Ecuador: In Search of a Vision Quest
Among the tourist industry, they are referred to as “Shamanic or Vision” quests; trips deep into the Amazon rainforest in search of indigenous healing techniques and the old shamans that perform them. A niche’ market for the last ten year’s or so, the vision quest has proved to be quite popular in Ecuador, as visitor’s seek out the healing techniques and first-hand experiences with little-known plant medicines.
Small groups are organized for trips into the rainforest, meeting with highly respected Shamans, while at the same time participating in sacred ceremonies that promote transformational events of self-awareness and personal growth. Make no mistake; we’re not talking about cutting off the heads of chicken and pouring salt into the mouths of a stiff corpse in hopes of raising the dead. No, the shaman or vision quest is a respected lost art that – thanks to the ingenuity of tourism – is being recognized for what it really is; naturalized healing.
Check out the travels and tours links for reputable points of contacts with tour operators who can coordinate trip out of Quito, Imbaburra, Cotacachi and other major cities while putting you in contact with several of the countries most famous shamans:
Don Ramon is an 85+ years old Quichua Indian living in the rainforest and is a master Ayahuascero having devoted his entire life to the leadings of the sacred plant teachers with other rain forest shaman over his long life. He understands principles of astral projection, time travel and shape shifting through direct experience…not a lot of theory. His plant medicine is truly capable of assisting visionary journeying in the rain forest and he is a knowledgeable guide in these realms.
Don Esteban is an Otavalan shaman who studied a year with Don Ramon as an apprentice living in the rainforest and going through the intense training to become a shaman. He returned home able to consult the spirits of the great Volcanic mountains around his house, Imbaburra and Cotacachi as well as heal with plants, the breath of fire and intuition.
Don Augustine is the shaman of a Amazonian community called Rio Blanco and is a master of the Botany of the rain forest. He knows the uses including healing, of over 3000 plants and is also well established as capable of administering Ayahuasca ceremonies. His father and Grandmother were shamans and she taught him a great deal of the healing arts.
Part fact, part fiction and thoroughly entertaining, the vision quest may be just the kind of break you need from local markets and old ruins.