You have secured your spot on what will soon prove to be a trip of a lifetime!
8 days and 8 nights of adventure travel and sacred medicine in the heart of Colombia.
Our location is one of the best in the world for the transformation that will come from our short week together. Guatapé, the lakeside home of our retreat, is known as the "Most Colorful Town in Colombia." It's filled with colorful houses, cobblestone streets and friendly locals and surrounded by the nature you need to reconnect with yourself. Combine this with the power of indigenous medicine and the tours we have planned and this trip has the potential to change the course of your life in a very real and lasting way.
We are so excited to experience this with you!
This is a serious trip for the most serious of adventures with some very real challenges - mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. We'll be in sacred ceremonies using medicines that have been used by tribes native to the Amazon for hundreds of years. Each ceremony will be facilitated by experienced shamans and guides to ensure the safety of all guests. The medicines are incredibly powerful, transformative and uplifting but not to be taken lightly. Please bring an open mind, a taste for adventure and a willingness to leave the lesser version of you behind.
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help answer any questions you may have before we meet in Colombia.
About the Medicines
Kambo, Ayahuasca, also known as Yagé, Rapé (pronounced Ra-pey), Sananga, Mambe & Ambil.
All medicines will be facilitated by experienced guides or Shamans to ensure respect for the process and safety of all guests.
All ceremonies will be conducted on-site at our retreat locations, except for the Ayahuasca/Yagé, which will be done nearby in the village of our shaman - Taita Giovanni.
All ceremonies are optional, but encouraged.
The sacred medicine Ayahuasca, or Yagé, is a brew of two plants which are native to the Amazon rainforest; the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of the Diplopterys cabrerana bush. The shaman prays over and sings to these plants for days as they cook together in water over an open bonfire, and it is largely those prayers that determine the healing power of the brew. Ayahuasca has been the cornerstone of spiritual and community life for many indigenous peoples in the Amazon for thousands of years. When used under the supervision of experienced healers in a guided ceremony, the brew is capable of creating profound moments of introspection, love, clarity, and self-knowledge.
The term Ayahuasca comes from the Quechua language, in which ‘aya’ means “soul” or “spirits” and ‘huasca’ means “vine”, therefore translating to “vine of the soul” or “vine of the spirits”.
Ayahuasca is believed to contain within it the spirits of all other plants, trees, waters and animals of the jungle. And while the components that the Ayahuasca brew contains may indeed produce visions and connect us to other energetic dimensions, it is medicine. As a medicine, it purges us what doesn’t serve us, relieves us of emotional baggage, opens spaces for new forms of creativity, and breaks thought and behavioural patterns which limit our growth as individuals.
Scientifically speaking, DMT is a hallucinogenic alkaloid that causes the altered states of reality and perception associated with Ayahuasca. It has a powerful effect on the central nervous system and on the visual cortex. This is what creates the feeling of being rewired from the inside-out, as well as the strong visual component of an Ayahuasca experience.
Science tells us that DMT is the active principle in Ayahuasca, responsible for the change in visual perceptions and non-ordinary states of consciousness. From a shamanic and spiritual standpoint, DMT is much more than that; it helps to activate what is already inside of us.
Ayahuasca helps us connect with our intuition and aids us on the journey from the mind to the heart. We connect with our inner sense of knowing of what is right, reaching clarity and receiving/ uncovering information relating to our life situation and actions/change we need to apply.
Shamans working with Ayahuasca have known for thousands of years what Western medicine is just now acknowledging - traumatic events are stored in the body’s cellular memory, and this can lead to physical, emotional, and mental health conditions.
In psychology, trauma is understood as an event which causes an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope. This might include anything from a sexual assault to being diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness to experiencing damaging events in childhood. When we experience these traumas, that residual energy stays in our bodies on a cellular level and is expressed in a number of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, disassociation, fear, and sadness, which then blocks us from physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental growth.
While we possess an innate healing process that lends us the ability to address this residual energy, it’s not uncommon for people from the Western world to be incapable of accessing that. Not only have we lost our connection to divine consciousness, both Western culture and medicine work to suppress symptoms, instead of addressing the root cause of the issue at hand.
This is how Ayahuasca heals. The medicine enables individuals to go deep within themselves to where pain, trauma and disease exist and subsequently release that residual energy. By healing energetic blockages in our mental and emotional bodies, we achieve physical healing as well.
As Ayahuasca gains popularity in the Western world, the most often recounted stories involve the intense visions and altered states of reality the medicine works through. But an Ayahuasca experience doesn’t solely take on the form of ‘seeing’. There’s also the potential for experiencing auditory visions, and/or profound feelings or insights.
Ayahuasca works differently with every individual and, even in the same individual, the experience will be different from ceremony to ceremony. Many have spiritual revelations about the nature of love, life and the universe, or receive messages about their life's purpose. Other times you may travel into the past, future or different dimensions, or make contact with spiritual, deceased, and other worldly beings who act as guides or healers.
It's best to set all expectations aside so to allow the medicine to give you what you need.
Kambo is a traditional healing ritual that calls on the medicine of giant monkey tree frog to bring about a deep physical, emotional, energetic and spiritual cleansing process. Kambo multi-level purification process returns you to a balanced, natural equilibrium by detoxifying and rebooting the immune system, releasing stagnant emotions, and eradicating negative energy held within your body.
Used for centuries by Amazonian shamans to restore balance to the body, mind, and soul, Kambo is a powerful healing ally for anyone looking to detox their life. Whether you’re seeking to heal addiction, physical dis-ease, mental illness, or emotional wounds, Kambo welcomes you with open arms and an invitation to step boldly onto the path of healing with a warrior’s courage and a shaman’s wisdom.
For centuries, the shamans of the Amazon have understood and partnered with this sacred frog medicine for healing, purification, stamina, strength and clarity, as well as to bring luck and positive energy into their lives.
The Kambo Legend
The legend goes that when the Spanish Conquistadors came to conquer the indigenous people of the Amazon jungle, they brought with them a lot of different diseases, like the Spanish plague. The indigenous people in these communities worked with many medicinal plants but none could help heal them from the plague. At the time, the Chief Shaman, went by himself into the jungle to drink Ayahuasca. Through the visions and effects of the medicine, he saw the spirit of the Kambo frog. Then he started to call the frog. The frog came to him and he was able to know how to extract the secretion of the frog. He brought it back to his people and they were able to heal themselves from the plague. This is how the medicine began to spread throughout the Amazon and heal different indigenous tribes.
Kambo has many powerful benefits – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. From a physical perspective, it is the most powerful medicine to detoxify the body and renew the liver. Kambo also enhances the immune system and rejuvenates the mind. Kambo is great for cutting addictions at the root, removing ancestral trauma and removing mental and emotional blockages. Kambo comes into the body, does a scan then works to release past traumas and negative emotions being stored in the body. This cleansing leaves a space for you to fill up with light, love and clean energy. All that we attract in life depends on the energy that we emit. As we experience difficult situations, trauma and negative situations our energy field gets punctured. Kambo restores the wholeness of our energetic field which allows us to become magnets to attract all of the beautiful things we seek.
Bufo is a medicine from the Sonoran Desert. It comes from the secretion of a toad, Bufo Alvarius, that lives underground for about 10 months of the year and only comes up to the surface to procreate. During these two months, the people who extract the medicine take the medicine which, similar to the Kambo, is the poison of the toad.
Bufo is administered through a pipe. It is dried and crystallized and then it's vapors smoked. The compound 5-Me-O-DMT, also known as "Molecule of God" or the "Spirit Molecule," is what we produce when we are born and when we die. Bufo is the most powerful natural occurring psychedelic known to man. Legend says that this is the molecule that pushes your spirit out of your physical body when you die.
Bufo’s hallucinogenic effects take hold very quickly—within seconds—after ingestion and last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. People who have taken Bufo often describe their experience as being one with the universe and feeling reborn. Some describe a fusion with God, a visceral connection with the divine source. Others experience colors, looping patterns, and a sense of connection with the universe/all beings.
Bufo is a powerful and potent psychedelic that comes from the Sonoran Desert Toad. It is the most transformative medicine we know of.
Bufo has the ability to completely dissolve the ego, putting us in a state of unity and providing a feeling of infinite unconditional love with all of life that surrounds us. Some say it facilitates a spiritual rebirth -- as in your soul goes to the source of creation and comes back with the insights, ideas and inspiration you need to transform your life.
A TRUE STORY
Check out an interview with Mike here.
When former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson first tried 5-MeO-DMT — also called “the toad” — he said it knocked him off his feet, profoundly changing his life. “I came across this thing called the toad. I smoked this medicine, drug, whatever you want to call it, and I’ve never been the same,” Tyson said on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast last year. “I look at life differently, I look at people differently. It’s almost like dying and being reborn… It’s inconceivable. I tried to explain it to some people, to my wife, I don’t have the words to explain it. It’s almost like you’re dying, you’re submissive, you’re humble, you’re vulnerable — but you’re invincible still in all.”
Rapé (pronounced Ra-pey) is a more subtle, introductory medicine that is offered throughout all of the ceremonies. It's also known as the “Tobacco Snuff” from the Amazon, primarily coming from Brazil and Peru. Rapé has a base of tobacco and then according to each tribe, a different concoction of different plants is put. The Rapé recipes are closely guarded secrets of each tribe.
Rapé is very good for grounding and for meditation. There are Rapé that are very good to cleanse the body, other are good to connect with the seventh chakra and receive information from the astral plane. It is a medicine that is very good for people who come to ceremonies and do not have complete clarity on their intention of what they need to receive from the medicines, rapé helps with this process and discovering what the intention/purpose is.
Sananga are eye drops that come from the extract of the sananga tree’s leaves. These drops are used in the different tribes in Brazil and Peru to give the people, especially the hunters, improved vision. The Sananga drops have the ability to clean the entire organ of the eye and decalcify the pineal gland -- the third eye. Sananga treats various diseases of the eyes including astigmatism and glaucoma. It helps the eyes heal and brings clarity of vision.
The Sananga drops are very good to close ceremonies because they also help release deep rooted sadness, anger, and depression. Sananga is considered to cure Panema, a spiritual disease that results from the accumulation of negative energies in the body.
These two medicines are very sacred plant teachers from Colombia. Mambe is a green powder that is made from ground Coca leaves and the ashes of the Yorumo plant. Ambil is a tobacco paste or tobacco honey. These two complementary medicines help us with communication – allowing us to open and express ourselves from the heart --- and they help us integrate the information received from all of the other medicines. Mambe and Ambil are shared post-ceremony to help bring the experience together and to help us connect to the experience of others in ceremony.
The combination of these three medicines is done in a specific order – Kambo, Ayahuasca/Yage, then Bufo. The body is the vehicle that needs to first be purified and cleansed which is why we start with Kambo. After the detoxification your ability to receive the Ayahuasca/Yage will be amplified, increasing the clarity you will receive and streamlining the healing process. Ending the retreat with Bufo allows for a rebirth into the world and an opportunity for complete transformation. Expect the possibility of leaving with your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies uplifted and empowered. But remember, the real work starts when you get home where you have an opportunity to apply what you’ve learned into your real life. The end of the retreat marks the beginning of your life.
In medical terms, Ayahuasca has few contraindications. Only if you have a serious cardiovascular disorder should you not take ayahuasca, as it slightly increases blood pressure.
It is very important to consult with a physician if you are taking any medication chronically, or if you have to take medication during the days of the ayahuasca session. The use of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs are contraindicated for the use of ayahuasca. Not only psychotropic drugs may be contraindicated; so might any drug capable of interacting with MAO (as MAOIs: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors).
If you have a chronic illness, it can be dangerous to stop taking the medication for some time with the intent to take ayahuasca. In this case it is very important to consult your physician.
If you have a history of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, psychosis, personality disorders, or bipolar disorder, taking ayahuasca involves a high risk, especially if your disorder is active. You should not go on this trip if you have any of the above.
Risks for Women
Women on their menstrual cycle should not participate in an Ayahuasca/Yage ceremony.
There are varying cultural traditions and opinions regarding the relationship between the medicine and the female menstrual cycle. In the Awa Ayahuasca / Yage tradition, the female cycle is a revered and sacred time in which a woman has a private and intense relationship with lunar energy. That relationship involves a purge or cleansing that replaces the need for medicine.
Combining any of the above with the medicines is dangerous and can be deadly. You should not go on this trip if you have any of the above.
About the Ceremonies
In the shamanic tradition, the Taita (Master Shaman) collects the plants required to make Ayahuasca before brewing the medicine. This is a very important process in which they call on the guardian spirits to protect the medicine and imbue it with healing intentions. This process takes days to complete and, in that time, the Taita will not eat or sleep. Their primary focus is ensuring that the medicine is strong and with pure energy.
During the ceremony, participants will purge any low vibrational energies into the ceremonial space. The Taita is there to act as the dominant energetic force throughout ceremony, directing these energies out of the ceremonial space so they’re unable to interfere with the energetic work of the other participants. Before, during, and after ceremony, he will cleanse and purify the space with the smoke of tobacco and other protector plants such as, sweet grass, sage, cedar, copal, and palo santo.
In the Amazonian regions of South America, the traditions surrounding Ayahuasca’s medicinal and spiritual use range according to ethnic group and geographical area. This means that the bodies of knowledge regarding the medicine are wide and varied. But across all this diversity, what remains constant is the importance of the Shaman in this process.
The importance of working with a Shaman cannot be understated. In the same way that Western doctors study for decades to perfect their craft, Shamans work with the medicine, energies, and spirits of Ayahuasca tirelessly before they can begin to heal others. Knowledge is passed from one generation to another, from teacher to student.
Shamans operate on the basis that the world is divided into two realms: the physical realm and the non-physical realm. Both of these realms exist side by side, and, through their extensive and intensive training, the Shaman learns to journey between ordinary reality and the non-ordinary reality of spirits and energy. Both of these realms come into play when working with Ayahuasca, and the Shaman is equipped to direct all the positive and negative energies, spirits, and guides in order to heal the participants in a number of ways.
A Kambo Ceremony has three parts.
First, we share different chants and songs to invoke the spirit of the frog. These chants come from the traditional people of the Yanawana tribe and Matse tribe, who are the Guardian people of this medicine.
Then the application of the medicine is done through a stick called akate. This stick punctures the first layer of the skin and then the medicine is placed on that opening.
This will be done fasted while you drink water to help facilitate the cleansing. Shortly after the medicine is placed on the skin, you will feel heat and become nauseous as the medicine grabs all of the toxins and traumas stored in the body. You will not feel well and will soon begin to vomit. In 20-30 minutes, the medicine will be taken off and the effects will immediately begin to subside.
We close with the application of another medicine called Sananga.
The whole ceremony usually lasts about an hour. We share music to celebrate at the end.
A Bufo ceremony usually lasts from 30 to 40 minutes. The medicine is smoked and the effects themselves last for about 15 to 20 minutes. It's a very short but very powerful medicine, in which people go straight into the astral plane. Sometimes recipients of the medicine experience visions and insights, clarity, or sometimes they go into a space of pure light and connection with the Creator. A Bufo ceremony is a symbolic rebirth and helps us re-establish our connection with the divine.
The integration process and how you proceed after the ceremonies is going to be the other half. A lot of people come in with expectations that just one ceremony or one retreat is going to change their life. In reality, the work begins after you're done with the process of working with the medicine. The true transformation begins once you return home to everyday life. With the awareness and insight that you receive through the medicines you have the opportunity to change the way you approach your relationships, work, health, and inner world and how you choose to react to the situations that life brings you.
The pre-ceremony process involves mental and physical preparation to receive the medicines, setting intentions and focusing on what we want to receive clarity on. In the medicine circles before and after the ceremonies we get the chance to connect deeply with one another, practice authentic communication and show ourselves in a sacred space, speak out our most intimate desires and worries, and commit to our wellbeing in a judgement-free and supportive environment.
The post integration process is also about integrating healthy habits into our lives that promote wellbeing and help us regularly realign to the teachings that we experienced and information we received during our communion with the medicines. This is the whole point of working with these ancestral technologies -- to live the life we desire and make our dreams come true.
We recommend that participants begin their preparation/diet at least seven days prior to drinking Ayahuasca and continue the diet for seven days after the last Ayahuasca ceremony. A minimum of 5 days before and after is recommended if 7 days isn’t doable. On one level, the preparation/diet involves shifts in the food that we digest, but equally important are the changes in what we ingest mentally and energetically. This is also a moment for us to connect with our intention for the retreat, what do we hope to get out of the experience and time to strengthen our resolve and commitment to healing and change.
More information will be provided as we get closer to the retreat but consider the following dietary restrictions:
More information will be available at our group call 2 weeks prior to the retreat.
Do your best with this list without being overwhelmed. Just be really intentional about how you're prepping for the week and you will be absolutely fine!
Check out the pictures of our accommodations. We'll have a private chef, Vanessa, who cooks amazing Colombian food so you can enjoy your meal with these lakeside views. In your spare time relax in the jacuzzi, swing in the hammocks or find some space for yourself to relax and reflect.
All ceremonies, tours and experiences are optional but highly recommended and dependent upon city and country travel restrictions.
What's Not Included
"I went on this trip not knowing what to expect. I just knew that I felt lost. I was confused about my life and didn't know what to focus on or where I'd end up. Now reflecting on the trip it's hard to describe what I experienced while in Colombia. Something deep inside of me shifted. The warmth of the people and the raw beauty of Colombia was enough to bring me back home to myself but the experiences I had just can't be summed up in words. I feel like I know who I am and why I am here. It's like I was searching always for something outside of myself but this trip showed me how to look within. I feel transformed. I feel connected and I feel so grateful for the team of people who put this trip together. I know it has changed the course of my life. If you are feeling lost, stuck or alone, I encourage you to answer this call to adventure. Go on this trip. You will be fully supported and I know it will change the course of your life in the most powerful and amazing way. Few things do I recommend with such conviction but if you are reading this I know this trip is what you have been searching for."
Get ready for the trip of a lifetime! Not much is required other than an open mind, a taste for adventure and a willingness to leave the lesser version of you behind. You'll be challenged - mentally, physically and spiritually - but gifted a new lease on life.