£472raised of £2,592 target by 12 supporters

Weʼre raising £2,592 to help fund my trip to Takiwasi to study how music is used in Amazonian traditional medicine for healing mind body and spirit

London, United Kingdom

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Update: 09/02/2018

🙏🙏🙏 Friends and familia thank you for reading! 🙏🙏🙏


Since posting this project in September a lot has changed - I've been accepted as a student by the Takiwasi Centre for the Treatment of Drug Addiction and Research on Traditional Medicines to carry out my project. I'm reeeeally honoured, excited and just a little bit daunted by this opportunity and I'll be doing everything in my power to make this a valuable piece of work which I hope will help to grow bridges of understanding between different healing modalities for the health of all of us on this beautiful planet

For 25 years Takiwasi has been producing some of the most innovative research into Amazonian traditional medicines, healing and indigenous spirituality- work which is doing an amazing service to all in raising awareness of these invaluable traditions, the power of these natural medicines, and of their legitimacy. If you haven't seen their work, check it out!

Takiwasi Centre

My project - now sitting with the UWE university ethics committee (*gulp!*) -will be a phenomenological study of experiences of Amazonian healing songs - phenomenology is the study of lived experience. Many of you who have experienced Amazonian traditional medicine know that the songs and music heard can play an absolutely HUGE role in the healing. My aim is to uncover details of how people experience these songs individually and how the songs affect their broader psycho-emotional healing journeys.

Thank you SO much to those of you who have put your confidence in me already by helping towards this project - you have already made this trip possible and I am so grateful for that. Since starting the planning for the trip in September I have been working on many different avenues for funding.... and I still have a way to go!!

So if you feel called to support, please share this page - and please give me a shout any time with questions or comments

Thank you so much dear friends & familia

Viva las plantas sagradas

🌎 🌎 🌎 🌎 🌎 🌎



Lots of love & stay in touch!



September 2017

Increasing numbers of people in the West are waking up to the fact that Amazonian shamanic traditions hold powerful keys to health and healing on all levels of the person - from the physical and emotional to the psychological and spiritual. These centuries-old approaches to healing are vastly different from Western medical treatments and music is usually an intrinsic part of the process.

Now in the final stages of a Music Therapy training, I am inspired by a vision of bridging the wisdom of indigenous, shamanic healing techniques with aspects of Western, evidence-based music psychotherapy; to deepen the understanding of the use of music for healing, and eventually to bring that knowledge to people seeking healing and personal transformation.

Although the Amazonian traditions are currently little-recognised in mainstream Western culture, there is growing evidence for the extraordinary potential for some of these ancient methods. Confronted in the West with failing health systems and the chronic preventable ‘diseases of civilisation’ the need for alternative and complementary healing modalities is huge.

I first came across Amazonian shamanic healing techniques in around 2008 when I was seeking alternative treatments for depression. From this very first taste of shamanism the music seemed to heal, guide, and uplift me – as if finally hearing something that had been missing from my life until that point. It helped open doorways to dimensions beyond the individual self, gave courage to look beyond personal sufferings and to feel the deep interconnectedness of all living things.

In my own life, participating in music in shamanic ceremonies has helped infinitely more than the Western pharmaceutical medications I’d previously tried and become addicted to. To experience this ancient traditional knowledge of music and plant medicines together in a ceremonial or ritual setting under the guidance of a shaman is an experience that can't easily be rationalised, but it is a space which can hold the potential for the healing of pretty much any ailment, be it physical, psychological or spiritual.

I had the privilege of visiting the Amazon in 2015 and 2016 to experience the healing traditions of two indigenous tribes; the Shipibo in Peru and the Shuar in Ecuador. It’s hard to convey the beauty of the Amazon, but it was a life-changing trip.

When I started studies in Music Therapy in 2014, I knew that I wanted to bring my experiences of shamanic music & healing into the training. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to bridge between Western and non-Western ways of thinking. Amazonian indigenous world views hold an understanding of the spirits of animals and plants, and of humans’ place in relation to nature which might seem crazy to your average Westerner, but at this critical time for the planet their wisdom desperately needs heeding.

I am going back to the Amazon in January 2018 to undertake field research as part of my MA. The focus is to study in more detail the types of music used in shamanic ceremony - both traditional and more recent / hybrid styles; the instruments, the songs, their meanings, the ways in which they may be played or sung ‘into’ the body, used to facilitate ‘limpias’ or cleansings, or chosen to address specific ailments or transform subtle energies and moods. I plan to make audio recordings and gather interview data, to analyse these and make transcriptions.

I am still in the process of designing the project but it’s looking like I will start out using a qualitative phenomenological approach alongside musical analyses. I’ll aim to turn it into a publishable Masters dissertation by Sep 2018 and will present the research publicly. My vision of many years is also to apprentice to some of the practical & musical techniques of the region. This is a prayer that is bigger than myself and my deepest thanks go out to all those who feel called to support me on this journey - I'll stay in touch & keep you updated as I go.

With awareness of the complexities of working in this area, the pledge I am making is to carry out this project with careful ethical consideration, full informed consent from any indigenous and mestizo cultures involved and deepest respect for the natural environment they belong to. The Amazon region faces many threats through mining, oil & natural resource exploitation, and this project will be carried out in the spirit of protecting and defending its priceless traditional knowledge, intangible cultural heritage and environment.

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  • Maya Sherwin3 months ago
    Maya Sherwin

    Maya Sherwin

    3 months ago

    A huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far, I've been so touched by your generosity! <3 And now super excited that the amazing Takiwasi centre in Peru have agreed to support the project 😊 They are a totally innovative centre who for 25 years have been bridging between indigenous healing traditions and Western medicine & psychotherapy to treat drug addiction and mental health with fantastic success rates. Felt so blessed to get this news - SO much to learn there_/|\__/|\_Thank you Great Spirit. Gracias a dios._/|\__/|\__/|\_

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  • Maya Sherwin5 months ago
    Maya Sherwin

    Maya Sherwin

    5 months ago

    It is the way of the plants; the way of nature which will see us through these difficult times on this planet. Excited now to be getting in touch with Takiwasi in Peru; they are doing incredible pioneering work treating addiction using indigenous traditions and western methods alongside each other http://www.takiwasi.com/eng/qs01.php carrying this vision for my own and for everyone's healing - please support me! grateful for all forms of support; ideas, insights, feedback, energy of financial abundance_/|\_ thank you so much _/|\_

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  • Maya Sherwin5 months ago
    Maya Sherwin

    Maya Sherwin

    5 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

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5 months ago

Maya Sherwin started crowdfunding

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  • Anonymous


    Oct 29, 2017

    It sounds a fascinating project. Good luck and love from Auntie Sarah😋

  • Rachael Leech

    Rachael Leech

    Oct 26, 2017

    Follow your dreams rainbow sister 🌈 I hope you raise the funds you need xx


  • nicholas malin

    nicholas malin

    Oct 16, 2017

    Blessings sister. I know this donation is small but I hope it goes towards your dream!!!


  • Matilda Dowden

    Matilda Dowden

    Oct 15, 2017

    You go, rainbow sister 🌈👭xxx


  • Wayne Roberts

    Wayne Roberts

    Oct 11, 2017

    A Friend of Tristan’s just sharing some love and paying it forward.


  • Chloe


    Oct 11, 2017

    Blessings in your beautiful project sister xxx


  • KatieStar Clare

    KatieStar Clare

    Sep 27, 2017

    Fly high little hummingbird. All sounds wonderful Maya. Would love to hear more. Maybe a cup of tea sometime? I'd also love to be involved in a music ceremony again too - it has been a very long time.


About the fundraiser
Maya Sherwin

Maya Sherwin

London, United Kingdom

Maya has an MMus in Ethnomusicology from SOAS in London and is two-thirds through an MA in Music Therapy from UWE in Bristol. She previously worked in neurodisability with music therapists at RHN and now works with students with special needs in a mainstream secondary school.

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