One of the joys of traveling is meeting new people and discovering unexpected connections. During my recent trip to Peru I had the good fortune to meet Rebekah Shaman at our store in Iquitos.
Rebekah had come by with a group she had brought from England to do some ayahuasca healing ceremonies. She knew our store partner and artist Jesus who had done a beautiful tattoo of one of her three special plants on her shoulder, and she wanted to give her charges a chance to buy some nice crafts from the store.
Our deeper common root emerged when she saw our baskets made by artisans from Chino and a photo of Liria - the artisan who was the daughter of the Tahuayo River shaman who had first trained her in these forest medicine traditions over 25 years ago. She later felt called to deepen her understanding and connection to ayahuasca, its companion chacruna and cacao.
While most people are familiar with cacao as the source of chocolate, Rebekah works with people from Ecuador to make a liquor from the plant's seeds as part of her mission to educate people that cacao has medicinal properties that have been forgotten for too long.
Over breakfast on Monday (that included very British Earl Grey tea), we shared more of our respective journeys that used to involve working in or around large institutions (like the World Bank) but evolved into more personal and community-based work because we couldn't see a path to positive change working in the framework of those powerful global groups.
Rebekah is a woman on the go who manages four enterprises from her itinerant home in London. One of these is an online store called ShamanicallyLiving. So we were both excited for us to send her a small order of baskets and animal ornaments to try to sell to people in her network in the UK. If this works out, it would be great to have a regular distributor for our partner artisans' products in the UK and possibly other countries in Europe.
I was very happy to receive a signed copy of her book "The Shaman's Last Apprentice - the Story of a Modern Day Urban Shaman" based on her experiences with Don Juanito in Chino - more than 10 years before I started working with their artisans in Chino.
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