What is a Master Plant Dieta, anyway? As with yoga, meditation, or other forms of spiritual practice, the conversation around working with plant medicine has somewhat oversimplified what truly goes into the work. To fully honor the Shamanic lineage, one doesn’t just fly to the jungle, drink Ayahuasca, and then go home. We spoke with Omer Gomez, founder of the Rainforest Healing Center in Iquitos, Peru, to fully understand the process of working with plant medicines.
First and foremost, he explained, there is a wide breadth of plant medicines that a Shaman works with to support the healing process. It’s about creating a relationship with the plants themselves and letting them, under the guidance of the Shaman, take the lead on your healing journey. “Within the plants, there are certain things that we need to know. The first thing that we need to know is that every plant has a spirit. It’s something that you really have to understand, come to terms with and comprehend; every single plant has a spirit. Each plant’s spirit is unique… we have 110 documented medicinal plants on the property. So, you can’t go to a place that has 110 medicinal plants and expect not to heal. You can’t escape that, it’s inevitable. You can’t say, ‘oh I’m just not going to heal anything,’ no, you’re going to heal whether you like it or not.”
Coming to Rainforest Healing Center for a dieta is not a journey that begins casually. Participants are taken through an in-depth intake process to ensure that they are well-suited for the work — and, says Omer Gomez, they take this part very seriously. They have turned away those who are in it for a thrill or, in one case, say they’ve already done tons of ceremonies this year. “Intention. That’s what makes all the difference in the world. No matter what you’re doing, if you want to sit down and do some mushrooms, or sit and smoke some cannabis, if you want to do some MDMA, it is all about intention: why am I doing this? And this is where you want to be very honest with yourself. Is this coming from my higher self? Am I doing this to escape? Am I doing this to look at what’s going on outside? Or am I doing this to heal, fix, mend or improve something inside? And you have to be very, very honest…What is your intention? Is your intention to just space out? That’s fine. Or, is your intention to heal? And if your intention is to heal, do it in a ceremony…Do it from heart. Don’t do it from your mind. Put your heart into it, put love into it and that way you’re going to get some amazing results.” Once we learn ‘self-unconditional love’, we heal. We heal from all our emotional, mental, and physical toxins.”
From a clear intention, the healing journey of the dieta begins. Gomez explains: First of all, these diets need to be isolated. You can’t have any contact with any people, you are opening all your aura, you’re opening up every chakra, you’re opening up every pore of your body to allow this medicine to come in and this medicine is working inside of you, therefore, you cannot have contact with anybody. So, all of our diets are isolated, meaning we give you your own place in the jungle, a pretty good distance from everybody else. The next thing is, the only person that you talk to is the shaman. That’s it.” No books, no phones, cameras, magazines, no distractions. Just a notebook and pen. That’s it.”
“And the way the diet works, it’s 8 days of isolation and the first 3 days you drink the plant medicine at 3 o’clock in the morning. So, on the first day, you sit there with the shaman and you scrape the roots and you make what’s called a tincture. You let what you scraped from the roots soak in water and then you drink it at 3 o’clock in the morning. Why 3 in the morning? Because that’s when one day turns into another day. That’s when one-day stops and another day starts. Uchu Sanango works on you on your muscular/skeletal system, it’s very physical. We’ve all seen Dr. Uchu Sanango, we call him, in very different forms, but we’ve all seen this doctor. He’s literally a doctor. So, you drink the medicine, it burns, (Uchu means hot or burn in Quechua) then you bathe in the leaves, and you go to bed. Somewhere about an hour or 2 after you fall asleep, the dreams hit you. And this is where the medicine works, which is very, very opposite from the mother vine, which is visions, even though sometimes the visions can be distractions. That’s not the real purpose of ayahuasca, it’s not these visions, the purpose of ayahuasca is to purge, to get rid of things. That’s why it’s called a purgative, a purge. It’s not about going out into the cosmos and seeing pink elephants, it’s about looking within and healing from within.”
“So, with these Master plant diets, the spirit of the plant medicine, when it’s invoked by the shaman, comes to you during your dream and will work with you.”
What happens next is incredibly individual and can take many different forms; and yet, there is one central thread: “So, what the plants allow to do – what these diets allow us to do – is to bring our toxins up to a surface so that we can expel it out of our system. In an ayahuasca ceremony it’s from vomiting, or it comes out the other end, or you cry and you physically release it. In the master plant diets, you’re emotionally releasing it. They’re both releases but they are very different. So one, you release it physically, the other one you’re releasing it through emotions, a lot crying, a lot of lying in bed and hugging yourself, a lot of journaling, a lot of writing down, a lot of re-visiting these experiences, and coming to terms with these experiences or these traumas that you’ve had.”
Release. This is, ultimately, what calls so many to the intense path of the medicine: the opportunity to release and heal deeply held traumas, pain, and emotions that are difficult to access in traditional talk therapy. To release… and access Spirit. After all, Omer says, “To me spirituality is connecting with my higher self…. I have all the answers inside of me. Anything that I can be told or taught, lies from within. And so, that’s what we do at the healing center, we empower people. Because once you realize you have the power, the capacity to start changing your thoughts, and once you start changing your thoughts, you start changing your mindset, and once you start changing your mindset, your life starts changing.”
And a dieta will certainly change your life.
Omar Gomez is the founder of Rainforest Healing Center and is an avid traveler and true visionary. With the help of co-founders, many others and the master plants, the Rainforest Healing Center was brought to life in 2011. You can visit the center’s Retreat Guru center page to learn more and search for upcoming retreats!