Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Plantas reconhecem família...



As plantas não têm olhos nem ouvidos, mas reconhecem os filhos, como descobriram presquisadores na Universidade de Delaware. O sistema de BI está nas raízes e nas substâncias químicas emitidas. O estudo foi divulgado no jornal científico Communicative & Integrative Biology, e conduzido por Harsh Bais, aqui na foto, professor assistente de ciências das plantas e solo naquela universidade.
Descobriu-se o seguinte: quando os rebentos crescem ao pé uns dos outros, são simpáticos e não criam mais raízes para competir uns com os outros. Assim que a planta é mudada para ao p´de estranhos, começã a criar mais raízes para absorver mais nutrientes e água do solo. Como não se podem deslocar, as plantas criaram padrões de reconhecimento complexos.
A descoberta tem implicações na agricultura: um campo de plantas da mesma família criará raízes mais curtas e muito mais folhagem. E em casa, quando se plantam rivais ao lado um do outro um deles será mais competitivo face aos nutrientes e água, enquanto a maior parte de nós culpará o viveiro por ter fornecido plantas mal tratadas...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Plantas inteligentes

Na Internet, descubri vários artigos sobre a inteligência as plantas, em que os cientistas alertam para o facto de que “os vegetais não podem ser considerados organismos aborrecidos e passivos que esperam que os cortem ou comam.
Muitas plantas criam redes de comunicação internas e conseguem trocar informações”. Intrigada, leio o resultados destas pesquisas. Um dos exemplos são as framboesas, que comunicam por canais internos, informando da aproximação de inimigos, como lagartas. Se uma planta for atacada, as outras recebem um sinal e fortalecem o seu sistema de resistência químico e mecânico para se tornarem menos “saborosas”. Algumas experiências mostraram que as plantas conseguem, de facto, limitar danos. O estudo integra-se no projecto Vidi, Plant Intranets. Costs, benefits, & risks of communication pathways in clonal plant networks (intranets de plantas, custos, benefícios e riscos dos canais de comunicação em redes de plantas clonadas), financiado pela NWO e Radboud University Nijmegen.
Outros biólogos identificaram a estratégia das plantas para identificarem um ataque. Quando os insectos ingerem a planta, a digestão transforma as proteínas num estimulante de peptides, devolvidos à planta quando o insecto volta para alimentar-se. A planta reconhece essa substância, pensando: Este já se veio alimentar aqui. Cria então químicos defensivos. “Fazem muito mais do que nós, porque são estáticas, e não podem correr e fugir quando algo as ataca”, refere Eric Schmelz, fisiólogo na USDA. Estes químicos podem atrair outros insectos, predadores dos que estão a devastar as plantas. Acontece nas árvores de frutos e em campos de milho agricultores já detectaram um cheiro doce quando um certo tipo de minhocas começa a surgir. Estes estudos não são desinteressados: podem permitir usar menos pesticidas no futuro, estimulando apenas as defesas naturais do vegetal.
O mais engraçado é que pesquisas no campo das telecomunicações interactivas criaram um aparelho que permite às plantas de casa enviarem SMS. Trata-se de um sesnor de humidade do solo que envia mensagens curtas até mesmo através de um serviço como o Twitter, pedindo água, agradecendo ou assinalando excesso de água. Os sensores emitem ondas eléctricas e o grau de humidade é comparado ao níveis optimizados, enviados para uma rede que envia a mensagem através de um aparelho. O sistema chama-se Botanicalls e funciona como um computador ligado à planta, que comunica sem fios com outro dispositivo, ligado à Internet. A fonte respeitável destas notícias é a Science Daily.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


A minha vida não era má. Nunca voltaria para ela em full-time, mas tenho saudades da minha antiga personalidade. Há um universo em que essa Géraldine disfuncional continuou, sem chegar a lado nenhum. Mas... Depois de experimentarmos a nossa versão turbo, não há hipótese de voltar atrás.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Main magic plants diet


Planta maestras (plant masters or plant teachers) are key among the shaman’s tutelary spirits, his chief allies and guides to the worlds of health and healing. In ordinary reality, they are also considered the jungle’s most skilled and important ‘doctors’ because of their usefulness and relevance to the healing concerns of most patients. Through knowing these plants, the shaman can deal effectively with the diseases of his people.

It can be difficult to find discrete Western analogues for some of these jungle plants because plants grow where they are needed and the healing required by a New York banker will be quite different from that of a Peruvian farmer. The psychological and spiritual benefits bestowed by such plants, and their ability to restore emotional balance, banish negative energies, or open the heart to love, are desirable in any culture, however, so it is possible to find plants with equivalent or similar effects if we wish to diet them and understand their qualities for ourselves.
With this in mind, here is a description of some of the more commonly dieted planta maestras and (either singularly or in combination) plants of our own that will produce like effects.

CHIRIC SANANGO: FOR LOVE

Chiric sanango grows mainly in the upper Amazon and in a few restingas (high ground which never floods). It is good for colds and arthritis and has the effect of heating up the body. (Chiric, in Quechua, means ‘tickling’ or ‘itchy’, which refers to the prickly heat that it generates). Plant shamans often prescribe it for fishermen and loggers, for example, because they spend so much time in the water and are prone to colds and arthritis. The patient should not drink too much at a time though because it can lead to a numbness of the mouth as well as a feeling of slight disorientation. It is also used in magical baths to change the bather’s energy and bring good luck to his ventures.

Used in the West, the plant has a more psychological effect, but still to do with ‘heat’. Here, it enables people to open their hearts to love (it ‘warms up’ a cold heart, but will also ‘cool’ a heart that is too inflamed with jealousy and rage) and identify with others as if they were brothers and sisters. In essence, it helps people get in touch with the sensitive and loving part of themselves. Another of its gifts is enhanced self-esteem, which develops from this more healthy connection to the self.

Chiric sanango can be prepared in water, in aguardiente (weak sugar cane alcohol) or made into syrup by adding its juice to honey or molasses. It can also be boiled in water and drunk, or eaten raw and is said to better penetrate the bones if taken this way.

For a Western diet, mint has some of the properties of chiric sanango and is a balancer of the body’s physical and emotional heat. It can cool you down on a summer’s day but will also provide warmth when drunk by an open fire in winter, and it has the same effect on the emotions, promoting the flow of love as well as alertness and clarity. For these reasons it has been associated with the planet Venus, which was named after the Roman goddess of love.

Good plants to combine with mint include lemon balm and chamomile. Lemon balm was known in Arabian herb magic to bring feelings of love and healing (Pliny remarked that its powers of healing were so great that, rubbed on a sword that had inflicted a wound, it would staunch the flow of blood in the injured person without need for any physical contact with them), while chamomile is a great relaxant and a perfect aid to exercises in meditation and forgiveness. Recent research at Northumbria University in the UK has also proven the beneficial effects of lemon balm in increasing feelings of calm and well-being, as well as improving memory.

Chiric sanango also brings relief from arthritic pain and if this is your concern, Western plants that could be added to mint include marigold and ginseng.

To make a tea of any of these herbs, simply boil the fresh ingredients (the amounts you use can be much to your own taste, but three heaped teaspoons of each is about right) in a pint or so of water for a few minutes and then simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing it to reduce, and blowing smoke – which carries your intention – into the mixture as it boils. This will wake up the spirit of the plants and attune them to your needs. Add honey if you wish, then strain and drink when cool.

For a mixture that will last a little longer, add the fresh ingredients to alcohol (rum or vodka is recommended), with honey if you wish, and drink three-to-five teaspoonfuls a day, morning and night.

These methods of preparation can be used for all plants.

GUAYUSA: FOR LUCID DREAMS

This is a good plant for people who suffer from excessive acidity, digestive, or other problems of the stomach and bile. It also develops mental strength and is paradoxical in the sense that, just as chiric sanango is cooling and warming at the same time, guayusa is both energizing and relaxing.

Guayusa also has the effect of giving lucid dreams (i.e. when you are aware that you are dreaming and can direct your dreams). For this reason it is also known as the ‘night watchman's plant’, as even when you are sleeping you have an awareness of your outer physical surroundings. The boundary between sleeping and wakefulness becomes more fluid and dreams become more colourful, richer, and more potent than before. For those interested in dreams or 'shamanic dreaming', this is the plant to explore.

In the Western world, bracken, jasmine, marigold, rose, mugwort, and poplar, will produce the same affect of lucid or prophetic dreams. The leaves and buds of the latter were often a key ingredient in the ‘flying ointments’ of European witches, who used it for what we would call astral projection. A mixture of these plants can be used to produce a liquid (either fresh or in alcohol) that can be taken in the same way as the examples above. It is also possible to prepare them in a way that practitioners of Haitian Vodou use for working with their native ‘dreaming plants’, by making a bila, or dreaming pillow, by taking small handfuls of mugwort and poplar and blend them together. Sprinkle the mix with neroli, orange or patchouli oils (aromatherapy oils are fine) as well if you wish and, as they do in Haiti, a little rum and water to bind the mix together. Put your intention into this as well – that these herbs will help you to dream more lucidly and gather information from the spirit world – then allow the mixture to dry for a few days. When it is ready, crumble it into a cloth pouch and place it beneath your pillow. Keep a dream journal next to your bed and, as soon as you wake up next morning, immediately note down your dreams and your first waking sensations.

AJO SACHA: STALKING THE SELF

This plant is a blood purifier and helps the body to rid itself of toxins (spiritual or physical) as well as restoring strength and equilibrium lost through illnesses that have an affect on the blood. More psycho-spiritually, it helps to develop acuity of mind and can also take the user out of saladera (a run of bad luck, inertia, or a sense of not living life to the full). It is also used for ridding spells – i.e. undoing the work of curses or removing bad energy that has been sent deliberately or by accident (in an explosion of rage, etc).

In floral baths, it will relieve states of shock and fear (known as manchiari), which can be particularly debilitating to children, whose souls are not as strong or fixed as an adult’s; a powerful shock can therefore lead to soul loss. The same phenomenon, especially regarding children, is known to the shamans of Haiti, where it is called seziman, and those of India, who take great care to protect children from frights of this kind and are often employed by the anxious parents of newborn children to make protective amulets for their babies.

Another key to ajo sacha is that in the Amazon it is used to enhance hunting skills, not only by covering the human scent with its own garlic-like smell (the plant also has a strong garlic taste although it is in no way related to garlic), but by amplifying the hunter’s senses of taste, smell, sound, and vision, all of which are, of course, essential for success and for survival. It is therefore a plant of stalking.

In the Western world this stalking ability tends to translate psychologically, and the plant becomes a means of helping an individual hunt or ‘stalk’ her inner issues. To underline this, the Shipibo maestro Guillermo Arevalo adds that this plant also opens up the shamanic path and helps us to see beyond conventional reality – if we have the heart of a warrior and are prepared to live under the obligations of shamanism. For this, we will need courage, the ability to face the truth, and to know our true calling, and no fear of extremes or ‘ugly’ things.

It is fascinating that this plant which is used to aid hunting in the rainforest still posses this same essential quality in an environment such as ours where food is purchased from supermarkets and we do not need to track down game at all, but we often have work to do in stalking ourselves. It is clear that this plant has extraordinary qualities.

Western plants with equivalent therapeutic uses include valerian and vervain. The former has been recorded from the 16th century as an aid to a restful mind and, in the two world wars, was used to combat anxiety and depression. Today, it is still used for these purposes. It also brings relief from panic attacks and tension headaches, which are regarded as symptoms of an underlying cause arising from an unresolved issue or stress of some kind. By relaxing the mind, the psyche is able to go to work on the real problem, aided by the plant itself.
One way of dieting valerian (which will also aid a deep and restful sleep) is by adding equal parts to passionflower leaves and hop flowers and covering with vodka and honey for a few weeks, after which a few teaspoons are taken at bedtime.

Vervain, meanwhile, was well-known to the Druids, who used it to protect against “evil spirits” (nowadays, we might say ‘inner issues’ or ‘the shadow-self’). It is also used to help with nervous exhaustion, paranoia, insomnia, and depression. Once again, by relaxing the conscious mind it empowers the unconscious to go to work on (stalk) the more deep-rooted problem.
Another protective plant that also has the effect of purifying and strengthening the blood is garlic. Nicholas Culpepper noted its balancing qualities and wrote of it as a “cure-all”. It has long been associated with magical uses, protection from witches, vampires, and evil spells, and as effective in exorcisms (i.e. psychologically speaking, in ridding us of our inner demons). Roman soldiers ate it to give themselves courage and overcome their fears before battle. There is also a tradition of placing garlic beneath the pillows of children to protect them while they sleep and defend them from nightmares.

One way of dieting garlic is in the form of garlic honey - which is not as disagreeable as it sounds. To make it, add two cloves of peeled garlic to a little honey and crush them in a mortar, then add another 400g or so of honey to the mix. This can be drunk in hot water or simply eaten, two teaspoons a day, morning and night.
Other plants that are good for increasing ‘wisdom’ (inner knowledge) include peach, sage, and sunflower, all of which can also be dieted fresh or in a little rum or vodka.

Ross Heaven is a therapist, workshop leader, and the author of several books on shamanism and healing, including Darkness Visible, the best-selling Plant Spirit Shamanism, and Love’s Simple Truths. His website is http://www.thefourgates.com where you can also read how to join his sacred journeys to the shamans and healers of the Amazon.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ross_Heaven

Another fascinating report...



What is a jungle diet?

The food | The body's environment | Isolation | Preparation for the diet | Ayahuasca | Ending the diet | After the diet | The medicine plant | Understanding the diet | Don Marcial's perspective

For those who've never heard of a jungle diet ("dieta" in Spanish), I will give an overview based on my three experiences and talking with various people during my time here in Peru. There may be other approaches to the diet that I still don't know about, so please don't take this as the final word.

The basis of the diet is eating bland white food with NO salt or sugar for a certain period of time -- anything from 7 days up to maybe 6 months or even a year -- along with taking one or more doses of a medicine plant extract. During this time, your body is exposed to nothing with flavour, and nothing chemical, and you are isolated in the jungle in a hut, with contact with no-one but the curandero. At least, that is the ideal or most extreme form, but as you will see there are various compromises (good and bad) that may occur in practice. I will deal with each aspect in turn:

The food. Sometimes the diet is done by just eating cooked white rice or some other starchy food. Remember that no salt or sugar is permitted in the preparation. Sometimes cooked green bananas are added to the meal (not a plantain, just a normal yellow banana picked green and boiled or baked), or potatoes or yuca root or cooked oats. With my first diet, I was also given unsweetened plain drinking yogurt. For longer diets, a meal of meat or fish is included at intervals according to the judgement of the curandero. This might be a wild-fed chicken or a fish that is cooked very simply (e.g. baked or grilled). In my third diet I was given fish at every meal. To drink you will be given water, or perhaps a herb tea suitable to accompany the diet (a "mate" in Peruvian Spanish). It is interesting that what is eaten on the diet is pretty much the indigenous daily jungle diet anyway, with the exclusion of salt -- and salt was something that had to be specially looked for in the jungle in times past.

The body's environment. During the diet your body should be exposed to nothing with flavour, and nothing chemical. This means washing without soap, brushing teeth with only water, using no deodorant, using no insect repellant, using no chemical medicines, and so on. This is important. With the bland and saltless diet your body can soon become very sensitive to external things. Some smells become overwhelming, and you might find you can pick up all kinds of subtle things that you were probably never aware of before. There seem to be a few exceptions to this "nothing with flavour" rule, though. Of course, tobacco is used universally (it seems) by curanderos, for cleansing things, making prayers, aiding them in their medicine, and so on. Also, in my first diet I was given a very very strong infusion of mapacho (jungle tobacco) to rub into my skin as a natural insect-repellant and to help ease insect bites. Also, you may be given herbal tea to drink. But apart from this, no flavour is the general rule.

[ There is also the question of what to do about malaria, given that taking malaria tablets is incompatible with doing the diet. There is some risk of malaria in northern Peru, varying according to the region. However, I chose to take the risk and not take any of the tablets. ]

Isolation. One of the more traditional ways to do a diet is in a very basic hut in the middle of the jungle, just four poles and a roof, with perhaps a hammock and/or a bed with a mosquito net. You might have a local stream for bathing, and the bushes for your toilet. This could be called a "deep jungle diet". You could say that this is the extreme version -- this way you are totally immersed in the jungle during the experience, and you are accompanied by all of its inhabitants with whom you will most probably interact at times.

However, there are many other ways that diets are arranged as well, some better than others. For example you might be in a much bigger and better hut a few feet off the ground, with perhaps better protection from mosquitos (less suffering from bites), even maybe a bathroom (real luxury!), and maybe not so deep in the jungle. At the stage I'm at, this seems to me to be good, because although I'm getting used to dealing with mosquitos, they can be a real distraction at times. Bathing in a local stream, though, is really recommended even if you have a shower available, because you feel very good afterwards from the natural energy. And I can appreciate the idea of being at ground level with all the animals -- if you are really ready to meet them all ...

There are other ways the diet may be arranged which are not so good, depending on your point of view. For example, you might be staying in the curandero's house, or in a village, or close to the noise of a town. This really depends on how well you think you would be able to cope with the distractions. One friend did a diet at a curandero's house and complained that the kids turning the radio on full-blast at dawn were seriously interrupting his internal processes (dreaming, realizations, etc). My third diet was like this, on the edge of a village, with music at times during the day and sometimes at night as well. This is not ideal, but I got by: sometimes I had to listen to my own music to "protect myself" from external sounds which were bothering me. However, in my first diet, the noises from all-night parties in the nearby town were giving me immense problems -- I really would definitely not want to do a diet again under those conditions. So, it is good to understand the advantages of different arrangements before undertaking the diet.

Also, ideally you should only interact with the curandero during the diet. However, you might also be interacting with the guy who brings the food if that is someone else, or with curious kids, etc. If there are other people around in the area, they are supposed know to leave you alone and not try and talk to you or approach you. Visiting the local stream might mean waiting for others to leave. You are supposed to avoid women completely, due to the possibility that they are in their period. (Before anyone reading goes crazy about this recommendation, first try a diet and realise how unusually sensitive you can become during it before judging this 'rule'.)

Preparation for the diet. For the diets that I did, the preparation was the same as for Ayahuasca, i.e. no pork/bacon/ham, no sex, no alcohol, careful with the salt/sugar/chillies, and so on, for a short period running up to the diet. However, maybe for some plants you will need other additional preparation as well -- the curandero should tell you.

Ayahuasca. You will almost certainly have ceremonies of Ayahuasca, before, during, or after the diet. One form both starts and ends the diet with a ceremony. In another form, there are ceremonies at stages during the diet. Maybe some curanderos do both, I don't know. I know of one guy who had Ayahuasca ceremonies every night of his diet with the curandero. Really the whole thing depends a great deal on what you're working with, which plant, the judgement of the curandero and so on. In my first diet, there was no initial Ayahuasca ceremony, but instead a purge using Bobinsana and tobacco.

Ending the diet. The diet is often ended with a "corte de dieta" meal which consists of raw onion, salt, garlic and lime juice. After this came a "caldo de gallina" in two of my diets, i.e. a chicken broth made with free-roaming chicken and vegetables. This is to start building up your strength again, and as one friend pointed out, if it is at least half-decent, this will be the best caldo you have ever tasted in your life. In my third diet, however, the end was simply a salt mouth-wash, a sweet "mate" tea, and the re-introduction of salt and sugar into the diet.

After the diet. Now comes the interesting difference between the dieting medicine plants and Ayahuasca, because after taking Ayahuasca, you are free to do all the things that were prohibited before the ceremony, but with the dieting medicine plants, by default that couldn't be further from the truth. The plant stays in your body and has a significant influence over it for perhaps a month afterwards. What effect it has and for how long varies from one plant to the next. The curandero will give you a list of foods and activities to avoid and for how long, and the list is different for each plant. However, some curanderos do some 'magic' to protect you from these problems, such as don Marcial's "Arcana" in my third diet, so there may be fewer restrictions depending on the approach of your curandero.

The strong influence of the plant in your body over this period is something that you won't necessarily notice if you keep to the curandero's guidelines, but if you don't, you will really know about it. Breaking some of the guidelines might mean having to go back to the curandero to resolve the problem. The fact that the plant stays around influencing your body so long, restricting your diet and lifestyle during this time, is best regarded as a necessary exchange for the positive influence that the plant is bringing to your life. However, it is worth noting that some plants are more restrictive than others in this respect.

Anyway, to give some examples: After my first diet, I was told to avoid sweet things for a month. Testing this rule as the weeks went on, I found that eating something sugary in the morning really knocked me out -- I had to go and lie down all morning. As an another example, with my first diet with Chiric Sanango, I was asked not to shake hands with anyone for a month. This may sound ludicrous, but one friend accepted the helping hand of a boatman and nearly fainted in that instant due to the movement of energy. A couple of weeks after my diet, I also shook hands with someone by mistake, and felt an unusual sensation in my palm for some time afterwards. However, after my second diet with Chiric Sanango, the curandero told me he had protected me from this problem, and indeed I shook hands with many people without difficulty. Another example: after my first diet I was asked not to visit any loud places such as bars. After a few weeks, I did cautiously visit a noisy dance venue and I felt how my body reacted to the noise: it was like a shock for my whole energy body -- this is the best way I can describe it. I was able to stay centred, but I could see how this could really knock someone completely off balance if they were less careful or less aware.

As a more extreme example of this, there is a story of some guy who ignored the guidelines completely and immediately after his diet headed off to Iquitos and hit the night clubs. He was found in a park a few days later completely incoherant and confused, in a state perhaps something like that of an infant, with no memory and no idea who he was or where he was. This state is called "cruzado" in Spanish, which means "crossed". Some concerned people searched his pockets, found a contact number and got in touch with the centre where he had dieted, who got them to put him on a plane back. The people from the centre picked him up, and took him to a curandero who specializes in people in this state, who after singing an icaro (medicine song), with one blow of tobacco smoke brought him back to his normal self. To the guy himself it was as if he had just woken up after a long sleep. This "cruzado" state, as I understand it from what I've heard, is something that happens when you are in a very open sensitive state (which you may very well be in after your diet, depending on the plant you're dieting) and you experience a strongly shocking outside influence.

So, the best option is to follow the rules -- or if you're not a rule-following type, at least break them cautiously with some knowledge of the possible consequences.

The medicine plant. The medicine plants used for diets are also sometimes called "master plants" or "teacher plants". Each plant helps you in a different way, i.e. they are all for different things. As with Ayahuacsa, each plant has spirits which perhaps some people will be able to work with during their diet.

Anyway, all the plants do hugely different things, and the only ones I can talk about are the ones I've experienced. But from my experience I would say: don't necessarily expect anything like the immense journeys that can occur during an Ayahuasca ceremony. This is often a bit more subtle. These plants infuse your body with their influence for some extended period of time. The changes might come as dreams or visions, or as thought-streams that lead to understandings or realizations. The plants I took made relatively subtle changes to me, changes that might be huge in their implications over time, but which are not so obvious when compared to having a huge emotional purge of toxic emotional material when vomitting with Ayahuasca, and then feeling instantly better the next day.

However, having said that, some plants I took did also have obvious immediate effects, such as a sense of apparent numbness in some parts of the body, apparent cold, plus vibration and/or shivering with Chiric Sanango, or maybe the kind of manic mind-state I had occasionally from Ucho Sanango, or maybe just feeling wiped out and sleeping really deeply for a few hours with the mix of five plants. However, still, most of the action is really happening at a much more subtle level.

Out of the traditional master plants, Toë (aka Floripondio, related to Datura) is reckoned to be one of the most potent, and also the most dangerous if badly handled. Don Marcial says that dieting this plant is one of the quickest ways to learn. If you are dieting Toë, they say you are completely in a world of your own, living in a dreaming world, effectively. You see consistent things in the world around you that are simply not there. They say you have to be monitored 24 hours a day. I think you'd have to be pretty confident in your curandero to do a diet with Toë.

Another surprising option is to diet Ayahuasca. This means taking Ayahuasca once or twice a day. This could also be a pretty interesting experience; I'm not sure exactly what the benefits would be of doing something like that.

Understanding the diet. There are various ways of understanding what happens during a diet. One approach might be to regard it as a chemical journey with the plant, enhanced by the increased sensitivity provided by the salt and sugar-free diet, i.e. to look at it as a trip, similar to the way that Ayahuasca can give you a clear conscious journey, with visions and so on. This is how I was initially regarding my diets, but this is also what lead to a lot of my disappointment and confusion, because I really wasn't getting the strong conscious journeys I was hoping for. Certainly it is possible to provide a strong diet in this form, but now I realise that for many curanderos this would be regarded as completely missing the point.

Maybe for an insensitive Westerner, however, a diet of many strong doses would give a more measurable effect. I was basing my ideas initially on the diet experience of Diego of Ayahuasca-Wasi, who dieted Chiric Sanango, fasting completely for 7 days with daily strong doses of the plant. He was constantly in the "mareación" of the plant, with numbness and shivering and so on, and he had immense visions during this time.

However, I didn't find any curandero (including the curandero Diego dieted with!) who would give me a diet like this. With Fernando I came a little closer, but finally with don Marcial I understood that this is a rather unsubtle approach. Maybe if someone would give me a diet like that, I could benefit from it, but failing that, let's see what the other approach is about ...

Don Marcial's perspective. For don Marcial, a diet is about getting acquainted with some new plant spirits. He has dieted 105 plants in his life, his first diet at the age of 12. His longest diet was for a whole year: 4 months on each of three plants. To him, it is pointless to diet a plant twice (as I have done), because he says it would be like going through University twice to study the same subject. Well, maybe I was at "Medicine Plant University" effectively wearing a blindfold and earplugs, which is how I managed to completely miss the point the first time around!

To don Marcial, each plant has good and bad spirits. The good spirits are invited to take up residence within the body, and they do the work of healing or helping you. The bad spirits are invited to stay around the body as protection. Don Marcial compares the bad spirits to a dog. He says: "You don't eat with your dog, or sleep with your dog; instead the dog sleeps on the patio and keeps the house safe." You don't want the bad spirits involved in your healing process because they just get in the way and make a mess of things -- again, very much like a dog would do. So, the dog is kept outside where he can do his job well and not get in the way.

The good spirits help in various ways with healing. For curanderos, they come to help when he/she is working to cure someone. Each plant also has songs, which start to come in Ayahuasca ceremonies to those learning to sing. Each plant also has a whole world of beings and spirits associated with it, which can be visited during Ayahuasca ceremonies, or they may come in visions during the ceremony to help you. So, the diet is simply to establish a connection with some new "healing powers" (if you like) which the plant provides, and to allow the plant to do whatever work it can on you during that time. Maybe this means physical changes, emotional healing, visions, or whatever the particular plant has to offer.

It is also interesting that don Marcial regards all medicine plants as having these good and bad spirits. This means that, for instance, in theory it would be possible to diet the Bach Flower Remedies. Indeed, the work of Bach really is identical to the approach and work of many Amazonian curanderos -- for instance the way he became ill and then went looking for the plant to cure himself, building up his knowledge in that way. This was a very interesting revelation to me, finding such a strong connection between these two systems of medicine.

This does mean, however, that most of the action in a diet is taking place at a level too subtle for most Westerners to recognise at first. This means either accepting it like that and trusting that the plants and the curandero are doing their work, or alternatively trying as much as possible to connect with these subtleties. Maybe being in a very isolated place might help to connect, or maybe trying to work consciously with dreaming or visualisation or Reiki or some other technique to build a connection. This seems the only way forward to understand and benefit from the diets in the way that the curanderos intend.

Relato de uma dieta de Ajo Sacha

Um relato que pode ajudar aprendizes de xamã...

During my one week diet with the teacher plant Ajo Sacha, I had so many lucid dreams that I was astonished. There were by far too many lucid dream experiences to journal on a daily basis, but I did have an MP3 voice recorder which allowed me to record almost every single dream experience upon awakening before the memories would fade. Since I literally had enough lucid dreams to fill a book, I decided to find the major “themes”and “lessons” that Ajo Sacha shared with me during the diet and write about those to give everyone an idea of how the teacher plants actually teach.

Teacher plants are very similar to human teachers in many ways. They all have different personalities, they all have different styles of teaching their students, and they all teach different subjects as well. In order to convey their messages with the greatest clarity, they speak in the universal language of symbolism.

Ajo Sacha is known for having quite a sense of humor. The shamans say that she is the gatekeeper to both the dreamworld and the plant kingdom. Likewise, she is famous for testing one’s awareness from time to time to confirm that you have in fact understood her previous lessons before moving on to higher levels of learning.

On the first night of the diet as I was going to sleep I began to see visions of Jessica Simpson in a bikini dancing in front of me. This was so lucid and so vivid that I actually laughed out loud! I woke up and rubbed my eyes because I almost could not believe what was happening. I went back to bed a few minutes later and Jessica was still dancing in front of me in the same bikini, but this time she moved closer. She was very flirtatious and forward with me suggesting with her words and actions that we get to know each other.

As one of requirements of the diet is to refrain from having sex, I recognized fairly quickly that this really was Ajo Sacha appearing to me symbolically. After several minutes of resisting the temptation, Jessica smiled and acknowledged to me that she was Ajo Sacha. She said, “Now that I have your attention, let’s go!”

The next thing I knew the dream changed completely and I was inside a Dunkin Donuts and the waitress asked me what type of donut I wanted. I asked her for a dunkin donut but she replied that they were out of dunkin donuts. I asked for several different types of donuts but they never had any of the ones I wanted. I finally became so irate that I started yelling and screaming! I asked them, “What kind of a dunkin donuts is completely out of donuts?” Then of course I realized the joke as they all began laughing at me. One of the requirements of the diet is not to eat sugar or candy and this too was Ajo Sacha testing my awareness.

The scenery changed again, and this time I was in a bar and the bartender was Gene Simmons from KISS. He did not have his makeup on, but I immediately recognized the symbology of this dream. His character in KISS was “The Demon” and here the demon was right in front of me tempting me with offers of top shelf liquors, the finest wines and cuban cigars. I just laughed at him because I really could not believe all of these dreams were occurring in the same night! As I told him goodbye, he asked me if I was certain that I did not want to join him at an after hours party at the playboy mansion!

I think you can see now why Ajo Sacha is known for her sense of humor.

The temptations ended after the first night, however, Ajo Sacha continued to appear to me as Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria. In all instances she did this to get my attention. Once I acknowleged her presence and the fact that I knew I was dreaming, she would share another teaching with me.

For example, on the night she appeared to me as Eva Longoria, she was taking a shower in a white room with white candles, white curtains and red roses. As she got out of the shower she asked me to follow her upstairs to her bedroom. The staircase was a beautiful golden spiral staircase. As we reached the top of the staircase the frame of the house disappeared and we were in the clouds flying. As the clouds parted, I could see the heavens and there were white doves flying with us. However, I was unable to fly any higher because I had my laptop computer with me which was weighting me down. Since I use my laptop for work, I would not let go of it even though the doves and Eva (who had now become an angel) were telling me to let the computer go so I could fly higher with them. This dream was one of the most symbolic yet. My laptop computer represents my work which is the main source of stress for me. Not to mention my work on the laptop consumes the majority of my time. My refusal to let go of the laptop was the one thing that currently prevents me from dedicating more time to the dreamworld and shamanic studies.

In the following dream I was in my apartment trying to meditate when I heard noises in the hallway that were so loud that I was unable to concentrate. I went outside to see who was making all of the noise and it was the little kid Damian from all of the Damian Omen horror movies. When he saw me he immediately tried to attack me, but I was so mad at him that I began chasing him down the stairs. This dream was also very symbolic. Damian represented a demon, specifically, my personal demons which prevent me from meditating or doing other things I enjoy. Interestingly, when I confronted him he ran away. For some reason he did not have any of his supernatural powers like in the movies. This theme of confronting demons and illusions was a major teaching from Ajo Sacha that continued in several more dreams.

In my dreams the following night, I was working with an undercover SWAT team and we were chasing the “bad guys” who disappeared into tunnels underground when we showed them our badges. Originally, they appeared to be very dangerous people, in fact, most of the SWAT team was afraid. We all could sense that our captain was nervous and tense so we thought that the bad guys must be really dangerous. Yet when we confronted them with our authority, they ran away without a fight. This dream as well was highly symbolic to me. The things that we fear the most often tend to disappear when we confront them with our personal power.

The following night I had a similar dream of being confronted by very dark energies in an underground warehouse. They were chasing me and trying to shoot me, but slowly I began to awaken and confront them. As I confronted them , they disentegrated like the vampires in the Blade movies. One of the dark energies managed to cut my leg. It was a very deep wound and it was bleeding badly, but I realized that I was dreaming and the leg magically healed like the metal terminator. At this point, I was almost fully lucid and the scenery of the dream changed into a combat video game where I was in control completely. It was a game which I was winning and nothing could really hurt me. Once again, I saw the symbolism being that when we confront our fears they lose their power over us and they go away.

Later, I was on an airplane again with Eva Longoria who was stilled dressed like an angel. She began explaining to me the meaning of the two previous dreams and asked me if I knew what they meant. The song Baby Baby It’s A Wild World by Cat Stevens was playing in the background. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was dreaming. She told me that we were always dreaming. She went on to explain that our entire lives really were movies which we were writing the script for on a very unconscious level. She told me this was why vampires died like in the Blade movie and why I healed myself like the terminator. It was just more symbology. She even mentioned that both the SWAT dream and the dream in the underground warehouse were symbolic of the darkest parts of our subconscious minds. This dream was the most incredible to date. I knew everything she had told me was true. I also saw the symbology of being in the airplane with her as indicating that the answer to creating our own movies, or our own script is in developing the ability to control our thoughts (as represented by the Air element). Naturally, if we have a pre-determined destination or goal in mind at the beginning of our journey, our chances of success are much greater (as represented by the airplane, which always has a destination planned well in advance).

At this point in the diet process, I was completely amazed at all of the information I had received from Ajo Sacha. However, I still had one unanswered question. I wanted to know how I could support myself if I were to quit my job. I really wanted to stop working and leave all of the stress and anxiety behind to study more with sacred and medicinal plants in the Amazon and elsewhere, but I just could not understand how that would be possible.

That night I had a dream that I was down near the river. On one side of the river I was with all of the people from my waking world. On the other side of the river were all of the energies and intelligences from the dreamworld. There was a bridge connecting the two sides, but I was the only person who could see the bridge. I spent what seemed to be several days in physical time going to the “other side” and bringing back gifts and art to share with people in the waking world. The most amazing part of this dream in hindsight is that not only was it the answer to my one remaining question, but the symbology showed me how I could make a living doing what I loved simply by sharing my experiences with others whether it be in art, writing books, etc. This was also the only dream I can recall that Ajo Sacha did not appear to me in. I recognized the symbology in this as her confirmation that I had the power within myself to manifest this change in my life.

To say the least, it has taken some time to assimilate and integrate all of the teachings that Ajo Sacha shared with me. She is famous among the natives for cleansing and healing. Whether an individual is suffering consciously or unconsciously, and whether it may be on a physical, mental or spiritual level, Ajo Sacha facilitates a process which allows us to overcome whatever may be blocking us from taking the next step on our personal journey of empowerment and evolution.

In my experiences, as reflected in the symbology of my dreams, she helped me to understand the importance of withstanding the tempations of the physical world, as well as confronting my own personal demons which in reality have proved to be illusions, and she helped me to see clearly how I could manifest the changes in my life that I was seeking.

Most importantly, she helped to realize that we are always dreaming and the only limits to what we can do in our dreams are illusions within our own minds.

DMT, a molécula do espírtito...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blade Runner


"Eu vi coisas em que vocês nunca acreditariam. Naves de ataque a arder nos ombros de Orion. Vi raios C a brilhar no escuro perto do portão de Tanhauser. Todos esses momentos ficarão perdidos no tempo, como lágrimas na chuva. Chegou a altura de... morrer". Rutger Hauer, em Blade Runner, de Ridley Scott.
"Não sei porque salvou a minha vida. Talvez, naqueles últimos momentos, ele amasse a vida mais do que antes. Não apenas a vida dele... Apenas queria as mesmas respostas que todos desejamos: de onde viemos, para onde vamos, quanto tempo me resta. A única coisa que eu podia fazer era ficar sentado e vê-lo morrer". Blade Runner, ou Harrison Ford.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A minha viagem a Iquitos

Esta é uma reinterpretação, para o meu trabalho de fim de curso de edição de Video em Final Cut, do documentário sobre Ayahuasca onde fui filmada. Espero que gostem da música.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Leiam Comer, Orar, Amar, de Elizabeth Gilbert


Gostei muito deste livro, do percurso espiritual da autora. Viajou durante um ano, da Itália a um Ashram na Índia, até à Indonésia. Uma mulher com algum sentido prático, igual a qualquer uma de nós. Mais do que copiar um resumo da obra, vejam-no aqui, mas sobretudo leiam ou peçam emprestado. Para quem se interessa por viagens solitárias, há um guia de viagens para a Índia espiritual, campos de surf e yoga só para mulheres, detoxs vários, um mundo a descobrir. Perguntem-me.

Circulação do livro O Caminho da Alma


Uma nova revista, a Zen, com excelentes artigos (vejam as previsões de numerologia para 2009, de Clara de Almeida), e boas recomendações.