Plant Medicine Retreats: What Is Their Relevance Today?

Exploring the Profound Healing Power of Ayahuasca Ceremonies and Plant Medicine*

My journey with Plant Medicines began almost a year ago when, desperate to find
alternative forms of healing, I encountered a great teacher along the way who introduced me to the marvelous world of Sacred Plants.

It was a sunny morning when I decided to ride my bicycle along the Chaquiñan, the path that connects the Cumbayá valley to Tumbaco in the city of Quito, Ecuador. Determined, yet somewhat nervous, I pedaled through lush vegetation, surrounded by the sounds of birds and the winding stone paths, until I reached her house. As I entered her door, I was
pleasantly surprised to realize that I had been to this place before. Years ago, I had visited
her home through a twist of fate and because her daughter and I shared a mutual friend.

Upon arrival, I beheld the magnificent vegetation that flourished abundantly in her gardens.
There was a natural wall of majestic San Pedro cacti adorning the façade, giving me the
feeling of being far away from the city, far from the place I thought I knew. I continued
walking until I reached the backyard, where Tatiana sat in a wooden chair in front of a fire,
inviting me to take a seat. A sense of fear and confusion invaded my body. What was I doingn there? How could a woman sitting in front of a fire possibly “heal” me?, I thought.

Embracing the Unknown: Embarking on an Ayahuasca Therapy Retreat

I sat down, and Tatiana, as calm as ever, continued stripping leaves from cedar branches in
her lap. Although filled with fear and uncertainty, I accepted without hesitation when, after
sharing a bit of my story, she said, “Today, I am beginning a retreat with a girl visiting from
the USA. I believe that supporting each other in this process would be of great benefit.” And so, without further ado, I said yes, grabbed my bike, and returned home to gather my
belongings, ready to embark on a life-changing week-long retreat.

I returned in the late afternoon and was introduced to a person who is now very important in my life, in fact, the reason why you can read this post today – Nadia. Together we began a journey that changed our lives. Tatiana had scheduled daily activities in various regions for us to participate in therapies such as family constellations, spiritual response therapy, fire readings, walks on nature, temazcal, and energetic cleansings. On the fourth day, Tatiana informed us that we would be taking Ayahuasca medicine the following day. I became so nervous that night that I could hardly sleep. A sense of fear and a strong urge to run away overcame me. I felt I wasn’t ready, that it wasn’t the right time. I tried to come up with a thousand excuses to leave, but for some reason, I didn’t.

The Profound Ayahuasca Ceremony: A Gateway to Inner Transformation

The day of the ceremony had arrived. We prepared the bamboo hut located in the backyard
of Tatiana’s house, and Mercedes, the woman who served this sacred medicine, arrived with a presence I had only recognized in Tatiana. She exuded a firmness that was simultaneously warm, a sense of certainty and determination about who she was and what she did, which filled me with utmost assurance. That day and since the night before, I had only consumed guayusa tea and water. My attention was heightened, and despite hardly sleeping the previous night, I felt quite energized.

We were a group of five women and one man who, that night, under the flickering candlelight and the beautiful singing of Mercedes, received the medicine. Sitting in a lotus position, with an upright back and focused on my breath, I felt the medicine starting to take effect. I experienced a powerful energy that serpentined from the base of my spine to the crown of my head, and I felt that if I didn’t maintain my focus on my breath, this energy could overwhelm me. I lived my entire life that night.

Unveiling the Wisdom of Ayahuasca

Amidst picturesque visions and jungle imagery, allies began to come to my rescue. There
were moments when I felt I could lose myself indefinitely in all those vibrant, lifelike forms
and colors. I traveled within that vision, guided by a black panther, until I heard a voice. It
was the voice of a man, and his name kept repeating in my head: “Rubén.” For a moment, I thought of my uncle Rubén, my mother’s brother. However, it didn’t feel like his energy.
Suddenly, this voice said to me, “Listen to them, pay attention to their words, everything is
here,” referring to Tatiana and Mercedes, who were sharing their knowledge and care for
each other in front of the altar. With closed eyes, I continued to listen, returning to the
present moment. I began to hear what they were saying, and I felt how this energy that
surged through my spine transformed into an ability for active listening and deep reflection,
something I had only experienced a few times in profound meditation sessions.

The Healing Power Within: Ayahuasca as a Catalyst for Self-Discovery

The night continued until, at one point, Mercedes said, “Thank you, Rubén, for your
presence, for joining us tonight, dear friend.” Rubén, Tatiana’s deceased partner, who
together had created that magical space of knowledge and healing, was the voice that
conveyed one of the most important messages I have ever received in my life. As I
interpreted it, the message was: “Don’t search outside anymore; everything is here.
Everything you need is here. Listen, pay attention.” And through attention and presence, the medicine allowed me to transcend many of the psychological postures I had labeled as
“mine.” With such love and care, the medicine gradually opened the deepest corners of my
being, reminding me that I needed nothing more, that the answers I seek and the fears I
hold—all reside within me.

The Transformative Journey Continues: Insights and Growth

Ayahuasca medicine has been a potent ally for me, providing key teachings and always
remaining unpredictable. Since that first experience, I have had the opportunity to partake in the medicine a few more times, and it’s fascinating how this Sacred Plant has gradually
revealed visions to me. Perhaps it has been removing the veils that cloud my soul, allowing
me to become, with each passing day, a more authentic being aligned with my essence.

This is not to say that the plant medicine ceremony have been devoid of pain. Amidst vomiting and tears, I have often asked myself, “What am I doing here?” But I have always been blessed with the reminder that this is life, and ultimately, the ceremony is a symbolic representation of the path I must tread in my own life. I have felt like a little child, needing to relearn how to be a conscious and present human being on this Earth. It has allowed me to understand that beyond the visions, the beautiful figures, and the multitude of colors, the most profound teaching is presence, order, and intention, all driven by the infinite love that sustains this work of art, we call life.

A Gratitude Prayer: Honoring the Ayahuasca Medicine and the Path Ahead

I feel that Ayahuasca medicine has bestowed upon me a very special gift, and I consider
myself fortunate to join the new humanity, a humanity that remembers the interwoven fabric to which we belong, that remembers the connection, that remembers the vision.

Thank you, dear Mother, for reminding us of the vision, for teaching us with so much love
how to live well—in harmony and sisterhood. Thank you for your patience, your affection,
and the presence. It is an honor to serve the vision you bring, and with profound love, I offer a prayer for the new humanity, for the expansion of consciousness and love. May all those who seek find you, may your medicine continue opening our hearts and expanding our consciousness.

Plant Medicine Ceremonies at Vikara: Embracing Healing with Mercedes and Tatiana

Additionally, I would like to mention that both Mercedes and Tatiana offer their transformative Ayahuasca ceremonies at Vikara, a sacred space dedicated to holistic healing and spiritual growth.

Located in a serene and natural setting, Vikara provides the ideal environment for profound
healing and self-discovery. It is within this tranquil sanctuary that Mercedes and Tatiana, two experienced and compassionate facilitators, guide participants through the ransformative journey of healing.

Mercedes and Tatiana bring their unique expertise and deep connection to the medicine,
creating a safe and supportive space for participants to explore the depths of their being.
With their extensive knowledge of plant medicine and their commitment to healing, they
curate ceremonies that honor the ancestral traditions and wisdom of Ayahuasca retreat, Temazcal
and San Pedro.

Related Articles

Latest Articles