What does a western person find when they decide to turn in to indigenous medicine as an alternative for your health?
Traditional medicine, by working with plants and animals, is also working with the spirit of nature. That is why the taitas say that they operate with the spirit of yagé – completely distancing themselves from the sense of operations in biomedicine, where the patient’s organism is invaded; from hence the recurring name in their songs and prayers: sky surgeons. For the healings the summoned spirits by the Taita´s ikaros are equally important , spirits of nature itself, but also spirits of their ancestors: “the spiritual people”, who always accompany them for the battle involving healing. For the Taitas the disease does not establish or originate solely in the patient’s body, but is characterized by its double dimension: the physical and spiritual. There, where they detect a disease there are also a spiritual malaise or imbalance. It is for this reason that the treatments they carry out address both dimensions. It’s not just about find a remedy for an ailment or discomfort, but for a change in the patient in the face of his own existence and the care of his being.
The sacred yagé plant has, outstandingly, a purgative effect. During the evacuation that causes the purge, not only substances are expelled that remain in the body of patients causing ailments and damage, but bad energies and “egos” are also expelled that do not allow patients to maintain the harmony produced by contact with what divine. Vomiting and defecation symbolize expulsion of evil spirits at the same time.
Operating with the Yagé spirit, allows the taitas to attack disease in its two dimensions, the physical and the spiritual. For this reason, they highlight its ability to treat diseases that cannot be cured in hospitals and that sometimes they are not even detected by western doctors. This is because although the symptoms are manifested in the body, for them the cause of the disease is not found in the body itself, but has to do with the spirit.
According to the taitas, the yagé has a spirit of its own, it is the spirit of the nature, that enables them to heal people. During the ceremonies the taitas also take yagé and attract their spirit so that it touches everyone and the ceremony can develop satisfactorily. What the spirit of yagé brings to all is the vision. The vision is what people see and experience sensorially during the ceremony and in general it is different for everyone. These are different types of dream content that are experienced in real way, and that are generally linked to the experience of the each person, but above all it is subject to the power of the Taita. The vision is what is sensory experienced, partly as a result of ingesting the preparation made with the banispteriosis caapi -yagé- and chagropango, which is the component that contributes the chemistry of visual hallucination. To this must be added the fact that depending on the intention of the ceremony, and the type of vine used in the preparation, the pint will also be different.
It is important to bear in mind that at the beginning of the ceremony the taitas are clear by pointing out to guest´s that there is no need to be afraid, because what they are about to see and experience has to do with the way in which they have managed their lives, so each one is going to see what they should see. It leads you to see beautiful things but you have to be tough, because it can show you things that are not nice either. The spirit of yagé is said to be a spirit that essentially teaches. On the one hand, it shows that not only does everyday reality exist but there is a higher, spiritual plane, which is nevertheless not disconnected from life itself, and that refers to self-consciousness; and on the other hand, it teaches that it is possible to move through life in different ways, where the key is respect and cooperation. The yagé spirit teaches to live. Through the vision, the spirit of yagé makes the person meditate on his life. Generating a reflective process that results in a determination and a clear position in front of the person’s actions, in front of why he does what he does and what he does it for.
“The main reason for coming here is to make a great reflection with the sacred plant; one visualizes oneself taking yagé, you personally diagnose yourself, where you come from, who you are and where you are going ”
However, during the ceremony the yagé does not only teach through the vision. There is also the purge that the physical body undergoes in the strongest moments of visions; vomiting and defecation are seen as purifying mechanisms for both the body and the spirit. In addition to the vision teachings, people see, according to their needs, issues of the past and even visions of the future. This is why some people go to consult the yagé about their needs and concerns, before making important decisions, to meditate on the choice of a good choise, seeing the situation with a different lens, broadening the panorama.
The personal experience that each person has with the yage in the ceremony is complemented with the Cleaning. Cleaning is one of the most desired procedures among people who come in search of indigenous medicine. By means of this it is sought -as the name indicates– “cleanse”, both the body and the spirit, and attract positive energies that allow the normal functioning of the body, tranquility and well-being of the person. Although the Cleanings are generally performed during yagé takes, their occurrence is not restricted to that space and can be done at any time of the day, according to the needs of people.