At the Temple, our priority is to provide a secure, safe, and sacred space for you to heal deeply and transform your life. Focusing on ayahuasca preparation before you leave for the Amazon is a critical aspect of the healing process; establishing a clear intention and ensuring you prepare your body and mind in the very best way to be able to receive deep healing. The healing will often begin before you even leave home!
Ayahuasca Preparation Guidebook
Our ayahuasca preparation guidebook contains tips, guidance and a roadmap on how to prepare for an ayahuasca retreat at the Temple. This guidebook comes from what we have learned since we opened in 2007, as well as includes our healer’s advice, based on countless generations of experience working with ayahuasca and plant-spirit medicines of the Amazon Rainforest.
A Spiritual Hospital
The maloka can be considered a spiritual hospital where deep energetic surgical healing is carried out each ceremony. The work is undertaken not just by the healers but by scores of plant-spirit doctors who are called upon by the healers, including the spirit of ayahuasca. Ayahuasca shamanism involves a three-way relationship between the healer (curandero/a), ayahuasca and the plant spirits. Without the plant spirits (and the relationship the healer has built with them), healing cannot reach into the energetic roots of imbalance, trauma, dis-ease and illness.
Ayahuasca preparation is therefore essential before you embark on a process of spiritual surgery. The more effort and commitment to preparation you give, the higher the chance you experience positive and lasting healing results.
Holding Responsible Ayahuasca Ceremonies
Ayahuasca healing sits within a vast and complex system of ethno-medical practice of the Amazon. Similar to Western medical training, healers learn through a long and arduous training process over a minimum of ten years to be able to hold safe, responsible and powerful ayahuasca ceremonies. We do not practice new age, pseudo shamanic, western therapeutic, or religious systems of ayahuasca that require significantly less training.
Trained healers know how to turn up or bring down the effect of the medicine – through the songs of the plants – not just by giving more or less ayahuasca. They understand how to protect all of the participants and the space in general. They have deep knowledge of the human system – psychological, subconscious, psychic, emotional, energetic, and physical.
The plant medicine-based, shamanic treatments we offer at the Temple support healing in all layers of our being, ultimately reaching into the tap roots of trauma and the source of negative thinking. Our highly skilled facilitators bridge the work of our healers and provide critical support to guests, where necessary, in all ayahuasca ceremonies we hold and throughout the day times of the retreat.
The more you can commit to ayahuasca preparation in advance, setting intentions, and preparing your body and mind for deep healing, the better!
Preparing Your Body and Mind
We provide all guests with extensive guidance on ayahuasca preparation before you leave home. We also offer ayahuasca preparation sessions with one of the Temple integration specialists, which for more complicated cases, can help to move through any concerns you may have. It is common to experience a surfacing of fears just before you attend a retreat at the Temple.
When onsite, we hold several group meetings before the work with ayahuasca begins. These meetings are critical to support the group to develop a sense of trust and safety, as well as provide essential advice on how to work most effectively with ayahuasca.
All ceremonies are preceded by a gentle yin yoga session at 7 pm, then the healers arrive at 8 pm to begin the ceremony. We encourage you to take time before the ceremony, and indeed throughout the retreat, to relax, meditate or engage in any personal practice to reflect, connect and integrate the work of the medicine.
Supervision and Attention
Our retreats are limited to a total of 24 guests, who are supported throughout by three Western facilitators, four Shipibo healers, and one Shipibo herbalist. We also have a friendly door sitter (a trained local staff member) who assists guests in going to and returning from the toilet and another assistant stationed outside by the toilet. The door sitter also sleeps in the maloka after every ceremony to care for guests until sunrise.
All other areas of the Temple are supported by our extensive local staff of around 50 local people, who take care of meals, cleaning, maintenance, permaculture, and security. Our security team carry out 24-hour control of the perimeter of the Temple and are stationed outside the maloka during ceremonies. At all times, night and day, we ensure that our guests are completely safe.
Participants are served medicine individually in front of the maestras, with one maestra always serving the medicine. The dosage is lower in the first ceremony for participants to build (or re-establish) a relationship with ayahuasca. The first ceremony is designed to be a ‘diagnostic’ that identifies what healing work needs to be carried out throughout the retreat.
We take things slowly with deep respect for the power and strength of the medicine to ensure that our guests are not thrown into an experience that is too difficult to handle without any prior contact with ayahuasca. The amount of ayahuasca that we serve each participant is guided, always, by the experts, the Shipibo healers.
Logistics and Protocol
Shipibo ayahuasca ceremonies are always held at night in the maloka. The main maloka at the Temple is a large round building where the healers sit on mattresses in the middle of the room surrounded by a circle of guests sitting on mattresses facing inwards towards the healers throughout the night. There are a few essential items we request each participant brings to ceremony:
- Flashlight/torch with a red-light setting
- A jacket or jumper and a blanket
- Lighter/matches – if you want to work with mapacho
- Bottle of water – to swill your mouth with / drink after the ceremony has been completed
- Rao Ininti – flower water that we give to you at the beginning of the retreat
- Meditation cushion
Outside of Ceremony
We provide a caring and friendly atmosphere to support you throughout your process. We hold group sharing circles on certain days after ceremony, as part of a carefully designed daily program that treats your time out of ceremony with equal importance to your work inside of ceremony.
Most of our guests experience an emotional and psychological rollercoaster ride throughout an ayahuasca retreat and our experienced facilitators are on-hand, when necessary, to guide integration during the day following a nighttime ceremony.
The healers, who are focused on shamanic cleansing during the nighttime ceremonies, also carry out a wide range of other, critical healing practices during the day including vapor baths, plant baths, energetic massages and plant remedies. All of which work in sync with our ayahuasca healing ceremonies.