Tobaccospirit runs traditional Amazonian medicine retreats. These retreats are the fruit of an independent initiative born in the Netherlands in 2014.
These new retreats in Europe rely on important Amazonian plants for personal growth by promoting the awareness and cleansing of energy.
For several millennia
They are inspired by diets (‘dieta’ in Spanish) carried out for several millennia by the Indians of the Amazon basin who retire to the forest for several days to purge themselves, to recharge their batteries, and to find inspiration.
In Native American culture, a retreat involves isolation in nature, surrounded by trees, silence, taking medicinal plants, internalizing and resting.
Ecological & spiritual hermitage
As part of our retreats, participants live a kind of ecological and spiritual hermitage, far from pollution, noise, stress, and all forms of diversion.
Retirement is also a mono-diet with a vegetarian / vegan diet based on quinoa, whole rice, potatoes, lentils, green vegetables and seeds.
The program of these retreats is rich and intense. In paricular, it implies respect of ancestral rules.
- Traditional retreats facilitate the liberation of emotional entanglements, the renewal of vital forces and the awakening of spiritual forces.
- They make it possible to see insights clearly, so the individual can be freed from illusion, and one’s life purpose can be revealed.
- In doing so, they bring the body and the soul closer together, the feminine and the masculine, the self and its environment, human and nature, memories, the present and a desirable future, the visible and the invisible.
The ‘dieta’: a comparison to help understand the process
Among other things, the traditional Amazonian diet suppresses salt. The salt separates, differentiates the body from its environment. By excluding salt, and after following a precise protocol, the energetic (non-physical) body opens subtly, becoming available to the healing powers of nature.
In the absence of salt…
There is a comparison curanderos make for fun between the traditional Amazonian diet and a western surgical operation:
- the tobacco purge resonates with the pre-surgical preparation because it cleans, protects, and strengthens.
- the absence of salt conducive to the opening of the energetic body is similar to the role of the incision.
- the vegetal food, the silence of nature, the oxygen of the trees and the quality of sunlight create a safe and regenerative environment like the sterile operating theater. This is why a diet cannot take place in a noisy, cold and polluted urban area.
- the night and day sessions (Amazonian plants, sacred songs and music, perfumes) would play the role of a form of ‘energy surgery’.
- the recovery of salt, at the end of the diet, does the work of a suture on the energetic body after the ‘operation’.
- the post-diet intervenes at the same time as the rest period, after an intervention (integration of the healing process).
This is of course a symbolic comparison. The traditional Amazonian medicine is based on processes of energy and spiritual healings: the curanderos never practice any surgical operation of any kind.
Trees, rest & brain
Stages of a retreat-diet
- heightened awareness
Who are the retreats for?
The retreats are aimed at motivated adults who wish to:
- find clarification on existential questions (relationships, work, health).
- move beyond a difficult patch, a depressive state, or an absence of meaning.
- find a solution to fatigue, stress, anxiety or burn-out.
- free themselves from addictions (soft or hard drugs, internet, smartphones, sugar, games, etc…).
- repair a lack of relationship or improve existing relationships (parent, relative, partner, colleagues…).
- develop their lives in a more structured way, be pro-active, and not let emotions stagnate.
- accept what needs to be accepted.
- overcome invisible barriers that limit the individual on a number of levels.
- assist grounding in reality, improve concentration and memory.
- decipher transgenerational blockages (family secrets, burdens) draw together and process life experiences into a cohesive whole.
Why work with these plants?
Several plants have been chosen. These are the major plants of the Amazon and the Andes (see picture). Certain european plants are also offered to participants.
They each play a special role and interact together.
The Tobacco juice purge takes place indoors in groups. It highlights the four elements of earth-water-air-fire, and has the ability to cleanse and harmonise energies in all living things, and in humans in particular.
Ceremonies (plant of the rainforest)
The ceremony (nighttime indoor group sessions) are based on a major female plant of the Rainforest. According to the Amerindians, the plant is linked to the world of spirits. The plant works with the elements of water and earth, making it possible to powerfully reconnect to the ‘Source of Life’, likened to the ‘matrix’ in order to become aware of its life, and any blockages.
The solitary outdoor day session (plant of the Andes)
The solitary outdoor day session is based on a major solar plants of the Andes. The plant brings fire and air elements that wisely complement the land and water dimension of the night session.
Among these is Rose Juice, a plant linked to Femininity (and for Christian curanderos to the Virgin Mary), which works on the opening of the heart and removes thorns from emotional wounds.
During the day, support plants are suggested and offered to participants.
They strengthen and help to give structure to the body, like for example tree bark juice of the Chuchuhuasi.
These new retreats are the result of an independent initiative born in the Netherlands in 2014.
The team is composed, among others, of a Clinical Psychologist who is also a Curandero (healer), a Music Therapist who is also a musician, a Psychoanalyst who is also curandera/tabaquera (a healer using both tobacco and rose juice), and an organizer-facilitator.
It mixes different pathways and several nationalities both South American and European. It is also the story of a meeting of minds, a coming together in common vision and purpose; a complementarity.
The reason for these retreats is both energetic and spiritual:
‘Spiritualizing the body and embodying the spirit’
24 hours a day
The team is present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the retreat, available at all times for participants.
After returning home, we can answer questions (via email, Skype) that may arise. Online group conversations are also available in Europe.
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.