By Paul Robear
As I was recently reflecting on some of the key relationships in my life, I discoverd that an important mentor in my life, Ipupiara, (Bernardo Peixoto) had passed away.
Bernardo Peixoto was a Ph.D in anthropology and worked as an advisor to the Smithsonian Museum and the National Zoo. Born into his mother’s tribe, the Uru-e-wau-wau numbered 2,400. Today only about 40 members are left. Tribal Elders gave him the Shamanic name “Ipupiara” (‘Ipu’, as he was affectionately called) and a long apprenticeship as shaman and healer. They then encouraged Ipu to learn the ways of the developed world. Ipu earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology and Biology and besides speaking English, Spanish, Portuguese and he was fluent in eight indigenous dialects and acts as a bridge between cultures, serving as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institute and an advisor to the White House. Ipu also worked as a consultant to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and was skilled in the sacred ceremonies and expertly skilled in the traditional healing practices of several rainforest cultures.
My Wife Laura and I participated in many ceremonies he conducted and had long in-depth discussions with Ipu. We published an audio book of him telling his story. He said his tribe call themselves “The People of the Stars”. He shared the Tribal Elders’ Message about the world’s impact on the Amazon Rainforest. He shared simple techniques for purifying and protecting the home. Why the world is as you dream it. Focusing one’s intent. He would say often “we are all shamans” in training and hold this promise in our very DNA. He would remind us that shamans are human beings, not saints, nor magicians.
I will always be grateful to him for introducing me to traditional Amazonian shamanism, and for being a teacher of integrity.