PlantTeachers panelist, moderator, host.
Ayasmina is a lawyer, translator, interpreter, and researcher active in the areas of constitutional law, aboriginal relations, and ethical standards. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political theory and modern languages, and received her Law degree in 1995. Unlike many of her colleagues, Ayasmina did not commence her legal career right away, choosing instead to focus on a variety of interests, most importantly raising a family with her husband of 21 years, whom she met at law school.
While their children were small, Ayasmina remained primarily at home with them, and also assisted her husband in work on issues of aboriginal self-determination. This included participating in multi-party negotiations and restorative justice circles; advising Indian bands and tribal councils on matters such as joint ventures and settlement proposals; and liaising with the private sector, mainly in the areas of environmental conservation, resource management, and exploration. Ayasmina and her family lived chiefly on reservations in remote communities, occupying the traditional territory of the Tribe to which her husband and children belong. During that time, Ayasmina also taught at the local high school and worked as a poverty law advocate through the Community Advocacy Office she established to service these outlying areas.
Hailing from an intercultural background, Ayasmina has long been an advocate for human rights and cognitive liberties, and has always valued promoting tolerance and diversity across societal boundaries. She loves to travel, learning about regional customs and cultures along the way. She has a passion for languages and is fluent in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
In 2002, Ayasmina embarked on a year-long trek across South America with her husband and two children, then aged three and four. Over the following months, they traveled due south from Venezuela to the mid-point of the Amazon River, and boated 1,000 miles downstream to where the Amazon meets the Atlantic in a crush of silt and salt. They then acquired a retired highway bus, removed all 52 seats, and equipped it with hammocks, a water cistern, and a camp stove, and proceeded to spend the next several months driving the entire coastline of Brazil. From there, they veered inland through Paraguay and Argentina, finally turning northward again, where the torrid lowlands of the Parana river valley eventually gives way to foothills, and ultimately peaks, some 12,000 feet strong: the literally-breathtaking Andes of Bolivia and Peru. It was an unforgettable adventure, seminal in every sense, and an initiation into her life’s vocation, just as she had hoped it would be. For it was during this time that Ayasmina came to know firsthand the existence of sacred plants and their ability to unlock the untold potential of human life.
Upon her return, Ayasmina became actively involved in various cross-cultural initiatives designed to promote global awareness of indigenous rights in relation to the politico-environmental issues of the Amazon and the Andes. To that end, Ayasmina has served as cultural attachée, educator, interpreter, and translator at several conferences and events in Peru and abroad, helping to give voice to tribal elders as they attempt to share ancient technologies and wisdom with the rest of the world. In 2007, Ayasmina co-produced a documentary entitled “In Search of the Divine Vegetal,” which examines domestic and international efforts to preserve the Amazonian rainforest and its treasures, along with the indigenous people who are its custodians.
It was inspired by the awe-inducing ability of traditional healers to cultivate, identify, prepare, and administer thousands of species of native medicinal plants and who, with their timeless knowledge and devotion to the well-being of their communities, form the cornerstone of all aspects of tribal societal life. Due to Ayasmina’s extensive interviews with Amazonian healers, spiritual leaders, scientists, and doctors, which she conducted in Spanish and Portuguese and later translated to English, this documentary continues to be a valuable source of primary information on the subject.
Over the past thirteen years, Ayasmina has returned to South America on numerous occasions to continue her work, her studies, and her personal development. More often than not, this has been with her two children in tow, who, now on the verge of young adulthood, are poised to become aware and involved global citizens themselves. Committed to hands-on endeavors, all three traveled to Nicaragua in March 2014 to work on a mobile medical unit with Humanitarian Efforts Reaching Out (“HERO”), a group of doctors dedicated to serving the needs of remote and impoverished communities. This remarkable group treated hundreds of patients a day, working tirelessly in the unrelenting heat to provide general medical services, nutritional support, and vision testing to people who had never known any type of health care and who live in conditions of extreme poverty, malnutrition and disease.
Ayasmina has also done considerable research and public speaking in the areas of civil rights and the freedom of conscience and religion as guaranteed under the Constitution. Her most recent work in this regard has been in the area of legislation, policy, and autonomy concerning the safe, ethical use of and access to sacramental and therapeutic plants. Ayasmina is also active at the community level, attending meetings, talks, and workshops aimed at enhancing mutual understandings of diverse cosmologies, methodologies, and the universal mores which underscore the preservation, secure passage, and ethical underpinnings of plant intelligence. Ayasmina’s time in the Amazon jungle has instilled in her a deep reverence for traditional plant medicine, which has formed the basis for her personal spiritual practice and her work with others. Ayasmina recognizes the importance of teaching, sharing, and growing as a planetary whole, wherein each individual has the opportunity to become part of a current of conscientious evolution engaged in mindful collaboration with Nature.
Ayasmina hopes, at this Visionary Convergence, to be able to share the values that have shaped her and her family, and to learn from each and every person of the gifts they have acquired journeying in the light of their ancestors.
Shadows, Darts & Spirits: shamanism & the darkness not typically discussed
Moderator: Ayasmina Flores, JD
This panel presentation will speak to dangers that may arise from unsafe use of plant medicines, vulnerabilities that may arise when in the effects of plant medicines, susceptibility to influence and abuse, including sexual misconduct, and practices that utilize plant medicines for harm.
Shamanism: Icaros & Sound Healing
Moderator: Ayasmina Flores, JD
Icaros, sacred songs of the plants, sound vibrations, and music as mechanisms for facilitating shamanic experience, effecting healing, clearing negative energies, will be discussed by the panelists.