The Shipibo of South America are a tribe of Indigenous people. The Shipibo have lived in the Rio Ucayali region of Peru for at least one thousand years. Shipibo art is known worldwide for the striking patterns native craftspeople design on their pottery, tapestry, and baskets.
In the psychedelic community, the Shipibo are also well known for their plant medicine and ayahuasca ceremonies. The Shipibo revere ayahuasca and have performed healing rituals involving this natural entheogen for centuries. The Shipibo believe in the cleansing properties of ayahuasca, and they often also incorporate tobacco smoke into their cleansing ayahuasca rituals.
Ayahuasca is a type of psychedelic tea made from plants native to South America — typically Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis.
Today, Shipibo ayahuasca traditions continue via psychedelic tourism. Some Shipibo ayahuasca practitioners are known to operate ayahuasca retreats for Westerners.
Westerners should be mindful of the impact this type of tourism could have on the Shipibo, their land, and their culture. Understandably, some Shipibo are leery of Westerners and fear the cultural appropriation of their traditions. They don’t want their heritage erased or altered.
However, other Shipibo welcome the financial impact of these ayahuasca retreats and are eager to facilitate interactions between Westerners and ayahuasca.
By practicing psychedelic reciprocity, Westerners can help mitigate the harm done to indigenous communities when sacred traditions are shared.