Huaringas: Land of witches

On the north coast of Peru, in the province of Huacabamba (Piura), surrounded by the enchanted Huaringa lakes, lies the most important centre of shamanism in Peru. During their oniric rituals, the witches or shamans drink a potion made from the San Pedro cactus which conatins mescaline, and with this they have astral journeys which allow them to see the patient's problem or pain. The witches have pacts with the lakes and hills, and use their power to fulfill the requests of their visitors; break up or reunite couples, bring good fortune to businesses and cure unknown diseases.

Sheltered by the darkness of the night, they perform the rituals inside their gloomy houses, using objects such as swords made of silver and bronze, diverse herbs and the heirlooms of deceased ancestors. Many people come to this remote place from other countries, or travel from the rainforest or sierra of Peru to find the solution to their problems or fulfill a powerful desire. The fact that most of them go back grateful indicates that their desires have become reality.

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