The Chacra, the cultivating ground in the Amazons – where the shamans can take care of the Holy Banisteriopsis Caapi Vine

A chacra is an area in the Forest, made by clearing an area of forest, burning the felled trees and other vegetation, clearing the movable remaining vegetation and reburning it, and then planting yuca, manioc, platano, and other cultivated Plants and Trees such as beans, palms, pineapples, papaya, and mango. The shamans may plant Holy Plants, especially the Holy Banisteriopsis Caapi Vine, and other Holy Plants – Psychotria Viridis (Chacruna), toe, and mapacho, which they bring to the Sacred Ceremonies fo Healing. A chacra is a cleared space, limpia, clean, like a soccer field. After several years, when the nutrients derived from the ashes have been exhausted, the garden is abandoned to become a new-growth jungle, and a new garden is created.

Chacras that have left fallow are called purmas, which includes wide range of fields, from recently overgrown chacras to thirty-year-old successional forest. Purmas continue to be utilized for building material, including hardwood poles and palm leaves, and a variety of fruits. Purmas also provide food and low dense brush for cover and nesting for number of game animals – armadillos, agouti, paca, opossum, shiny rats – which are called, collectively, purmeros. Purmas are not simply abandoned chacras; they are result of active forest management. When chacras are cleared, the seedlings of useful trees are often spared and protected, to be utilized when the chacra is left fallow. These plants include Fruit Trees intended to attract game animals, which are primarily, frugivores; white-lipped peccaries, for example, consume a diet composed of 66 percent fruit, primarily palm fruits.


Chacras are hollow areas in the Forest, made especially for cultivations, where shamans may also take care of the Holy Banisteriopsis Caapi Vine and other Holy Plants like the Psychotria Viridis (Chacruna).


  1. Beyer S. V., 2009, Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon, University of New Mexico Press, USA.