Grandfather Don Laureano

Ayahuasca retreat in the Colombian Amazon with traditional indigenous shamans.

Don Laureano, 111 years old Siona elder, Yagé grandmaster shaman and Taita Mayor. Photo © El Mundo Magico

Grandfather Laureano needs no presentation. He is one of the topmost shamans (Taita Mayor) in the whole of Colombia and South America and one of the very few Taitas recognised and endorsed by the Colombian Ministry of Health. From the Siona indigenous people – at 111 years old – he is, to the best of our knowledge, the oldest living and practising indigenous Yagé (Ayahuasca) shaman on earth. A blessing for us all.

Taita Laureano began to take Yagé when he was just 9 years old and he has now matured over 100 years experience in working with the medicine. When he was 18, he was crowned in a special ceremony – held by his grandfather and his uncle, Don Feliciano Piaguaje – “traditional Yagé doctor” (that’s how shamans are known in this part of South America).

His grandfather – a shaman of the Siona tribe himself – took Laureano to his chacra (jungle clearing used as farmland) where he had to prepare wood logs and cook Yagé. He told him that in order to prepare Yagé one should have good thoughts. After a long period spent preparing and taking Yagé, Laureano was finally sent to a very remote and isolated jungle area (montaña), to be finally tested and see whether he was prepared to receive his shamanic initiation. During one of his trips to the jungle, he came across two jaguars fighting fiercely against one other. Rather than running away, as it would be natural to do, Laureano approached and spoke to the wild beasts. The jaguars stopped their fight and left. Then he heard something like the cry of a child in the middle of the jungle, but there was nobody to be seen anywhere. This was yet another test of his grandfather to see whether Laureano was afraid, or not. As he did not show any sign of fear whatsoever, his grandfather knew that he who was prepared to be a traditional shaman (medico traditional Yagesero). After Laureano was extensively taught how to prepare the Yagé medicine, at the time of his graduation he was taught the secret songs of the earth, water, lightning, wind and sun.

He can treat different diseases and can dispel spells and hexes and, 93 years on from his first initiation, grandfather Laureano still works as a top-level shaman in Colombia.

Grandfather Laureano lives in a remote location, in the Colombian jungle, and may only attend group retreats, not the ongoing individual retreats. If you are interested in either bringing your own group, or else, would like to register for the next group retreat, please contact us. Group retreats must take place on specific dates and must be booked months ahead of the agreed retreat start date.