Dieta is an integral part of the Amazonian healing tradition that has been used for time immemorial by healers / curanderos to not only heal with the plants, but to learn from the plants. Although dieta is undergone in some other South American countries and their indigenous ancestral plant medicine practice, in Peru it has its deepest roots and most ancient and widespread tradition.
There are hundreds of plants within this design that are known to be master teachers, master healers. Some are more well known than others, some may have obvious psychoactive properties, others may not - but this is no indicator of the potency or benefits that can be received from the plants. Everything begins with humility and respect.
Nowadays, across the world, the most famous plant from the Amazonian tradition is affectionately known as the Grandmother, and while a curandero may very well know and work with the Grandmother, usually dieta is held with other plants - maybe with ceremonies with the Grandmother to support the process.
In the tradition of my teachers, there are also plants that we may begin to make our dieta with, and then plants which we may progress to as we become more adept at the practice. In that, there are also plant teachers that are more relaxed, and plant teachers that may be more strict. For this it is good to start at the beginning.
Dieta is a deep work and a deep commitment - not to be taken lightly - probably the deepest that I know of when it comes to the sacred plants. Dieta is a sacred time given to healing and learning from the spirit of a plant - and from the unique synergy that takes place when we invite that plant into our being. Dieta is usually held in silence, for a number of days, weeks, months ( or years ) - under the guidance and care of one who knows that plant very well, for many years.
During dieta, we restrict our food to only a few items - potato, quinoa, lentils, oats, some corn maybe.
All salt, spice, oil, fat, grease, sugars ( including fructose ) are eliminated from the system. Oftentimes we fast for the duration of our dieta if it is less than 2 weeks. Fasting for more than 2 weeks is not advisable. We do not touch others, speak with others unless absolutely necessary. We do not wash with soap for this time, we do not brush our teeth with toothpaste. We can use a simple clay to clean our body or teeth should we wish or need.
Dieta requires discipline, sincerity and commitment- and as such, can be challenging. Having said that, it can also be incredibly enjoyable, but - to be left alone with ourselves, our thoughts, removed from contact with our phone, the internet, the outside world can be difficult to adjust to - to inhabit our own space without distraction, or looking for distraction. We do not listen to music or read books ( unless specified ). We can write, journal, reflect, play musical instruments, draw, paint - allow our creativity to play and be set free, if we so choose. Oftentimes dieta can be the time of discovering more of our unique way of expressing ourselves creatively in the world, and may well be the time we may receive icaros or songs from the plants.
Some of the primary benefits of all of this discipline / guidelines can be to break habits surrounding consumption, restore our connection with ourselves, the natural world and our place within it, refreshing our perspective, and our self-reliance, responsibility and trust - all whilst being in the presence of a master teacher of the plant kingdom that can help guide us into spaces inside of ourselves that we have previously not had access to. Dieta is a period of time in which we agree to contract ourselves and our senses, and make a contract with the plant teacher- knowing that expansion will follow. The ancient ones who mapped this tradition did so in a very clear way. When we observe these teachings, we observe the teachings of the tradition that knew and knows how best to work with the plants.
Typically in dieta, we would drink a concentrated decoction of the plant we are to diet once or twice a day, inviting this teacher, this unique vibratory signature into our system - with much prayer that not only is our invitation as clear and pure as possible, but that we are as respectful and receptive as possible, in order to receive maximum benefit. From the moment our dieta starts, what happens is part of the dieta, including our dreamtime - this is one of the reasons we avoid interaction with others, so that we can tune our awareness to that vibration. Even in our dreams there is much to be seen and known, to be observed and understood when in dieta. As the days pass and the plant deepens into our system we enter deeper into our process, the master plant is inside of us, and all around us. For this, sometimes the inclusion of Grandmother ceremonies can be useful, to get to know the spirit of the plant in a different way, to help clean out the system and facilitate deeper healing and teaching - to connect us to ourselves and the plant we are sitting with.
Dieta gets to the roots, into the core of the being in a way that stand - alone ceremony cannot.
Not only is dieta practiced and prescribed for deep healing, but is one of the foundational pillars for those who wish to study the science of healing with the plants. Dieta is the way in which we learn. Dieta is a time in which we may make a connection, an acquaintance, an ally to support our path. In years gone by, it was not unheard of for curanderos to spend years in dieta, in isolation ,to learn the ways of the plants. Nowadays that level of depth is scarce, but there is much to be learned from dietas of one, two weeks or one or two months. I have been fortunate in my own path to meet men of this tradition that are holders of a level of knowledge of the tradition that is sadly passing into the history books. Every dieta brings with it much learning, much healing, much growth - and a much needed rest and reset.
For me, dieta is the most profound time, a time to let go and a time to receive. Having spent several years or more of my life in dieta, it is a practice that I wish to continue to make for the duration of my time. Although with other commitments, spending extended periods of time ( such as 6 months or a year ) in dieta is not possible for me nowadays, to make one or two shorter dietas a year seems essential for so many reasons, including some of those outlined above. My commitment to this practice has led me to wish to work more and more in this way, and to help bridge this world for others also so that they may also receive all that has to be offered from this traditional way of working.
If you are interested to take part in a dieta, please continue reading the other pages of the DIETA section and fill out the application form. In due course I will be in touch, and will send more information including costs, travel logistics, dates, etc.