The Kumankaya Legend

In the ancient village of Kumankaya, Peru, the mystical Noyarao (the flying tree) once grew. At night, the leaves and fruits of the Noyarao glowed under the starlight. During the day, the leaves would move without wind, and the fruits of the tree burst forth when bathed in the warmth of the sun. When the fruits opened, the seeds fell into the river where the fish ate them. Thereafter, the fish began to fly like birds. It was magical. People were amazed: “Surely God has given us medicine to fly like birds,” they said “maybe if we spread the seeds along the entire village's perimeter, the whole village will ascend to Heaven so we can thank God with an abundance of song and dance”.

So the villagers decided to juice the leaves and fruits of the Noyarao and spread the liquid all around the village. That night, the people waited with anticipation. Finally, they fell asleep only to be awakened by the earth trembling as the whole village started to elevate. The slow climb continued for some time until the entire village was flying through the air. However, the settlement did not reach Heaven as hoped. Instead, the village of Kumankaya ascended to a realm between Heaven and earth, where the villagers became spirits but were still deeply connected to the people of earth.

Thus, the villagers of Kumankaya are known as the enchanted people, chaikunibo, who fly through the air as great spirits and protectors of the perfumed jungle. They are known to have great knowledge, and sometimes they visit humans to share their medicine. The sound and movement of their descent to earth formed the lower Ucayali River and created the hill of Kanchawaya as well.

When we were trying to decide what to name our retreat center, we remembered this legend about the floating village. Since most of our structures are built off the ground, we decided that the name Kumankaya would be a perfect fit. In addition, the name also pays homage to our medicinal lineage and training.

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