The music in Ayahuasca: the icaros

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January 31, 2022

In the Amazon, "Ícaro" is the name given to the chant or melody used by healers during the ritual work they perform. Without literal translation in Spanish, Quechua or any other language of the area, its meaning in the operative plane is much more profound and important: the shamanic chant is the healing weapon, the wisdom and the vehicle of the personal energy of the healer, the symbol of his power.

The action of "icarar" implies "charging" with the shaman's power an object or potion, conferring it with some specific property to be transmitted to the receiver, be it cleansing, protection, healing, harm or to influence his will.

This is done by chanting the Icarus directly over the transmitting object or substance. The object will then be sent to the person concerned and the substance ingested in the case of liquids (potions) or the smoke blown if it is tobacco Icarus.

The Icarus is a fundamental part of the Amazonian healing work. It summarizes the shaman's knowledge, constituting his healing patrimony, his work weapon and the inheritance he leaves to the apprentice. Being the vehicle of his energy, its efficiency depends to a great extent on the preparation of the healer through diets, ingestion of purges, life regimen and integration of ancestral wisdom.

A master does not transmit to his apprentice "techniques" or formal instruction but accompanies and guides him to grasp the knowledge that is predestined for him. As part of this teaching, he gives away "his" icaros.

Each shaman is the owner of his icaros, as he is the owner of his experience and wisdom, having received them in turn from his teacher or directly from nature. It is common for healers to say that the things they know, including the icaros, have been learned in dreams, in visions or have been given to them by plants.

They say that in these states of consciousness induced by concoctions of "master plants" they have captured the melody, without will or reasoning, feeling that it imposes itself and many times in an unknown language.

At the moment of healing, generally, it emerges in the same way. Neither the words nor the understanding of the text of the icon are essential, but the melody is, and the healer must feel and share its spirit. If he/she is in tune with the ícaro, he/she will know when, how and with whom to use it.

The ícaros used by shamans have very simple lyrics, alluding to certain plants, animals and elements of the local landscape that possess power or symbolism.

At present, many of the iccaros contain Christian syncretism and biblical allusions. Most of them are written in Spanish, Quechua and other dialects according to the origin of the oldest masters, although some are only monochord and very repetitive melodies.

How do the icaros perform?

We could say that like the Mandalas in the oriental traditions, they act on certain energetic centers, by means of sound vibration, thus modulating the organic function, and that there is a subconscious knowledge that guides the shaman to choose the appropriate ícaro for each circumstance.

We could also say that the icon is a pretext for the shaman to transmit his energy... or that it is the message transmitted in the icon that heals.

There is no precise answer, it could be one or all of the reasons at the same time. Any explanation would frame within rationalism a phenomenon that transcends the rational and therefore would be valid only at a testimonial level and subject to experimentation.

During healing rituals where plant concoctions are used, healers guide the healing, modulate individual and collective energy, and care for the unity of the group.

Perceived under a modified state of consciousness, the icarus helps to metabolize visions, removes subjective contents on different levels, guides us in the work of self-exploration and at the same time is the link with the actual real plane. Although there is no precise sequence for these icaros, the shaman knows or perceives which is the right one.

The strength of the healer is seen in the efficacy of his or her icaros, which are captured on a physical level by each member of the group.

In Conscious Television we have traveled to the Amazon jungle to record our Ayahuasca Course, the medicine of the Soul, we will see its composition, preparation, ceremony and all the details of this ancestral ceremony.