Principles: Tradition, Security and Ethics
Our Amazonian retreats are unique and faithfully follow the traditions of the Peruvian Upper Amazon (the program, medicinal preparations, rituals, aftercare, food, song, accommodation).
Above all, this tradition conveys important knowledge. It makes it possible to alternate between the visible and invisible world in a safe, lasting and profound way.
Facilitators are present day and night throughout the duration of the retreat.
Our frame of reference is rooted in respecting the differences in individual personalities, ethical care, cultures, pace of change, psychological and physical safety, and freedom to believe or not to believe.
Concretely: the originality of our retreats
Our retreats place importance on:
- the combination of traditional Amazonian, Andean and European, plants.
- being accompanied as you navigate unusual sensory experiences. The team visits the participants on a daily basis as well as carrying out a personal assessment (on the 9-day retreat).
- a limited number of participants.
- the anchoring and integration of this experience into the daily reality of European societies.
Changes introduced since 2017
- A personalized accompaniment is proposed in order to decipher the sensory experience experienced. The team visits the participants on a daily basis and at the end carries out a personal assessment.
- The number of participants has been lowered.
- Retirements last longer (9 days now instead of 8 days).
- Sometimes, a 5 ½ -day retreat can also be proposed.
The preparation and follow-up of the retreats by the team is spread over the whole year. After each retreat, the team takes stock. These retreats follow a dynamic of renewal and enrichment.
The team decides in December to plan or not to plan a new retreat for the following year. Continuing to offer retreats from one year to the next is never automatic. This provides a certain amount of autonomy. Every new retreat must remain a unique opportunity.
Conditions of participation
To participate, it is necessary to respect some practical conditions specified in the registration dossier.
In general, this work demands a good physical health, a certain psychic flexibility, and an open and generally benevolent mind.
Temporary fatigue, emotional expression and insights are inherent in the traditional retreats of Amazonian medicine.
What is a genuine retreat?
The word retreat is now widely used…
However, a retreat is not just a workshop or a seminar. It is more: it is the fact of withdrawing freely from the outside world, in an isolated, natural, silent and supportive place. Like the mystics, hermits or shamans, a true retreat implies a solo isolation away from any form of diversion, noise, pollution. It often involves changing your diet to promote introspection and regeneration.
A retreat allows, among other things, to return to the outside world as better match with its being.
In recent years, some aspects of Amazonian culture have seemed to inspire many imitators in northern and central Europe. However, it is important to differentiate existing approaches.
Except for tobacco purges, we do not organize very short events (session in just one day: their effects of too short events would be superficial).
Some northern European countries are inspired by the culture of healing to offer events which have more of an artistic flavour (than a focus on healing), centered on a natural desire for conviviality. Unfortunately such events lack structure, roots, ambition, progress and do not include one-to-one follow-up sessions… This means participants are less able to make progress. Some curanderos give a term for this pattern: ‘eso-tourism’ (from esotericism and tourism). This practice dilutes the impact of Amazonian medicine, does not bring about lasting personal change, disappoints the legitimate expectations of the participants, and ultimately results in a waste of their money, time and energy.
Refocusing on yourself
We do not use CDs or electronic music. Our team includes a music therapist / singer with a dozen specific instruments at his disposal. The songs and the music are subtle tools always at the service of the healing and are therefore in harmony with the plants.
The number of participants is deliberately limited.
The framework allows participants to focus on themselves and allows plants to work.
Deep desire for change
Our choices are based on:
- unlimited blockages and deeply engrained patterns (synonyms: engraved, imprints / memorized / emotions set in stone): the length of the retreat: 5 or 9 days will allow you an extended time to focus on this emotional work.
- sessions continue during the day by adequate plants and rest.
- sunlight and dry weather.
(temperature of 20-25 degrees).
- a landscape with lots of trees.
- the silence of the location.
- a separate space for sleeping.
- tailored one-to-one counselling and containment.
- an alkaline monodiet, gluten free, industrial sugar and salt free.The goal of our diets is to open the door to lasting liberation for profound transformations.
Questions to the music therapist & curandero of the team.
“Songs and music have a structural importance”
What instruments do you play during this retreat-diet in Europe?
I use to play the didgeridoo, the guitar, the charango, the maracas, the jalopy, the kalimba, the udu (a pottery drum), the whistling vase, the sicu (a pan flute), the quenacho, the moseño.
Can all kinds of music support a ceremony?
Songs and music have a structural importance in a night ceremony (plant of the rainforest). They can drive the ceremony in different directions. The leader of the ceremony must tune in with the group, react to the group, to the insights of the plant. Some icaros can calm, others can unlock the ceremony. I never use recorded music on a CD. This traditional medicine is thousands of years old, linked to its lineage and its Amazonian origin. It’s important that the ceremony leaders use their own icaros, the icaros of a traditional healer, because it is the appropriate vibration.
That is what the New Age [providers] don’t understand, sometimes! That is why people who play or sing any type of music are not aligned with the spirit of the plant, they ignore this tradition. What they offer is anything but an night ceremony, and even carries certain risks on energetic levels. I am a university-educated music therapist (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina). I work in the subtle planes, with the energy of the body, trying to open the spiritual dimensions for everyone. The question is not to make music, but traditional Amazonian medicine.
What is the reaction of the participants to your music?
The music I play seems to calm and to contain. For example, a smooth icaro accompanied by the guitar, can raise the feeling of the ‘let it go’. Singing a traditional icaro with maracas helps in vomiting, in offloading negative energies. The sicu helps with visions and opens other levels of perception.
How did you analyse the behaviour of the participants in Europe?
The participants doe a very deep work: they react well. My feelings are that the Europeans seem less flexible, more in their heads, rational and sometimes do not dare to let go and surrender to the energy process engaged to dare to face their traumas, fears and blockages.
Regarding the solitary outdoor day session (plant of the Andes) : I think it went well. This marvellous plant really did a great job. In our retreat schedule, the andean plant marks key ‘before and after’ moments in the whole energy process. I think that participants should trust themselves, we who take care of them, and the process. If not, there is no opening of any kind; it doesn’t matter how much medicine you take, it is all about opening the heart!
Distinguishing the approaches
What is a genuine retreat?The word retreat is now widely used…
However, a retreat is not just a workshop or a seminar. It is more: it is the fact of withdrawing freely from the outside world, in an isolated, natural, silent and supportive place.
A retreat allows, among other things, to return to the outside world as better match with its being.
‘Traditional medicine’ and Conventional Medicine‘Traditional medicine’ differs from Western conventional medicine but does not oppose it. Traditional Amazonian medicine comes from ancestral knowledge and is practised by ‘curanderos’.
Body & soul
The principle of healingThe principle of healing is traditional care using energy, which contributes to overall wellness. It focuses on the unseen causes of ill-being. The “healing” is different from the official notions of “treatment” reserved for the medical world. The tradition of South American healing is the product of cross-breeding and blending of traditions.
A part of shamanismThe word ‘shamanism’ is widely used in the world today… It actually covers many different traditions and practices.
Role of purging
Why ‘curanderos’ use perfume to cure?The shamans ‘perfumeros’ treat by blowing perfume on the body of the patients, by ‘blowing’ (‘soplar’ in Spanish) as it is done with the smoke of tobacco.
Reaching our consciousness
Just like animals at night, it allows us to locate ourselves in space and time during the night session. It also gives us the possibility to better integrate and digest the auditory and visual perceptions received.
A shield against discomfort
In the other world of visions of the Amazonian corianders, olfaction becomes a tool of learning, as much as the vision. The olfactory feelings of the curandero are accompanied by symbols and give valuable information.
Finally, for the curandero, as for the participants, the evanescence of the light scent will make it possible to find land, to return to port, to dock on the banks, with a finally pacified spirit. This is also the essence… of these flower essences.
SpiritualityThis word is used a lot…
What ‘spirituality’ can mean in the context of a retreat:
- Freely questioning the meaning of life.
- Let be surprised by a new representation of the world.
- To root his approach in a corporeal experience and a verbal accompaniment, (Spirituality is not opposed to psychotherapy or conventional medicine).
- To welcome silence, trees, nature, simplicity as auxiliaries of awareness.
- Freeing engrammed memories, conditioning to go towards an emancipation.
- Going more autonomy, fewer dependencies, less avoidance.
- Discover what animates us (work, quality of life, relationships, place of life), how our vitality is embodied the best.
- Discovering that what we believe to be separate goes in concert: the body and the mind, the feminine and the masculine, man and nature, the self and its environment, the visible and the invisible.