[Los Angeles] Demystifying Shipibo Plant Medicine Technology w/ Robin York

Shipibo Plant Medicine Technology

In this lecture, dedicated Shipibo apprentice, Robin York (Mananxawe Huni), will share his experiences of living in the Amazon with the Shipibo tribe and studying plant medicine with Papa Gilberto Mahua, one of the last great medicós (plant doctors) of our time.

The Mahua family tradition is an ancient, universally respected lineage of master healers that have cultivated a profound understanding of the healing trees and plants of the jungle. Robin will explain how this process known as plant dieting is, in fact, an ancient technology, because the spirits of the plants transmit their knowledge to the student through a series of challenges, or pruebas. These pruebas test the dedication and commitment of the student (dietero), both during and after the diet is completed.

Robin’s talk will also address the two other components that make plant dieting such an effective technology: the ayahuasca medicine that activates the connection to the plants, and the direct transmission of the maestro’s chants (icaros) to the dietero in ceremony.

With his academic and linguistic background, and thanks to his incredible teachers in the jungle, Robin has been fortunate to study and de-code the Shipibo icaros for many years. His talk will explain how these chants are, in fact, neuro-somatic codes of light that penetrate the denser parts of the body in order to improve our mental, physical as well our spiritual health.
For many Westerners, the notion that plants have a sentient consciousness is a stretch. At the same time, there are more people going down to the jungle and dieting plants today than ever before. Robin’s talk will address some of the common misconceptions that exist about the correct use of this ancient technology.

All of the proceeds from this event will support the construction of a water treatment plant in Papa Gilberto’s village.



Robin York (Mananxawe Huni), has been studying traditional Amazonian plant medicine since 2008, when he first went to the Peruvian jungle to diet with legendary mestizo curandero, Don Jose Campos.

Robin grew up in a bilingual household in Germany before moving to California in his early twenties. His love for literature and languages earned him two masters degrees from Cambridge University and UC Santa Barbara, where he taught undergraduates for four years before teaching English at a renowned school in LA. During his teaching years he kept returning to Peru until, in 2015, he quit his job and moved to the Amazon to begin his apprenticeship in the Shipibo plant medicine tradition.

His first teacher was Maestra Justina Cerrano, a respected curandera from the Upper Amazon region, but it wasn’t until he heard the seering chants of Papa Gilberto Mahua that he knew he’d found his maestro and spiritual home in the jungle.
Papa Gilberto Mahua is a 70 year old master healer who has dieted plants since he was thirteen years old. He hails from one of the oldest and most widely respected healer families in the lower Ucayali delta. Papa grew up during a time before any Western contact, and his grandfather was a “Meraya,” who were considered the highest class of Shipibo healers, known for their ability to immaterialize and transform into powerful animal allies.

In 2016 Robin built a tambo (hut) on his maestro’s land and has since spent many months every year dieting master plants and trees under Papa’s guidance. The plants helped him to open his voice and taught him to chant in Shipibo which he now teaches as part of his retreats in the jungle.


Presented by I.AM.LIFE http://iamlifeproject.org
in collaboration with Aware Project http://awareproject.org/