Who Are The Shipibo?

Kristen Lagos

When Shamans Market was born out of a labor of love and service in 1990s, we began learning from wisdom keepers of various earth-honoring traditions, mostly in the Americas.  We traveled extensively throughout Peru and made many meaningful heart connections with the people of that country. We continue to foster these relationships and connections today.  


Shamans Market Mission

Many of the products we import support indigenous people, providing income and helping them maintain their ancient wisdom and culture. The Shipibo are one of these groups.  We support their artistic community endeavors and that association squares exactly with our mission as a company.


A Shamanic People

Living in the Amazon Basin in Peru, the Shipibo are a shamanic people, deeply influenced by the power of plants, animals and natural world. Their culture, originating along one of the major tributaries of the Amazon River, is well known for shamanism and plant medicine. Among the indigenous cultures there, the Shipibo are one of the few cultural groups that have managed to maintain their language, art and mystical plant medicine ways, mostly away from the influence of the Spanish conquistadores. Because of our ongoing relationship with Shipibo practitioners and artisans, we are able to expand our knowledge and practice.

 Icaros – Healing Songs
A unique aspect of the Shipibo culture is their healing song tradition. Béthany Pozzi-Johnson, Director of Operations for the Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange, in Field Clarity: How to Keep your Energy Clear as a Song says, “…the Shipibo hear songs in nature. They… repeat them back in Icaros; powerful, beautiful songs which they sing to support healing, clear dissonances, and bestow the blessings of nature upon the recipients. The Shipibo then record their icaros, or healing songs, by creating elaborate geometrical designs that function like a musical score and correlate and interact with the natural world. They see patterns in the natural world and are able to reproduce them for protection, healing, abundance, harmony and a variety of other purposes.” We value this unique and age-old gift --their ability to sing and score the patterns of nature.


Artwork of Rainforest Plant Patterns

These icaro song patterns are incorporated either by painting or embroidery on their clothing, jewelry, pottery, rattles and other handiwork and even sometimes painted on their bodies. Some of their hand embroidered cotton clothing, bags and healing cloths, and beaded necklaces and bracelets feature original and intricate designs in striking colors and typically represent a natural or supernatural theme.  The cloth is hand woven by Shipibo women, and due to the elaborate designs, can take weeks to create. 

 Inspired by a Plant - Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is an Amazonian plant medicine that has been used for centuries, possibly thousands of years, by indigenous ayahuasca shaman across the upper Amazon throughout Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. According to The Temple of the Way of the Light, a retreat center based in Peru, “the Shipibo tribe seems to have a particularly strong relationship with ayahuasca and many consider the Shipibo to be the most highly skilled ayahuasca healers in the Peruvian Amazon. The use of Shipibo imagery related to ayahuasca is widespread and the Shipibo patterns of icaro are synonymous with ayahuasca and its practice throughout Peru.”


Panter Pablo Amaringo is known for his ayahuasca inspired visionary paintings. In The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo he is called “a master communicator of the ayahuasca experience, where snakes, jaguars, subterranean beings, celestial palaces, aliens, and spacecraft all converge, … Amaringo’s art presents a doorway to the transcendent worlds of ayahuasca intended for contemplation, meditation, and inspiration”


For their ancient wisdom and knowledge of plants, to their skillful and intricate artwork, for their magical ears which can receive song patterns and for their ability to musically recreate them on a variety of surfaces using different media, to their translation of ayahuasca visions into their art, we love, value, respect and support this tribe of native people of the Amazon rainforest.






















Kristen Lagos - Blog Post Author

Kristen Lagos

Marketing and Keeper of the Crystal Forest at Shamans Market Kristen manages all things marketing at Shamans Market. She’s always been captivated with spirituality and nature in all their forms and has studied quite a bit of both. She is a registered yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and is continuously learning and growing. She likes to climb rocks, swim in the great lakes, and dance in the forests.