In the Amazons, shamans are often the primary and sometimes only source of receiving healing from sickness or illness for the indigenous people.
Shamans as ‘healers’ in the Amazons
Shamans are ‘healers’ in the Amazons, unlike brujos, who are sorcerers. Shamans often give in to temptations for easy money and turn in to brujos. The shamans maintain their discipline and purpose, and remain shamans, who are ,for many in their community, the primary resource for sickness and illness.
Why people choose to receive healing from shamans instead of hospitals in the cities around the Amazons
Biomedical clinics or regional hospital in many places in Amazons, like in Iquitos, Peru, are often not readily utilised, mainly due to unfamiliarity, cost, fear, or by the fear that sickness such as soul loss or magical attack would not be recognized or cured by the biomedical approaches of modern medicine. Amazonian mestizos often view hospitals as places where the only treatment is a prescription for medicines which they cannot afford, or where people go to die. The standards of hospitals in many places are appalling. Often if the patients want sterile syringe they have to buy it from local pharmacy for doctor’s use in the hospital. Medical resources are also scarce.
Shamanism has a long history of healing the sick and the ill in the Amazons as well as other areas of the world. Naturally, as the ‘authentic’ shamans were taught by the Holy Trees, they were given knowledge of Healing Plant Medicines, which often produce miraculous results for the patients. Unfortunately, the reputation of good shamans have also been misused by ill-intended individuals trying to exploit sick people by offering solutions which they cannot provide. However, that does not discount the fact that ‘authentic’ shamans provide healing even often which modern medicines cannot or have a long way to go to achieve. The ‘authentic’ shamans organize Sacred Ceremonies to provide deep healing for the participants or patients, which is far more than physical, but also psychological, mental and spiritual, often improving the participant’s life and worldview, by the Divine Blessings of the Holy and Divine Mother Ayahuasca.
- Beyer S. V., 2009, Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon, University of New Mexico Press, USA.