Calca, Cusco, Perú
A friend and I visited in the spring of 2015 for our first expeirence with ayahuasca. My personal experience was emotionally challenging and draining but resulted in great personal insights, of which I continue to benefit. While the medicine is obviously an important component to the ceremony, I believe the talents and skills of the curandero/shaman are of equal importance. Erik and Nilda have created an environment that facilitates tranquility and reflection. They established good boundaries with the guests while I was there by being available for discussion and questions but limiting their social interactions with the guests. Some may find it standoffish but I think their aloofness contributes to introspection. Similarly, the large open room used for the ceremonies was deemed a sacred space and treated as such, which helped to reaffirm the purpose for being there. Our first two ceremonies included a third curandero/shaman. Once I could feel the medicine, he created vocal melodies, rhythms, and textures (I feel that song would be an inaccurate description) that led me to a place in my subconscious where many unresolved emotions lay in wait. It was like a conductor or maestro of an orchestra but perhaps something greater because if he had ill intentions, I could easily have been led to very dark places.
My intent in trying ayahuasca was for introspective exploration. In Searching for a retreat, I was looking for small group sizes, affordability, authenticity, and sincerity and I found exactly what I was looking for. They have a maximum of four people at a time, which limited a lot of external stimulation. The cost was quite reasonable for five days, perhaps slightly more than the nightly rate at a hotel. Erik and Nilda provided an experience that was both therapeutic and enlightening. They showed great concern in ensuring each of their guests were able to use the medicine for positive and therapeutic purposes. This included some extensive interviews and dietary/health guidlines before and after the ceremony. I would highly recommend their retreat and hope to return some day. I advise anyone who has inquired about my experience to research options and determine their motivations for using ayahuasca before taking one’s recommendation or review. Thank you, Erik and Nilda.