A few years ago I went on my first Aya journey with authentic, good-souled individuals in Ecuador. They were not infected with the disease of greed. Greed is insidious and every shaman needs to guard against the temptation to make it about themselves. Good shamans don’t ask for much money. Joe [last name removed by request] (former co-owner) and Ricardo are two of the many who have made the spiritual journey into a business. It is not that they don’t also have pure motivations. I think they do. However, when one is without absolute humility and integrity when approaching the spiritual world, the door is opened to problematic energy coming in. I believe that is what has happened at Nihue Rao. Joe and the shamans are helping themselves to money and adulation from those who have good journeys. Not everyone is so lucky all the time. Myself and at least two others I know walked away from Nihue Rao being harmed, not helped. Those two people called Joe to voice their concerns, but he was and is too self-absorbed to take any responsibility. Instead he tried to promote his book. I was attracted to Nihue Rao because of the fact that a Western medical doctor was affiliated and I am somewhat partial to a middle way between medicine and mysticism. I didn’t feel any strong draw towards it, just cerebrally I computed it was safe. About 2 weeks before I was to go I saw Ricardo’s face in dream with a message that woke me up. It was that he was a scheister. I dismissed it as being out of fear or self-sabotage. After a couple weeks at Nihue Rao, I mostly trusted Ricardo and his staff. However, that turned out to be my undoing, as I later had premonitions that I shouldn’t drink anymore. A staff member talked me into continuing, to be macho. He said the premonitions were because of my “sins” and that the dark energies were trying to stop me from cleansing everything. I continued and had darker and darker and darker visions and occurrences, culminating in a trip to hell and what appeared to be an invitation into dark shamanism. I told Ricardo, but he did not show an overwhelming amount of compassion or concern or any direction on what to do next. The night of the very bad trip, I wasn’t the only one who suffered. Ricardo admitted the next day that he had forgotten to cleanse the Maloka and that some dark energy had gotten in. I called a Ecuadorian shaman who I know to be very psychically connected the next day. He knew things about the Maloka that night, such as the fact there were no women. He said the shamans weren’t doing their jobs, and that I had been attacked by Black Magic. He urged me to leave. I did, and found I could barely function psychologically, and for a time I slept only 1.5 hours per night. I had PTSD and was terrified of life. I was only a shell of who I had been before, having literally lost pieces of myself. I lost compassion and the connection to my heart. I had no more faith in God and I felt like I wanted to die. Things fell apart in my life very rapidly. I have gotten a lot back, but it has been the most painful year of my life. Therefore, please… before you go here or anywhere else, know that this is very strong stuff and that you will be encountering the spriritual world for better or worse. It used to be that only Shamans took Aya, not the patient. The shaman had years of training. You don’t. Places like Nihue Rao are akin to some place that gives the keys to a jet airplane to an untrained teenager. With luck some learn to fly, and others are seriously harmed. If you must get a shamanic experience fine, but don’t go to any of the Aya factories in Iquitos. Follow your heart and best instincts and find a shaman who has less ego.