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What is dieta?

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Dieta, also known as sama, is the heart of the Shipibo medicine tradition, and is an ancient, distinct, and extremely technical methodology of healing that has been passed down through the generations in the Shipibo culture. Through their own rigorous training and dietas, the curanderos have built deep relationships with the plants and have learned through these relationships, the icaros (healing songs), and the knowledge to properly work with a vast pharmacy of plants throughout the Amazon to heal specific diseases. This methodology of healing is set apart from the conventional system of Western medicine, by getting to the root causes of sickness in a person, healing on deep levels, and in totality, through the energetic, physical, and mental planes.



In ceremony, the curandero opens the energetic body and consciousness of a person and invites the master plant spirit to enter by singing that plant’s specific icaro, connecting and planting an energetic “seed” in the body of the patient or student, where the master plant begins to excavate deeply rooted traumas and sickness. It’s through this process that a person meets and begins to build a relationship with the plants spirit (Ivo) who will teach and guide them throughout the duration of the dieta through dreams and visions. Each plant has it’s own properties and offers different gifts of healing and teachings, such as Rosa Sisa, which soothes a dysregulated nervous system, or Bobinsana which heals deeply repressed childhood traumas within the mind, low self-esteem, and fortifies the body from diseases like arthritis and fibromyalgia.  


When dieted well, the plants will offer their gifts of deep healing, transformation, and knowledge, but in order to receive these gifts, one must comply with stringent discipline in thoughts, food, and lifestyle restrictions prior to, throughout, and for a certain period of time after the dieta has been closed. The plants like clean, neutral, spaces, so discipline, and quiet time alone, usually in isolation away from other people, and their energies are required to maintain the body and mind in a very pure state, in order to give the most suitable environment for the plant to grow well and offer their gifts. This is similar to taking care of a physical plant, by nourishing it with pure clean water, sunlight, nutrient-rich soil, and love. The more energy and attention given to the relationship, the more is received.



The process of dieta is a very personal one and differs for each person based on the kind of relationships that are built.  The plants will consistently give difficult tests and obstacles to overcome,  showing you the parts of yourself that need attention and transformation.  By showing respect, discipline, gratitude, humility, and commitment to your plant, and by observing the thoughts and emotions that arise within without reacting, enables an opening of our own awareness into a better understanding of who we are and where our negative patterns lie in order to receive the depth of the healings and teachings, The plant spirits have infinite wisdom and give us what we need, which is significantly different from what we want, and what the ego wants.

Throughout the course of the dieta, the curandero will work on, and clean out the sick energies being excavated, and will align the good energies being built through the diet to aid in the healing process which, over time, slowly changes the constitution of the person and brings the body, mind, and spirit to greater states of health and vitality. Done well, the plant will continue to protect and guide the dieter through dreams and visions for the rest of their lives. 

There are two types of dietas; healing and learning.  Newcomers to the medicine are always prescribed healing diets until their bodies and spirits have been sufficiently cleared, and their minds are prepared to take on the learning diets which require much more sacrifice and discipline from the dieter. Most people who feel called to the medicine usually find themselves on this path for the rest of their lives, and only undertake learning much later (usually >7 years) because of the discipline, courage, and humility required in the process.  However, short healing diets, such as the diets administered during our retreat stays, will help clear some of the stagnant energies, trauma, and sicknesses, and set a solid foundation for future diets through guidance and discussions with the maestros about the process that is occurring within each individual.

It is important to note that this is a slow path, and takes many years of dietas done well in order for true transformation and healing to occur.  As a society, we have been affected by intergenerational trauma over hundreds of years, and have many layers to heal and change, which is a slow process and does not happen overnight. It is also very important to observe the ego throughout the process of dieta and question whether the thoughts are valid. Many newcomers to the medicine feel they are called to become a "Shaman" and wish to acquire the strength, status, and technical expertise of the curanderos in a short period of time, but these are all projections of the ego. All of the best curanderos will say that it is critical to heal yourself first, and that a path following the ego, individualism, and ambition will lead down dark roads. However, when done well, with humility and respect, the diet will slowly transform the cellular constitution of the person and heal and strengthen the mind, spirit, and body, transforming wrong thinking, healing sickness, and bringing greater clarity and focus into their lives which radiates outward toward their family, friends, and community - a true flourishing of the person.

We welcome you to Moyano to experience the healing power of the master plants in the safety and comfort of our center. Please contact us if you wish to learn more about the dieta experience.

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