Master Plant Dieta
What is a Master Plant Dieta and how does it work?
A Master Plant Dieta, sometimes referred to as a shamanic dieta is a complex, strict and rigorous system of discipline through which a planta maestra (teacher plant) or plantas que enseñan ( plants and trees that teach) transmit protection, guidance and sacred knowledge to the student or “dietero”. Plantas que enseñan are not only those plants and trees with psychotropic or hallucinogenic properties. 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. Young initiates will diet on master plants for months and sometimes year at a time. Throughout these dieta apprentices will develop a kind of capacity to “see” or communicate with the spirit realm. In the Peruvian Amazon in particular, the most direct way to develop this capacity to “see” and connect with the espiritus (spirits) is through master plant or shamanic dietas.
Before students can communicate with plant teachers, however, they must undergo a rigorous process of mental, physical and spiritual purification. Certain plants are often used in this process, including Ayahuasca, Tabacco and other plant purges (vomitivos). Master plant dietas are usually accompanied by abstinence from sex, pork, red meat, sugar, deodorants, alcohol, caffeine, shampoo, toothpaste, oils and processed food. Abstaining from any substance or activity that might cloud the mind is essential for the plants and trees dieta to promote physical healing and spiritual transformation.
Throughout the master plant dieta, whether endured for a long time with the view to becoming a maestro curandero, or for a shorter time as is the case on our retreats, the types of plants and the order in which they are consumed will be determined by the maestro curandero. Put differently, the order and kinds of master plants (teacher plants or trees) are not random, they are especially tailored to the individual.
The Master Plant Dieta may well be the most powerful and for some of us, the most challenging sacred medicine ritual we commit to whilst on retreat.
Strict dieting or fasting has been used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazonian basin for thousands of years to:
- Restore human health and ward off diseases
- Prepare for fishing and hunting expeditions
- Mark a rite of passage and prepare young people for adulthood
- Increase physical strength and stamina
- Induce altered states of consciousness directed towards wholeness
- Receive guidance, wisdom, and direction from spirits and develop sensitivity and intuition
- Purify the body and spirit
- Ward off negative energy and bad spirits
The traditional belief of the indigenous peoples of Peruvian east-central Amazon is that plant remedies need careful time to begin to work. Which is very unlike Western medicines which we expect to begin to heal the body or alleviate pain immediately. It is frequently said that “en la dieta está la curación,” the healing is in the dieta, not just in the plants or trees.
Known as Calliandra Angustifolia, this plant grows between 4 and 6 meters high and produces bright pink starburst flowers. Bobinsana has been used for thousands of years by the people of the Peruvian Amazon to heal wounds of the heart, gifting the dietero with a greater capacity to feel love and empathy. Bobinsana can also help us to create strong boundaries around the dominant and oppressive energies of others and unlock the river of creativity within ourselves.
Chiric Sanango Dieta
Brunfelsia Grandiflora grows in abundance in the upper basin of the Amazon and has beautiful purple flowers that turn white with time. Chiric Sanango is also abundant throughout New Zealand, South Africa and North America, which can make it a powerful ally if you originate from one of these places. Traditionally prescribed by curanderos for colds and arthritis, Chiric Sanango can calm and heal the heart, help to cultivate a greater capacity for love and acceptance, whilst also helping to sharpen the mind. Chirc Sanango is also used to strengthen the dietero’s bones and warm the body. One of the most memorable and arguably the most important function of Brufelsia is, however, in aiding vivid dreaming and the remembering of those dreams.
Pure medicine and very unassuming. Tiny white flowers and leaves like blades, this master plant ( teacher plant) is particularly excellent at healing long-standing conditions of the female reproductive system, balancing masculine and feminine energies and restoring the nervous system to a state of rest. It is believed that washing your feet and nourishing the Marusa plant with water causes a powerful medicine, specifically designed for the dietero to be created.
Noya Rao Dieta
A mythical tree within Amazonian plant medicine, Noyarao which is otherwise known as “The Tree of Light” or “Camino a la Verdad” (The Path of Truth) is said to glow in the dark. It has belonged to and been used in sacred ceremony by the Mahua Shipibo traditions for centuries. In the Shipibo tradition dieting on the bark of the Noyarao tree is believed to be essential in the path towards becoming a healer. Noyararo is believed to enhance one’s connection and relationships to the spirits indwelling in other sacred plants or trees and to facilitate profound transformation in the individual. Dieting on Noyarao can lead to greater capacity for organised thought, clarity, highly activated intuitive capacities as well as helping to bring to light unconscious assumptions one may have about the world, leading the dietero to have the newfound courage necessary to change them.
The fruits of the Ayahuma tree are round and hard and the tree itself derives its English name form the cannonball like the appearance of these fruits. While the fruits remain inedible, they do posses powerful anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties and are frequently used to treat wounds, common skin conditions and topical fungal ailments. The leaves can be chewed t treat toothaches and the fruit and bark are frequently brewed together to create a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine.
The Ayahuma, which can grow up to 55 meters tall. is regarded by the maestro curanderos we work as an immensely grounding master plant that can help the dietero to gain resilience and wisdom through releasing past trauma and stored emotion. The warming protective qualities of Ayahuma can help the dietero to access previously unchartered levels of vulnerability. This newfound capacity for vulnerability can not only aid in the release of past trauma but can also strengthen and energize the dietero and help with the cultivation of greater compassion for the enduring potentialities of Ayahuma is that it can help to open our perception so as we come to truly embody a much deeper connection to all life on this planet. Ayahuma is often prescribed alone during the master plant dieta.
Chullachaqui Caspi tree, while regarded as a deeply spiritual tree in the context of Amazonian shamanism, also has important medicinal properties. The resin, for instance, can be used to heal wounds and cuts when it is made into a kind of poultice and rubbed directly onto the skin. The bark can help to heal psoriasis and other common skin ailments when it grated, boiled and administered to the patient as a steam bath.
Chullachaqui’s spiritual purpose, beyond its many medicinal functions it to support the dietero to connect with the deep intelligence of the earth. It does this by acting as a kind of guardian, guiding and protecting the student to discover the true wisdom of the forest and its many master plants (teacher plants and trees). Chullachaqui is also known to have profound grounding properties and can significantly settle a wayward mind by bringing the spirit and body into a deep union with nature.
Chullachaqui also occupies an important place in Amazonian mythology. The plant itself grows in sandy conditions where the roots cannot penetrate deeply into the earth. As a result, the roots often look twisted. Stories of the jungle dwarf also known as the chullachaqui, purpose that this forest being has a human appearance with one distinguishing feature: his twisted foot. There is a haunting Amazonian legend, that if you find yourself and encounter a familiar face, a friend or family member, it is likely to be the chullachaqui who has shifted into their form. He will be eager to take you somewhere new and exciting, deeper within the forest. If you follow him, you will become more lost to the point of madness. While this mythology of the jungle dwarf is deeply embedded in the Amazonian culture, it is important to note that the chullachaqui is regarded as a very real being. There have been instances, for example, where photographs have been taken of the tambo of the forest-dwelling chullachaqui
From the very first day, you will learn in great depth about the properties and healing potentialities of each of the master plants
This knowledge will be vital in helping you to decide to commit to a Master Plant Dieta. Our maestros curandoros (shaman) are expert in the latent properties of the each of our master plants and will be able to offer you advice that stems from a long tradition of using the plants himself to heal and in his work transforming the lives of others. Each of our Maestros will tailor an individualized dieta during your Ayahuasca retreat in Peru with us of master plants and trees especially designed to support you to develop desired capacities and cure particular ailments.
Ready to journey with us?
Ask us questions about what to expect on retreat, book a free Skype session, start your medical screening questionnaire and get set to be profoundly changed.