Take this short quiz to assess your mental and spiritual readiness for a psychedelic retreat.
For deeper insights into what makes up a safe and quality plant medicine retreat, check out the results from our recent plant medicine retreats survey.
1. If you’d like a holistic understanding of your opportunities to improve your quality of life, take this self-diagnostic.
2. If this is your first time with Ayahuasca, this short quiz will help you assess your level of mental, emotional, and spiritual readiness for this powerful and sensitive work.
3. If you’d like to understand more about the nature of psychedelic healing work, human potential, and who and what you really are, watch the video below.
Like most things in life, there are a broad variety of Ayahuasca retreat options, and a number of factors that effect the safety, quality, and cost of an ayahuasca retreat:
After nearly 6 decades of prohibition, psychedelics are coming back in a big way, with institutions such as the Imperial College in London, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard 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.
Ayahuasca is an ancestral medicine from the Amazon, and has been used for thousands of years for it's incredible healing benefits. 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 get a bit overwhelming. The abundance of options can lead us to what we call "analysis paralysis", causing us to either give up, or choose a retreat impulsively. Choosing a place to have your experience may be one the most important decisions you'll ever make, and it's important to choose your retreat with diligence and care. Published research based upon 2,267 ceremonies has shown that ayahuasca:
Choosing an Ayhuascsa retreat (or any psychedelic experience for that matter) is isn't like planning mindful meditation or yoga retreat. You are putting your consciousness in someone else's hands. You are entering 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.
Furthermore, 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. The world of plant medicine is not without corruption. 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. Take you're time. Find a place with a solid reputation and listen to guest testimonials. Some other considerations you should make are:
Now, it's important to keep in mind that DMT (the active component in Ayahuasca) is a Schedule 1 drug, and illegal in the USA. That being said, you don't need to travel all the way to Latin America to experience a sacred ceremony. A handful of Ayahuasca retreat centers in the USA operate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a legal safeguard giving protection to ceremonies performed for religious purposes within the context and beliefs of that tradition. While the RFRA does give some protection to facilitators and guests, the majority of expert practitioners prefer to work outside of these limitations, choosing instead to travel to destinations like Costa Rica, Mexico, or Iquitos or the Sacred Valley in Peru.
There's no right or wrong here, but in our experience, people benefit greatly 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.
Behold is here to to guide you to the right experience. We have a team of expert coaches, psychologists, healers 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 raising your consciousness and getting the most benefit from your plant medicine experience, check out this preview from our 7-week life accelerator:
Picture yourself sitting in a small circle of like-minded individuals, each of you looking for answers to your own personal questions. Trying to come to terms with your inner trials and tribulations, you drink a small clay cup of a bitter brown liquid. You drift off into a dream space and you converse with God.
Ayahuasca is fast becoming the alternative medicine of choice for many Americans. Not satisfied with the modern therapies on offer, they turn to 2,500-year-old shamanism for their spiritual and mental healing.
Ayahuasca is a plant-based medicine that involves drinking ayahuasca tea, a brew made up of two plants, the banisteriopsis caapi vine, and the Psychotria Viridis shrub. The brew is usually drunk during a religious ceremony that often continues until dawn and is supported by music and poetry.
Historically, you would need to traverse the far corners of South America to partake in Ayahuasca healings. Now, you no longer have to travel to the Jungles of Costa Rica or Peru, you don’t have to travel to a Shipibo village in Tulum or the high Andes for your Ayahuasca experience. With Ayahuasca tourism booming in the United States, you can find a domestic naturopathic physician or guide offering genuine shamanic experiences.
While medical marijuana is becoming legal worldwide, psychedelics are still illegal in most countries. Despite psychedelic substances being banned in the USA, many loopholes allow for the use of hallucinogens under certain circumstances. The most common being the use of hallucinogens on religious grounds. It’s worth mentioning, however, that many retreats work on an assumed exemption, so it is worth doing your research prior to making any kind of commitment.
In addition to the ayahuasca tea ceremony, other alternative psychedelic therapies include: psychedelic therapy with synthetic or with psilocybin mushrooms (also known as magic mushrooms or psychedelic mushrooms), MDMA therapy, and Ketamine assisted psychotherapy. Each psychedelic medicine offers unique therapeutic benefits. The psychedelic substance is only part of the experience. Most retreats offer coaching, yoga, or some other modalities to facilitate the healing process.
In the year 2018, an estimated 5.6 million Americans had participated in a psychedelic experience within the previous year, following a trend of a growing number of individuals seeking to open the doors of perception. In addition, a large number of clinical trials from heavyweights of academia such as Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Imperial College have shown hallucinogens to have beneficial results when treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.
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.
Because of the legal grey areas, Behold Retreats doesn't facilitate Ayahuasca in the USA, but we do offer some very close-by options. As we mentioned, there are very few places in the USA serving Ayashuca legally, so if you're willing to take a short flight, Behold Retreats offers ayahuasca experiences in Costa Rica. Our organization curates and facilitates life-changing plant medicine journeys with an emphasis on client goals, preparation, and integration.
Guests of Behold Retreats can also choose between a variety of other 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 a culturally immersive encounter in the golden mountains of Mexico with 5-MeO-DMT (Bufo).
For those who do choose to attend a retreats in the USA, Behold Retreats offers high quality coaching before and after your retreat, and we can point your in the direction of a trusted retreat within the country. Apply for a free consultation with a plant medicine expert to share your individual needs and preferences, and to understand whether (or not) there is a mutual fit.
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.
Located in Eugene, Oregon, close to the Owen Rose Garden, Cosmic valley’s unique indoor ceremony welcomes people of all races, creeds, genders, and belief systems. The equal opportunities spiritual church boasts the lowest donation fee of any legal ayahuasca church in the US.
The ceremony is spread over two days, involving two ayahuasca tea rituals with a chakra yoga session in between. Accommodation and meals are all included.
In order to qualify, attendees must be members of the Native American Church and possess an approved CNAC application. For further details, see their website.
Etnikas have been practicing ayahuasca medicine for over 40 years, and are one of the best in the business. Located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, San Salvador, Peru, two hours from the magnificent Machu Picchu, Etnikas also travels to the US to conduct ceremonies. As Oregon is one of their destinations, it’s worth keeping tabs on when they will next be in town.
Entikas employs both doctors and indigenous healers when conducting its ceremonies to ensure the utmost care is taken for their guests. These include experienced plant-medicine healers from the Shipibo Conibo tribe of the Amazon Jungle and the Q'ero tribe of the high Andes mountains.
During the ceremony, they will also conduct an Inca munay (Love) meditation to ensure a feeling of serene relaxation, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Doctors and psychologists are present during the ceremony to ensure the utmost safety of their guests.
Located near Mount Shasta in Northern California, close to the Oregon border, is Sacred Valley Retreat, a retreat center with over 30 years of experience practicing indigenous wisdom and sacred healing shamanic arts.
Sacred Valley offers a number of new-age therapies for soul-searching individuals trying to find themselves. As well as the ayahuasca ceremony, the center also specializes in yoga retreats, breathwork, reiki, crystal healing, including plant medicine, essential oils, and sound healing.
Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Mount Shasta, the location is truly a sight to behold, and is chosen to facilitate the harmonious balance required for the spiritual journey.
The experts at Sacred Valley offer a number of ayahuasca opportunities ranging from small intimate groups to couples’ therapies and individual healing sessions. Merging ancient and modern techniques, they ensure a pleasant and enlightening experience.
Call Sacred Valley for a free consultation.
Origen Sagrada is a small group of like-minded souls searching for, and providing, health, healing and celebration through the ancient power of medicinal plants. Incorporating the guidance of the spirits and ancestors as interpreted by the indigenous Taitas and Elders.
Ceremonies are led by husband-and-wife team Abuelo Claudino and Abuelite Bernadita Perez, spiritual leaders from the Muray (Uitoto) tribe of the Colombian Amazon.
Retreats are held at an idyllic ranch near Warner Springs California, but they are known to rotate their whereabouts, so check the website for the latest information. The remote location allows for interaction with nature and has vast hiking opportunities. In total, the ceremony lasts for 3 days.
The retreat begins with an herbal plant blessing which is designed to harmonize your energies and prepare you for the ayahuasca ceremony. There are two opportunities to drink Ayahuasca during the night, with traditional therapies being performed in between. Following the second ayahuasca brew, and a period of quiet reflection, musicians will begin to play the beautiful traditional music which will provide focus during the ceremony. The music will continue until dawn.
Additionally, a personal spiritual cleansing and healing ceremony will be performed during the retreat.
If what you are looking for is a truly down-to-earth ayahuasca experience, then Aya Quest could be the place for you. Priding themselves on their bare-bones non-religious approach, Aya Quest strips away the rigid dogma of many of its counterparts.
Self-proclaimed “modern shaman” Steve Hupp runs the show. Following his own unique and fascinating personal spiritual journey, Hupp takes inspiration from Native American philosophies. He was first introduced to ayahuasca by a Peruvian shaman while spending time in Kentucky.
The vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the shrub Psychotria viridis, imported directly from Peru, are mixed in a large pot to make the homemade ayahuasca brew.
Aya Quest offers weekend retreats on a members-only basis. But, following Hupp’s own vetting process, the entry level is pretty low. Make sure to ask lots of questions, as it’s best to know exactly what you’re getting into before you arrive.
One of three Santo Daime churches in Oregon, Church of the Holy Light of the Queen (CHLQ) garnered international attention in 2009 when it won its legal challenge to allow the use of ayahuasca healings in their religious ceremonies. A landmark case that opened a pathway for other churches to follow.
Led by husband-and-wife team Jonathan and Jane Goldman, CHLQ cultivates a friendly, family atmosphere during the retreats. This personal touch allows pilgrims to feel comfortable and at ease during their daime (ayahuasca) experience.
Rituals are held over four days and take place in a cozy tent on a charming farm, surrounded by cornfields and apple trees. Proceedings involve three days of “Santo Daime Self-Transformation Work” and one day of trabalho de hinário (hymnal work).
Accommodation is provided in the shape of on-site camping spaces and rooms within the farm building itself. Meals are a communal affair where attendees share personal stories and interesting anecdotes.
Santo Daime churches tend to keep a low profile and are notoriously difficult to contact, but perseverance can often be rewarding.
Located in Cancun, Mexico, Living Earth Medicine Retreat combines several disciplines of plant medicine. The retreat itself takes place in the heart of the jungle utilizing master plant medicines of the Amazon and the Andes.
Inspired by a passion for friendship and ancestral medicine, the wellness retreat was created to provide spiritual and metal relief for soul-seekers. Advocating personal transformation as a pathway to a greater consciousness, Living Earth offers a true sacred space for the shamanic ritual.
The 4-day retreat includes all meals, accommodation, and ceremonies. Participants will experience one daytime Huachuma ceremony, one night-time ayahuasca ceremony, one Temazcal (sweat lodge therapy) as well as Rapeh (shamanic snuff). Additionally, there are preparation and reflection ceremonies before and after participating in the plant medicine rituals.
Soul Quest Church of Mother earth has been conducting ayahuasca ceremonies in Orlando, Florida for over 10 years. During this time, they have provided ayahuasca ceremonies, smoke cleanses, sound meditations, and sharing circles for thousands of enlightenment-seeking individuals.
Soul Quest utilizes a combination of western coaching styles and sacred plant medicine to provide a perfect balance of ancient and modern techniques. The ceremony itself is constructed to bridge the inner spirit with the surrounding ecosystem, and the network that connects us to the universe. Following the ceremony, Soul Quest’s experienced coaches will provide emotional support for all guests in the quiet period following the ceremony.
Soul Quest provides weekend spiritual healing and has accommodation options for any budget. The team of knowledgeable professionals includes integration coaches, musicians, and medicine men and women from Ecuador and Colombia.
One of the most popular ayahuasca retreats in Texas, Two Birds denominational church abides by the universal, moral truths common to many global religions and cultures. The primary goal is to facilitate a deepening connection to the unique and great spirit. As a key part of achieving this greater awareness, Church members participate in ceremonies, honoring the sacraments surrounding the use of Ayahuasca tea.
Located North of Dallas, the Church specializes in plant healings that facilitate a greater understanding of spirituality. Ceremonies are conducted by ordained administrators who are well versed in offering support for spiritual awakenings. The ceremonies are accompanied by traditional poetry and music to provide an ethereal quality to the experience and let the medicinal plant work its magic.
Two Birds operates on a donation-based system and conducts monthly ayahuasca ceremonies and all attendees must be Church members.
We would be honored to guide you in choosing the best retreat for your needs. Behold Retreats coordinates expertly guided retreats with Ayahuasca, Psilocybin, and 5-MeO-DMT (Bufo Alvarius) with highly experienced facilitators. Reach out to us to set up a complimentary discovery call and we can point you in the right direction.
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