Ceremonies and Diets
Don Benito gives Ayahuasca ceremonies in the traditional style. A dose of Ayahuasca medicine is given with prayers and tobacco smoke at about 9pm at night, the lights are turned off, and everyone lies down to wait for the effect to start.
Once the effect has started, Benito sings Icaros (medicine songs). These songs come directly from the plant spirits he has with him, according to the needs of the people in the ceremony.
The effect of Ayahuasca varies from one ceremony to the next, but often it involves clearing emotional issues, sometimes physically by vomiting into a bucket, or seeing visions of the plant spirits which come to help, or visions of other things, or reaching understandings about life issues and so on. After about 4-5 hours the effect diminishes, and then it is possible to sleep until the morning.
Medicine plant diets
Medicine plant diets can be performed for healing or learning. The diets can last from 12 days to 30 days or even more. In the diet, you eat food with no salt or sugar, usually rice and other cooked starchy vegetables (green bananas or potatoes or yuca root), plus a protein (eggs, white fish or chicken).
Without salt or sugar, you soon become very sensitive. Due to the increased sensitivity, everything chemical or with smell is avoided: you wash without soap, brush your teeth without toothpaste, and so on. You spend your time quietly in one location (the dieting hut) with very little contact with other people during this period.
One or more doses of a medicine plant extract are given during the diet. This state of increased sensitivity allows you to think and heal and learn from the medicine plant. The diet is also accompanied by Ayahuasca ceremonies. The number of ceremonies depends on the preference of the person undertaking the diet and on their needs during this time.
In don Benito’s style of working, he also monitors the condition of the person who is dieting during the night, remotely, and does healing work to open channels and aid the process of learning with the plant.
The medicine plant diet is ended by the reintroduction of salt and sugar into the diet, and over a couple of days the person dieting comes back to their normal state of being.
Don Benito also prepares the person for returning to eating other normal foods by singing the “Arcana”, which protects the body from the possible shock of various different foods and external influences after the diet. This is important because the plants are very fussy about some food items, different for each plant, and this can cause problems otherwise.
Medicine plants available to diet
Don Benito can provide diets with very many different medicine plants, but he lists the following few which he suggests are good for a first diet:
- Chiric Sanango
- Huarme Renaco
- Suelda con Suelda
The following plants are also available, and diets with many others could also be arranged after discussion with the Maestro:
- Uchu Sanango
Shorter versions of some of these diets can be arranged in discussion with the Maestro. For greatest benefit it is suggested that you let Benito select the plant for you to diet.
San José, 26 km west of Pucallpa, Peru