Welcome to the Jungle

My faithful travel companion that goes by the name Lonely Planet said that arriving to Iquitos will be like getting smacked in the face with heat, much the same as Axl Rose’s high-pitched shrill smacking you in the ears on “Welcome to the Jungle”. Chaotic, humid, stinky and weird cradle of the Peruvian Amazon and the world’s largest city unreachable by road.

I was finally able to layer off all the clothes that did its best to keep me warm in the mountains and curiously headed towards this new adventure. Scott, a shaman that came to pick me up, is one of the people that don’t demand the attention but get it anyway. There was such clearness in his blue eyes. With one single look he was welcoming me, getting to know me, encouraging me… Sounds almost a bit intimidating but instead we established an instant trust and connection. He took me to the local market to introduce me to some shamanic plants that we used as a part of my healing. 21 Raices, Chiri Sanango, Ajos Sacha… The market really fascinated me. Lots of exotic fruits and vegetables, beans, herbs and everything that ever moved, is for sale here: meat, fish, turtles, toucans, monkeys, caiman. People chopping all of this right there on the street. Word hygienic surely does not apply here.

Around 2 pm we jumped on the boat and Scoot skillfully maneuvered through the wast river to his wonderful home in the middle of the jungle paradise. I was more than astonished when I saw my home for a week. A 2 story wooden beauty with private shower, lights, comfortable bed, 2 balconies (of which one had a hammock) and  millions of different sounds surrounding me.  A real jungle orchestra. And how could I forget Tito, Scott’s parrot, that got so attached to me that he made regular visits to my house, to be petted on the head and played with.

Food was light, healthy and delicious. Lots of fish, refreshing salads and tea. After lunch we usually went  for a swim in the brown Rio Tashiyacu and then, swinging in a hammock, talked and read books before the ayahuasca ceremonies at 7:30 pm. During my stay at Refugio Altiplano I was Scott’s only guest, which is a bit unusual because there are always at least 5 or 8 people. I was wishing for some more company but I guess the solitude served the purpose of diving into deeper layers of  myself.

Scott describes ayahuasca ceremony as an operation without the scalpel. Many people with severe health problems, so severe that hospital have already given up on them, seek help in these intelligent plants and mind expanding ceremonies. Ayahuasca ceremonies are extremely advantageous because they help with the diagnosis, to see what’s happening inside of the person’s nervous system, see their weaknesses, blockages from previous traumas on the subconscious level which are keeping them in a sick frame of mind and avoiding healing and growth. But there are also psychological, scientific and spiritual dimension from which a fairly healthy individual as myself can benefit as well. Ayahuasca helps you to enter the alter state of consciousness, the trans state to recollect information and travel through time and space. That process becomes a vaccine, a preventive medicine, to give you a much stronger awareness of what’s appropriate in your life, relationship, career and where to prioritize your time and energy.

I will keep my celestial visions, revelations, flights through hell and beyond and dives into oceans of compassion to myself and will be happy to share them privately with people interested in these kind of trips and spiritual explorations. Our mind sure is a fascinating thing. Wast, deep, mysterious and curvaceous, just like the Amazon River.

About Barbi & Ira