Noya Rao is almost a mythical tree that grows in the Amazonian forest. Little to no information is to be found on this majestic tree, and it’s all for a very valid reason, that needs to be underlined in the first paragraph – to protect it. Within the Shipibo-Conibo tribe’s traditions, who are widely considered to have the most symbiotic and very conscious approach to plant-based medicine, Noya Rao is generally seen as the great-great-grand Mother of all the other plants. Little information is to be found about this sacred plant online, so here is what I have learnt from the local communities, my Maestra and from my own research, narrowing it down to only what is allowed to be shared by its guardians.
Noya Rao is known in the local vocabulary both as the ‘Tree of Light’ and the ‘Camino a la Verdad’, which translates into ‘The path of Truth’. Its wisdom is considered extremely powerful, it represents pure good, connected to white light and those who had an honour to drink yellow coloured tea brew from the bark of Noya Rao claimed it changed their life paths forever. Noya Rao is extremely precious and the old recipe for the potion is kept secret. The tea extracted from the bark of the tree has no noticeable taste, it’s faintly sweet and very delicate.
But here is the most magical part of Noya Rao’s physical form. Its leaves and bark have fluorescent properties and glow faintly in the dark, which was documented and photographed by few. It looks like a still from Avatar movie, with the exception – it is all real. The tree, however, is so rare, that most shamans who know where Noya Rao grows, keep that knowledge unexposed and protect it with uttermost care and love.
This is to be understood. It is to protect it from the eyes and hands of those who could have hurt it. To keep it safe from the ignorance of those who see yet another attraction to be checked in on their to-do lists. To keep it well, potent and alive in its cosy shelter. To not be exploited like every other essence we have found in the eco-system and conquered.
Maestra Juana, our beautiful wisdom keeper, and her family are local guardians of Noya Rao and usually do not offer an opportunity to work with this powerful and beautiful plant to many. There are only very few Noya Rao trees known to them and their locations are, no surprise, kept a big secret. According to their tales medicine cooked from its bark is the ultimate key to the world of beings of pure light, which is believed to be one level lower than the world of the Gods.
Our little group, who decided to stay in the area of Pucallpa and continue our work with Maestra Juana was kindly offered to drink Noya Rao decoction at the beginning of our dieta with Ayahuasca. To say I found this kind act of humble offering a great honour, which I certainly do, is not enough, as I also consider integration with Noya Rao a big internal and external responsibility. Within the Shipibo tradition to integrate with Noya Rao is seen to be the essential, necessary, and possibly even the only path to becoming a healer. This mental and spiritual expansion that I have received during my current plant dieta, is believed to bring a person to yet another level of inner integrity and involves a huge increase in spiritual intelligence and a perfect integration of three pillars of one’s entity, which in Shipibo language are as follows: Yora (body), Shinan (Mind) and Kaya (Soul).
I’m in the process of assimilating the knowledge and what I can at least say now is that the whole experience I received in the last month gave me remarkable clarity of what lies within me and my mind and soul are now being illuminated by the light of this tree. Noya Rao works on many levels. My final month with Juana was dedicated to the integration of the previous processes and expansion toward the awareness of internal healing abilities that we all carry within ourselves. This manifested mostly in the verbal and vocal exercising ignited by the medicine, in two words – we sang. A lot. This simple yet extremely powerful part of our prolonged dieta was extremely rewarding. I received my first Icaro, a song that heals, that came out from the corners of my hearth and, as I sang it out, I found this revelation extremely empowering, beautiful and purifying on so many levels. Singing has replaced the purging part entirely. The experience of Noya Rao combined with Ayahuasca was less ‘violent’, less immobilizing and much more pro-active and conscious. As mentioned, there were no bigger effects on the body too, no vomiting and a great release of the tension of my muscles. The visions also changed becoming subtle and less ‘striking’ and have been replaced by those of very internal, intimate and peaceful nature – visions of pure light and its inhabitants. At some stage, I saw a crystal light cities floating on the light sparkling clouds and a tall tree reaching the sky and far beyond, with numerous crack from which the bright light emitted, surrounded by millions of millions of small light-beings insectoids.
Noya Rao journey was the most magical experience I ever tapped myself into and almost feels like a dream. A very real one. As a matter of fact, this whole experience reminded me of some of the lucid dreams that I luckily happened to have previously. Yet, those visions were somehow organised, very crisp and very real. I decided to stay in Pucallpa for another month and conclude my dieta soaked in the bright blue-white light of Noya Rao.
Never to forget. What lies within us is incredibly potent and beautiful.