In the rich biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest, plant life reigns. With high humidity and tropical temperatures, plant life explodes in myriad forms. Within this rich tapestry are plants, trees and vines that hold special power, significance and spiritual guidance that have been used for time immemorial by healers to treat various ailments. Amazonian shamanic tradition holds that plants speak to those with the gifts of expanded senses and perception.
The Amazonian Great Medicine
The Traditional Plant Dieta
Whereas ayahuasca forms the foundation of the indigenous plant medicine traditions of the Western Amazon, the dieta plays a crucial role in building upon that foundation. It could be considered the support beams of the tradition, upon which the rest of the structure is built. So what is a dieta? In simple terms, a dieta is a contract made between a curandero, or student of curanderismo, and a particular plant spirit. The terms of the contract are decided and agreed upon prior to the dieta taking place, and often times the motivation to do a dieta comes at the request or suggestion of the plant spirit, but can also be decided by the person.
In fact, plants with psychotropic properties account for only a small number of the plants that together are fundamental to the learning and practice of authentic, shamanic medicine in the Amazon. Maestro curanderos Shamans have traditionally used fasting, a diet of master plants and seclusion from others to seek guidance from the plant spirits and obtain the vital knowledge needed to heal others. A diet of teacher plants and trees is also central to the shamanic medicine apprenticeship.
This is my seventh dieta. They also create an impenetrable ally in whatever plant I am convening with. Huachuma and I, we were already friends. For life. Now, I know some plants better than I know my mother or my best friend. This is all because of the ancient and sacred path of a Master Plant Dieta. It makes my heart exceedingly happy to see how many folks are drawn to connect with plant consciousness in this way; it seems more and more are exponentially called these days. Every single one of us, no matter what plant we join in partnership with, awaken to the urgency and sacredness of our relationship with this planet.