In the Shipibo community, Sankenwesna is a name which means “messenger of medicine through traditional Shipibo symbols.”
Maestra Estela (Sankenwesna) is the owner of Aya Madre, a new 100% female and native owned Ayahuasca and Plant Medicine retreat center deep in the heart of the Iquitos jungle. Maestra Estela comes from a Shipibo community called Santa Rose of Denmark, located about 8 hours from Pucallpa by boat. She was born in 1975 and was raised by her grandparents, both shamans and healers. As a child she was introduced to medicinal plants and has her first encounter with ayahuasca at the age of 14.
When she turned 20, her grandfather transferred the power of medicine to her before he died, initiating her as a shaman. She continued learning with her grandmother, who transmitted her light and wisdom. At the age of 35, she began to cure foreigners with physical and psychological trauma, working in various well-known healing centers in the region of Iquitos.
Maestra Estela currently has more than 20 years of experience in the field of shamanism. In her process of learning, she dieted 14 months with the medicinal plant camalonga, 2 years with Toe Floripondio and two more years with pinon, in addition to a 6 month intensive “diet of light” (kind of like a Shipibo version of a silent meditation retreat). She is recognized in her community as the master of light.
Maestra Estela is the mother of 4 children. Her 13-year-old daughter Ronibensho (Amerita) and her 9-year-old son Reinihue (Ray), are also studying master plants under the tutelage of their mother and grandparents. Both sing their own icaros. Her cousin Clementina, a shaman in her own right, also works at the center and sings icaros during the ceremony.
ReviewsWrite a review - tell others about your experience.
vanni mangoni March 16, 2018
THE LAND: Prepare for an adventure! Ayamadre is located at km22 from the Iquitos airport. After a jumpy motor-car ride and a jungle walk, we finally reached the hill on top of which Ayamadre is situated. The land is beautiful, far away from the noises of the city, the forest alive, clean and healthy, there's even a small river that flows through the property just meters away from the first tambo in which we can bath and often (when it has rained enough) swim! THE CENTER: Rustic, an authentic Shipibo style retreat. Though I feel like Estela's will shortly attract more and more "passejeros", the center as of today is more like a family village: the experience is super-intimate, ideal for those who seek a connection with Shipibo culture and curanderismo. The fact that Ayamadre just opened gives us "passengers" the quite unique opportuinty to establish an up-close and personal relation with the shamans and their family - very different from other centers where the shamans are not easy to approach. MAESTRA ESTELA: She is the mother of Ayamadre, a powerful and caring medicine woman. Her mission seems to be more about sharing her knowledge and guide us into finding our own connection with the healing plants of the jungle than to "content us" with mystical journeys only; at the same time her shamanic skills are incredible - her icaros accompanied me straight to the heart of the issue that led me to seek healing in the jungle, and found it. She is a true maestra/master. The team - which at the moment counts the help of Clementina (a shaman herself and good friend of Estela) and Chris (a lovely New Yorker who translates for those who don't speak Spanish and helps with logistics and organization) and Estela's family - is friendly and always ready to help. I will DEFINITELY and JOYOUSLY go back to Ayamadre. Truly grateful to have been there in its first days. I recommend this place to all those who seek more than just an ayahusca experience but a whole immersion into the heart of Shipibo Shamanism and tradition.
Christopher Casuccio February 14, 2018
Amazing and totally unique experience. Deeply healing. I spent a month working with Estela, and now I am actually helping her with her website and intake process. She is a true curandera in the old-fashioned sense. I stayed with her and her family for a month in her amazing and beautiful center. It is rustic and simple and certainly not a luxury center. What I loved about working with Estela as my shaman is that she didn't just have me take Ayahuasca over and over again. After a few ceremonies, we both realized it wasn't healing me, and she laid out a treatment plan for the next month. This included a whole host of plant remedies, massages, steam baths, etc. She sat with me time and time again to explain what she saw in my body, what she thinks I need, how the healing works, etc. I felt so loved and cared for, and the plants have really helped me work through some much-needed psychological problems. Estela seems to understand the issues us "Northerners" have, which are both mental, energetic and physical all at the same time. What a powerful, loving and healing soul. I can't recommend enough working with Estela. Go to Aya Madre!!