Power Plants

Remocaspi master tree. Photo: F. Sammarco


It is important to note that the traditional view of indigenous and Mestizo (mixed blood) shamans alike in the Peruvian Amazon is that each power plant – which is often, but not always, also a plant with psychoactive/psychotropic properties – has its own “madre”, a mother-spirit that has – when dieted properly – the capacity to actualise teachings, reveal things, heal, lend power, give protection and guide one’s life.

Some of these mother-spirits are seen in vision by the shamans, and may have different anthropomorphic or theriomorphic aspects. The Puka-lupuna (Cavanillesia sp.) tree, for instance, is said to be a “great magician that developed in other dimensions and came to possess this tree” (Luna, Berkeley 1999: 108). Amazonian shamans maintain that the longer the diet and the more the teacher plants, trees and vines one has dieted with, the more wisdom and knowledge is attained directly from the plant spirits.