Dieta & Plant Immersions

Jun 28 / Jules Hatch
We are intricately, intimately, and innately woven into the fabric of creation. Our connection and interdependence with nature is embedded in our DNA. When we slow down and observe, we find we have a natural reverence and connection to nature, plants, elements, and all the creatures that surround us. The recognition of this relationship dates back to antiquity. 

For me, to love nature is to love myself, and to love myself, is to love nature. I learned who I am through witnessing the reflection of the Earth. My journey with herbalism and plant medicine started when I was very young.

At the age of 20, I moved to Peru to study permaculture and quickly found myself immersed with indigenous, Amazonian tribes. It was through witnessing their relationship with nature that I was able to awaken that memory within myself. Their deep reverence, care, connection, and love for the world around them opened a deeper understanding within me of how connected we are with all of life. 

…. The sun had just arisen, and the sound of praise and song filled the village. I went to greet the day and witnessed the local peoples praying… elders, mothers, children, hunters,... everyone.. giving thanks for the invitation to a new day.

Over the last 10 years, I have lived with various indigenous peoples and, from my experience, there is a common thread between their ways of life. They all speak with the plants; communicating with them on a multidimensional level, receiving information around who they are, their personalities, and the multitude of ways they work on the human body. They make offerings before they harvest and spend intimate time with the plants. It is not simply a relationship of “what can you give me?/how can you heal me?” but a deep friendship, an ally, a lifelong partner.

“Dieta” is a Shipibo term from the Amazon jungle that simply translates to “Diet.” It is a process that includes time in isolation, generally anywhere from 9 days to 2 years, “dieting” or engaging with a specific plant and its spirit. During the dieta, one abstains from salt, sugars, and oils, eating a very simple and bland diet. The dieter puts all their attention on the plant. During the dieta, an energetic connection is established between the spiritual consciousness and physical energy-body of the person dieting the plant and the energy of the plant spirit. 

Reasons for going into dieta vary. Some people go in to increase their abilities as healers/practitioners. Certain plants enhance the healer's sight in the spirit world and allow practitioners to better see what’s going on in the person’s body. Other plants offer psychic and energetic protection. If a patient comes to a shaman with something big to heal, often the shaman will put them into a dieta, so they may integrate the medicine on all levels, getting to the root cause, and therefore becoming well.

For me, dieta reflected the deeper layers of how herbal/plant medicine is working on human beings. Not only does working with plants exchange synthetic drugs for natural medicine, but working with the plants also allows us to heal on a multidimensional level, leaving a more long-lasting and deeper imprint.

Each plant holds its own unique doorway of consciousness. The plants hold the ability to shift one’s mind, body, and spirit, to take us to the root of what caused the imbalance in the first place. In this way, old traumas, and places where decisions, emotions, and energy have become stored in the person's body can be witnessed and untangled. The plant dieta gives space for and invites these memories to come forward so that the person can be fully healed. In addition, they have an ally (the plant) to be with, ask for help, and form a deeper relationship with while healing.

During the dieta process, it is also important to watch one’s dreams, for it is during dreamtime that many messages and symbols from the plant will appear. 

During waking time, the person dieting spends much time in their hammock; listening, processing, singing to the plant, and witnessing the life around them. Each dieta is as unique as the person and the plant that is involved. Like life, the dieta is a work of art, to be created and written through the silent presence of dedication and curiosity.

If you are really craving to connect with the plants, you really can't go wrong with Amanda Nicole's Plant Attunement classes where she guides us in 'sitting' with the plants and intuiting not only their healing potentials but personal messages they may have for each of us. You may also want to check out the classes with the late and beloved Jolie Elan, M.S. - Language of Nature and Intelligence of Nature
The information provided in this digital content is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. Matthew Wood, the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism, ETS Productions, and their employees, guests, and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.