Meet the Shamans – Matilda & Sara, Segundo & Belmira
At our healing retreats we work with several amazing indigenous Shipibo shaman – Matilda & Sarah and Segundo & Belmira.
All very experienced shaman, sharing a long family lineage of healing and medicine work – each bringing their own unique qualities to the healing space we create at Gaia Tree.
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. They will work with 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.
Each healer has their own unique approach and offers their love and healing energy in a very personal way. You can be assured that the shaman we work with at our retreats are experienced, authentic healers. At our retreats, you will usually be working with two of the shaman for the whole retreat. On many retreats, you will also have the opportunity to cook the prepare and cook the medicine during the retreat.
The Shamans – Mathilde & Sara
Shipibo shaman Mathilde and Sara are mother and daughter, they creating a profoundly loving space for healing. Each ceremony they conduct is unique and adapted according to the needs and energetic space of each individual. They give themselves completely to the healing process during ceremony and outside. The healing work inside ceremony is not limited to singing icaros – they perform sacred massage and treat individuals according to what is needed in the moment.
You can see and feel the depth of their love for sharing the medicine process in ceremony and during the week of the retreat process.
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 many years since childhood, 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.
Mathildas Medicine Path – Korínbeka
Matilde Gomez Silvanos Shipibo name is Korínbeka, she comes from the native community of Canáan de Cachiyaw.
Matilde started her path into shamanism at the early age of 15. She trained under her grandfather, who was the comunity’s first “Curandero” (Shaman). He would have her do severeal masterplant “dietas”. Amongst the “dietas” she has completed are: Chiricsanango, Ajo Sacha, Renaquillo, Aya-humo, Bominzana, Mapacho, Toe, Piri-piri, Mata Palo, Icaja, Aginjibre, Huito, Camalonga, Catawa, Piñón Blanco, Chuchuhuasi, Wayusa, Palo volador, Sanango, Piñón Colorado.
She humbly trained with these plants and became a “Curandera”. She started treating the people from her native comunity, they aproached her with all sorts of physical ailments, energetic and mental conditions.
She gets messages through her dreams, when in spirit form, on how to heal her patients. Also when she concentrates during a ceremony, she can envision into someone’s past and also get glimpses of that person’s future, in order to understand what course of action to take in the process of healing a patient or patients.
As a single mother, she moved to Iquitos to work, in order to give her children a proper education. She started working on local patients first and eventualy moved onto foreigners who would come to Iquitos, seeking healing or even shamanic training. She helped many people with all sorts of health and mental issues. She then started working with entire groups of foreign travelers at retreat centers.
She is now 56 years old and is still working and practicing her shamanic path. She still keeps dieting in order to strengthen her practice. Her Icaros are inspiring and she chants and treats people with much love, good vibes and harmony with the purpouse to heal people and to open up their vision. She is always positive, always smiling and confident in the wonderful work she does.
She always thanks her grandfather for teaching her all of his tradition and for being a kind and gentle tutor. She’s helped countless women with female related issues. Most of these practices, she picked up from her mother’s practice as a midwife, at an early age.
Saras Medicine Story – Shetánbeka
Sara’s Shipibo name is “Shetánbeka”. Sara has an amazing voice and sings beautiful icaros. Sara has trained with her mother since the tender age of 8, she could already chant her icaros at that age and people would travel to hear her chant and record her voice. Sara has been training with plant “dietas” and learning the shamanic path for 20 years now, she assists her mother in ceremonies and is also studying to be an Obstetritian.
Sara’s presence in ceremony is of great value, she assists her mother beautifully and guides you through the ayahuasca journeys with her amazing and harmonic icaros.
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.
Shamanic Support Team
During the retreats at Gaia Tree, you’ll be in a safely held space supported by our experienced staff Marco & Cei Cei. Both of whom have a personal history of working with plant medicines and supporting others to go deeper on their journeys of transformation.
Marco has been deeply involved on his spritual search since his early teens. Spending many years involved in comparative religion studies and travelling extensively, with special enphasis in Asian countries – mostly in Buddhist countries due to a deep interest in animism and Buddhism. He’s experienced with different esoteric practice and symbolism – from alchemy to different forms of self development techniques and meditations – having been initiated in the ways of a few spiritual and esoteric schools.
Throughout these travels he attended several Vipassana, Shiné and Zog-Chen retreats, personally more drawn to the Theravada teachings. Spending time in and out of monasteries and lay centers, in Ceilon, Myanmar, Thailand and Tibet. He was also initiated to the Kalachakra tantric practice by H.H. the Dalai Lama, in India.
Since 2008, he started a life in Iquitos after living in Lima for many years. Fascinated by shamanism, it started his journey up the path of “vegetalismo” (plant shamanism). First, with ayahuasca and some years working with other masterplants, including tobacco.
He spent many years facilitating and holding space at Nature’s Hospital (no longer existing) and at Amaru Spirit. Now I he manages and facilitates at Gaia Tree.
All these experiences, including the work with shamanism and masterplants, and people, have summed up and enhanced his vision and understanding of the universe and have also helped him to see how everything organically fits and functions in an amazing and all encompassing, ever fleeting design in the grand scheme of things.
He’ deeply involved in his own self growth and holds a deeply grounded space at the center to help others go deeper on their journeys.
So a little bit about me… from almost the beginning, I was raised by catholic nuns in a children’s home in Scotland till the age of 16. So I have had a very religious background… you know, church on Sundays benediction on Fridays , saints days mass, confessions before mass and whenever I was a naughty girl and I don’t remember all the reason they had for me to be in those pews but basically I was in church a lot…. And I have to say when I was young I really loved it until I started to realise that something just wasn’t adding up and nobody could answer my questions of which I had many and of course the repetitiveness of the Mass was now getting to me among other things… so it lead me on a quest from an early age into different religions and of coarse then into the whole new age era and into spirituality.
I could say my lifes ambition then was to be in that ever-eluding state of enlightenment… I dabbled in astrology, numerology, taro, and witchcraft …then into Counselling, EFT laughing Yoga and all kinds of personal development and spiritual groups.. I’ve worked various jobs and I have travelled and lived abroad for many years, which also helped me expand my mind.
My first love was my personal growth spiritually and my second was traveling and my jobs were just there to support me along the way until I started working with children which I loved and I did for 15 years in various ways as I found them to be the beast teaches as they are constantly just who they are in the moment… and of course they are so much fun. I enjoyed learning about many religious ways and taking what I needed from all walks of life as I love diversity and have found I learn well this way.
Through all of this I have also had the burning desire to share what I have learned and although I have in many ways… as people have always come to me for spiritual advice… it never seamed enough for me and felt my fears were stopping me from progressing… I had that thing many of you are familiar with that I wasn’t good enough… didn’t know enough and had to be absolutely sure that what I was saying was the truth… can’t tell you how tiring that was! So how did I get here… I became disillusioned with everything there was nothing new… nothing was inspiring me I wanted to go further but the outside world wasn’t reflecting anything new back to me… I wanted to find a way bring everything I knew into practice… but felt I was capped in some way… it was about this time I heard about Ayahuasca on my first trip to Peru and other plant medicines of the amazon jungle. And then it kept showing up in my reality. Hmmmm could this be the thing to blow this cap off that I felt I had on me.. And I was given a clear message that what I needed was in Peru. So I made plans to return to Peru this time to the amazon jungle and Iquitos.
Now after my time with the plant medicines my desire to share has grown even stronger and thanks to my path with these medicines I’m now in a place I can do that in a way that I love. And that cap has well and truly blown off. My ambition in life now is to live every moment as fully as I can because I feel that that’s the best way to honour the life I have… and to share that with others so they can learn to do this too… I love this job and what these medicines have shown me I love the people I work with and I just love working with our quests and watching their process through this stage of their journey. We are here to answer any of your questions you have about these medicines and to help you find your own answers to your own personal self development … there’s nothing more satisfying for me when I see that little light bulb light in someone’s eyes… and it happens a lot here… hopefully ill get the chance to see it in yours.. x