Mayantuyacu is one of the two native Amazonian healing and traditional knowledge centers located on the Boiling River.
The community is led by Maestro Juan Flores, an Asháninka sheripiari (healer, shaman), elder, and curandero (traditional Amazonian healer). He belongs to a long line of Asháninka healers on both sides of his family. His parents, Maestro Fidel Flores and Maestra Hortensia Salazar, started him in his training from an early age, prior to entering more intensive studies at age 11 under sheripiari Maestro Eusebio Dávila.
As Maestro Juan grew, advanced in his studies, and established himself as a well-respected healer, he sought to expand his medicinal knowledge. He went on to study the healing traditions of other Amazonian indigenous groups, including Shipibos, Cashibos, Amueshas, and mestizo healing traditions. He also traveled throughout the mountains, where he learned from Andean shamans. Maestro Juan once expressed that his studies at Marcahuasi, in the central Peruvian Andes, where he “learned from the dead,” (in reference to the human remains that can be found on this mysterious plateau) were particularly formative during his Andean training. Lastly he also took great interest in learning about the medicines of the “great civilization”—the modern, globalized Peru.
This background, and Maestro Juan´s endless desire to learn from all traditions, now manifests itself in Mayantuyacu. Maestro Juan now has apprentices from all over the world, and continues to actively study the healing effects of both traditional and newly developed plant medicines.
Mayantuyacu’s location on the Boiling River is no coincidence. According to Maestro Juan, the Boiling River, or the Shanay-timpishka River (as it was ancestrally called) was always a well-known and sacred area to the local shamans. He explains how in the “time of the grandfathers,” only the most powerful shamans would come to the Boiling River to commune with the spirits— most people would not dare come into this area for fear of jaguars and powerful river and jungle spirits. With deforestation encroaching on the area and poachers taking their toll on the wildlife, Maestro Juan explains that the jaguars have been killed, and the spirits who least tolerate humans have left the area to go deeper into the virgin jungles. Still, he continues, many very powerful jungle and river spirits remain, making the Boiling River area their home. The name “Mayantuyacu” was chosen to honor the spirits, “mayantu” for the spirits of the jungle and “yacu” for the spirits of the water. Mayantuyacu’s work is built around the principal that these spirits are willing to teach us about the medicinal plants and heal people, as well as work with us to defend this jungle. Together, spirits and humans at the Boiling River seek to heal people, build deeper connections between humankind and Nature, conserve and expand upon traditional knowledge, and protect the Boiling River and its surrounding jungle.
While Maestro Juan oversees Mayantuyacu´s healing and spiritual side, his wife Sandra Encalada, a former nurse, oversees day-to-day affairs.
To learn more about Mayantuyacu, and their work in traditional Amazonian knowledge and healing, please visit: