You are invited to journey to Mayantuyacu, located deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle alongside the sacred boiling river Shanay-timpishka, for a 12-day Ayahuasca & Plant Medicine Retreat. Mayantuyacu is a center dedicated to the study of sacred plants and the preservation of indigenous knowledge and is the home of the Asháninkan curandero, Maestro Juan Flores. This trip will be guided by Robert Tindall (author of The Jaguar That Roams the Mind and Sacred Soil: Biochar and the Regeneration of the Earth).
To enter the rainforest and engage in the practice of plant-based shamanism is to embark upon an ancient and time-tested approach to the healing of many modern diseases of body, soul, mind, and spirit. It is deep, committed work that can bring about radical transformation or lay important foundations in one’s own healing process. I have been an apprentice of Juan Flores for around 15 years and have documented a number of radical healings that the Maestro has done in the course of his work, including of an inoperable brain tumor. Yet, it’s the deep work that matters at Mayantuyacu. The opportunity to realize the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas:
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
That’s the ceremonial work! Yet, the joy of these pilgrimages is in the community and the nature cradling Mayantuyacu. It’s an opportunity to enter that state which anthropologist Viktor Turner called liminality, where our hardened, habitual ways of being begin to fall away and we enter communion with one another and the cosmos in a sacred place. It’s good!
By way of illustration of the profound healing capacity of Mayantuyacu and the work of Maestro Juan, let me share this account written by a pilgrim on a recent journey:
My name is Vangelis and I was a young man with a secret. During childhood I was victim of sexual abuse from a family member. That abuse had a lasting effect on me. I looked and acted like the happiest person, but inside me there was a child scared of almost everything. Refusing to follow the normal therapy route (prescription medication) I searched for alternative methods to treat my wounds. And then I learned about Ayahuasca and its miraculous healing power and I felt a calling, like the spirit of the plants were calling me to try it and be “saved” by it.
This is when I came across Robert Tindall and the interview he gave to VICE magazine. The message of the interview was very clear: Ayahuasca is a powerful medicine that can make wonders but it advised readers to exercise great caution to find the right shaman and the right healing center, far from tourist traps.
I felt an instant connection with Robert, like I had found a mentor. A few months later he announced that he would lead a men’s retreat with Brian James into Mayantuyacu for 12 days. I immediately contacted him and asked to be part of this adventure. Two months later I found myself in Mayantuyacu with Robert, Brian and 3 other pilgrims.
Mayantuyacu is an earth bound paradise. You feel you escaped the real world and entered Narnia, as the center is located next to a boiling river in the middle of the rainforest. Everything works towards your healing. First and foremost there is Maestro Juan, the amazing shaman who no words can describe how good he is in what he does. Then you will be assisted by the most caring crew, taking care of all your needs. And then there’s Ayahuasca.
An Ayahuasca ceremony is like a university lecture where the medicine is the professor and you are the student. It was the most challenging “adventure” of my life. My whole body, mind and soul suffered. There were moments I wanted to give up as it made me face all my demons. But it was by facing my shadows and my trauma that I was able to be “reborn” and now I feel like I’m a new person, a better version of myself. You leave every ceremony with a powerful lesson you must apply in your future life. That is where the healing happens: In the aftermath. Ayahuasca gives you the key, and it is up to you to open the door.
What happened in those 12 days changed my life. And Robert’s pilgrims are like the “Fellowship of the Ring” heading to Mordor to destroy the ring. But Mordor and the ring are nothing but your bad self, and your traumas. And Robert is like Gandalf, the knowledgeable “wizard” leading you and protecting you on the journey to find your real self. And become happy.
My name is Vangelis. In the jungles of Mayantuayacu my name became Nunzio. And this Vangelis/ Nunzio is no longer a young man with a secret. The trauma is part of him but no longer paralyzes his life.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you wish to learn more about the eco-system of this retreat center, I invite you to watch this video: