The foundation of our retreats is sacred plant medicine healing, with ancestral plant medicines from the Amazon and Andes. The two primary plants that we work with are Ayahuasca and San Pedro.
Ayahuasca has been used for thousands of years by a variety of tribes in the Amazon Basin to expand awareness and facilitate healing. Considered a plant medicine and sacrament, Ayahuasca is also known as la purga – the purge – for the powerful cleansing purges it brings. While the people of the Amazon work with thousands of healing plants and teaching plants, Ayahuasca is considered the master of them all, often called Mother Ayahuasca, or Abuelita, Grandmother.
Ayahuasca is always taken in a ceremonial context. Though the styles of ceremonies varies from one country and culture to another, most of the traditional forms of Ayahuasca ceremony involve working with the Medicine during the night, in darkness, guided by a facilitator who assists journeyers in the process through singing healing medicine songs, called icaros, and holding space for the healing process. The journey itself can be quite intense, and it is not uncommon for people to experience a total sense of dissolution and even their own death. Through the process, it is possible to release heavy energies that have accumulated through a variety of life experiences, as well as gain insight into one’s habitual patterns of thinking and living that are out of balance. By entering into an expanded state of awareness, participants are able to gain new insight and understanding that can initiate profound transformation in their daily lives, including shifts in thinking, emotional awareness, and sense of self. Physical healing can occur as well, although no results can be guaranteed.
If Ayahuasca is the Grandmother, San Pedro is the Grandfather. It has been embraced and honored as a healing plant in the Andes for thousands of years, and is a wonderful companion to healing work with Ayahuasca. Opening a profound connection with nature and the present moment, this cactus medicine is both expansive and grounding, and deeply embodied. Ceremonial work with San Pedro is done during the day in a quiet, natural setting, and provides a wonderful process of integration when accompanying a series of Ayahuasca ceremonies.
Our plant medicine ceremonies are guided by experienced facilitators with a lifelong dedication to the quest for healing and self-knowledge, and many years of experience in working with the Medicine. In addition to the facilitator of each ceremony, there are usually several people present to assist with the ceremony and to support participants as needed.
Personal preparation is important. In all ceremonies, we ask that all participants hold noble silence and refrain from engaging with each other during the ceremony. Intention is key in this work, as well, and we invite all participants to sincerely consider the reason they are called to be a part of this work. It is essential to understand that the preparation that participants bring to the work directly affects the process.
Some medications do not mix with this work, and we take the time to carefully evaluate this with all applicants ~ this includes pharmaceuticals, herbal and natural medicines, and over-the-counter medications. The safety and well being of all participants is our primary concern, and when necessary, we guide participants to consult with their healthcare providers about the appropriate course of action.
Dietary preparation is of equal importance. For those who eat cleanly already, the transition into the proper diet will be fairly straightforward. For those who indulge regularly in fried foods, processed foods, heavy foods, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, the preparations needed may take a bit more of an investment. We are happy to work with each participant in determining the best path forward regarding diet. Ultimately, in the preparation and cleansing you engage in before you join us for the retreat, you are preparing yourself to go deeper into your own healing process.
Just to be clear, plant medicine is NOT a drug, a “trip,” a cure-all, a shortcut to enlightenment, or a recreational experience. Plant medicine IS can be a helpful tool that supports physical and psycho-emotional cleansing, offering guidance and expanded awareness, and as a result, can facilitate healing and transformation. It is, however, merely a tool. The fullness of healing and transformation comes in the weeks and months following the retreat, where it is necessary to ground and integrate these experiences into daily life.