I attended two retreats with ECA, in September 2017 and a couple of months later in November. My decision to attend the retreat came as a final straw after nine years of severe chronic pain which was diagnosed as an autoimmune disease affecting the sacroiliac joints and the spine. I faced the choice of either going on lifelong immunosuppressant drugs and irreversible damage to my bones or following a deep and persistent calling to drink ancestral medicine. I had been thinking about it for 4 years I had researched many places and spoken to a few Taitas in the jungle however, as soon as I came upon ECA and had the Skype interview with Bobby I knew that my search had ended. I was assured by our conversation in which he showed infinite compassion and a genuine intention to help me and I have not looked back since.
The retreat itself is located in Santa Elena, mystical Andes mountains just on the outskirts of Medellin. At the retreat, we were introduced to the medicines and other master plants such as tobacco. We did an opening ceremony which now that I look back know opened my commitment to truly healing and connecting to the medicines, mother nature and the entire group. Bobby, Jesse and Hans’ commitment to the wellbeing of the entire group was so strong and got me through these extremely demanding retreats. They were always there to answer questions and give assurance about the serious work we were undertaking. The advice they gave on how to handle ourselves in ceremony is truly priceless and gave me the ability to continue in my path with the medicines. I am forever grateful to them as brothers whose hearts and dedication to the path were apparent throughout. Graemo and Gonzalo are true and serious healers. Their knowledge, compassion and confidence in maintaining a powerful and safe space made me feel that I was in the best hands. The ceremonies themselves were nothing short of magical. The icaros, the fire, the maloka, the medicines, our brothers who were in constant service will stay with me for the rest of my life.
A review without referencing our meals, the retreat home and most importantly the entire ECA family and children would not be complete. The family are so beautiful and generous. I count it as a true blessing that I was able to share in their joy and love for our lives (shoutout Julie, Angie, Lori, Suzi, Jue, Ayni, Danielle, Elli, Mark and my best friends Ameyali and Jai). The food was the healthiest and most delicious I had in Colombia (I was there for over 6 months) – thank you Elli. The house is an incredible place to rest in in between ceremonies. The groups I was a part of are my brothers and sisters for life and to have experienced that bond in such a short space of time was a true gift.
For those who are deciding whether they should take that extra step, if you’ve been lead to ECA, you can count yourselves as truly lucky. The work you do here is extremely serious and likely to be the most difficult spiritually speaking but believe me when I say each morning after ceremony I would feel incredible in knowing that I had possibly achieved a lifetime’s work in one night. I trust these brothers with my life and only hope that one day I can also be of service to others with the same dedication and love. I have gone on to drink medicine elsewhere but I can confidently say that my experience with ECA was fundamental to my healing and gifted me so much more than what I set out for. It has rekindled my connection to the great spirit, mother nature, the elements and this beautiful but arduous path that is the commitment to live my best life.
Hayei Mitakuye Oyasin