Sacre Valley, Cusco, Perú
I live in Cusco and have taken part in several ayahuasca ceremonies with different masters. By far, the best experience I have had was with Erik and Nilda and, in fact, when asked for recommendations, they are the only people I have 100% confidence in referring people to.
First of all, as people, they have the most gentle and loving energy. From the first time I met them (and I?ve known them for years), I felt that this work was a calling for them and that they were doing it to help people as opposed to as a way to make money.
You are completely supported throughout the retreat. Welcomed into their tranquil home in the Sacred Valley, Erik takes all the time you need to be sure that your questions are answered and you are ready for the ceremony. He speaks English quite well, something that is rare in the shaman who is actually doing the ceremony. After each ceremony he speaks with each person individually to help them integrate their experience into their lives.
The ceremony itself is beautiful, and having both Erik and Nilda present is a special treat. You really feel the difference having both the male and female energy guiding the experience. I especially appreciate that it is done traditionally, with the icaros being sung (the songs that the plant teaches to the shamans). I?ve been in other ceremonies where the songs used could be any sacred songs and I much prefer the actual ayahuasca music as opposed to songs to Krishna, lovely as they may be. I could actually feel the plant responding at different times to the specific songs being sung, even down to the last after we were in our beds, telling the plant it was time to let go and let us sleep. Although I couldn?t hear or understand the words, the plant and I instantly responded.
Having the retreats limited to just four participants is also a great benefit. It makes it that much easier for the energy of the ceremony to be controlled and ensures that you are able to have the experience that you need without being unduly affected by that of the people around you. This is also helped by the fact that Erik screens all participants before allowing them to join the retreat, for their benefit and the benefit of all who partake.
Staying at Erik and Nilda?s home, enjoying their company, the delicious food and the gorgeous setting alone makes me want to go back for another ceremony. If you?re at all concerned or nervous about drinking ayahuasca, you could not ask for a better space or people to guide you than this.