Icaros, the songs of the shaman, are integral to the ayahuasca experience and direct the ceremony and the visions which may arise. The shaman has songs for each person's needs, the vibrations of which summon plant spirits and healing energies with words that tell of Nature's ability to heal.
For example, an icaro may call in the energy of a stream or sacred waterfall to wash away illness or that of brightly colored flowers with the power to attract good fortune. They may also call in the spirits of specific plants to effect healing and cleanse the energies of those in the ceremony. As the shaman sings you might even see these things in your visions (ayahuasca was once known by the scientific name telepathine because of its ability to work in this way). Another common experience is to see rainbows streaming from the shaman's mouth as he sings to you, becoming white light or healing colors as they enter your energy field.
Healing takes place as the vibrations of these songs rearrange the patterns, wave forms and frequency of your energy system, also empowering and directing the ayahuasca you have drunk so it can act with greater intensity and focus on your behalf.
As a result of this shift in energy you become, in a sense, a new person who can see and understand life from a new perspective so that any sadness, illness, anger or other unhelpful energies can be transmuted into ecstasy, well-being and love.
The singing of icaros is frequently accompanied by the shacapa a leaf rattle used to hold the rhythm of the song. Traditional bead and gourd rattles may also be used. These have a different sound, and therefore different energy than the shacapa, and are used to alter the effect of the icaro on the participants.
In addition to singing icaros, some ayahuasqueros use other musical instruments, including small harps, bells, or drums. The vibrational energy of these instruments are directed by the ayahuasquero to clear and straighten the energies of the participants. Icaros are not always used strictly for physical or energetic healing. Some icaros are sung simply to bring joy and happiness, to make the participants feel good and smile, which can be healing of another form.