Isá Samë/Jessica Bertram

About us

While living in the Southeastern Peruvian Andes and Amazon for 21 years, Jessica has been trained and is working with Ayahuasca in the Shipibo tradition. She is certified as an “Onanya” (Ayahuasca master) by the School for Traditional Shipibo Medicine in Pucallpa and is a member of its advisory board. A former Manu National Park rainforest tour guide, she does ongoing healing work requested by the indigenous people of the region. As a “Maestra” she regularly participates in international conferences. As a woman and mother, she is highly skilled in assisting people in bringing change to their lives by very practical and down-to-Earth means.

She organizes and takes small groups of Westerners (2 to 5 persons) on retreats into the rainforest, for whom she provides a culturally adapted healing and cleansing process involving three ceremonies in Ayahuasca´s natural home. Participants may be brought together in ceremony with indigenous Harakmbut people in an attempt to not only facilitate integral healing for all ceremony participants, but also to foster mutual cultural understanding.

As recommended by the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS), all participants go through an integral process of selection, preparation, ceremonies and integration. This process includes a pre-ceremonial information package, a previous personal interview, traditional dietary restrictions, integration circles, further one-to-one integration interviews in between ceremonies and constant availability for as long as needed after the third ceremony.

Tags: ayahuasca cusco ethnopsychology manu national park native rainforest retreat traditional plant medicine

Reviews  
  Write a review - tell others about your experience.

  • Daniel N.   June 04, 2018

      Transformational & Traditional

    Along with the surge in Ayahuasca tourism that South America has seen over the past decade has come a lot of western glitter, pomp and circumstance, cultural hybridization, and both financial and sexual opportunism. To avoid as much of this influence as possible, I sought something simple and humble, rooted in indigenous ceremonial practice. Once I began to seriously search for centers, I found that not only did such a place exist, but that it was also lead by women and endorsed by Dennis McKenna. That place is Parign Hak, or "Grandma's Home," in the native Harakbut language. The combination of these factors gave me the confidence and courage to take a leap of faith I had been contemplating for the last ten years of my life. Over the course of her 24 years in Peru, the organization's co-founder, Jessica, has taken great care to cultivate mutually beneficial and culturally respectful relationships with a number of indigenous community members and their leaders. This opens up a rare and beautiful pathway to participate in an uncorrupted and increasingly rare form of Amazonian medicine. Those who come to Parign Hak bringing trust, commitment, discipline and respect are treated to an experience which consists of so much more than just imbibing. Participants are introduced to the art, dance, language, food, mythology and biodiversity of a people who have over millennia been the pulmonologists, so to speak, of the lungs of the planet. In this area of Peru, that includes the Harakbut and Matsiguenka peoples. Their own history and struggle, from the spiritual to the geopolitical, are also given a most important platform. In this way, the container and context in which Ayahuasca medicine is practiced is given as much emphasis and attention as the brew itself, and I found this to be of great personal value. Indeed, each proved to be an integral part of a larger whole. Jessica's skill as an ayahuasquera is not something I can speak to with great authority, because my experience with shamans and shamanism is slim to none. I *have* seen dozens of "regular" doctors of all different types. If we can consider them all, shamans and doctors, to live under the single banner of healthcare practitioners, then Jessica ranks near, if not at, the very top of the list of any human being in whose care I've ever been placed or placed myself. She helped usher in and guide me through the single most powerful and transformative psychedelic experience of my life. Her care and insight continued in the days and ceremonies following that night, and in the weeks and months following my return to my home country. The mirror which Parign Hak helped to raise and hold in front of me in ceremony, and window it opened before me into the world this medicine occupies, has provided me with an increase in perspective which is beyond the scope of this review. Contrary to some of the rather fantastic accounts online and in the popular press, this is really only the beginning. Now comes what may actually be the hardest part of the process; the "homework" of integrating these newly gained insights into my daily life. I'm confident in my ability to move forward with what this extraordinary place has given me, has helped me to give myself, and I am eager to return someday soon.

  • Molly B   May 25, 2018

      Tremendous Guide

    I cannot recommend Jessica enough. Jessica was such a tremendous guide and I don't think I would have gone on the retreat if it wasn't for her. I was very nervous about going in the beginning and she put all of my fears to rest. She is extremely responsible and you can tell she really cares about the people around her. She is so passionate about what she does and it reflects in her personality. She is very trustworthy and caring and really helps you through your experience. If I knew anyone who was interested in this kind of experience I would refer Jessica in a heartbeat!

  • Mou Vcr   May 21, 2018

      A M A Z I N G

    It was a life change experience. We were treated as a family member within the community, the food is amazing (fishes were the best) and the nature is astonishing. The ceremonies were unbelievable, now i understand why Dennis McKenna suggests this retreat in Perú. I feel much more confident and clear about my life. I feel self-empowered again. In my oponion the work that the master does is oriented to responsability, love and respectful. Absolutly reliable... I am going to come back soon... greatful and humble

  • Shawna Wentz   February 28, 2018

      Heart Explosion

    Ayahuasca is the gateway to awake, remember, and access other parts of the soul in order to purge, cleanse, learn and heal. During an Ayahuasca ceremony, one has the opportunity to heal traumas, addictions, rewire thought patterns, transform beliefs, and recover ones power and sovereignty, by opening the heart, mind and body into higher and deeper frequencies of consciousness. I chose Parign Hak, “Grandmother’s Home,” as the source for my retreat, because I trusted in the authentic and therapeutic ways of the native Harakbut community members. All members “take pride in the fact that the ceremonies are small, female led and offer a safe space for serious transformational work. Parign Hak is committed to being “environmentally sustainable, culturally respectful and reaffirming, as well as mutually beneficial for both locals and retreat participants alike. The center is also available as a resource to community members.” Parign Hak is truly a very unique retreat center. It resides in the Southeastern Peruvian Amazon, in Manu National Park. Not only is the location of the retreat center remote and raw, it is also one of the most amazing cultural exchange experiences I have yet to be a part of. Literally, I unplugged from the modern world and plugged into all that really matters-the Matrix. I easily found the gracefulness to navigate between the depth of the seriousness of the healing work and the playfulness of being completely connected to the people and the exotic natural world around us. I shared tears of laughter with this beautiful community, while also tapping into the cosmos all within the same day. Harakbut people have a vast knowledge and connection to the plant and animal worlds. Parign Hak is immersed in nature, embraced by the powerful vibrations of the Peruvian Amazonian jungle and it has one of the most bio diverse ecosystems found in the Amazon. I felt safe and exposed in the eco-sustainable friendly environment that was provided. The people of Parign Hak unzipped the sacred hearth of their retreat space, and their hearts and invited us to jump right in. I felt vulnerable, secure and ready to dive deep into healing work that I came to do. We hiked through the jungle, swam and floated in the river, collected seeds to make jewelry, caught fish with our bare hands, learned how to shoot bow and arrows, were serenaded by traditional songs and storytelling by the fire, and fell in love with the ancient heart rhythms of Manu and its people. When I arrived, my heart was overflowing. I felt HOME. My purpose of being at Parign Hak was to encourage the remembrance of my soul’s inner knowing and to reestablish a deeper relationship with myself and the sacredness of being interconnected to everything. When I departed, all of my senses were activated and I could feel the pulse of all life, spirit and matter running through my entire being. I felt HOME and didn’t want to leave.

  • Davor Vukovic   October 10, 2017

      Nothing but the best

    After completing my second retreat with Jessica in Parign Hak (in 2015 and 2017) I can only give the highest recommendation to Jessica as curandera, the hosting family and the place. Jessica's approach is very studious. Before accepting me as a "client" based on our email correspondence, she talked thoroughly with me twice and I had to fill out a questionnaire what gave her a clear picture of "my case". Before going to retreat I've been sent the detailed itinerary with all useful practical details and all needed information about the medicine. During seven days in the retreat she was always available and willing to talk about the process I was going through, to share her vast knowledge of medicine, of the Harakbmut (people native to the area) history, customs, about surrounding nature... Her ceremonies are a powerful yet gentle experience. Trained in Shipibo tradition she adheres to it. Her icaros are pure magic and entire approach very warm and encouraging. Her experience as Manu National park guide is a great addition to her healing skills. The nature around Parign Hak is amazing and trips into the jungle and up and down the pristine Alto Madre de Dios river makes the retreat a really special and transformative experience. Vicky, Alberto and all other members of hosting family at Parign Hak made me feel at home and completely safe. Having experienced ayahuasca ceremonies with ten different ayahuesceros I can, without any hesitation, wholeheartedly recommend Jessica and retreats at Parign Hak.

  • Tabitha Ewing   June 11, 2016

      Wonderful.

    It has been over a year since my 3 ceremonies with Jessica and the experience is still fresh in my mind and remains a hugely positive memory. Jessica's pre-ceremony information, cultural translation and adaptation, her profound respect for this plant medicine and the guidance she provided merged into what was an incredibley enlightening experience. These words do not do her justice! Much, much more to be discovered.

  • Tracy MacD   May 12, 2016

      Jessica is a radiant light that will guide you home...

    Where to begin? It would be nearly impossible to sum up Jessica in a review or an online post. Her presence, her talent, her love and care go beyond any possible description or language. However, by association here are some words that come to mind when I think of/feel Jessica: Vast, loving, nurturing, illuminated, healing, generous, truthsayer, kind, compassionate, patient, understanding, available, present, benevolent, communicative, responsive, dedicated, knowledgeable, experienced, gifted, profound, sacred, safe, authentic, funny, genuine, playful, thorough, connected and powerful... (to name a few) Jessica came into my life as an angel. She continues to assist me along my path with gentle, loving-kindness as she does with all her 'patients'. She is a good friend, a kindred spirit, a wise and loving guide, a healer of the most profound kind. I feel confident to say that you would be hard-pressed to find a more committed ayahuascera/o to guide you through ceremony. If you are dedicated to your own healing and looking to integrate the profound lessons and homework that Grandmother Ayahuasca presents, Jessica will be there with you every step of the way - long before and after ceremony - to guide you and assist you. She is profoundly dedicated to her practice and seeks to assist all her 'patients' in achieving maximum healing benefits from the intensely healing experiences she offers deep in the heart of the Jungle. I deeply love and appreciate Jessica. I have learned so much about reverence, respect, humility, love, and understanding by way of allowing her radiant light to shine into my dark shadows. She has been a kind and nurturing mother-figure to me in so many ways. She even held me through the night (literally) after Grandmother extracted and showed me some of my deepest pain at the core of my being. Jessica allowed me to cry like a baby in her arms, which she intuitively knew I needed while I consciously integrated the painful - yet healing - teachings. I will forever be grateful to Jessica, Isa Same, for her wisdom, love and guidance.

  • Chiara Vestrini   April 24, 2015

      Wonderful experience

    The first ayahuasca session Jessica explained me her way of working her ethic and respect in using the plant. Put the attention on the preparation of the body and the soul before a ceremony is fundamental to have a deep experience. I really appreciated Jessica’s way of taking care of people, she thought me how to deal with the plant during the ceremony and after each session she dedicated time to comment and analyze the experience (she is the only shaman I have heard who does it). Her way of working is very accurate, she takes care of the people in a maternal way and support the work that the plant does on us. I feel very lucky to have met Jessica and to have had my first ayahuasca experience with Her. Chiara (Itlay).

  • Eduardo Salazar   April 22, 2015

      Excellent experience in Shintuya

    The 3 ceremony experience with Jessica was excellent. It had the right balance between tradition and formal procedures with a wonderful result. Her knowledge and integration with native Amazonian cultures made it so much deeper than anythign I had imagined.

  • Tiago Pinto   April 21, 2015

      A real Master!

    Fortunately I had the oportunity to work under the good spell of her work with the sacred plant. Unfortunately I dont have the geografical oportunity of still working with her and continue to explore the multiple ways of her knowledge, but once I have that oportunity surely I will contact her to go on with my own process. If I recomended her? Off course I do. The cure she offers was very special and meaningfull! Stay always there for us Jessica! Best wishes from Tiago (Portugal)!

  • sanya loborec tasic   April 21, 2015

      great experience

    I had my first experience with Ayahuasca under Jessica's guidance and it was very deep and meaningful. The whole thing was done with respect and attention to my well being. I felt safe and secure and the way Jessica handled the process left me having this most powerful and positive experience. The feeling I left the retreat with was very grounding and spiritual. If you are looking for self-discovery and purification with the help of sacred Ayahuasca, Jessica is the right person to guide you. She understands the western outlook on things, in addition to her great knowledge of traditional ayahuascera. I will be back...

  • Josh Babier   April 20, 2015

      Expert Curandera

    I have been taking part in ceremonies since 2003 and have sat with many different curanderos from different traditions (and 'no tradition' as well) and I can definitely say that the curanderos you would never know were curanderos are definitely the best and Jessica is one of those. She has nothing to prove, no agenda - just a healer with a ton of training, skill and talent. I have been sitting in Jessica's ceremonies since 2005 and in that time, she has helped guide me toward overcoming and letting go of some very formidable issues. I have also spent a lot of time observing how she works and I can say that no matter what she comes up against, she does not quit until the job is done. She looks after her people before, during and after ceremony with the utmost of care. If you have any reservations about her not being 'indigenous', I can also tell you that she is very well respected among the Shipibo and Harakmbut and I have personally sat in ceremonies while she has both worked with and on peoples of these nations. She is very committed to preserving the tradition as it was passed on to her and this is what you will experience in her ceremonies. However, since she grew up in Europe, she is also quite adept at helping the Western mind integrate and make sense of anything experienced within or even long after her ceremonies. If you are looking to try a ceremony for kicks or to see visions, you might be better off working with someone else. If, however, you are truly interested and committed to deep healing work, then you should definitely start a dialogue with Jessica. I really can't say enough about her integrity and commitment to healing. And then there are her icaros...

  • Andrew   April 20, 2015

      Excellent shaman

    This Shaman is a serious healer. She helped me tremendously. Three different times she sung Icaros to me during ayahuasca ceremony. I'm very thankful for the help she gave my soul during these ceremonies.

  • Corine Young   April 19, 2015

      a serious, gentle kind shaman

    I met Jessica in Iquitos in 2008 during Convergence where she was assisting as a translator and guide. It was my first experience with ceremonies and her explanations eased my nerves as I made my way into the unknown. She is a warm woman and a good friend with a lovely sense of humor. I look forward to doing ceremony with her one day, I am sure it will be a very enlightening experience. I recommend her to everyone seriously interested in ceremonies and cures.

  • Massimo de Feo   April 19, 2015

      a woman and a shaman in which you can have confidance

    gli shipibo la chiamano Isá Samë, che vuol dire uccello meraviglioso o anche uccello che canta in volo, e ta gli Harakmbut viene chiamata Widnpo, ovvero sorella, ma anche Nantone, nonna. Her given Shipibo name is Isá Samë, meaning wonderful bird or also chanting flying bird; Harakmbut calls her Widnpo (sister) and other times Nantone (grandmother)

  • Martin Hoy   April 19, 2015

      Great ceremonies, explanations, and follow-up

    I whole-heartedly recommend this ayahuascara. Having experienced a number of ceremonies she led, and gotten to know her, I admire her character, discipline, generosity and integrity. She screens and advises participants in advance. In ceremony she embodies the beauty of the ceremony and supports every participant fully. I was particularly touched by the perseverance, kindness and wisdom with which she treated me during a long and challenging ceremony. This is a person completely dedicated to helping others and to her craft. You are blessed if you can arrange to visit and be in ceremony with her.

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