Amazon Speaks: Stories for the Spirit

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Long ago in a far-away place, yet near and dear to my heart, I walked for the first time through the shimmering Emerald Doors of the Amazon — the greatest expression of life on Earth. My life has never been the same. After almost 25 years of apprenticeship in Amazonian shamanism in the jungles of Peru — the spirited tales of which are recounted in my book Jungle Medicine — I bring to you more stories for your own continuing personal apprenticeship to spirit. As a shamana, my role is to heal the sick and honor the forest.  My duty is to look after the well-being of both man and Mother Nature. Traditionally trained, I not only keep my obligations as healer and keeper of the ancient ways, but also lead efforts in respect for and conservation of Nature in the largest sense. I take responsible action, and urge others to do so also, for the protection of the forest, the ecosystem that supports the Earth and all its inhabitants. This is where the rubber hits the road — or where the paddle hits the river, as we say in the Amazon. The Amazon River basin covers some 40% of the South American continent. It is home to the largest rainforest on Earth, and home to one-fifth of the plant and animal species on Earth. The Amazon rainforest covers an area nearly equal to the size of the contiguous 48 U.S. states. The Amazon River itself is the most voluminous river on Earth, eleven times the volume of the Mississippi. The river’s mouth may be 300 miles wide during high water season. All this is where the power lies. The Amazon is both the Beauty and the Beast. She is an incredible force to be reckoned with indeed. She will lift your spirits with her eye-dazzling beauty of neon-colored flora and fauna, urging the viewer to pay attention to the greatest giver of life on Earth. And, she is also the Wild Feminine. No one tames the wild tempestuous beast of the Amazon. All are best advised to learn by the ebb and flow of her tempers and ways. Anyone who courts the spirit of the Amazon will surely be smitten, as have I. To state it simply, in the Amazon, we are brought home again. Upon his first deep nature visit with me to the Amazon, a business executive friend of mine said, “I feel at home here, and I really don’t know why.” To paraphrase Carl Gustav Jung: Perhaps we should be scientific — or perhaps we should be poetic and idyllic about nature. The truth about nature needs scientific expression, it needs spiritual expression, and it needs artistic expression. It needs the poet and the musician. And even then you only express part of it. Here are more than twenty randomly-ordered vignettes, the many voices of the spirit of the Amazon, from the sacred to the profane. Some stories will transport you to the Amazon jungle, others will rivet you where you now sit. Still others will shift your consciousness. There are stories of spirit to lift your heart; there are facts of science that sober the spirit. May you deepen your respect and passion for her Nature. I believe that as you learn from her wisdom and love her, you may be called to take action to defend her, support her, and to see her flourish — for in great Love, there is Life itself.

One Reply to “Amazon Speaks: Stories for the Spirit”

  1. I was supposed to be typesetting this book, but it was so interesting that I couldn’t stop myself from just reading it straight through. Connie, an American-born pharmacist, trained for 25 years in the Peruvian Amazon with a jungle-based shaman. (There’s more on the beginnings of her shamanic apprenticeship in a previous book, Jungle Medicine.) In Amazon Speaks, Connie’s personal story creates a rich and fascinating backdrop for on-the-ground reporting about the wild and magnificent Amazon…

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