- Iquitos, Peru
A shaman is a person who, in tribal cultures, communicates with the spirit world. As intermediaries, shamans ask spirits to intercede in the lives of humans, healing them of illnesses, or granting favors. Since traditional cultures believe that spirits play important roles in peoples lives, the shaman must learn how to cooperate with the spirits for the benefit of his or her community
Ron Wheelock, 53, was born in Independence , Kansas . In 1996 he went to Peru looking for a spiritual teacher. Ron first drank ayahuasca in Tamshiyacu with famed shaman Don Agustin Rivas Vasquez. While with Don Agustin, he made arrangements to return to begin the intensive training to become a shamanic healer himself using the South American plant medicine, ayahuasca.
Ron stayed with Don Agustin for 5 months doing many plant diets. Ron then began working with Don Jose Coral Mori, the teacher of Pablo Amaringo and Eduardo Luna, the authors of Ayahuasca Visions. After studying with both ayahuasqueros (a shaman who works exclusively with ayahuasca), he began working on his own.
Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and is known as the ayahuasca capital of the world. Ayahuasca tourism is now a vital part of the Iquitos economy with Westerners seeking traditional shamanic experiences and healings using the visionary Amazonian medicine. Besides bringing spiritual tourism to Iquitos , ayahuasca is being used in three new religions in Brazil . It has been credited with curing thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts, and is being studied by pharmacologists around the world.
Like indigenous shamans have been doing for centuries, Ron prepares his ayahuasca by harvesting the vine Banisteriopsis caapi and then boiling it with other plants and herbs for several days. After continuous praying over the mixture, Rons tea is ready to be used in a ceremony. Ayahuasca is said to give users the power to travel beyond their bodies, to see the future, and hunt and confront the demons that cause physical and emotional illnesses.
Ron lives with his girlfriend Karina Maria Diaz Paredes and conducts ayahuasca ceremonies during the workshops. He has a 34 year old daughter, Christina, living in the U.S. , and a 5 year old son, Quetzalcoatal Luis Wheelock Angulo.