Maestra Estela comes from the Shipibo community known as Santa Rose of Denmark, located eight hours from Pucallpa by boat. She was born in 1972 and raised by her grandparents, both shamans and healers. As a child, she was introduced to medicinal plants and had her first encounter with Ayahuasca at the age of 14.
At the age of 20, Maestra Estela's grandfather transferred the power of medicine to her before his death, thus initiating her as a curandera or 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.
Now, with more than 25 years of experience in Shipibo medicine since being initiated by her grandfather, Maestra Estela has reached renown in the Amazon for being truly a master curandera. She has completed many intense tests including dieting 14 months with the medicinal plant Camalonga, two years with Toé Floripondio and two more years with Piñon Colorado. In addition, she completed a six month intensive diet of light, a test resembling uninterrupted, isolated meditation. She is recognized in her community as the master of light.
Maestra Estela is the mother of 4 children. Her 14-year-old daughter Ronibensho (Amerita) and her 10-year-old son Reinihue (Ray), are also studying master plants under the tutelage of their mother and grandparents. Her brother Roldan, an aspiring curandero, also works at the center and provides guests with insight into the Shipibo traditions.
Photo by Tracey Eller for @CosmicSister