Within the Shipibo-Conibo culture, the aura-cleansing baths subject is a wide-ranging one, as there are so many different types of baths. Aura-cleansing baths administered in Yosi Ocha are tailored to the physical condition and spiritual situation of each visitor – which are, of course, parts of the same whole.
The aura is luminous radiation, generally considered paranormal, which certain people can see around both living and non-living bodies. Whilst the ‘light’ emitted is generally outside the visual spectrum, it has long been known that such radiation can be captured in a visible and impressively beautiful manner using Kirlian photography, although such techniques have long been debunked as relatively banal. However, more recently, scientific research has suggested that gifted healers can indeed diagnose ailments by the precise quality (frequency) of such radiation.
There are two types of aura cleansing baths: one with only flowers and another one with a mixture of different plants with at least one flower. They are prepared with flower petals and leaves of freshly picked jungle plants which are mixed in a bowl with fresh stream water and a few drops of special colognes. This mixture is then appropriately icarado (blessed) by one of the shamans. The purpose of this bath is to promote the wellbeing of the patient’s spiritual body so that he or she may flourish and bloom.Read More...
The plant bath is administered every day, as it acts as a medicine that cleanses and strengthens the spiritual body, while it helps to integrate the different processes through which the patient is going. On the other hand, the flower-only bath is usually administered toward the end of the retreat, when the spiritual body has been healed and purified. This helps the soul of the patient to flourish and to maintain and stabilize the energies of the plants that he has received during the treatment.
As the treatment progresses, the participants are thought about how to activate the palos maestros (teacher trees), identify the main medicinal plants and prepare their own baths. Whether the patient is receiving a healing treatment or is undertaking a program of shamanic apprenticeship, he or she must necessarily bathe with the leaves of different teacher plants. Principal amongst these are ‘pion colorado‘, ‘pion blanco‘, ‘Ayahuasca‘ (we refer to the plant and not the brew used in the ceremonies), ‘remocaspi‘, ‘shimi pampana‘ and ‘ajo sacha‘. Also used are the flowers of “sacha chacruna“, “mucura“, “rosa sisa” and “ruda“. Bathing with these plants assists the spiritual cleansing of the patient and further reinforces the primary treatments effected by the ceremonies of Ayahuasca, tobacco and San Pedro.
Once the energies of each plant have been absorbed, the spirits of these plants present themselves both during dreams and in the visions shown to the patient during ceremonies. It is believed that the appropriate teacher plants can heal or alleviate virtually any physical ailment or psychological problem.
The aura cleansing and regeneration baths are an essential part in the preparation of the body of a shaman apprentice. The energy of the leaves and flowers helps the resolution of internal psychological conflicts and charges the participants with positive vibrations, freeing them from the negative energy they have absorbed throughout their lives. The medicinal plants used for these baths considerably increase the energy levels, relaxing the physical and spiritual body, while their healing qualities stimulate the nervous system favourably. The ritual helps to embark on a new stage in life with a brand new “super energy”.
Before starting the bath ritual, it is necessary to prepare the body, therefore the shaman uses a mixture of aromatic plants and flowers, including herbs like the forest basil. He initiates the ritual with ícaros (sacred songs) and sweeps the body of each participant with the plants. The patient, meanwhile, should open his mind and concentrate on beautiful things to help his spirit expel negative energies from his body, and conceive new positive ideas.
The regeneration baths along with special purification rituals have relaxing effects on the nervous system and stimulate spiritually. The electromagnetic energy of the aura is detoxified and rebalanced by the energy of the plants, which produces an immediate reduction of stress levels and is translated into the different wavelengths of light, so often the patient can be perceived as more enlightened or more radiant.
In the Shipibo-Conibo culture, mud is used medicinally to reduce inflammation, lower fevers and can be very effective in the treatment of tumours. Many Shipibo shamans treat their patients with mud baths to cleanse the skin’s pores (a process familiar to westerners), but first and foremost so that the mud can absorb bad, or negative, energy from the body.
It is important to recognise that all plants possess energies, or spirits, both good and bad – just as any powerful force can be used for good or evil purposes. It’s a universal law: there can be no light without darkness. Thus a person may ‘diet’ any medicinal plant and learn from prolonged use of it how to be a shaman of its medicine – that is to say, how to make good use of it. But it is just as possible to ‘diet’ the plant with a view to learning its dark, or negative side in order to become a sorcerer, an evil-doer, a caster of spells. Whenever a person drinks the potion of teacher plants or takes cleansing baths imbued with them, he (or she) will also receive part of the bad energy of each plant. For this reason, the shaman icaro’s the mud – that is to say, blesses it with a special intention, and bathes the patient in a special way (for instance, singing specific, sacred songs) so that the mud draws out all of the negative energy that has been absorbed.
The mud bath – ignored by so many commercial shamanic centres – is therefore of vital importance in any shamanic plant treatment. It is one of the many ancient practices that have fallen into oblivion and Yosi Ocha aims to preserve.
After a retreat, one should continue performing cleansing baths, especially during the first few days, in order to allow the body to better integrate new energies and remain protected throughout that process.
Within the first two weeks after a retreat, it is important to take flower baths for three consecutive days. The baths can be done at any time of the day. Those who participated in their first Ayahuasca retreat should prepare the baths with red flowers, while the rest should use white flowers. You can use any type of flowers, what matters is the colour.
To prepare a flower bath, you need the following ingredients:
Pull off the petals, break and squeeze them with your hands; add 1 tablespoon of cologne and 3-4 litres of water; then let it rest for at least one hour. You can also prepare the mix in the morning and take your bath in the evening, or the other way around, in which case, make sure to leave enough space to add some hot water just before taking the bath. Start by taking a normal shower and then proceed with the flower bath using a bowl to pour the magic potion with petals from the head down. Do not rinse after the bath – ideally, the liquid should dry naturally on your skin allowing the petals to remain attached to the body as long as possible.
In order to better preserve the “cano” (vital force) received from the plant medicines and from your “arcana”, it is necessary to perform flourishing baths periodically (weekly, biweekly or monthly). For these baths, you can use any colour of flowers, or even combine different colours. Just follow your intuition and it will indicate you the right colours for each bath.
After a retreat, the body continues with a self-cleansing process assisted by the “cano” received from the plant medicines and the “arcana”. These two forces help eliminate all the negativity from the body, but over time, negative particles start accumulating again. For this reason, we recommend performing a cleansing bath every three months. There are many ways to prepare it, below is a simple formula commonly used by the Shipibos.
Mix between 9 and 12 litres of water with a 1 litre of alcohol – it can be medicinal alcohol or a spirit, like a vodka, tequila, etc. Let it rest for at least one hour and perform the bath in the evening, about two hours before going to bed. You should not rinse after pouring the bath on yourself, just let it dry on your skin; you can take a shower the next morning.