The Shamans – Segundo & Belmira
Your trusted guides for this journey are indigenous Shipibo shaman Segundo Pangoza Chani and his wife Belmira Cavez Ferandez. Segundo is 59 years old and has been a healer since he was 16. Segundo is joined by his wife Belmira Fernandez who is also a powerful healer, together they create a powerful heart centered journey harmoniously balancing masculine and feminine energy to facilitate healing. They seamlessly blend power and heart in a deep, loving ceremonial space.
The Shipibo tribe is known as the best preserved and profound of the indigenous cultures that use Ayahuasca, hence their reputation as masters of Ayahausca among the Amazonian basin. Our shamans have each been working the medicine for over 30 years, they assist you personally to understand your particular needs and wishes for healing. One of the reasons we limit our group sizes is to ensure you get the personalized assistance you need. They are spiritual doctors working in the physical and spiritual realms of healing. Their unique artworks are known throughout the jungle and are deeply connected to their work with this sacred medicine.
How did you become a shaman?
It’s a long story, it started when I was born on the 5th april 1958 in Tawania close to river Ucayali where the Shipibos were living. In those times, there were no communities and villages, people we’r very spread apart – just a few houses, lots of animals, fish, trees – deep in nature. The community would follow where the fish were living. My father wasn’t a currandero (another word for a shaman), his father would have revelations in dreams by putting plants on the eyes and would be able to see things, such as who had been stealing in the neighborhood. His mother would drink ayahuasca and she would see in her visions which plant would help someone to heal from fever or other ailments that were occurring. His Grandmother on his mothers side was a Muraya (one who could vanish), she would sit in a room with many people and vanish in an instant from the room. She would drink Aya and sometimes would spontaneously appear or disappear and she would be able to see the illnesses of people in the room and know what it would take to heal.
Before Segundo was born they didn’t know if it was going to be a boy or a girl, his grandmother knew she wasn’t going to live for a long time as she was old. His parents weren’t following plants diets so his grandmother said he would continue the family lineage of healing as a currandero.
After he was born they put milk from mother into a pot and his grandmother sang her icaros (healing songs) into the milk. He drank the milk and absorbed the energy and the insights of this grandmother. As a young child he would have visions and see things such as who was coming to the house and what was happening around them as premonitions. He could also see those that weren’t walking a ‘good’ path at the time and what was needed to heal.
When he was a child, he started going with his mother when she was drinking Aya – he would just sit with the elders. The father of his brother in law was a currandero and could see that he wanted to drink Aya – he was 8 years old. He drank a little at that time, he was looking around and seeing the shipibo patterns and seeing the stars all around. Five years later he wanted to drink again, though the medicine wasn’t well prepared – there was no marriacion (dizziness). He then drank again and it was like being in a pharmacy, he understood how to work with many other plants to heal.
Starting initially to work with children to help them to heal when they had ‘bad wind’ (Mal airre). For example, if a baby picked up an infection from the river.
Subsequently, he started dieting plants & trees to receive understanding. There was also a Swiss association researching medicine plants in the jungle, so he worked with them to understand the plants more deeply – from the leaves, roots & bark. then he started working there as an administrator and as a shamanic instructor teaching people how to grow their own plants to have their own medicines at home. He continued studying medicine further to create creams, lotions etc and he was creating treatments for small groups.
He worked with them for many years and eventually left to work in other places like Lima and other parts of the jungle. Returning to the jungle to work on the river Nanay again.
In 2016 he came together through a mutual friend with Gaia Tree to share his medicine work.
How did you become a healer?
I grew up with my grandmother as my mothers children were dying at a few months old. My grandparents were both curanderos and following birth my grandmother took me to live with them in order ensure I lived. They fed me one or two drops of Ayahuasca with the milk as a baby as they said ‘Ayahuasca never dies’. Her grandfather was also giving treatments (ceremonies) and helping many people to heal throughout this time.
Her parents knew about plant medicines as they were going to her grandparents ceremonies and she drank first at 6 years old and at 10 years old she started to engage more in healing work. She started to prepare the medicine to connect with the energy. She would keep her hands over the medicine to give strength and wisdom during preparation.
When she was 12 her grandmother gave her another plant for what they call ‘the sixth knowledge’. A plant to help to heal through speech and words. Simply by saying someone would be healed, they would heal. Once she had some personal possessions in some bags, and someone was touching them – she told them not to touch them, she said if you touch the bags there will be a big spider that will bite you…. The person didn’t listen and a large spider appeared from within the bag and bit them! As a result her grandmother told her she would have to diet another plant as she had to watch what she says. That plant was Ayahuasca.
Her grandmother was also a midwife, Belmira was taught midwifery by her grandmother as she would eventually have to take care of her herself when giving birth as they didn’t have much money. She then started dieting uvos (for the reproductive system) and other plants. Also getting advice on dieting plants alongside Ayahuasca. She had a friend who was receiving groups in the jungle, so she starting working for her first as a cook. Later she was invited to ceremony to drink Ayahuasca as they learnt about her strong plant diets. Years later Segundo was working in a healing center and she was working as a cook and giving treatments (diets, ceremonies, therapies). For many years she was practicing the healing arts for herself before sharing with others.
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