Ilumán yachaks (shamans)

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Among the more important rituals that are held in the San Juan community of Ilumán are the following:

Traditional cleansing: in this rite God is called through the saints and the virgin Mary requesting life and strength.  Also invoked are the hills such as Tayta Imbabura, Mama Cotacachi, Hijo Yanahurco and Mojandita. There are many energizing plants used in this ceremony in order to contact the goodness of nature.

The cleansing with guinea pig:  this serves to generally diagnose a patient.  It is believed that all illnesses will be demonstrated by the animal.  The yachac (shaman) knows the process is followed by a cure for the affected.

Passing of the Candle: this is done in conjunction with the guinea pig.  With the flame of the candle of the yachac (shaman) looks to see what medicine or ancestral treatment should be used as a cure for the affected.

The Fright: the fright cure consists basically of attracting a lost spirit of the patient that is lingering nearby.

The elements that are used for this ritual are: candles, guinea pig, traditional plants like wild fuchsia, nettle, red and white carnation petals, creams made of cures and liquor, among others.

The shamans don't have a typical wardrobe, but generally they wear white pants and shirt to signify purification.

The Yachacs have an association (Association of  Yachac´s, established in the Ministry agreement Nº 001666 the 8th of January 1997, Public Health Ministry) in the Ilumán community, where you can solicit services as required.  In case you want to appreciate special rituals, you should look to June, in the San Juan Pogyo locality located in the lower part of the community during the Inti Raymi festival.

Additional Info

  • Average temperature:


  • Elevation:

    2.660 m.a.s.l.

  • Activities:

    Spending time in the Ilumán community you'll learn about traditions and customs, it is a good place to take photographs.  Here mystic tourism is a new option that could be part of your itinerary.