Taita Victoriano Piaguaje

Taita Victoriano explaining the medicinal properties of plants encountered during the excursions in the wilderness. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015

Taita Victoriano explaining the medicinal properties of plants encountered during the excursions in the wilderness. Photo F. Sammarco © El Mundo Magico

Taita Victoriano Piaguaje is the second son of Don Laureano and the only one that follows the path of traditional shamanic medicine. He learned from his father as an assistant in the preparation of emetics. When he was 24, his parents decided to travel to Puerto Leguizamo (a town in Putumayo, Colombia). There was a young patient affected by serious mental problems, was kept restrained, under the constant surveillance of security guards, in a local psychiatric facility and had been seen by several doctors who weren’t able to cure him.

Despite the difficulty of the case, the young Victoriano approached the mother of the young patient and told her that his father Laureano could heal him. She agreed on the treatment and showed them where her son was kept. Both Don Laureano and Victoriano entered the room where the young patient was kept. Victoriano carried an incense burner with him, with burning frankincense (to smudge space and people with incense smoke, to dispel negative energies and bad spirits, as it is consolidated tradition among the Taitas of Putumayo) whilst Don Laureano, with a cigar in his mouth, blew tobacco smoke very vehemently towards the patient who fell instantly sick on the floor and groaned in pain. Taita Laureano began to make a series of invocations to supernatural forces and at that moment the young patient regained consciousness, woke up and stood up completely healed.

After this event, both Taita Laureano and Victoriano were fully recognised in town. They then travelled to Buena Vista, attending a meeting of traditional shamanic doctors (Taitas), with whom they exchanged knowledge and took Yagé together.

Since that meeting Taita Victoriano is an assistant to his father from whom he constantly receive knowledge and advice. He was also prepared as a shaman by his grandfather Hector, with whom he followed a five years apprenticeship. He then travelled to Caquetá where he followed a further two years period of preparation, and Leguizamo, where he further refined his shamanic practice for four more years.

At that point Don Laureano saw that he was ready and that finally the moment was arrived for him to be given “Pegui”, more commonly known as “Borrachero” in Colombia, and as “Toé” in Peru (the Brugmansia sp. plant which actually comprehends seven recognised species: Brugmansia suaveolensBrugmansia arborea, Brugmansia insignis, Brugmansia sanguineaBrugmansia versicolor, Brugmansia vulcanicola and Brugmansia aurea).

They went in isolation into virgin jungle and there Victoriano was given to drink “Pegui” several times, he had lots of visions, and saw spirit people and white spirits. It was a very tough experience for him.

At the age of 32 Taita Victoriano travelled to Ecuador (with Don Laureano) and there he continued to further prepare himself as shaman and to acquire more knowledge under the tutelage of an unacculturated indigenous shaman living in the wilderness, Taita Mayanchicura Parla. He also had another teacher, Taita Paulino Mojomboy who had originally eight disciples, but only two of them made it through the end, Victoriano Piaguaje and Pablo Maniguaje, who both had the courage and the strength to serve humanity with Yagé and the Amazonian Traditional Medicine.

It’s now 33 years that Taita Victoriano is working as a traditional shamanic healer in Colombia.