In our last blog, we have tried to briefly describe of the process of one becoming a Maestro of Ayahausca with all the obstacles and challenges they encounter.  One of their biggest obstacles was one we did not discuss (as it is a whole separate subject) and that is the dark side of Shamanism. In this blog, we would like to talk about the misuse of Ayahusca and how Shamans can turn to the dark side and use this powerful Medicine not for healing, but to harm others.

If you have been in the world of Plant Medicines, I am sure that you are familiar with what we call “dark Shamans” and what is known among indigenous people as “brujos” (literally translated as witches and warlocks). Here in Pachamama temple one of our Maestros speaks about this topic to our Guests every retreat to familiarize them with all aspects of Ayahausca, including the dark side.  We have asked Maestro Genaro to share with us again the stories of “brujos” in the article below:

Ayahuasca is a plant that does not know the difference between race, culture or age. Anyone can work with Ayahuaca and anyone who is ready to diet other plants can acquire powers from different plant teachers. The fact with Ayahuasca as well as all other plants is that they have a character, and each plant has its light side which offers us healing, love and wisdom, but also its dark side. When one starts to diet and learn from Ayahausca, he/she will be presented with many tests to overcome because Ayahausca and other plants like to know what is it that we want from them. The fact is that many that are practicing Shamanism do not have pure intentions and do not pass these tests. By doing so, they start to practice what we call as “brujeria”. Such people use the powers they have acquired for their own benefit and to harm others. Ayahuasca will offer you both Her sides and it is up to you which road to take. Unfortunately, there is no such test to pass before one starts practicing Shamanism. Ayahuasca grows for everyone equally and will give you whatever you are seeking. If you are seeking her dark side, by practicing and dieting, you can unfortunately become very powerful at dominating this realm. I want to share with you a few tests I was presented with on my own journey towards becoming a Maestro of the Medicine. Once I have completed my three years of dietas, it was time for my “Maestro graduation ceremony”. The ceremony was led by my mother Mama Rosa. I drank my dose and waited. Ayahausca first appeared to me as a woman whose beauty was out of this world. She was the most beautiful creature that I have ever seen in my entire life and was calling me to follow her. In moments like this, one must be very focused on his intuition and listen to the inner voice in order to make the right decision. Even though the woman was heavenly beautiful, I could feel that she wants to seduce me (any physical intercours while dieting is a very strong dieta violation). So I politely refused her luring offer. After that, I was presented with a stunning silver horse, the horse asked me to climb him and told me he would take me to the land of great wealth. I again refused as I was warned by my mother not to go down that path. One will often be presented with material gifts in the ceremonies and refusing this is rule number one if you want to become a healer. When one wants to become a true Maestro, it means that you only want to heal people. So I again refused, knowing what I came for. At last, the spirit of Ayahausca showed up, She took my by the hand and we walked a path through the jungle together. At moments the path was dark and frightening, but I had faith and kept following. Once we arrived to the end of the path, the jungle opened up and there it was, my “Cushma” (traditional Maestros outfit) waiting for me. Ayahuasca put the Cushma on me and congratulated me for coming this far. This is long story short and there were many other details involved, but I just wanted you to understand what it means when we say that Ayahusca will test you. If I had followed that woman or sat on the horse, I would not have received my healers outfit, but would have acquired other powers which come from misuse of the Medicine. And unfortunately, many go down that path. As you already know, Peru is what many call a “third world country” and many people grow up and spend their whole lives in poverty. Generation after generation, all they know is poverty. So they think that by practicing the dark side of the Medicine, they will be able to acquire material wealth. And go down this path believing that they have found a recipe that will free them from the chains of poverty. Apart from using Ayahausca for one’s own benefit, in the world of Shamanism, there is a lot of jealousy and envy. And this is the hardest part for all of us trying to do our work as healers. You see, working with energies is much more than having beautiful visions. We as Maestros have to deal with many energetic attacks that come from other Medicine practitioners. We do not call them Maestros, as Maestros are healers. You as our guests are always safe from these energetic attacks as we are a family of seven and work together as one, protecting the maloca and protecting our Guests. And after all, the attacks are never aimed at our Guests. We all have our own protective dietas and know how to deal with it. For us, this is normal and only keeps us stronger. Attacks come and go and push us to work harder on our practice and diet more plants so we can overcome everything that comes our way. So when you are in the maloca waiting for an icaro and the whole family is singing together (before going and giving an icaro to our Guests), we are protecting the space and cleaning from any negative energies. And another reason why nobody can do us any harm at Pachamama is that all the Maestros working together are family and we protect each other and work as one. There is no such attack that can harm us in any way, when all seven of us unite our powers! Very often, when Maestros work together without knowing each other or having grudges, they will attack each other during the ceremonies as well. You as Guests, cannot know any of this of course, but these things happen much more often than you believe. When this is the case, the healing you receive is always compromised as energy is being directed towards attacking and defending oneself from by cleansing. We can always see and feel energetic attacks as obscurities, heavy energies and dark entities in the maloca. Attacks can be of a personal nature or simply result of envy or jealousy and if one does not know how to protect himself, they manifest as symptoms of different physical or psychological diseases, depending on the strength of the attack. It is very common that one that has been under an attack goes to the doctor and the doctors cannot find anything wrong and the only antidote is being healed by icaros of a true Healer.

Ayahuasca retreat Peru

So now that you are more familiar with the dark side of Ayahausca, how can this information help you as a Guest drinking Ayahausca or doing dietas with another Shaman. When it comes to dietas, it is very important that you have a lot of faith with the person who is guiding your dieta. Maestro whose intentions are not so pure can literally “take away your dieta”. Let me explain. So you are dieting a certain plant for a month or two or even three and you acquire knowledge and power. If the Maestro who is guiding your dieta sees that your connection to the plant is very strong, or simply does not like that a foreigner is acquiring so much of knowledge (yes, may Shamans claim Ayahuasca for themselves) he can literally take away your dieta and leave you just a little bit. You obviously cannot know this, this happens while he/she is giving you icaros that will come to you as joy/happiness, while underneath your dieta is being taken away from you. Yes, Maestros can easily do that and that is why you have to be very careful when choosing where to diet. I am sure nobody wants to spend three months eating salt less fish and potatoes only to give all that you have acquired to someone else. When it comes to drinking Ayahuasca in general, the best is to use your intuition! If you feel something is not right and you don’t feel safe/protected, do not stay! We have had many Guests in Pachamama that came to heal damage from drinking Ayahusca in environments that were not intended for healing. If someone is trying to get money from you and you feel you might have been manipulated into giving, know that this is not right! If someone is trying to sexually take advantage of you (yes, it seems obvious but you have no idea how many women fall for this), run away from that place. A person that will try to take advantage from you in any way (materially or sexually) will not do it directly, they will do it through their icaros and you might feel a certain “enchantment” and something that you would never do usually, might seem normal at this time. Please do not fall into any of these traps. You are only searching for healing, travelling so far from your homes and it is very unfair that you may come across something like this, but being aware of it, you can react! Even if you are in the middle of your dieta/retreat, is much better to leave than stay and risk! Just use your intuition and common sense. When you receive an icaro from a Maestro, a very strong energetic exchange is taking place. So make sure it comes from a person that makes you feel safe, comfortable, taken care of and that your gut is telling you that this person only wants to heal you, nothing else. Any offers that do not seem quite right, most probably are not right. Always use your intuition and listen to that shy little voice that will guide you only towards what is good for you.

We hope that this article has given you some insights on the complexity of the world of Ayahausca and that it will help you navigate your journeys. In any case, always follow your “gut feeling” and never keep quiet. If something does not feel right, you always have an option to leave. Don’t let anyone take advantage of your vulnerability and pursuit of healing. Trust yourself and work with Maestros that you have faith in and that make you feel safe and in good hands! Pachamama family sends love to you All!