Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Answers to Three Questions Raised by a Stranger

Yesterday, someone I never met wrote to tell me they thought my website had good information about ayahuasca. The person followed that up with these questions:

"I am greatly interested in ayahauasca as a tool for obtaining knowledge regarding healing plants and animals, the spirit-world existing parallel to ours and cleansing and healing generally - all conducted in a traditional way. I am not interested in any ayahuasca tourism or "feel-good trips" or curiosity mongering.

"But let me come straight to the point or I should rather say questions.

"1.) Let us say that a person has through apprenticeship become an ayahuasqero or curandero. Then he leaves the Amazon and moves to a place outside of South America, where neither ayahuasca nor other "teacher plants" are available. Let us further presume that he does not ingest ayahuasca nor any other psychoactive plants for 10 years.

"Will this man still retain his healing abilities, extrasensory perception, the ability to commune with the spirit-world, etc. or will he gradually loose all those abilities acquired through the years of his training as a curandero until nothing is left anymore?

"The point I am trying to make here is the following one: does ayahuasca awaken these abilities for good and then they remain with the curandero, even if he never again takes ayahuasca or will he forever remain dependent on ayahuasca as a mean to exercise his power?

"2.) Who was the most powerful and knowledgeable shaman or curandero that you ever met in your life (be it mestizo or a full-blood native one)? Is this person still alive?

"3.) The following question may sound odd, but can ayahuasca (or any other teacher plant, like san pedro, etc.) awaken the ability of seeing into the near-term future (about 10 or 14 days in advance) with perfect accuracy? EXAMPLE: Let us say that you want to know what will happen at a such-and-such place in Cuzco on November 20th this year."

Me Responding:
I waited a day to answer because I didn't want to go off half-cocked. Tonight I answered him. Tomorrow I might revise my answers but this is what came to me when I thought about the questions for a while. Mulled them over, so to say.
Thanks for writing. Here's my take: When you make friends with the spirits, individual spirits that can help us in this realm because they are not constrained by freaking bodies--but at the same time are allured by our bodies--they are like any other friends: If you don't communicate for 10 years there will be an estrangement. That's just life.
The way it was taught to me, by those spirits, was that they would help me, but the deal was:
"Use it, don't abuse it, or lose it." That meant, they would supply a little extra power when needed, but I couldn't use it selfishly, or ignore it, or I would lose it. They would stop supplying it.
Spirits are beings too. They like attention as much as any other being. So if you abuse them or ignore them, they'll leave. They had full lives before they met you and will have full lives after you are gone from their lives.
Now, your question was, if you didn't drink ayahuasca in 10 years would you lose the gifts those spirits give. Not a good question, I don't think. I think that if you did not talk with those spirits--and you don't need the ayahuasca once you know them and they know you--for 10-years--it would be like any other friend: You no longer know each other. But if you didn't drink ayahuasca but remained in contact with those spirits through prayer/song/contemplation/meditation or however you did it, well, I think they'd still be your friends and offer you the gifts they initially gave you. Make sense?
Second question: Who was the most powerful shaman or curandero I ever met? My answer is my teacher, Julion Llerena (Jerena). He was a wonderful fisherman who raised his family properly and healed people daily. He never asked for anything that I know of, For all his strength he was tiny, had been shot twice in wars while with the Peruvian army, and was so so decent.
But then Bertha Grove, whom I wrote about in a series of articles for High Times in the late 1980s about the Native American Church, was brilliant. And then Pablo, the Matses headman who never heard the word curandero or shaman, well, he could probably talk with insects and have them talk back to him. He knew every plant in his part of the rainforest, had named them all, and could utilize them all.
Julio, Pablo and Bertha have all passed.
And then there is Victor Estrada and Kucho both of whom are very much alive. They are San Pedro curanderos. Kucho is young but learning well and very strong. Victor is my age, about 60, and though he's become very famous of late because of appearing in dozens of documentaries about San Pedro curing, he remains a force of nature once he enters ceremony. He is just a luminous shape-shifter and healer.
And then there is Hector, a Q'ero from high in the Andes. I've never had San Pedro with him but I have seen his impossible powers. He's my pal, in the best sense of the word, and in 10 more years might be the strongest curandero of them all.
And there are others. But this is a short list to help answer your question.
As to your third question: Can ayahuasca or San Pedro or other teacher plants open you up to know what will happen within say a two-week period?
I hesitate to answer that. Why? Because the answer is yes, but at the same time to call on those teachers to do that generally indicates a selfish desire, which is where we head into the turf of brujeria---the selfish end of curing. While it might be alright to wish that a friend gets through a difficult time in two weeks, for instance, it would be very selfish and probably very wrong to push the universe to do that. Or to allow you to see an outcome, thereby making it a done deal before it happens. I would suggest staying away from anything like that. To me, looking into the future would violate the "use it, don't abuse it, or lose it" dictum I was given. Maybe one day the spirits will change that dictum but until then, I certainly would not think of trying to ask a spirit to give me a hint of what will happen in the future other than maybe a direction to head in for the next layer of work.
And that's what I'm thinking about in terms of those three questions this Wednesday night, just before a thunderstorm hits us here in bucolic Joshua, Texas.
Have a great night, everybody.


Rebekah said...


I think you have been extraordinarily generous with your inquisitor, (after all you never know what motivates such questioning). However, this is not the reason for my comment. I wished only to express, that I have just now, within the hour, finished reading your, Ayahausca In My Blood, and (perhaps because I am a month odd into process of detoxifying a once-in-ten-years cannabis binge) found it to be a neat trip in and of itself to read. It was sort of funnier in the end, than your "bring fresh meat" fear manifested, which is why I wanted to look up your web log in the middle of an Australian night, and make a comment. At page 242, in the paragraph third from bottom, the end of the second sentence has the words "black mass" and underneath, triangulating three words, is "solid", and, as I read I fell asleep and woke in the same instant in a hallucination of the words themselves disengaging from my reality, and reassembling as paper and ink. Which leaves me with very little to add about the experience of reading your book, except that it is by far the best on the market in respect of Ayahausca. I undertook to read up on Ayahausca only recently, aligned with the recent deaths in Peru, so as to figure out whether the source of that was related with work I do, in exorcisms. I am specialist at exorcism of opium sickness, and have been wondering whether perhaps the stress of many addicts hoping for alleviation of their dependency upon opium derivatives, was proving too hard upon Peruvians. Please, if you are able to sustain contact with your Guardians and teachers, and the doctors in Peru, could you pass my message on, that about one quarter of heroin addicts cannot be prevented from their drug abuse short of causing deaths among whomsoever work to help them, and very often that kind of attempt to help, manifests as increased infant mortality rates. Please avail yourselves of my work in the area, only recently finished, (as well as possible for now at least), and in the internet at . Potentially only the previews of those books, will contain enough information for curanderos to distinguish one kind of addict from another, within opium's deviant patterns. Hope the virotes in your belly got out, and I ought to let on also, it was curare. I am sure of it, from the point of view of having once been poisoned with the homeopathic dose, by persons wishing to profit from my wherewithal in medicine way of indigenous Australia. Therefore, yourself and the good folk of Peru, are already paid up for receiving my exorcism, embodied in the books at . . . (waltzzing the brujeria out the door and possibly into the same places which connect to the cave that the pied piper of hamlin put to use)

Rebekah said...

(two weeks from the date of your posting in your blog, answering three questions of a stranger, is my son's birthday, ssshhhhhhh)

Rebekah said...

(which I am only mentioning because of a fear, of myself having feared, what your stranger wanted of you)