Behold Retreats facilitates expertly guided plant medicine journeys for healing, inner
peace, and spiritual awakening.
The healing that Ayahuasca offers can be positively life-changing, and as the psychedelic movement grows in popularity, the options for choosing a retreat can be overwhelming. It's important to choose your retreat with diligence and care. Ayahuasca, when properly facilitated can help you to:
It sounds too good to be true, but these are just some of the potential outcomes of successful work with plant medicine. In fact, the use of psychedelics for healing have been around longer than recorded history, and almost all indigenous traditions in the world have some form of ritualistic healing that uses consciousness shifting substances and spiritual practice to gain profound healing wisdom, and personal growth.
After almost 60 years of prohibition, psychedelics are resurfacing with extraordinary momentum in western medicine, with institutions such as the Imperial College in London and Harvard University studying, for example, the anti-depressant effects of psychedelics and entheogenic plants such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and Ayahuasca. The results of these studies for treating mental health concerns such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, addiction, depression, trauma, and recurrent negative behaviors has been overwhelmingly positive - when administered in the right set and setting.
Who you choose to facilitate your Ayahuasca experience (or any psychedelic experience for that matter) could be one of the most important decisions in your life, and is a major factor in whether or not you get the benefits you're looking for.
This isn't like planning meditation or mindful yoga retreats. You are preparing to make a profound shift to your consciousness in a space of equal potentials for ecstatic empowerment and tender vulnerability. The competency and integrity of your ayahuasca retreat facilitators - all the way down to the person who cooks your meals - are not to be underestimated.
When your curiosity grows to the point where you start searching for experiences, you may find that friends and acquaintances are enthusiastic and quick to provide recommendations. These can be helpful, but ask yourself - do these people exhibit the energy that you wish to embody? Do they feel centered, grounded, and kind? If not, you might want to keep looking.
Working with Ayahuasca (and it's naturally occurring DMT) means opening the door to a world of infinite possibilities. One must be weary of seductive claims or facilitators who look the part, but lack the heart. By taking the time to choose the right experience, we honour the sacredness and intensity of this work, and thus take accountability for our own well-being.
When choosing an experience, think about the context you'd be most comfortable in:
You don't need to travel all the way to Latin America to experience this sacred ceremony. The best Ayahuasca retreat centers in the USA operate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), requiring that ceremonies be performed for religious purposes within the context and beliefs of that religion which provides legal protection. For this reason, and the fact that the majority of expert practitioners prefer to work outside of these limitations, most people choose to travel to destinations like Costa Rica, Mexico, or Iquitos or the Sacred Valley in Peru for a plant medicine retreat.
There's no right or wrong here, but in our experience, people benefit from working with sacred plant medicine in a context aligned to (or at very least not in contradiction with) the world in which they live. Indigenous healers are naturally more equipped to work with the needs of indigenous people, which may not always be relevant or useful for people from the West who are more inclined towards issues of depression, anxiety, PTSD, relationship issues, stress, disconnection from nature, etc. On the other hand, working with someone who comes from a long lineage of healers can be a once in a lifetime experience. It's all about your intention - what is aligned with your heart's true calling?
Regardless of what you choose, we highly recommend speaking to the ayahuasca centers themselves to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable, beyond just reading many ayahuasca retreat reviews online. Follow your intuition. There are many great centers out there, but maybe only ONE that's great for YOU.
Done well, the right ayahuasca retreat can be a transformative experience - a rebirth, if you will. Don't rush it.
We recommend taking at least a week for yourself in a beautiful, natural setting, and allow time for three or four ceremonies and deep connection with mother Earth. Take time to slow down. Allow the peace in your heart to blossom and take root. This makes all the difference.
If possible, take a few more days after your shamanic ceremony before returning home to help you integrate, reflect, ground into the profound insight you may now be carrying. Returning too quickly to family, friends, work, and familiar surroundings can make it more difficult to maintain the shifts that took place on retreat. At Behold Retreats, we offer integration coaching to assist in this delicate process of post-ceremony healing and lifestyle change.
Published research based upon 2,267 ceremonies has shown that ayahuasca:
To free ourselves of negativity, we need to do the mental and emotional work alongside an ayahuasca healing retreat. Most retreat participants completely overlook this proven fact - hopeful that ayahuasca alone is going to solve their problems.
It is famously said that Ayahuasca "shows you the work to be done, but doesn't do it for you."
Ayahuasca can help you see the door, but you need to know what door you're looking for, and how to walk through it. It's all-too-common for participants to report transcendent "life-changing" experiences and feel amazing after a five-star retreat, and then just a few weeks later, they go right back to their old ways, old habits, addictions, and struggles.
Same negativity of mind, same triggers, same old you.
This can lead to a cycle of years of retreat attendance with limited improvements to quality of life, and is often referred to as spiritual bypassing. This is very common in the ayahuasca healing space, and is precisely what Behold Retreats is here to address.
Behold's expert coaches and therapists will help you identify your mental and emotional blind spots, enabling you to set intentions that relate to the ego structure and the opportunities to improve everyday life, which will set you up for success on retreat.
If you'd like to learn more about consciousness and how to benefit from plant medicine, check out this preview from our 7-week life accelerator:
If you'd like to learn more about how to get more breakthroughs and avoid the common mistakes, years of retreats, and slow progress, check out our webinar.
If you're willing to take a short flight for a high quality retreat in nearby Costa Rica, Mexico, or Portugal, request a complimentary Discovery Call.
There are very few places in the USA serving Ayashuca legally I the United States, so if you're willing to take a short flight, Behold retreats offers a holistic and modern approach to plant medicine refined over serving 1,500+ clients. Behold Retreats may be the right option for you. The organization curates and facilitates life-changing plant medicine journeys with an emphasis on client goals, preparation, and integration.
For those attending retreats in the USA, Behold Retreats high quality guidance before and after a retreat, and point clients in the direction of a trusted retreat within the country.
For those ready to adventure outside the USA to destinations in Central, South America, and Europe, clients apply for a free consultation with a plant medicine expert to share their individual needs and preferences, and to understand whether (or not) there is a mutual fit.
For plant medicine work, clients can choose between a variety of entheogens, locations, and options, for example a small group retreat overlooking the jungle in Costa Rica, on the dutch country side with Psilocybin in the Netherlands or perhaps something on the beach with 5-MeO-DMT in Tulum.
Group retreat sizes are smaller than most retreat centers - typically no more than 10-12.
Client safety and confidentiality are given the highest importance, and healers, facilitators, therapists, and coaches have decades of experience under their belt.
Origen Sagrada is a group of like-minded people providing health, healing and celebration through the power of sacred plant medicine, as well as the guidance from their indigenous Taitas and Elders.
These spiritual leaders and healers, Abuelo Claudion and Abuelita Bernadita, indigenous people from the Muruy tribe of the Native American Amazonas of Colombia, are highly respected in the tribe and have extensive knowledge on many types of medical plants, rites, ayahuasca rituals, and ceremonies.
Their ayahuasca brew is prepared in the Amazon and is pure, consisting of only the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Chacruna leaves.
Origen Sagrada’s other location in the USA is also facilitated by their spiritual leaders and healers, Abuelo Claudion and Abuelita Bernadita from the Muruy tribe of the Amazonas of Colombia.
Their retreat is 2 nights and includes 2 ayahuasca ceremonies and is a great way for newbies to get acquainted with the spirit of Mother Aya. The work with the Elders and the plant medicine is intensive and remote, located in a private, tranquil, rustic camp near Castle Rock. Ayahuasca ceremony participants can expect their sessions to be held in a private lodge, with shared accommodation.
The retreat will begin with a herbal plant blessing and practical orientation to answer any questions you might have. In between ceremonies, there will be traditional therapies, personal spiritual cleansing and healing ceremonies, and time for reflection and meditation. They will play beautiful live music during the psychedelic ceremony to help you go deeper on your journey.
At (retreat center removed), you can be comfortable knowing that they have cultivated a safe space for growth and healing to occur during their psychedelic medicine circles.
Your ceremonies will be facilitated by (retreat removed), who has been practicing with shamans and medicine men and women from different indigenous cultures in the Americas, and also teaches at The School of Shamanic Teachings. To train to become an ayahuasca shaman, he apprenticed alongside an Andean shaman and continued his initiation alongside the Q’eros priests of the High Andes in Peru in South America.
Their retreats include 2 ayahuasca ceremonies as well as a cacao, rapé and sananga ceremony, with the opportunity to attend a san pedro ceremony. During the experience they provide a safe environment in nature, and offer eco-environment accommodation, where you will surely get in touch with Mother Nature.
Soul Quest retreat center (or also known as Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church) was founded by medicine man Chris Young, who left the medical industry after seeing the negative consequences of the pharmaceutical industry, and Verena Young, an integration coach who is finishing her PhD, certified in Spiritual Counseling and Addiction Recovery and Psycho-Spiritual Integration Coaching.
Their team consists of traditional medicine men and woman, integration coaches, and doctors.
Accommodation ranges from sleeping in the ceremonial space or camping if you want to stay connected with Mother Earth, to higher-end options in private cabins or lodges. They even have a family cabin for larger groups.
Church members can enjoy a sacred smoke cleanse ceremony around a fire pit, join group integration circles, and participate in a sound meditation to get more out of their ayahuasca journey.
Soul Quest church also has been a leader in providing preparation and integration coaching for the last 10 years, helping you feel fully prepared for your journey into a deep healing experience with mother ayahuasca. Their approach is holistic and includes ways to prepare your body, mind, and soul for the experience, tools to navigate and ground yourself during the journey, and methods to overcome challenges.
After the journey, you can feel supported by their coaches who will help make sense of your insights and lessons, and help you integrate this experience and spiritual awakening into your life in a lasting way.
Don't feel like spending your time learning about what a Shipibo shaman, Santo Daime, or master plant dieta is? Don't want to put weeks of research effort to find the right ayahuasca center, whether the practitioners are trustworthy, and whether or not they provide yoga?
If you're looking for an expertly guided ayahuasca retreat with a small group, share a few details, come have a chat with us and decide whether (or not) we're a good fit to facilitate your transformation. Retreats are facilitated in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Portugal.
Sacred Therapy retreats host their ceremonies in a modern way, rather than recreating South American or Native American style ceremonies. To join their ceremonies you must be a member of Cosmic Valley Native Americas church, which you can apply to join on their website.
Their North American medicine people are trained with US ayahuasca churches and offer a holistic and yogic approach to their ayahuasca ceremonies. They provide full integration before and after your ceremony and care deeply about each retreat participant’s experience and growth.
Retreats are two nights, hosted in Washington and California, and they provide accommodation with comfortable bedding and vegan meals. The founder has been leading ceremonies for 5 years and has trained with multiple shamans and yogic teachers in the USA, Mexico, Thailand, and Lebanon, as well as two years learning from the Lakota Tradition.
The Sanctuary is a shamanic healing center and branch of Oklevueha Native American Church, an ayahuasca church, located on the land of the Sacred White Dee, a Bee Sanctuary and certified wildlife habitat and holistic sanctuary with 6 acres of wild forest containing over 100+ fruit trees, edible bushes, and medicinal plants such as the coca leaf. You really will get a chance to connect with Mother Earth here.
Come here for a fully immersive shamanic experience, with shamanic healing practices, shamanic breathwork, and even a shamanic school with facilitator programs. They have a variety of retreats at their healing center as well as in Peru near Cusco.
If you’re looking for intensive ayahuasca healing retreats to dive deeper into medicinal plants, healing modalities, and shamanic wisdom this is the place for you. In addition to ayahuasca, they offer a week long tobacco and master plant diet retreat, a shamanic camp, vision quests, shamanic wisdom circles, rebirthing breathwork ceremonies, and more!
To help you integrate your experiences, they also host a regular community connection and healer / integration calls for ayahuasca users to share from the heart and continue to learn and grow together.
Aya Quest, also commonly spoken about as Kentucky Ayahuasca, approaches their ceremonies with a holistic attitude, and does not recreate Native American traditional ceremonies or maintain any dogmatic style. They are modern shamans and medicine people who are well trained.
Their founder Steve Hupp, has worked with ayahuasca for 15 years, and trained by a shaman from South America, leading over 1000 healing ceremonies.
Aya Quest offers small group, private and at home ayahuasca ceremony, as well as the option to join their membership club. Their ayahuasca brew is made from scratch and the ingredients, such as the ayahuasca vine, are all individually ordered so you can be assured of what exactly is in the tea, and they are confident that their brew is safe and effective.
This ayahuasca retreat center is under The União do Vegetal (UDV) is a Christian Spiritist religion that originated in Brazil and is recognized for their community and environmental service, and have hosted countless ayahuasca religious ceremonies. União do Vegetal literally means “the union of the plants,” and their followers drink Hoasca, which is the sacred sacrament of plants indigenous to the Brazillian Amazon.
Also considered an ayahuasca church, you can join their spiritual fellowship legally in the USA.
Like Ayahuasca tea, Hoasca contains the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Chacruna plant leaves (psychotria viridis), which is their sacrament and sacred practice serving to heighten spiritual understanding and perceptions.
The spiritual ceremony emphasizes mental concentration and solemn reflections of their guide Mestre Gabriel and Jesus. They last around four hours and include periods of silent contemplation, rituals, hymns, and religious teachings.
Good to know! An Ayahuasca church, the Santo Daime Church, founded by Raimundo Irineu Serrawhich, involves ayahuasca consumption (Daime tea) as part of their religious rituals. Sometimes difficult to find, you can try to find locations around the country by searching for Santo Daime USA.
Another Ayahuasca church known as the Peaceful Mountain Way is a Native American Church that specializes in an ayahuasca ritual as a spiritual sacrament.
As you can see, there's a lot of variance between the many options out there, and the hard part is choosing the best option for YOU. As you may have noticed, the retreat aggregator websites aren't particularly helpful to guide ayahuasca tourism, as all the experiences are rated as 5-stars. There's a lot of considerations to take into account for an ayahuasca experience - much more than for a yoga retreat. Whether you seek transformation with ayahuasca or another hallucinogen such as peyote or the well-known magic mushroom, we suggest you take this quest seriously and put time into the process.
If you'd like some additional guidance throughout your selection process, check out our ayahuasca retreat guide here.
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