The Temple is a traditional medicine healing center. We are not a ‘tripping’ or tourist center for experimenting with what some would pigeonhole as a hallucinogenic drug – we work exclusively with high-level Shipibo healers offering genuine, deep, traditional Amazonian shamanic healing.
We welcome guests from all walks of life. Far from being ‘tourists’ our guests are people who are seeking to address unresolved issues that often significantly affect their well-being from a spiritual healing system that unfortunately is not (any longer) available in their home countries.
The word ‘tourism’ stigmatizes both the sacred healing work we carry out, and our guests, who certainly do not come to the Temple for recreation or a holiday. The cost to attend an ayahuasca retreat at the Temple that often changes one’s life is significantly less expensive than spending up to tens of thousands of dollars on healthcare in the West.
True healers of the Amazon are a walking encyclopedia of knowledge of the plants and techniques for healing all manner of illnesses.
One of our objectives is to ensure that this system and knowledge is not lost. We work with healers whose practices are oftentimes and sadly ignored by other Shipibo folk who have succumbed to the pressures of modern life and the promises of the pharmaceutical medical paradigm.
Indigenous healers across the planet are record keepers and custodians of an ancient system of working spiritually with medicinal plants – with their spirits. The wisdom and deep spiritual and medical understandings that arise from decades of practising this complex system cannot be patented.
Unfortunately, this knowledge is rapidly being lost due to missionary activities, pharmaceutical drugs replacing traditional plant medicines, industrial development practices and the Western socio-economic model that has spread throughout the Amazon.
Many indigenous people now live as hostages to an economic growth model that disrespects and abuses their rights as well as brings severe social and environmental contamination.
Ironically and sadly, many Peruvians, whether mestizo or indigenous, are turning their backs on their ancestral cultures, their old ways of life, traditional medicine and even their indigenous identity.
The growth of ayahuasca centers in the Amazon is taking place in this context. It is meeting demand from people around the globe who are seeking to find answers to health issues and spiritual questions that are not met in their ‘developed’ home countries.
Increasing numbers of people are coming to the Amazon in search of traditional medicine. In many ways, this demand is restoring and revitalising these ancient practices, whilst it also comes with some challenges too.
More and more Amazonian people are recognizing the commercial potential of becoming a healer and are motivated to learn about their own healing culture due to financial interest.
The Temple only works with honest, well-intentioned, experienced and kind healers, ensuring that guests are not susceptible to unscrupulous ‘shamans’ operating with hidden agendas and unethical practices.
We take the risk away from the pot-luck search of finding a healer in the Amazon Rainforest.
Unfortunately in the Peruvian Amazon (and outside of the Amazon), there are both good and ‘less than honest’ shamans. Money again is a key reason for this corruption (as well as overt interest in sexual relations, control, praise, and power).
The Temple has developed its reputation through working with meticulous levels of integrity since our inception in January 2007 and by working only with genuine and caring healers in a safe, protected and compassionate environment.
The Temple envisions its healing work within a broader framework of social and environmental responsibility. As such, we are also the primary funding mechanism for the Peruvian non-profit organization:
The Chaikuni Institute of Permaculture
The Chaikuni Institute of Permaculture was established by the Temple in 2012 as a non-profit organization and educational hub working for a truly sustainable future for the Peruvian Amazon. Through the union of ancient indigenous traditions with contemporary permaculture design, we teach and apply regenerative community-based development practices in Amazonian communities.
We seek to challenge models of development in the Peruvian Amazon that value life only for its contribution to economic growth and not social and environmental well-being. These models have historically excluded the traditions and cultures of indigenous peoples as well as ignored the environmental (in)sustainability of development.
We promote community development that supports and is in alignment with the protection and regeneration of natural ecosystems and the preservation and restoration of indigenous culture and traditions.
We envision a new direction for development, in and out of the Amazon, that supports place-based economies comprising small, locally owned enterprises that function within a community-supported ethical culture, engaging people in producing for the needs of the community and its members.
Through our ongoing support of the Chaikuni Institute projects, as well as our own community-based initiatives over many years, the Temple is a long-standing and successful demonstration of this vision.
A ‘Spirit-Assisted’ Healthcare Model
From 2015 to 2019, we hosted a landmark research project studying ayahuasca as a therapeutic tool in modern society with the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service (ICEERS) and the Beckley Foundation.
Our collaboration studied the long-term effects of ayahuasca on quality of life, well-being, and health, with sub-sections on anxiety, depression, grief, and PTSD. The study is unprecedented and the results are highly significant. It also provided valuable feedback on Temple program satisfaction.
Outside of retreats, we also work with indigenous and local people here in the Peruvian Amazon. Due to our outreach commitments carried out through the Chaikuni Institute, for over a decade, the Temple has established close relationships with many indigenous leaders across the Peruvian Amazon, from community chiefs (apus), and leaders of local and regional indigenous federations, to the President of AIDESEP – the national indigenous federation of the Peruvian Amazon.
The vast majority of these encounters culminated in ayahuasca ceremonies together, often with a focus on providing healing for indigenous politicians struggling to defend their lands and rights. We have also welcomed congress-people from the Peruvian parliament who attended ceremony with us at the Temple.
We also hold monthly ayahuasca ceremonies for our local staff who all live in the surrounding villages. Most of them feel called to work with ayahuasca for the first time when starting to work with the Temple, after having previously been convinced otherwise by the legacy of missionaries’ and evangelists’ activities in the Peruvian Amazon.
The growth of interest in Amazonian traditional medicine can be a positive development provided it is managed with integrity. We are dedicated to raising awareness about the deep value and importance of traditional Amazonian medicine and to ensuring that it is not exploited or used for manipulative purposes.
The Temple has been seen for many years as the leading ayahuasca healing center in the Amazon – a socially and spiritually responsible healthcare organization that has had a significant and demonstrable impact in affecting social change, raising awareness about the Amazonian healing traditions, and protecting and regenerating our local environment.
We are honored to serve as a model spiritual healthcare organization that benefits the greater good of the community at large, in and out of the Amazon.