pablo amaringo

︎Artist, Painting, Spirituality   
︎ Melt

“Nature is not mute. Modern man is deaf” - Terance McKenna.

Acclaimed Peruvian artist, Pablo Amaringo ((1938-2009) is renowned for his intricate and colourful entheogenic visions from drinking the sacred Ayahuasca plant brew. His vivid and detailed paintings, filled with animals, plants, spirits and mythological beings, illuminate the shaman's world. In his paintings he meets the living spirits of beneficial and harmful plants, visitors from distant galaxies, and the ancestral guardians of esoteric knowledge.
Initially encouraged to paint by anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna and ethnobotanist Dennis McKenna (brother of Terance), after realising the wealth of botanical information contained within his works, they began a mutual relationship, helping him sell his works in Europe and America, whilst detailing the symbolic, mythic and folkloric aspects of the Peruvian rainforest that would accompany their own scientific research. 

The seventh of thirteen children, Pablo Amaringo was born into a family of healers (Vegetalismos) and referred to his paternal grandfather as a Muaya - a specific type of shaman, who, it was said, after taking six gourds of ayahuasca, could become invisible and acquired the ability to speak to animals.
With his father giving him his first ayahuasca experience at the age of seven, it wasn't until much later on in his life that Amaringo was to become a true Vegetalista.

After being cured of a severe illness and then having watched his sister being miraculously cured from hepatitis by a local Curandera (sorcerer), Amaringo became motivated to learn the science behind shamanism and sacred plant medicine.
Travelling Peru extensively during a seven year period, he used many techniques to help his patients, ranging from suctions, restorations of the soul, hydrotherapy and massage. In 1977, however, he abandoned his shamanic practices enitrely after being cursed by the same curandera who had previously cured his sister. It is said that the Curandera accused Amaringo of trying to steal her powers and so placed a curse upon him.  
Later, after visiting another healer who was eventually to cure Amaringo fully of his heart disease, she informed him that his shamanic practices could only continue on one condition, that he was to kill the spirit-body of the Curandera on the spiritual plane in order to reverse her spellHe refused, and subsequently gave up his ayahuasca practices to focus solely on turning his sacred recollections into artworks.

“Langauge is an imperfect way of communication. The spirits don’t talk, but express themselves through images.” - Pablo Amaringo.

In 1988, through a collaboration with Luis Eduardo Luna and his wife, Sirpa Rasanen, the Ukso-Ayar Amazonian School of Painting was established with the aim of teaching symbolic practices surrounding ayahuasca ceremonies, as well as conservation of botanical knowledge. The school was built on the land where Amaringo used to live, and it’s name, Usko-Ayar, means ‘Spiritual Prince’ in Quecha. The school is still open and is free for all students.

Shamanism resembles an academic discipline (such as anthropology or molecular biology); with its practitioners, fundamental researchers, specialists, and schools of thought it is a way of apprehending the world that evolves constantly. One thing is certain: Both indigenous and mestizo shamans consider people like the Shipibo-Conibo, the Tukano, the Kamsá, and the Huitoto as the equivalents to universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and the Sorbonne; they are the highest reference in matters of knowledge. In this sense, ayahuasca-based shamanism is an essentially indigenous phenomenon. It belongs to the indigenous people of Western Amazonia, who hold the keys to a way of knowing that they have practiced without interruption for at least five thousand years. In comparison, the universities of the Western world are less than nine hundred years old (Narby).

Further Reading ︎
The Cosmic Serpent, by Jeremey Narby
Ayahuasca Visions, by Pablo Amaringo & Luis Eduardo Luna