– The Shipibo People and Tradition –

In the Amazon Jungle there are many different traditions in the medicine of Ayahuasca, each with its own knowledge and unique model of learning.  Such as in Brazil the ‘Santo Daime’ or ‘Uniao de Vegetal’ churches, or in Columbia ‘Los Taitas’, or the numerous traditions of Ecuador.

In Peru there are several traditions highly recognized as sources of Ayahuasca medicine knowledge. The three traditions with the most notable success in the healing of disease and traumas are that of the common Mestizo, the Quechua Lamista, and the Shipibo peoples.

The Shipibo are one of the oldest and largest tribes of the Western Amazon basin with a population of ~35,000 and an ancestral territory that runs north and south of Pucallpa, along the Ucayali River. They were never conquered by the Inca Empire and resisted colonization by Spanish priests, and today the Shipibo people still maintain a strong connection with their language and their rich and mysterious culture and traditions. Most speak Shipibo as a first language, and Spanish as a second.

For hundreds, and potentially thousands of years, the Shipibo people have been highly respected by other tribal peoples throughout the Amazon – not only for their strength as warriors, but also for their knowledge of rainforest plant medicines and the high degree of spiritual attainment of their Shamanic Maestros and Maestras.  Their deep connection with the nature of the rainforest infuses all aspects of their life – physical, cultural and spiritual.

The Shipibo also have a rich artisinal culture, and the craftsmen and women create strikingly beautiful works of pottery, woven textiles and beaded jewellery which incorporate designs reflecting the energetic expressions of the Shipibo cosmovision of the the plants, the healing Icaros and the spiritual world.  Textile painting is done by the women, who from a young age learn from their mothers the practice of translating the energetic patterns into visual designs.

As with many tribal peoples in the Amazon the Shipibo have recently suffered significant erosion of their territories, declining access to food and water due to rainforest degradation, environmental pollution and climate change, and in general have poor access to education and modern health services. It is becoming more challenging for the Shipibo to live traditional rainforest lifestyles, and yet they lack the education and skills to thrive in a market economy.

The welfare of the Shipibo people is a key concern for us at Caya Shobo. We care a lot about our staff and their families, and we're strongly committed to assisting and supporting all of the local people whom we have a close working relationship, by:

  • ensuring they have access to comfortable housing, education and modern health-care services,
  • providing support in helping them achieve greater levels of socio-economic integration with the world,
  • honouring their traditions and helping to preserve their knowledge and way of life.

We invite all guests at Caya Shobo to take time to get to know the indigenous and local people working here.  While they may be shy at first, they have a wealth of knowlege and joyful energy to share, and a more rich perspective on life than many of us Westerners have ever or will ever encounter elsewhere.