The Amazon (Ayahuasca) section of this programme will take place in the Mishana Private Retreat Centre where we have 57 Hectares (140 acres) of land with a lodge in the Allpahuayo Mishana Nature reserve.
Retreat Programme 1. March 8th - 14th incl.
As a prologue to the Amazon retreat this optional week expands on our work with the shamanic tradition of the Andes. Working with San Pedro Maestro Shaman Juan Navarro, and Coca Leaf Diviner & traditional Healer Doris Rivera Lenz. This is an opportunity to experience the rich and powerful spiritual legacy of the Andean civilization which is only now being properly recognised after 500 years of obscurity
The Andean Venue: Santa Eulalia
Santa Eulalia is a tranquil valley lying one hour inland from Lima at around 800 meters. Although surrounded by very dry hills, irrigation enables lush gardens to flourish all the year round and there is usually sun and pleasant temperatures. The valley is 50 Km North of Lima and is regarded as the gateway to the central Andes. The valley is home to many species of birds including endemic varieties, and the area is a highlight for bird-watching tours.
Our Lodge consists of about a dozen bungalows with cooking facilities (so we can make our own teas and coffees etc) set in attractive gardens where we can conduct our meetings and ceremonies. Food is good and largely vegetarian. There are also excursions to visit local caves, and ruins.
The Maestros we will be working with at our Andean Retreat
DORIS RIVERA LENZ
Doris has lived in Cusco for many years conducting ofrendas and reading coca leaves for dozens of people every week - both local as well as from far flung places. She has worked with many of our Eagles Wing groups on Peru journeys so far.
The coca leaf has been sacred to Andean people since the dawn of pre-Colombian civilization. When asked about the source of the information she divines from them, she says:
"They give me such a powerful awareness it is as though an energy comes into me from just touching them. I invoke Mother Nature and the spirit of the coca, and with just seven leaves, the answer comes, as though through an open doorway."
An ancient method of diagnosing illness, still common in Peru, is to rub an egg over the body of the patient. Doris is gifted in this tradition and will prescribe remedies which include medicinal herbs.
After preparation we will take part in a dawn 'ofrenda' which is the most important ceremony used by Andean Indians to relate with Mother Earth. There will be talk and discussion about such ideas as Pachacuti (the Andean concept of time), Andean myths, and healing methods, also practical healing and divinatory sessions plus the opportunity of private sessions with Doris.
We will work again with maestro Juan Navarro to meet the spirit of San Pedro, a gentle and powerful healing medicine, which was of central importance to early pre-Colombian civilizations, such as the Chavin, 800BC, and the Mochica, 500AD. To these primordial people the cactus itself was considered the God Achuma.
Juan Navarro was born in the highland village of Somate, department of Piura. He is a descendant of a long lineage of healers and shamans working with the magical powers of Las Huaringas. These Sacred Lakes stand at 3,500 meters and have been revered since earliest Peruvian civilization.
During the all-night sessions Juan works untiringly with his two sons in an intricate sequence of processes, including invocation, diagnosis, divination, and healing with natural objects, or artes. The artes are initially placed on the maestro's altar or mesa, and are an astonishing and beautiful array of shells, swords, magnets, quartzes, objects resembling sexual organs, rocks which spark when struck together, and stones from animals' stomachs, which they have swallowed to aid digestion!
The Amazon - Ayahuasca, Plant Spirit Shamanism, and Yoga Retreat
Our lodge is located directly on the river which is part of a 58,070 hectare nature reserve. Due to a combination of geological factors and diverse soil types, the reserve supports a unique community of plant and animal species. It is the 'jewel' in the crown for bird-watchers and contains dozens of species which are unique to this area. The Reserve contains one of the highest biodiversities known in the Amazon basin. The Lodge is located directly on the Rio Nanay which is a tributary of the Amazon River. Our lodge is situated in-between two bends of the river giving an amazing panoramic view . We have our own boat so trips can be made to some interesting, and extraordinarily beautiful places along the river.
The lodge is a 2 hour river journey from Iquitos by power boat. We have the dedicated services of maestro shaman Artidoro Aro Cardenas. Included in the program are individual personal healing or consultative sessions based upon your personal needs by our shaman. The maestro will also provide experiential teachings about the fascinating medicinal and psycho-spiritual properties of the local plants. Participants can choose their plant medicine which will be made fresh for them. Our accommodation is in comfortable traditional cabins or tambos (dieting huts), a leaf roof supported by poles and with open sides (the most intimate way to sleep in the jungle). The beds benefit from a comfortable mattress and fly nets when necessary. The tambos are spread out to assure privacy and minimum disturbance from others.
Participants have a choice of using either the cabins in the 'Casa Grande' annex or tambos for their retreat. During the day when there are no activities, there will be hammocks to relax in, and you can read, or wander into the forest, or swim in the river (there is a small sandy beach). Our ceremonies and meeting will be held in either the Casa Grande with an open platform on stilts directly on the river with a magnificent view of the rainforest and star filled sky. or our maloca (ceremonial temple), a large circular tambo made of natural materials and shaped like a womb. We will eat our meals in the lodge, the traditional meeting place, where food is cooked on a wood fire.
Single Accommodation One of the unique characteristics of this programme is that we offer single accommodation throughout both in the hotels in Lima, Iquitos, and at our Centre in Mishana. This ensures that participants can obtain the maximum benefit from their encounter with the plants. The Diet really needs to be taken in solitude and personal retreat without distractions. This is a defining characteristic of this programme. Typically other programmes do not offer this and dormitory / shared accommodation is usually the rule. Our Tambos (individual accommodation huts) are all different and are spread out, some with more isolation than others and we also have individual accommodation rooms in the wing of our Casa Grande for those who would prefer being close to the main facilities.
There are photos on the web or I can send pictures on request. Our intention in this journey is to provide the conditions and orientation to enable participants to follow a proper diet, and for it to be as near as possible to what indigenous people have done for thousands of years, (although we can avoid unnecessary hardship, in any case a diet is not a trial of endurance). The diet is a journey of self-exploration and the maestro is there to give support, It is more important that the shaman is an evolved and impeccable person, who will guide us to learn for ourselves and benefit from our experiences in safety.
Participants will undertake to 'diet' a plant for a full six to eight days, selecting their plant from a range of options which will be explained by the maestro and depend on individual requirements. Some plants are good for specific ailments as, for example Chuchahuasi for arthritis and other bone conditions, although there is always a magical world opened up by the plant spirit. Other plants have specific spiritual benefits. Chirisanango and Ushpahuasanango, for example, open up the heart and are healing to emotions. Guayusa works very curiously on one's dreams, affording an experience of being conscious while in fact asleep or dreaming.
The plants used will all be compatible with Ayahuasca so that we can benefit from the plant diet during Ayahuasca ceremonies. There will be a programme of talks, exercises, individual sessions and group meetings without prejudicing the spirit of the diet. This is a way to learn from observation and intimate contact with nature, practical artistic exercises using local materials. We will participate in the gathering and preparation of Ayahuasca, a prolonged ritual in which power is invoked from the planta maestra. We will learn about healing plants and how to find them.
The Shamans We are very delighted to have secured the services of some of the most experienced shamans in the region, during our Retreats we will work with one of the following shamans;, Artidoro Aro Cardenas, Javier Arevalo and Leoncio Garcia.
Artidoro Aro Cardenas We have worked with Maestro Artidoro on our previous Amazon Retreat, and again we were greatly impressed with his knowledge of medicinal and power plants, and his compassion and support for the participants. Although Artidoro is Mestizo he has lived amongst the Ashaninka Indians for many years, and has learned their languages which result in that many of his chants come from a variety of indigenous groups including the Ashaninka, Cashibo, and Capanaua .He has started his own centre near Iquitos.
Javier Arevalo We have worked with Javier many times on our Retreats, we also brought him to the UK for a special Amazonian Medicine camp in 2002. We are greatly impressed and moved by his dedication, and his commitment to the demanding rigours of an Amazonian shaman.It is fair to say that everybody who has worked with Javier has been touched by his kindness, compassion , humour, and spirit
Leoncio Garcia The Shipibo maestro is now in his mid 70's with the appearance of a man in his 50's. He was born in the Shipibo community of San Francisco by Yarina Cocha (an oxbow lake near Pucullpa). On a number of occasions he has worked with medical doctors in various cities in Peru. Don Leoncio also founded a healing centre near Nina Rumi on the Rio Nanay.
Benjamin Ochavano Is a traditional Shipibo (elder shaman). He is in his late seventies. His chants (icaros) sung in the Shipibo language are extraordinary, beautiful and powerful.
In 2008 we will be holding two Retreat programmes, our dates are;
Retreat Programme 1.
March 8th - 14th incl. - San Pedro, Coca , and the Spiritual Traditions of the Andes.
March 15th - 29th incl. - Amazon Retreat, Ayahuasca, and Plant Spirit Medicines.
Retreat Programme 2.
July 19th - August 2nd incl. - Amazon Retreat, Ayahuasca, and Plant Spirit Medicines.
August 3rd - 9th incl. - Optional Extension week.