The Shipibo culture has a longstanding tradition of Shamanism and using plants of the Amazonian rainforest for healing purposes. The Shaman is the so-called ‘Medico’, or doctor of the tribe. Their language, art and entire culture are strongly interconnected to the Amazonian plant medicine and are recognized by many as the most powerful healers working with Ayahuasca.
The main approach of the Onanya to remove negative energies is energy medicine that comes in the form of song – ikaros. Sound is a form of energy frequency (vibration) through which communication and healing can take place.
As Pam Montgomery writes: “Everything in physical existence has a molecular structure that vibrates, and through this vibration a resonance can be heard. Pythagoras, the father of the musical scale, ‘recognized that music was an expression of harmonia, the divine principle that brings order to chaos and discord’.” (Plant Spirit Healing: A guide to working with plant consciousness)
Traditionally, sound has been used for healing in many cultures. Throughout the indigenous tribes of South America, plant songs are an integral part of the healing process. The Onanya explain that all plants have their own songs and these songs, the ikaros, are taught to the healer during dietas – extended periods of time in isolation adhering to strict dietary conditions designed to receive the healing energy and teachings of the plants. Each different master/teacher plant possesses songs that are given to the apprentice. The apprentice carries out numerous dietas while in training, typically for a minimum of four years and then continuing to diet plants throughout their life as an Onanya.
These healing ikaros – puro sonido (pure sound) from the plants – form the backbone of the energy work during ceremonies.
The ikaros work in combination and cooperation with ayahausca to purge negative energies as well as fill the body with plant medicine. The ikaros given over the duration of a workshop become like allies, working closely with each participant for a much longer period of time in order to bring about gradual transformation. They can be considered the “seeds of change” that are sown into the system of each participant at the Temple, which then grow into trees over time. They support us, lay down roots, and branch our lives outward to unify and connect us to the sacredness of all life.