MARCOS LOPEZ - WEXA METSA
Wexa metsa is a Shipibo curandero originally from a small community on the main headstream of the Amazon River. He began his apprenticeship with his grandfather when thirteen years old and later trained with his great aunt, Maestra Olivia Arévalo.
When Eighteenth, he began singing in his native language and using his knowledge of medicinal plants following the ancient Shipibo tradition.
I was born in a small community called Roaboya six hours downriver from Pucallpa on the Ucayali River. I grew up with maternal grandparents, their siblings, their daughters, sons and all of them curanderos. My father Don Miquel López, his brother Don Enrique López and the rest of the paternal family are curanderos, as well. When five years old, my parents split and my mother and I moved to San Francisco, the largest Shipibo population located outside Pucallpa where most of my maternal family resides.
There, I met my great uncle Leonardo Inuma, one of the most respected Shipibo curanderos in the community. At that time, there were few curanderos because it requires much sacrifice to walk the path. It is said that the older curanderos used to test novices to confirm their knowledge of curanderismo so they could survive, if not they would fall ill and die on the shamanic path.
I took my first cup of ayahuasca at thirteen with my grandfather Leonardo Inuma. One night when no one else was home, my grandfather invited me to sit with hìm. I didn't think twice, I went with him and began the journey of curanderismo and participating in ceremonies. After taking only ayahuasca with grandparents for years, I met my great aunt Maestra Olivia at the age eighteen who was a renowned curandera and a matriarch of the Shipibo community. She knew plant healing for visions and increasing human intelligence. She dedicated her life to the medicine and to encouraging our people to practice their customs and ancestral knowledge.
She, also, learnt Spanish through the plants. She just happened to be looking for a maloca (lodge) to do ceremonies and she found our place, at that time, we didn't know that she was a relative. But my mother asked after her family and village names and we discovered she was my maternal grandfather's sister.
While spending time at our center, they found out that I speak English and asked me to translate for participants who do not speak Shipibo or Spanish. Also, they invited me to diet for the first time (3 month period) to understand their world, the world of plant medicine and plant diets. I began taking ayahuasca almost every other day while dieting and learnt firsthand how much sacrifice is required to become a curandero. After my first 3 month plant diet, I took a rest and then began another diet for 3 months. There've been many diets and many trials on the path. Before apprenticing with Maestra Olivia; I was devastated by the death of my stepfather, I was living alone and studying in Lima and became addicted to alcohol, experienced lots of illnesses and all this affected my relationship with my family.
I returned to Pucallpa to visit my mother and sister and that's when I met my great aunt and the plant spirits. And from that time, life has been positive. While dieting and taking ayahuasca I began to receive direction from the plant spirits and from Maestra Olivia, as to, how to live, how to be. I healed under their aegis while dieting with master plants like bobinsana, Noya Rao, Piñón Blanco Tabaco, etc. And listening to the stories of Maestra Olivia. That's how I started living in the medicine and sharing it with the world from our small village, San Jose, outside Pucallpa. Now years have passed and we are still living the path in San Jose. And as well, in Contamana, where our school is located.