises a mind-body-spirit connection that modern science is only now starting to acknowledge, for its healing works on the body and mind as well as the wounds of the soul. 

The aloneness of the sin eater

The most paradoxical part of the sin eater’s life, given the importance of his role to the well-being of the community, was that he was also ostracized from it. He was typically a man who spent much of his life alone, disparaged by those he served – and yet, in one way at least, the most vital member of the community, for without him no-one would find peace when they died. Furthermore, if he was unclean, it was because of the sins of the community, not his own.  We find this solitariness among many people of spiritual power. A time of aloneness is a requisite in many shamanic initiations and, in some traditions, the shaman will also live on the outskirts of the community, representing in a physical and symbolic way his dwelling on the thresholds and boundaries of human and spiritual connection. In our fairytales and myths, crones, witches, and other people of power also tend to live alone in the woods and shadowlands. The emotional hardship of the sin eater’s life, along with the decline of spiritual belief in our modern cities, are perhaps two of the reasons why sin eating is no longer a central practice in funerary rites. It does, however, survive symbolically. In Ireland and parts of Wales, for example, it is not uncommon for a corpse to lie in state in the family home and for a glass of wine and a funeral biscuit to be handed to guests across the coffin. The burial-cakes still made in parts of rural England (Shropshire and Cumberland, for example) are also symbolic relics of the sin eating tradition. In other countries it continues in perhaps a more original form. In Bavaria, a corpse cake is placed on the chest of the deceased before being eaten by the closest relative. In the Balkans, a small bread image of the deceased is made and eaten by members of the family. In Holland, doed-koecks (dead-cakes) are eaten, each one marked with the initials of the deceased.  As the world deepens into what we might call a sin-filled age of terrorism, warfare, and invasion, perhaps it is time for a revival of this powerful healing tradition, for the sake of all our souls. Join us for an authentic experience of plant spirit shamanism and sin eating – also: ayahuasca, San Pedro, and plant spirit shamanism in the beautiful rainforests and mountains of Peru. Email ross@thefourgates.com for a FREE Information Pack or visit the website http://www.thefourgates.com and look under the Sacred Journeys section.

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Andean shaman, Juan Navarro, was born in the highland village of Somate, department of Piura. He is the descendant of a long line of healers working with san pedro and with the magical powers of the sacred lakes known as Las Huaringas, which have been revered for their healing properties since the earliest Peruvian civilization.

 At the age of eight, Juan made a pilgrimage to Las Huaringas and drank san pedro for the first time. Now in his 50’s, every month or so it is still necessary for him to return there to accumulate the energy he needs to protect and heal his people.  Healing sessions with san pedro involve an intricate sequence of processes, including invocation, diagnosis, divination, and healing with natural ‘power objects’, called artes, which are kept, during the ceremony, in a complicated and precise array on the maestro’s altar or mesa.  Artes may include shells, swords, magnets, quartz crystals, objects resembling sexual organs, rocks which spark when struck together, and stones from animals’ stomachs which they have swallowed to aid digestion. They bring magical qualities to the ceremony where, under the visionary influence of san pedro, their invisible powers may be seen and experienced.  The maestro’s mesa, on which these artes sit, is a representation of the forces of nature and the cosmos. Through the mesa the shaman is able to work with and influence these forces to diagnose and heal disease. Always on these altars are seguros – magical  amulet bottles filled with perfume, plants, and seeds gathered from Las Huaringas. According to Juan Navarro, a seguro is a “friend” or “ally”, someone you can turn to for advice and information, who will listen and share your problems. Less poetically, a seguro is a clear glass bottle which contains perfumes, sacred water and, of course, a selection of plants chosen for their specific healing and spiritual qualities.  These bottles are kept on an altar, in sacred space, and regarded as objects of great power. Whenever the person who has a seguro requires help with any practical or spiritual problem, he will take it from the altar and sit with it against his heart, speaking with it as if to a friend. The seguro will absorb and transform the energy of his problems but, more importantly, if he listens carefully, the person who seeks its advice will hear the answers he needs from the spirit of the plants themselves. A seguro can help you maintain and deepen your link to the sacred because, of course, it contains your plant ally. If there are other plants you have journeyed to or would like to learn from, these can be added to the seguro as well and, when you know the language of your ally, this plant spirit will communicate your desire to the other plants, which will also offer their healing and support. You therefore gain access to the natural world and its powers more widely. To create a seguro, you will need a glass bottle, approximately 5” high, which can be sealed. Fill this 1/3rd full with perfume of your choice and top up with water. In Juan Navarro’s seguros, this is water from the sacred lakes of Las Huaringas, but mineral water (as pure as possible) can also be used. Once this base is prepared, meditate for a while on the qualities you would like in your life and which plants might bring you these things. Be informed in this by your work with the doctrine of signatures – heather for luck, honesty for truth, goldenrod for wealth, and so on.  Add these plants to your bottle, arranging them as attractively as possible (some seguros are so beautiful they are works of art in themselves), then place your plant allies in the bottle so they can act as mediators for all others. Before you seal the bottle, blow your dominio (intention) into it three times, and then put on the lid. Place the bottle on your altar and reflect on its qualities often. Whenever you are in need of advice, sit with your seguro and speak with it. Then notice how things change for you.  Join us for an authentic experience of ayahuasca, San Pedro, and plant spirit shamanism in the beautiful rainforests and mountains of Peru. Email ross@thefourgates.com for a FREE Information Pack or visit the website http://www.thefourgates.com and look under the Sacred Journeys section.