Meet the amazing group of Shipibo healers , or onanya ainbobo, who we work with at the Temple. Onanya Ainbobo literally means women who know, or wise women, and these incredible healers bring a warmth of heart and depth of sincerity to their healing work that's quite unique.
Rosa is 58 years old. She began dieting when she was 25 after her husband passed away unexpectedly as she wanted to learn how to heal others. Rosa has worked with us at the Temple since February 2009 when we began working with the Maestras. Rosa is endearingly called Rosita chiquitita – tiny Rosa - by many of the staff as is only about 4 foot tall. She is a walking heart with arms and legs!
Rosa has an encyclopedic knowledge of medicinal plants and is wonderful to follow on our jungle walks. She loves working with us at the Temple and is very much one of the family; in fact her grand-daughter Luz is married to Brian, our permaculture and community projects manager and they are expecting a baby together in October 2010 - Rosa's great grandchild. When Rosa is with us, she assumes a lead role in managing the Maestras and serves the medicine during ceremonies.
Shipibo Name - Ronin Wano - Anaconda Woman
Maestra Amelia is 63 years old and comes from the community of Gusta Legre de Pachitea on the Ucayali River. She began working with the plants as a young woman (age?) under the tutelage of her uncle. Amelia has been through many tragedies, as there have been many deaths in her family, and much destruction and contamination of communities she has lived in. These experiences have only fortified her heart of gold, and her desire to be a conduit of healing.
In the 33 years she has been working with the plants, Amelia has become an expert herbalist with an encyclopaedia-like knowledge of the medicinal plants found in Shipibo territories. She has a gentle and loving character, is full of laughter with is driven by a deep passion for her work.
Maria is 50 years old and comes from Yarina Cocha near Pulcallpa. Maria began dieting plants at 20 years old. She is has a quiet and unassuming character yet her ikaros are the most unusual and “otherworldly” sounding during ceremony.
She very much enjoys her work at the Temple which has provided her with an income to support her family after struggling financially for many years around Yarina Cocha
Anita is 54 years old and comes from the native community of Santa Rosa de Dinamarca. She started working with us at the Temple with her husband Diogenes. She carried out her first dieta at the age of 13 with the help of her father who was a Maestro. She initially began working with the medicinal plants in order to help her community and comes from a shamanic lineage. Her brother is also a Maestro.
She works closely during ceremony with her husband as well as with Sulmira who she met when she first came to the Temple and now has a close friendship with. They often sing together to guests. She is very much enjoying her work with us and has commented on how clearly she feels the positive energy that is found at the Temple.
Celestina is 51 years old and was born in a town called Roya on the upper Ucayali river. She is Sulmira’s older sister. She began studying to become a Maestra at the age of 15. She has one of the strongest voices of the Maestras and guests soon learn to recognize her singing in ceremony! She speaks Spanish well and enjoys interacting with the guests.
She is has a lively character her laughter is often heard from a distance around the Temple grounds. Celestina worked with us from the beginning at the Temple. As her sister, she enjoys having the opportunity of healing more people as her village is so small.
Shipibo Name: Sankan Hisway - Electrifying Designs
Maestra Leonilda is 58 years old and was born in the town of Raoboya on the River Ucayali . She now lives in Yarina Cocha, the Shipibo district of Pucallpa. She began dieting teacher plants as a young girl of 12 under the guidance of her father who was a healer. She continued to diet and learn throughout her teenage years and started working as a healer herself in her early twenties.
Leonilda is a warm, motherly woman who is happy to be working at the Temple.
Shipibo Name: Curin Kaisai - traditional lip piercing walking on
Maestra Juana of approximately 72 years old – there is no record of her birth and was born at a time when her community did not follow a modern calendar. She was born in Santa Rosa de Piro Coche where she began to drink ayahuasca at a very young age. She started dieting teacher plants at 16 with her father who was a renowned Mureya (highest level healer in the Shipibo tradition). Juana has a sweet character and is a mother and grandmother to a substantial family back in her community.
Shipibo Name:Isa Kate - Beautiful Bird
Maestra Ida was born in Roaboya on the Ucayali River and is currently living in the community of San Francisco near Pucallpa. She began dieting at the age of 12 and learning with her father who was a healer. Now 62 years old, she has 50 years of experience working with the plants, the majority of which are trees.
Maestro Jorge is the latest healer to work with us at the Temple after joining us in September 2011. He is the nephew of Maestra Rosa and has been working full time as an Onanya for 15 years. Affectionately know as the "big bear", Jorge is an extremely talented and strong healer who was orginally a "tabaquero" (healer working with primarily tobacco) for many years before dieting plants and working with ayahuasca. He is a powerhouse in ceremony, very knowledgable of medicinal plant remedies and a valuable addition to our team.
Shipibo Name: Metsa Sankan - Beautiful Designs
Maestro Arnaldo is our oldest maestro at 72 years old and comes from the community of Paoyhan on the Ucayali River. He comes from a long lineage of Shipibo healers and is one of 5 brothers who are all well respected and amongst the Shipibo people and continue to work as village doctors in their community.
He began to work with the plants at the age of 16 commencing his apprenticeship with a plant dieta that lasted for 2 years, carried out in isolation in the rainforest near his community. He has continued to diet a vast amount of plants and trees over the last 56 years and brings an incredible amount of experience and wisdom to the Temple.
Arnaldo’s healing style is very gentle and many guests enjoy the melodious ikaros that he sings in ceremony. He is also a gifted ‘huesero’ – a bone setter – and carries extensive wealth of plant knowledge.
Arnaldo is an open hearted man, endearing to all who meet him and the “grandfather” Maestro to us all at the Temple. He enjoys his work with us, is very open to sharing his knowledge and is also grateful to be working at the Temple which enables him to be able to support his large family.
Diogenes is 50 years old and comes from the village of Santa Rosa de Dinamarca. He joined us at the Temple in July 2010 after being shown in his visions in June that he needed to take his medicine to work with foreigners. He had only previously worked in his community although a few weeks after these visions, we were introduced to him and asked him if he would like to come and work at the Temple. He immediately agreed explaining that the plants had orchestrated our connection. He now works with us with wife Anita who is a Maestra.
Diogenes has been working as a Maestro for over 20 years and carried out his first dieta at the age of 25. He has dieted a plethora of master plants and brings a great deal of experience and knowledge with him to the Temple. He is fluent in Spanish and is very keen to explain his work and teach guests who are interested in understanding more about plant spirit healing. He is a very welcome addition to the team of healers and we have all been extremely impressed with his dedication to his work and the gentle approach he has to the guests. He is a humble and gentle man although in ceremony takes a lead role with an impressive variety of many different ikaros.
It was his father-in-law, Lisardo Hernandez, who began teaching him about plants after one of Diogenes' children became seriously ill. From that moment that he decided to dedicate his life studying and working with plant medicines. Together with Anita, he has 4 children and 9 grandchildren. One of his sons, Tomás, who is now 24 is currently undertaking dietas and will eventually come to the Temple to work alongside his mother and father.
Shipibo Name:Wesha Beso - Tradional Male Shipibo Haircut
Maestro Eloy was born in the community of Cruz Muyuna 59 years ago and now lives in San Paulo de Tushmo. He began working with the plants at age 27 starting his apprenticeship with chirisanango which lead him to search for a maestro and to begin learning with ayahuasca. Although his father was a healer, he learned from a number of different teachers before then apprenticing with him.
Eloy has a gentle approach and is very gifted with his hands. He also carries a considerable wealth of plant knowledge and has been a reputed healer in his community for many years. He is happy to be working at the Temple, also to be sharing the experience of working here with his son Daniel who is also one of our maestros.
Shipibo Name: Metsa Niway - Beautiful Wind
Maestro Luciano is 62 years old and comes from the community of Nuevo Cajamarca on the Ucayali River. He began his path with the medicine 36 years ago dieting plants and learning from the plant spirits directly without a ‘physical’ maestro. He has carried out extensive dietas and is what is known in the Amazon as a “palero” – a healer who specialises working with tree medicine / spirits. He is a warm and joyful man with a strong presence and sings powerful ikaros in ceremony.
Shipibo Name: Bawa Mano - Parot Clay Pot
Maestro Daniel was born in Nuevo Santa Maria 33 years ago. He began working with the medicine at the age of 14 with his father – Maestro Eloy. Coming from a family of 12 brothers and sisters, Daniel is the only one who has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather on the path as a healer. We are fortunate to be working with him at the Temple as he represents a new generation of Shipibo healers keeping the tradition of his ancestors alive. He has a bright and vibrant character, powerful ikaros and is a gifted healer.