Behold Retreats facilitates expertly guided plant medicine journeys for healing, inner
peace, and spiritual awakening.
Every year, thousands of people flock to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to embark on a spiritual retreat with Ayahuasca. Only in recent time has Ayahuasca's mysteries reached the Western world, and now people from all over the world are venturing deep into the lush jungles seeking alternative medicine and traditional ceremonies. Some come to forget their past. Some come to heal it. Some seekig an inner journey, enlightenment, others are just seeking the next high. They come with depression, anxiety, PTSD, relationship issues, mental health issues, and other maladies of that western medicine fails to address. They come for healing, and many will find it.
Despite the healing that plant medicines like Ayahuasca, Psychotria Viridis, San Pedro, and others can offer, the boom in Ayahuasca tourism is not without it's dark side. Tricksters, fake shamans, diluted or chemically-altered medicine, and poorly led ceremonies where personal injury, theft, sexual abuse, and even death are rising in tandem with the tourist dollars that are forever putting their mark on the fragile socio-economic ecosystem of the Amazon.
The risks and inconvenience of travelling to the Amazon are one reason that many people are seeking shamanic ceremonycloser to home, but unfortunately, many European countries have some catching up to do in terms of Ayahuasca's legality. And despite its incredible, life-changing effects, many countries, including the United Kingdom, still consider the potent brew illegal because of its psychoactive DMT-component.
On a side note, the great irony of DMT's prohibition is that DMT, a naturally occurring compound found in thousands of plant and animal species, is also produced internally in the human body, which means, quite literally, we are all walking around in possession of an illegal substance, and have been since birth.
The legal barriers between Ayahuasca and her seekers doesn't mean that British Ayahuasca ceremony retreat centers do not exist, but it does make finding them somewhat of a hassle. Due to the (unfortunate) illegality of this psychoactive substance (and therefore ayahuasca ceremonies as well), practitioners are hesitant to openly share what they are doing. And those who partake in a ceremony are also unlikely to talk about their Ayahuasca use in public forums, as doing so would endanger the people who lead these ceremonies since it's techically classified as a psychedelic drug.
When you begin to search for an experience, remember - this isn't like planning a yoga retreat. You are preparing to make a profound shift to your consciousness, in a space that is both incredibly powerful, and intimately vulnerable. The integrity of your facilitators - all the way down to the person who cooks your meals - cannot be overstated. You are putting your consciousness in the hands of people you have never met before, and while it may be the best decision you ever make, it does require your diligence, patience, and intuition.
To help you on your way, we have listed the 10 best options for those who are living in the UK - from Scotland, to East Sussex and beyond and want to participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony.
Because of the aforementioned reasons, the list does not include British Ayahuasca centers. However, for those who are willing to broaden their scope, they may be delighted to see the many other options for an ayahuasca ceremony that exist outside the UK, but which are still located nearby. In addition, contacting the listed centers may also open new doors for you.
You will find most options for your healing retreat or aya ceremony in Spain and Portugal, where ayahuasca is decriminalized or is held in a legal "grey" zone. For more options, check out our list of Ayahuasca Retreats in Europe.
For more information on how to chose your ayahuasca retreat check out our COMPLETE GUIDE.
*Iquitos, Pucallpa, Machu Piccu and the Sacred Valley, Costa Rica are popular destinations, and Santo Daime and Kawsay Ayahuasca retreat center in Iquitos is an often-visited place. Indigenous person and Shipibo shaman Don Ronor from the Ayahuasca Foundation (Ayahuasca retreat Iquitos) is also a well-known and revered faclilitator of traditional religious ceremonies.
Behold Retreats is revered for its personalized Ayahuasca retreats. They specifically cater to leaders, executives, and aspirational entrepreneurs, and their extensive specialized knowledge enables them to facilitate profound spiritual journeyin those who embark on a journey.
All members of Behold's staff have decades of experience with leading transformative ayahuasca ceremonies, and just like all other aspects of the retreats, each person who participates in a spiritual ceremony is carefully selected. Not only the shaman and the international facilitators but also the participants. This in turn creates an incredibly welcoming and safe environment, where participants can feel secure and cared for.
Behold's retreats are numerous and varied: from traditional ayahuasca ceremonies led by an indigenous shaman to private spiritual retreats with a more western feel. That said, all retreats have a couple of things in common: they are carefully curated and specifically tailored to your needs and preferences. You can expect to enjoy yoga, meditation, massage, breathwork and other healing modalities to enhance your spiritual development during your ayahuasca experience.
Behold Retreats' 7-week Ayahuasca retreat program is truly unique. It begins with 3 weeks of remote personal coaching in which you prepare yourself physically (for example with the ayahuasca diet), mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for the transformative journey that awaits you. The retreat itself is then followed up by 3 weeks of post-retreat integration. This integration phase is vital to engender long-lasting change and it allows you to learn how to implement your newly-found insights into your daily life.
Do you feel ready to begin your journey?
Ready to begin your journey?
While Behold Retreats makes sure to limit group sessions to a small, intimate amount of people, sometimes a private healing is just what you need.
Ayahuasca is a potent brew that can evoke great insights and transformations. Uncovering these life-changing gems, however, can take some work. Furthermore, being put face to face with yourself and all your subconscious beliefs, thoughts, and memories, can be rather overwhelming. Wanting to experience all of this in a private setting is therefore completely understandable.
By removing unwanted distractions from other participants, you are completely free to focus on your own experience, which in turn provokes an even deeper immersion.
As with Behold’s group retreats, each private session is specifically curated based on your individual needs. And each session is therefore entirely unique.
Besides the powerful Ayahuasca tea, additional plant medicine and (non-psychedelic) healing modalities are available upon request. Think of San Pedro, yoga, guided meditation, Reiki, breathwork, and cacao ceremonies.
Situated in Staffordshire, The retreat centre is an award-winning spa and health center owned by Victoria Weatherer. Victoria is passionate about alternative healing modalities, and she has traveled around the world learning different techniques and treatments.
Besides the spa facilities, The Retreat also has its own fully accredited academy where Victoria teaches professional courses and workshops in holistic therapies.
While not your usual Ayahuasca center, The Retreat also includes a specialized studio. Here, an array of traditional Shamanic and Tribal ceremonies are offered by ‘the Medicine Woman’.
‘The Medicine Woman’ has completed over 23 years of shamanic training. She offers distant deep healing sessions, as well as traditional cacao ceremonies and plant medicine ceremonies.
The peaceful and meditative cacao ceremonies serve as a gentle but deep dive into an extraordinary blissful essence, while the traditional plant medicine sessions are based on ancient shamanic tea ceremonies and offer you the chance to enter the world of plants in an entirely new way.
Shamanic Space offers intensive Ayahuasca healing retreats with Shipibo plant doctors. The center was founded nineteen years ago, by the Peruvian-born Shaman Rubén Orellana and the American psychotherapist and shamanic practitioner Michele Costa Lukis.
Their aim is to offer safe and legal Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonial retreats in Peru. As with most Ayahuasca centers, they solely work with the medicine with the intention of healing, be it spiritually, mentally, physically, and/or emotionally. Recreational usage is not permitted.
Over the years, the center has evolved to include workshops and retreats in the UK, Europe, and New Zealand. However, Ayahuasca ceremonies are only offered in the brew’s natural habit: the Amazonian jungle.
Nonetheless, they do offer some healing retreats in the UK, such as their Shamanic ‘Walking in Wales’ weekend, for example. While these retreats do not include mother Ayahuasca, they can serve as a way to get to know the center a little better before embarking on a Peruvian Ayahuasca journey with them.
Just like in the UK, Ayahuasca ceremonies are currently illegal in Ireland. However, law enforcement seems to be slightly less strict here, and because of this, you are naturally more likely to find an Ayahuasca center here than in the UK. This is especially true when searching online.
One such Irish retreat center is Ayayni. The center’s appeal already begins with its name: the combination of the words ‘Ayahuasca’ and ‘Ayni’. Ayni refers to a natural giving between ourselves and mother Nature; a profound, reciprocal exchange.
It is believed that through the act of Ayni, you can reconnect with your truth and live a more authentic and fulfilling life. In turn, a union of humanity and true awakening is possible. This is also what the center aims to facilitate.
Ayayni Shamanic Retreats has various venues, and they hold retreats in Ireland, Mallorca, and Colombia.
Joanna Shilson is Ayayni’s founder, and the team consists of expert shamanic therapists, plant specialists, and medicine musicians. Every single staff member has a unique quality or talent, but what they all have in common is that they are fully devoted to the expansion of human consciousness.
For information on dates, locations, and prices of their retreats, you can either send them a message or request to join their Facebook group.
Origen Sagrada describes itself as a community that helps others through Ayahuasca healing. This community is made up of like-minded people who want to provide health and healing through the power of sacred plant medicine ceremonies.
Their main Ayahuasca center is nestled in the Andes mountains just outside of Medellin, in Colombia where they host their aya healing ceremonies. As the center is surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful flowers, the location is idyllic.
For those who can’t make it to Colombia, there is some great news: Origen Sagrada believes in providing the sacred medicine for all, and besides traveling to the US 4 times a year to host retreats, they also occasionally hold traditional Ayahuasca ceremonies in Ireland. You can check their upcoming events in Ireland here.
Pachamama Shamanic Healing offers 4-day Ayahuasca retreats in Ireland. The retreat serves as an opportunity to get to know yourself more intimately and find out who you truly are.
Throughout this entire process of self-discovery, you are accompanied by trained facilitators. Unlike in other Ayahuasca retreats, shamans do not guide the ceremonies. Instead, Pachamama Shamanic Healing’s staff consists of a group of experienced therapeutic counselors.
Apart from the Ayahuasca assisted therapy, these counselors also conduct a healing psychotherapeutic process of integration, emotional release, and sound therapy. The relaxing vibrations of numerous shamanic instruments guide you through the entire ceremony experience. Think of the beautiful sounds of the drums, didgeridoo, Tibetan bowls, and quartz bowls.
The retreat includes accommodation in the ceremony room, breakfast and lunch, shamanic remedies, psychotherapy work, varied cleansing rituals, and any follow-up support that you may need afterward. In addition to Ayahuasca, the powerful Kambo and Bufo Alvarius are also available.
Getting to the Netherlands from the UK isn't too much of a hassle. And the Acsauhaya Shamanic Retreat Center can definitely be worth the trip.
The aya retreat is situated in the middle of grasslands at the foot of a large nature reserve, making it the ideal venue to reconnect with nature.
The team has over 30 years of experience and they work together with authentic shamans from the Peruvian Ucayali area.
Ceremonies are held in a gorgeously renovated Dutch farmhouse. And each retreat includes fresh vegetarian meals, two Ayahuasca ceremonies, an integration toolkit, as well as private and group sharing circles the day after each experience.
Sinchi Runa is a revered and well-known Ayahuasca center in Portugal. Nestled in the rolling hills above the Algarve coast, this center provides those who visit a deeply authentic experience.
They offer several 8-day retreats, and their 23-day retreat is specifically catered to those who want to fully immerse themselves into their Ayahuasca journey and uncover all that the medicine has to share with them.
Each retreat includes a transfer to and from the retreat venue, daily homemade organic meals, and an English/Spanish translator. In addition to the ceremonies themselves, they also offer integration exercises and therapeutic activities.
Union In Arutam is located on the beautiful island of Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands.
After learning from the Shuar Amazonian Shamanism tradition, the retreats’ founder, Arutam Ruymán, began teaching medicine at the age of 22. And today, the retreat center has been conducting Ayahuasca ceremonies for more than twelve years.
Ceremonies are held in quiet locations, deep in nature. To make sure that each participant is truly ready for the intense journey that lies ahead, a preliminary interview with the community coordinator is required. And besides Ayahuasca, they also offer other medicinal plants, such as San Pedro.
Check out our article on the top 10 Ayahuasca retreats in Spain!
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