I have been asked several times why we only hold 7 retreats per year with smaller groups and I wanted to take some time to share openly and from my heart about my perspective after my many years working closely with Ayahuasca, both for my personal healing and facilitating others.
Throughout my 7 year journey with the medicine I have sat in both larger ceremonies with 25-50 people, as well as smaller intimate ceremonies. I have sat both with highly trained indigenous healers as well as a number of times with beautiful musicians. I personally wanted to experience both ends of the spectrum to see for myself where I felt I would receive the deepest healing working with Ayahuasca.
For me, it became very clear that with less energies present in smaller ceremonies, it opened the space of vulnerability and safety inside of me to go much deeper. Ceremonies being held by authentic indigenous healers whom have spent a lifetime learning how to properly see, understand, and clean energies, allowed me to truly focus on my own healing. The last time I ever sat in a ceremony with over 25 people I drank what would have normally been a strong serving of medicine and I barely felt anything. I just couldn't connect. The next night I drank the same medicine and the exact same dose, but with a group of 12 people and it was a VERY strong ceremony.
This brought confirmation for me that the medicine was guiding me in the direction of working in a more focused and intimate space.
Ayahuasca is a plant medicine gifted to us by Mother Earth for healing. The spirit of this medicine illuminates our shadows and brings traumas to the surface unlike anything else I have ever witnessed or experienced. This should not be taken lightly. The more and more time I dedicate to my own learning through plant dietas with our Shipiba teachers or maestras, the more and more I see and understand the energies in ceremonies in ways that I couldn't perceive before.
There is a reason why the healers study for decades and continue to diet for several months of each year. Knowledge is power, and as long as someone has a good heart with good intentions, that power can bring extraordinary transformation and healing. In most healthcare professions people are required to complete 5 plus years of schooling before they tend to their patients. The doctors coming from the Amazon are equally dedicated to their training and the ongoing evolution of their skills.
Moving on to the other question of why we limit our number of retreats to 7 each year when many Ayahuasca centers pretty much have constant retreats happening throughout the year. It is not my intention to push anyone's buttons with this or point a finger at others. This is just me speaking openly and honestly from my experience. We are committed to quality over quantity. Anyone making a financial gain from serving sacred plant medicines needs to have very clean and clear intentions. If the well-being of the ceremony participants, healers, and those facilitating are compromised in order to make money, I believe the sacredness of Ayahuasca healing is in serious jeopardy.
The reality is that facilitating and holding an integral space for people to go through such deep healing work, takes a lot of dedication, patience, self-sacrifice, self-care, and a very deep commitment to be in service to others and the plants. I have been there... facilitating way too many people without proper space for myself to process the intensity of the energies, and over time I watched my empathy slipping through the cracks. At a point it all became too much and I actually started to feel disconnected from Ayahuasca and the beautiful guidance she always had offered to me. Without that deep connection to the medicine, one cannot be a good facilitator. Ayahuasca trained me to become a facilitator. I learned to guide and support others by passing through and overcoming some of the most difficult moments of my life while working with this medicine. Every bridge I crossed in my own healing gave me insight into how to help others. The value of good facilitation while working with Ayahuasca can often times be overlooked.
I want to know that our small team has the time and energy to always support those joining us before, during, and after the retreats in their fullest capacity.
If we have the time to rest, continue with dietas, and advance with our own medicine path, then we can show up in the best way possible for those who drink with us. I will never compromise the level of care we offer in order to fill retreats. My life would have headed in a much different direction had I not followed this calling to Ayahuasca. Part of the immense gratitude I will always have for this path, means staying committed to sharing this medicine in the best way I know in my heart to do so. I've always had an affinity for the small family environment and it makes me really happy to hold this in the way we serve medicine too.
For more information about this powerful and ancient healing work and our Ayahuasca Retreats and Women's Ayahuasca Retreats in the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Peru please visit our website: https://www.treeoflightretreats.com/
Check out our YouTube channel for a range of testimonials and reviews from past participants of our Ayahuasca Retreats: