It was late at night, at the end of our fifth ayahuasca ceremony. In all ceremonies, Maestra Juana would sit in front of each individual in our group and sing the icaro just for that one person ... or rather – she would channel the vision into sound. They say that ayahuasca, or the spirit of this sacred plant, opens the Onanya’s (aka shaman, healer) vision in which she sees certain forms that she converts into sound by singing them. This sound vibration is transferred to the energy field of the person to whom she sings to, it improves the shape of the energy field and at the end it is imprinted in it, as a protection.
That night, Onanya Juana sat down in front of me and began to chant the icaro. I slightly opened my eyes; in the depths of darkness in the maloca (the place where the ceremonies were held), for the first time I saw the icaros setting down on my etheric body. The previous ayahuasca ceremonies were rather tough, either because of the physical difficulties and the purgatory effect of this plant which heals the soul, or because of the visions and insights that were not easy at all. Tonight, while Aqua Florida smell was felt in the air, while Juana was blowing mapacho (rainforest tobacco) onto the top of my head, than into my hands, the sound streamed into the image, and the image into the sound.
The Shipibo people, who live mainly along the Ucayali River (Amazon’s affluent) in Peru, have been considered for centuries to be the masters of the ayahuasca. During ceremonies, their visions transcend into the sound that is set to the energy field of a person as a protection, and later get materialized to become visible to the bare eye on the traditional Shipibo fabrics and pottery.
According to Shipibo, the universe is made of sound. Everything, whether alive or not, has its own pattern. When a break in the lines of the pattern occurs, the illness appears. Sometimes they say, a person picks-up a negative pattern and sometimes the evil spirits place the disharmonic shapes into our field. And sometimes, I would add, because of our limited beliefs, unhealthy relationships or the loss of the soul due to trauma, we orchestrate our destiny ourselves... and we muddle the lines in our pattern.
Consuming the ayahuasca and practicing these ancient ceremonies is a serious matter. The medicine carried by the Spirit of the Plant is powerful, unique and irreplaceable. It can only be given by the plant, nobody else. Healer is just a conductor. One of my acquaintances has been asking me the same thing several times: "After so many educations you had, and your work on yourself ... what do you need this for, why?" I tried several times to explain to her that Plant Medicine is something completely different, that it leads you to the depths unreachable by means of any workshop, that Ayahuasca "Convoca" (calls) when it’s time and when you are ready. But in vain ... she is still wondering how and why I ended up with a group of women in Shipibo ayahuasca ceremony.
And the universe still produces its sounds, the plants heal by singing songs, and the healers of this ancient people "see songs" and "hear pictures”. Then they transmit them to their patients with the intention of healing and of establishing harmony.
And so, that evening, in the deep darkness of the maloca, Juana sang the icaros to each one of us, this time in the form of Arcana (setting the protection) that pulled through my energetic and physical body as a net. They say that one needs to sing, dance, play and write in order to keep the icaro patterns in the field as long as possible.
Singing is the most important here... the singing of the spirit, somewhere in the infinity, where the image turns into sound and sound into an image, and they both flow into the soul. In the place where the reality is fluid, where there is no beginning, no end, where time doesn’t exist as a linear phenomenon, but the stories are told only in the present.