Tag Archives: plant spirit shamanism

Moses and Hallucinogens – Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible

Moses and Hallucinogens Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible

The worldwide media interest in Benny Shanon‘s paper about Moses and entheogens, is encouraging us to take a good and hard look at the roots of religions and the notion they were based on fertility cults, and shamanic practices such as Entheogens (or hallucinogenic) plants as a source of spiritual communion with the universal consciousness, or the mind of God.


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Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul – Book Extract


Plant Spirit Shamanism with a foreword by Pablo Amaringo  takes readers into realms that defy rational logic and scientific theory, showing graphically that we humans are not the only intelligent life on this planet. From their extensive travels to indigenous cultures that understand life very differently from those in the ‘developed’ world, the authors reveal a wealth of plant knowledge that has been lost to Western civilization. This book is both a fascinating read and a considerable challenge to the orthodox mind.”–(Leo Rutherford, author of “The Way of Shamanism”  and “Your Shamanic Path”)

In Plant Spirit Shamanism, the authors explore the use of one of the major allies of shamans for healing, seeing, dreaming, and empowerment–plant spirits. After observing great similarities in the use of plants among shamans throughout the world, they discovered the reason behind these similarities: Rather than dealing with the “medical properties” of the plants or specific healing techniques, shamans are communing with the spirits of the plants themselves.  They explain the techniques shamans use to establish connections to plant spirits and provide practical exercises as well as a directory of traditional Amazonian and Caribbean healing plants and their common North American equivalents so readers can explore the world of plant spirits and make them allies of their own.

Pablo Amaringo with Howard G Charing, presenting the book 'Plant Spirit Shamanism'.





Pablo Amaringo with Howard G Charing presenting the book ‘Plant Spirit Shamanism’. Pablo contributed an inspirational foreword to the book.





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Evolver Intensives: Plant Spirit Shamanism – Exploring Plant Consciousness

Plant Spirit Shamanism – Exploring Plant Consciousness
Host: Howard G. Charing
Join Howard G. Charing, the “Medicine Hunter” Chris Kilham, Steve Beyer, and Sitaramaya of the Amazon Convergence, for this groundbreaking series where we will explore techniques to communicate with the plant world, accessing their elder species wisdom for personal and collective healing.
Four Sessions, Starting September 22nd at 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London
In this groundbreaking series, we will explore techniques to communicate with the plant world, accessing their elder species wisdom for personal and collective healing. The modern West has dismissed the idea that plants have awareness, but indigenous cultures believe that plants possess consciousness and have a spirit, as well. Some recent scientific research supports the shamanic worldview, such as the research on plant sentience explored in the book The Secret Life of Plants.The visionary plants – ayahuasca, mushrooms, peyote, iboga, and so on – can help the modern mind access the indigenous way of knowledge and thought. For many people, shamanic experience provides an opening into the hidden dimensions of plant knowledge and wisdom. By exploring shamanic traditions, you can learn time-honored techniques for making this connection.While we as human beings make use of plants constantly – our clothing, our food, our medicine – we rarely make a conscious connection with the plant world, which some indigenous groups call the “green nation.” One basic insight that many people bring back from visionary plant work is that we as humans urgently need to redefine our relationship to nature, from believing we have dominion over it to realizing we are part of it. As we discover this, we realize that the nonhuman beings surrounding us, including plants, have crucial knowledge to transmit
to us. It is not only the visionary plants such as ayahuasca that have much to teach us: many plants have teachings we can access when we learn how to listen and receive from them.In this course, you will explore the wisdom of plants and ways to access their intelligence to deepen your connection with nature and become more resilient, self-sufficient, and healthy.In this series you will:

  • Learn practical exercises to explore plant consciousness and work directly with plant allies to connect with a profound wisdom and intelligence
  • Expand our understanding of healing to include shamanic approach to disease and depression as spiritual imbalance, revealing paths towards personal transformation, increased vitality, and achieving greater health
  • Explore the physical and psycho-spiritual properties of the plants themselves, from the familiar tobacco to the exotic and controversial pusanga, the famed ‘love potion’ of the Amazon
  • Probe deeply into the mystery of the potent and transformative Ayahuasca, revealing the ‘spirit vine’s’ recent history, the experience of ceremony, the shamans who perform them, and the myth and origins of the brew itself
  • Discuss the significance of the visionary experience itself through the teachings and art of Pablo Amaringo
  • Address the problem of institutional reactions against this type of exploration, and discuss safe ways to access the inner depths of our being
  • Discover the concept of the ‘diet,’ a body of practices through which the shaman incorporates the plant spirit into their own and learns from the plant itself how to invoke the healing power

Sessions 1 and 2: Medicine for the Soul
Saturday, September 22nd and 29th (with Chris Kilham) at 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London

‘Whether the plant is to heal the body or the spirit or whether it is part of an apprenticeship, what makes it work is your good intention towards the plant. They are beings, which have their own forms or they can be like human beings with faces and bodies. When the spirit accepts the person, and the person has the will, the spirit grants them energy. The path to knowledge opens, and the healing takes place’ Guillermo Arevalo – Shipibo Maestro

In the Amazonian tradition working with planta maestras (teacher plants) is known as the ‘Diet’. The working can be seen as a conscious body of actions to incorporate the plant spirit into one’s own spirit. From this incorporation or union, the plant spirit informs and teaches the maestro or apprentice. They learn the magical chants (icaros) which invoke the power of the plant, how to use the plant for healing purposes, and how to strengthen the dieter both psychologically and physically.

Indigenous cultures perceive life very differently from our modern world, and there is a treasure house of plant knowledge that has remained obscured from Western mainstream thinking, yet is available through transforming our perception and challenging established thinking by exploring the ideas and practices of the cultures that are closer to the natural world than us.

In these sessions, we’ll explore:

  • How Nature itself is a living organism which must be considered as an expression of the One Life, and that man and the Universe are one in their essential nature, and that there is a ‘magnetic’ attraction between every part of nature and its corresponding part in man.
  • We explore the ways that shamans engage with the other consciousness of the plants, and work with the spirit of the plants in a variety of ways, for example; the attributes such as colours and aromas of the flowers, the shape and outer form of the plant.
  • We also explore the concept of the famed ‘love’ potion of the Amazon, the pusanga, and the ethical issues surrounding this.
  • We look at the qualities and powers of some of the healing, and sensory expanding plants, such as; Ajo Sacha , Guayusa, Chric Sanango, Mocura, Jergon Sacha, Tobacco, and how people interact with the plants in other ways such as the floral bath.

Session 3: Ayahuasca Visions
Saturday, October 6th (with Steve Beyer) at 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London

“We are not talking about passive agents of transformation, we are talking about an intelligence, a consciousness, an alive and other mind, a spirit, which of course we have no place in our society. Nature is alive and is talking to us. This is not a metaphor.” Terence McKenna

At its most fundamental level, the modern Western reality or dream is a materialistic one. It is a reality of separation and disconnection from the natural world with all the consequences that this has reaped, that being a massive ecological crisis. ·We know that things do not have to be this way, and we know that we have the potential to create a very different world by transforming our collective dream so to speak.

Plant hallucinogens offer a means of breaking through this trance of the collective dream into a more expansive, freeing, and information-rich universe which holds infinite possibilities for other realities and futures. These plants do not lead us away from ourselves, into an unbalanced frame of mind, as our doctors and politicians warn, but deeper into ourselves and our potential, to a place where we can find greater balance through genuine self-awareness. To quote the Dalai Lama ‘World peace begins with inner peace’.

In this session, we’ll explore:

  • The surge of interest in ayahuasca in the recent years. Is it a ‘medicine for our times?’ And how it can give hope to people with incurable diseases, offer a way to powerful personal transformation, and allow us to access inspiring answers to the major problems of modern civilization.
  • We will discuss and explore the experience of the Ayahuasca ceremony, Shamans, and the nature of the brew itself.
  • We will examine the healing properties of Ayahuasca, and consider the mythology and mystery of the brew itself. For example how the indigenous peoples of the Amazon learned to combine the plants which make up the Ayahuasca brew.
  • We will also explore the spiritual and visionary aspect of the relationship with the brew and ourselves, and the significance of visionary and ayahuasca inspired art in the human experience. The great visionary artist Pablo Amaringo had much wisdom to reveal about this sublime relationship between plant and human. Howard will be sharing some of Pablo’s insights and teachings imparted to him over the years.

Session 4: Integration, Incorporation, and the Future
Saturday, October 13th (with Sitaramaya) at 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London

In this session, we will:

  • Look at ways of establishing the connection to plants, with practical exercises so participants can explore the world of the plant consciousness and enable you to work deeply with your plant allies and experience this connection for yourself.
  • Examine how the psycho-spiritual, or shamanic perspective, of disease that usually arises from a spiritual imbalance within the individual causing him or her to become de-spirited or to lose heart (in the West we would call this depression) and we will look at ways that we can work with plants for personal transformation, increase our vitality, and bring ourselves into equilibrium for our well-being and health.
  • Since the hallucinogenic experience is a part of our biological blueprint, we will look into the embedded institutional reaction to individual expansion of consciousness, and how to safely explore the inner depths of our being
Chris Kilham
Saturday, September 29th 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London
Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter, author and educator. The founder of Medicine Hunter Inc., Chris has conducted medicinal research in over 30 countries. Chris is The FOX News Medicine Hunter and appears on FOX News Health TV both online and in US and international television markets. He also writes a weekly FOX News Health Column and is on the Medical Advisory Board of The Dr. Oz Show. As Explorer in Residence for Naturexof Avignon, France, Chris conducts medicinal plant research for the largest botanical extraction company in the world. He is also an advisory board member of the Naturex Foundation, which funds community development projects in various countries.At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Chris teaches the popular ethnobotany course The Shaman’s Pharmacythrough the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences. This intensive immersion course takes students to the Peruvian Amazon, where they learn about medicinal plants, the rainforest, and native culture.Chris works with companies to develop and popularize traditional plant-based food and medicinal products into market successes. These include kava, maca, rhodiola, schisandra, horny goat weed, catuaba, tamanu oil, herbal beverages and dozens of other plants. He is currently building market demand for cat’s claw and dragon’s blood, both medicinal plants from the Amazon rainforest.Chris is the author of fourteen books, including Hot Plants, The Five Tibetans, Psyche Delicacies, Tales from the Medicine Trail and Kava, Medicine Hunting in Paradise. Chris also writes articles on plant medicines for several publications, and is a contributing columnist for FOX News Health. Richard Branson features Chris in his new book, Screw Business as Usual. For a complete bio, visit Chris’ site here: http://www.medicinehunter.com/chris
Steve Beyer
Saturday, October 6th 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London
Steve Beyer has a law degree and doctorates in both religion and psychology. He has published 3 books on Buddhism and Tibetan language and religion. Steve has been a university professor, trial lawyer, wilderness guide, peacemaker and community builder. He studied plant medicine in North America and in the Upper Amazon.His recent book Singing to the Plants demonstrates encyclopedic knowledge about Amazonian plant medicine and covers many important aspects of ayahuasca shamanism. About the book, Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., said, “A classic volume that provides its readers with an unsurpassed understanding of the healing power of shamanism, its use of spiritual rituals and visionary plants such as ayahuasca, and both its light and its dark sides, its sophistication and its humor.” www.singingtotheplants.com
Saturday, October 13th 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London

Sita began working in the physical and spirit plant realms after a thirteen year period of abstinence from all alcohol and drugs and followed a dietary regime to support her work with the spiritual aspect of the plants.  After her first Ayahuasca ceremony, she came to the deep realization that the thirteen preceding years had been a preparation for her work with Master Plant Wisdom.  She continues to travel and learn in the jungles of Peru and is applying the technology of plant diets to plants in the North.  Together with Kwinto, they have established the Light of the Vine™, headquartered in Varillal, Peru and where the land is being conserved to protect the plants, trees, animals and waterways from development.  She further supports the work of Kwintobheue™, bringing forth ancient plant technologies and shamanic practice to the modern culture.
Over the last twenty years, Sita has founded several organizations including, PlantTeachers.com™ and Light of the Vine™.  She is the founder of Conscious Path Creation™ and Quantum Path Creation™. She uses her western Life Coaching skills in conjunction with Indigenous ceremonial work to help people integrate their learning into the practical and spiritual aspects of everyday life. Through PlantTeachers™, she leads groups and organizes conferences in the Amazon.

Sita organised the first major show of Pablo Amaringo’s art in Venice, California in 2009. She has appeared in Los Angeles as a guest on the Ayahuasca monologues. www.AmazonConvergence.com

Howard G. Charing is an accomplished international workshop leader on shamanism. He has worked some of the most respected and extraordinary shamans & healers in the Andes, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Philippines. He organises specialist retreats to the Amazon Rainforest. ·He is co-author of ‘Plant Spirit Shamanism’ (Destiny Books USA) 2006, and co-author of ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’ (Inner Traditions USA) 2011
Review of Plant Spirit Shamanism“The book is not simply a dry academic discussion of these topics, although that alone would be intrinsically interesting. Instead, it provides cross-cultural perspectives on all aspects of plant-spirit based healing. . . Whether you want to learn to practice plant-spirit medicine–or simply want to gain a better understanding of it–this book will be a useful addition to your botanical library.” Dennis J. McKenna, Ph.D., HerbalGram, Journal of American Botanical Council, No. 78, May/July 2008
The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo AmaringoRecognized as one of the world’s great visionary artists, Pablo Amaringo was renowned for his intricate, colorful paintings inspired by his shamanic visions. A master communicator of the ayahuasca experience–where snakes, jaguars, subterranean beings, celestial palaces, aliens, and spacecraft all converge–Amaringo’s art presents a doorway to the transcendent worlds of ayahuasca intended for contemplation, meditation, and inspiration.Illustrating the evolution of his intricate and colorful art, this book contains 48 full-color reproductions of Amaringo’s latest works with detailed explorations of the rich Amazonian mythology underlying each painting. Through their longstanding relationship with Amaringo, co-authors Charing and Cloudsley are able to share the personal stories behind his visions and experiences with Amazonian people and folklore, capturing Amaringo’s powerful ecological and spiritual message through his art and words. With contributions by Graham Hancock, Jeremy Narby, Robert Venosa, Dennis McKenna, Stephan Beyer, and Jan Kounen, this book brings the ayahuasca experience to life as we travel on Amaringo’s visionary brush and palette.Website: www.ayahuascavisions.com Blog: www.shamanism.wordpress.com
By participating in this online course, you will receive:

  • Four 90-minute live video seminars with Howard and his featured guests
  • At least 30 minutes of question and answer time in each seminar
  • Participation in a private online community with other students
  • Unlimited online access to video recordings of all seminars
  • PDF articles about course topics from Howard and each of the guests

Begin communing with plant spirits on September 22nd.

PRICE: $90
Early-Bird $75 through September 10th.
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Ayahuasca Icaros of the Shipibo

Shipibo Geometric Designs

Shipibo Geometric Designs
Photo by Howard G Charing

Ícaro: The word ícaro comes from the Quechua word icarai, meaning “to blow.” Ícaros are magical chants that are sung or whistled by shamans during Ayahuasca ceremonies. There are several kinds of ícaros. At the beginning of a ceremony their purpose is to provoke the mareación or visionary trance state, and to render the mind more susceptible for visions to penetrate. The shaman on his plant diet learns the ícaros directly from the plant spirits.

Ícaros have great power and influence on the visionary experience of people drinking ayahuasca in a ceremony. Pablo Amaringo also regarded the ícaro as the sound of the universe—the planets, stars, comets,and supernovas. He said that everything is created by music, by vibration, by sound. Ícaros are the music of creation (source: The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo).

On a personal note, I recall one night time Ayahuasca ceremony in the 1990’s with a Shipibo Shaman (Mateus Castro), held in a small clearing in the Amazon rainforest. It was a beautiful clear night, there was no moon, and the sky was filled with hundreds of thousands of glistening stars; just looking up at the sky made my head swim. We were surrounded by trees and bushes, but could only discern their shapes and silhouettes. It felt as if I was in nature’s primordial theatre. When I had drank the Ayahuasca, the shaman started to chant his Icaros, and within a few minutes, there was the song of birds, fireflies flitting everywhere, the jungle around us was responding to the chants of the shaman. It was an exquisite experience, and the following day, when I discussed the opening experience, with the birds and insects appearing when he sang the first Icaro, he replied, “the first chant was to summon and ask the birds, and the insects for their protection”.

Shipibo Geometric Designs

Shipibo Geometric Designs
photo: Howard G Charing

There are several different kinds of icaros, at the beginning of the session. Their purpose is to invoke the mareacion or effects, other Icaros call the spirit of Ayahuasca to open visions ‘as though exposing the optic nerve to light’.

There are icaros for calling the ‘doctors’, or plant spirits, for healing, while other icaros call animal spirits, which protect and rid patients of spells. Healing icaros may be for specific conditions like ‘manchare’ which a child may suffer when it gets a fright.

The arts of the Shipibo, especially textile designs, are closely related to Ayahuasca icaros. The words of the chants are symbolic stories telling of the ability of nature to heal itself. For example the crystalline waters from a stream wash, cleanse, and purify a person who is unwell, while coloured flowers attract the hummingbirds whose delicate wings fan healing energies.


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Encounter With an Amazonian Ayahuasca Shaman

Javier Arevalo - Shaman

The Ayahuasca article with an interview of the shaman Javier Arevalo by Howard G Charing & Peter Cloudsley appeared in ‘Healing Today’ Magazine August 2001. The article was published with its original title and without the girls in bikinis and serenading guitar players!

Javier brewing Ayahuasca

Javier at Mishana

Javier giving me a floral bath

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Shamans of Peru CD – Review in Sacred Hoop Magazine

Sacred Hoop Magazine - Review of the Shamans of Peru CD


Sacred Hoop Magazine – Review of the Shamans of Peru: Sacred Chants, Icaros, and Ceremonial Music CD. Reviewed in Issue 36, Spring 2002


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Various Artists | Shamans of Peru | Downloadable on the Web

Shamans of Peru: Ceremonial Chants, Icaros, & Music CD Cover

Various Artists | Shamans of Peru | CD Baby.

The haunting, plaintive music of Peruvian shamans was recorded at ceremonies in the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon rainforest.

The chants and icaros have an organic relationship to the medicine plants, and are primarily intended as devotional music for a ceremony. It is equally possible to listen to the hypnotically beautiful sounds in their own right and simply enjoy them for their otherworldly beauty.

The CD contains chants and dramatic effects of six different ceremonies with shamans. . Two ceremonies with San Pedro maestros working in the atmospheric ruins of Puruchucu; two ayahuasca shamans, a man and a woman, in separate sessions working in a jungle temple on the River Momon, outside Iquitos; a Shipibo shaman working in Yarinacocha, outside Pucullpa; and lastly, a despacho in the ruins of Pisaq, Cusco. In addition there are three tracks of atmospheric music played on pre‐Colombian instruments.

Download link for Shamans of Peru CD

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Frotacion de Coca

Frotacion de COCA by Howard G Charing
Frotacion de COCA, a photo by Howard G Charing on Flickr.

Frotacion de COCA  Erythroxylum  – The Peruvian ‘Tiger Balm’ reinforced with Wira Sacha aka Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis).

The frotacion is also good to relieve insect bites, and It’s a very pretty little tin as well.

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