In the world of Ayahuasca, much reflecting elements of the world at large, there is a profound movement involving the present process of the balancing of Masculine & Feminine, men & women dynamics, the relationship of Mother Earth & Father Sky.
At Novalis (our Peruvian Conservation Center), and in many other circles, the balance of Masculine & Feminine energy is a highly important focus that we are learning so much from.
Our Shipibo Curandero, Loyver (Shipibo Vegitalista from Yarinacocha, Peru) once told me (translated from spanish):
“The most important thing as a medicine person when making ceremony is to ensure the balance of the Masculine & Feminine energy in the space”
At Novalis, what I have begun to experience is a community co-creative process of navigation, producing a beautiful blossoming of male & female empowerment. We are blessed to have a team of “goddess loving” brothers & therefore the feminine is given her space to blossom, which in turn fuels the empowerment of our men.
The Medicine shows us how to trust, release the need to control (from both sides), and is guiding us in finding one another in a beautiful dance between Shiva & Shakti.
I largely see the shamanic perspectives of Nature, and geography, significantly contributing to this process….
Shamanic Perspectives of Nature
As all life contains both masculine & feminine energy, bot manifests distinctly in the physical (man & woman), so does land geography, plants & all forces of nature in shamanic perspective.
An example here is the Masculine Mountains & the Feminine Jungles…
In the Masculine Mountains (the Andes of Peru), the Father Sun (Inti Titi) so close the the Earth, the Huachuma (San Pedro) cactus grows in all of his majesty. The geography and energy of being in the Andes puts us closer to the Sun, in touch with the ether & intellect…all of these elements of Nature are considered Masculine, Fatherly.
In the jungle, Madre Selva, life is birthing & dying simultaneously in a rhythm of intelligence, much like the woman’s cycle. The tall trees blanket the jungle below in a womb-like space. It rains constantly-the father sky inseminating the Mother Earth. Her most aliening time is in the night, Shakti’s time; and of course, she is the home of Mother Ayahuasca.
I personally see & fee this entirely when engaged in Nature, especially between the Andes & the Amazon, my relationship between Huachuma & Ayahuasca, and so forth. I even feel a difference in taking Ayahuuasca in her jungle & when I take her in other places such as the mountains- such is the subtle but omni present forces of Masculine & Feminine. Shamanism thus has a wealth of knowledge & schooling for humanity, through Nature, regarding our present process with the Masculine & Feminine.
Amazonian Plant Shamanism
In many traditional cultures of the Amazon that work with the Ayahuasca Vine, the significance of Masculine & Feminine is present in nearly all aspects of culture- and thus too is the aspect of sexuality…
Herbs of the same species are either macho (male) or hiembra (female) in spirit & use, largely depending on their appearance. But the species are the same, it’s the present of the spirit & the use in herbalism (for man or woman) that determines the sexual association with the plant.
The Plantas Maestras (master plants for shamanic curing or the shamanic practice of dieta) are each associated with being male or female gendered spirits.
Oftentimes, the recommendation for a person to take a plant, by the shaman or curandero, has something to do with the sex of the person. For example, a man and a woman may have the same energetic dis-ease but oftentimes will be suggested a different plant based on their sex. It is about balancing the energy: male needs female, female needs male, shiva needs shakti, shakti needs shiva….
Sometimes a plant is good for a man for something, but not a woman with the same thing, for example. Almost always, the plant has a variety of uses, some specific to men, others specific to women (ex: Bobensana).
The Love Affair between Shihuahuaco & Ayahuasca
An example that is very personal to me is the example of Shihuahuaco (a tree) & Ayahuasca (a vine). As most trees are (except for example, Oje), Shihuahuaco is considered masculine in spirit & energy. Ayahuasca, a curvy & fluid vine, is feminine. Both are considered Plantas Maestras & one curandero (who works primarily with the Matsigenka people in Madre de Dios) told me that they are considered lovers.
He told me that one Matsigenka perspective is that Shihuaco is the king of the jungle, and Ayahuasca is the King. When observed with shamanic perspectives of Nature, Shihuaco (the tallest & strongest tree in the forest) allows for the curvy, fluid & feminine vine to reach to the heavens: the linear masculine supporting the circular feminine. Thus they are seen to be a complete couple.
I have had very personal experience with this dynamic, as well as my brothers in the community. In dieta, we have seen Shihuahuaco have a huge effect on men embodying their masculinity, essential for grounding the feminine energy of Ayahuasca in their shamanic process. Otherwise, the potent & powerful feminine energy can lead to a feeling of “a lack of grounding”.
For me personally, I have the experience of a love affair with Shihuahuaco (not at all uncommon for people on the shamanic path to have love affairs with nature spirits, unique and many marriage agreements within the Spirit World).
The first time I felt love for Shihuhuaco was from an Icaro (medicine song to call Spirit in ceremony), from my partner-to-be in ceremony. We had put corteza (bark) of Shihuahuaco in the Ayahuasca brew we were drinking during the retreat, and I didn’t know much about Shihuahuaco at the time, only that it was a tree & powerful planta maestra.
He began singing to Shihuahuaco & I saw visions of purple, ancient, frequencies pouring from his side of the room. I became entranced, falling in love. I later found out that the heart water of the tree itself is purple, and the spirit force of the tree is associated with that color (medicina morado- purple medicine).
Shihuahuaco continued to visit me in dreams & I had a powerful experience of sexual energy arise with the spirit during my dieta with Ayahuasca. I’ve felt the same energy while making love with my partner. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the information of the Matsigenka perspective regarding Shihuahuaco & Ayahuasca. I was even told that Shihuahuaco energy also corresponds to orgasmic energy (the linear release of energy seen in the male orgasm).
It can be speculated, and is (shamanically speaking), that my period of embodiment with Ayahuasca attracted the Spirit of her lover, Shihuahuaco. Before any of the information of their relationship was known to me, I was experiencing their alchemy of lovership as Masculine & Feminine couple of nature.
Thus, the magic & mysticism of Amazonian Shamanism is potentially interwoven with Masculine & Feminine dynamics embodied in Nature. They are potent, ancient, and have so much to offer humanity during this time on our planet.
-Jessica Simmons, Director at Novalis Conservation Center
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