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The foundational practice of Amazonian Shamanism, the Dieta, consists of an extended period of isolation with a master shaman within the jungle, in which deep teaching from and through the sacred plants is offered. At Sachavacay, Don Diego offers traditional Dietas as a path to the Divine. This path, walked upon with dedication, perseverance and grace, will set us on a journey of true spiritual evolution.
The way of Amazonian shamanism involves accessing one’s inner knowledge and ancestral wisdom. The primary method of learning in this tradition has remained unchanged for thousands of years. For lengths of time, a person desiring to learn is isolated in a secluded area with nothing but one’s own inner world. During this time, dietary restrictions are in order and the person has little to no contact with the outside world, only to the shaman with whom he is studying. The shaman gives specific plants to the person for healing, learning, and spiritual growth. By limiting most external stimuli that can seduce the mind and senses away from one’s true center, a period of retreat creates the conditions necessary for a deep inward exploration of the Self and an encounter with the power of Plant Teachers to spark healing, teach us to heal, and propel us in our personal growth.
Translated, the word “Dieta” means diet. During this time one “diets” one or a variety of master plants, while keeping one’s food intake simple in quantity and quality. Plain rice or oats (without any salt, spice, or condiment) and boiled plantains are served daily. In this pure diet, the plants have the correct environment to work on many levels to teach, cleanse and heal our bodies and spirits.
In addition to ingesting medicinal plants, each day plants are given with which to bathe. The absorption through the skin of these gentle but potent substances alters us in beautiful ways, helping us to strengthen, release fear and find more grounding, to name a few. While it is a foreign concept to many that mere plants can
accomplish such things, the Dieta shows us another world that the peoples of the Amazon have known and accessed to the benefit of humanity for millennia.
The Dieta offered at Sachavacay by Don Diego is a truly transformational experience. For ten days, the shaman and his thoughtful staff manage all of one’s cares of daily living. Specific plants prescribed for each person by Don Diego are brought daily to the “tambos” (open air huts) where participants spend much of their time during the period of diet. The shaman makes personal visits regularly to each participant to offer guidance and counsel. Don Diego’s painstaking care for the well-being of each member of the Dieta creates an atmosphere of true safety, even in this jungle environment that is unfamiliar to most.
The centerpiece of the Dieta is group ceremony, guided by Don Diego, where we come together to partake of the highest master plant of the jungle, Ayahuasca. Throughout the Dieta, we gather four times during the ten days in sacred ceremony to enter into the true mystery of life that this plant provides us.
The journeys with Ayahuasca are both exacting and exquisite. They challenge us in many ways, and also offer a window into profound spiritual truth. Ayahuasca allows us to see our blockages, our weaknesses and our strengths. We must enter this work with humility and with the understanding that it will ask the highest integrity from each of us. When one truly is willing to open to the teaching of this holy vine, the fruits that grow from the experience are beyond imagining.
The Dieta, and all that it encompasses, is a life changing experience that results in a return to the essence of who we really are. From here, we can launch towards our fullest potential.
In the words of one participant, Ayahuasca shows us “the wisdom of eternity.” The Dieta prepares us, body, mind and soul, to receive this wisdom.