Shiwawaku

Dipteryx odorata

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Purple medicine

Its bark, its energy, its appearance in ceremony.. Shiwawaku is fiercely purple.

Shiwawaku’s avatar is energy itself.

This gentle giant wears a soft outer bark that is quite colorful, in hues of pinks and greens and yellows.

Shiwawaku is often used for healing and protection in ceremony, lovingly covering and cradling you in its purple medicine while it brings into your awareness what it has to show you, reminding you that you are pure love and that you have everything you will ever need right inside your heart.

You may also see purple medicine around your crown and sense a tingling sensation there when Shiwawaku is present. It likes to open the crown, like each petal of the lotus flower opening, exposing and reminding you of your connection to the universe and universal knowledge — something that has always been there and is always there for you to connect to.

In the same way that it connects you to your universe, it can act as a bridge to the other medicine trees, bringing the connection of one unit of medicine trees into your awareness, which allows you to then explore the trees differently, as one whole spirit, like a forest of medicine trees.

I invite you to explore Shiwawaku more within your universe. Call on it, see what it has to teach you.

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6 photos in this gallery.

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Spirit Story

When I first met Shiwawaku in ceremony, I committed a faux pas and it then had to teach me a little something about forest etiquette.

As the shamans had often told us, the Medicinal Trees really enjoy the smoke of Mapacho, a tobacco that grows wild in the jungle. Mapacho is itself a sacred teacher plant, and the trees much appreciate that when you visit them, you also blow some smoke on their trunks.

One day I came across Shiwawaku in the forest and it occurred to me that I had never truly met this tree before. We’d shared the space in previous ceremonies, but we’d never really talked. So I placed an unsmoked mapacho cigarette next to Shiwawaku’s trunk, as a token of good intent and with the hope that we’d meet in ceremony that same night.

And so we did. There came a time that night when I felt a strong and fiercely relentless energy entering my head. It didn’t feel evil, but strangely.. pissed off. I wondered who or what was approaching me with such force, and then I knew: “Oh.. You’re Shiwawaku!” And in response I heard a deep, vast, and jarring voice slowly rumble: “Yes… I am Shiwawaku!”. My consciousness became engulfed in purple medicine as Shiwawaku asked me, why did I refuse to honor it by blowing smoke on its trunk? Why did I just leave Mapacho by its side, unsmoked? The tree was angry, but thankfully we worked it out, and it accepted my apology, that this was simply a case of cross-cultural miscommunication.

On the next morning I hurried into the forest and covered Shiwawaku in Mapacho smoke.