A Master Plant Dieta, sometimes referred to as a shamanic dieta is a complex, strict and rigorous system of discipline through which a planta maestra (teacher plant) or plantas que enseñan ( plants and trees that teach) transmit protection, guidance and sacred knowledge to the student or “dietero”. Plantas que enseñan are not only those plants and trees with psychotropic or hallucinogenic properties. In fact, plants with psychotropic properties account for only a small number of the plants that together are fundamental to the learning and practice of authentic, shamanic medicine in the Amazon.
Maestro curanderos (Shamans) have traditionally used fasting, a diet of master plants and seclusion from others to seek guidance from the plant spirits and obtain the vital knowledge needed to heal others. A diet of teacher plants and trees is also central to the shamanic medicine apprenticeship. Young initiates will diet on master plants for months and sometimes year at a time. Throughout these dieta apprentices will develop a kind of capacity to “see” or communicate with the spirit realm. In the Peruvian Amazon in particular, the most direct way to develop this capacity to “see” and connect with the espiritus (spirits) is through master plant or shamanic dietas.
Before students can communicate with plant teachers, however, they must undergo a rigorous process of mental, physical and spiritual purification. Certain plants are often used in this process, including Ayahuasca, Tabacco and other plant purges (vomitivos). Master plant dietas are usually accompanied by abstinence from sex, pork, red meat, sugar, deodorants, alcohol, caffeine, shampoo, toothpaste, oils and processed food. Abstaining from any substance or activity that might cloud the mind is essential for the plants and trees dieta to promote physical healing and spiritual transformation.
Throughout the master plant dieta, whether endured for a long time with the view to becoming a maestro curandero, or for a shorter time as is the case on our retreats, the types of plants and the order in which they are consumed will be determined by the maestro curandero. Put differently, the order and kinds of master plants (teacher plants or trees) are not random, they are especially tailored to the individual.
The traditional belief of the indigenous peoples of Peruvian east-central Amazon is that plant remedies need careful time to begin to work. Which is very unlike Western medicines which we expect to begin to heal the body or alleviate pain immediately. It is frequently said that “en la dieta está la curación,” the healing is in the dieta, not just in the plants or trees.
From the very first day, you will learn in great depth about the properties and healing potentialities of each of the master plants
This knowledge will be vital in helping you to decide to commit to a Master Plant Dieta. Our maestros curandoros (shaman) are expert in the latent properties of the each of our master plants and will be able to offer you advice that stems from a long tradition of using the plants himself to heal and in his work transforming the lives of others. Each of our Maestros will tailor an individualized dieta during your Ayahuasca retreat in Peru with us of master plants and trees especially designed to support you to develop desired capacities and cure particular ailments.
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Our comprehensive screening questionnaire has been developed in partnership with the International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS). Please take your time to answer it as honestly and with as much detail as possible. This information will remain strictly confidential and will only be used to assess your suitability for a place on retreat with AYA Healing Retreats and keep you safe
Please remember that the purpose of this screening questionnaire is to determine whether plant medicine healing is suitable for you…not whether you are suitable for plant medicine healing. Plant medicines are tools, like any other healing modality and like other tools for healing experiencing them entails certain risks. We need to make sure that our plant medicines will not compromise your wellbeing or harm you in any way before we allow you to begin your healing journey with us. In short, we care about your safety and we need to do what we can to ensure that during your time with us you are not at risk of harm. Plant medicines can be dangerous if the plants are not the right fit for the individual. Your answers to this questionnaire will help us to determine whether the plants we intend to use are going to help, rather than harm you