Calca, Cusco, Perú
It was my good friend of mine that had been to Sapan Inka Retreat in Peru, with Eric and Nilda twice. I trust her implicitly. When we discussed where she went for her Ayauasca Plant Medicine Journey and what it was like for her, it sounded amazing and I knew it would be a safe place to go and that I could go by myself as a single woman. She used words like kind, compassionate, supportive, safe, thorough and beautiful to describe Eric and Nilda and the 5 day retreat she went on.
I went, for my 50th birthday in 2018, to do ayausca for a number of reasons, healing, self discovery, opening of my mind and heart and any other body and mind shifts I was able find my way to. To say I was excited and nervous would be an understatement. It was extremely beneficial knowing first and foremost that as a woman and lone soul on this journey that I would be completely safe as can be. I knew my body would be safe and that my mind would be protected in the most sacred way.
It is impossible to go to the Sapan Inka retreat without first filling out a very thorough questionnaire. To be frank about this, it would only be to a persons detriment to be anything but brutally honest. Filling out this questionnaire with integrity and honesty ensures a few things. One, that you are prepared for the aya; two that Eric and Nilda can ensure you have no indications that demonstrate you should not do ayausca; three that Eric and Nilda our aware of where you are in mind, body and spirit and what you are looking for or why you are doing the aya. Although, I am not the pro, I believe this again helps them to know what to potentially expect and to support you in the best way. Create a safe container for you as it were. I have to admit, I was nervous I would be turned down.
I was overjoyed that I was allowed to attend the Sapan Inka Retreat for 5 days.
The accommodations were amazing. Shared room with one other, private shower, super healthy yummy, yummy, yummy food. Vegetarian of course. Quiet and very safe at night and in the day. Beautiful yard to sit in and ponder, write and integrate.
Eric was very thorough in that he also had what I like to call the pre and post aya interviews to help each of us prepare and integrate after. The interviews are very personal and very appropriate and one should be honest and prepared to answer such questions.There was a maximum of 6 of us in each ceremony, which I have since learned is really really good. Easier to support and keep each of us safe. It is quite clear from the questions asked and suggestions that Eric gives he is extremely knowledgable about aya, the mind, psychology, mindfulness and the history of these things.
My personal experience was one of complete terror the first night. It did not start this way. Yet ultimately I began resisting where I was being taken by the plant medicine and I believe this is what started my slippery slope into terror. Eric was respectful of my journey and let me try to find my way through my terror. When it was clear I was stuck or maybe lost somewhere and could not find my way on my own, he used music, his voice and gentle words to help guide to “trust the medicine” and “find my light”. I will never forget these words. They have been woven into my very soul now. Ultimately I found my way back and had some amazing visions, awakenings and realizations.
Yes, I did go back and do the ceremony the next day and took more aya. Most of my friends and family can’t believe I did the second night after my absolutely terror filled first night. But I did, and it was nothing like the first night. The post interview with Eric after my first night of aya was extremely important and helpful for me in the integration of my journey the first night. I believe this combined with the knowledge of being safe and trusting Eric and Nilda so much allowed me to do the second ceremony. They never pushed me to do it; it was completely my choice. I do not think that any of us should decide to do aya because we have flown a long way or paid a lot of money, it should be because you are ready and prepared. Always be ready to walk away if it does not feel correct for you. I was ready to not do the ceremony at one point. I had a great deal of time to think and process. As I spoke with Eric and listened to his words, introspections and guidance I decided I very much wanted to do the second aya journey and was completely prepared to in the hopes of allowing the plant medicine to show me. To be very clear, it was always my choice and I never felt pushed.
I was so glad I did the second night. Completely different, as everyone will tell you, each journey is always different from the last.
I can’t tell any of you how absolutely important, especially but not only as a single woman or female friends together, it is to trust where you are, who you are with as far as Shamans and/or guides and those that will keep you safe; your mind, body and soul during ayausca ceremonies. It is a very serious medicine and not to be taken lightly. The Sapan Inka Retreat absolutely checked all the boxes for me. I hope to go back someday when the medicine again calls me and I would only go back to Eric and Nilda and the Sapan Inka Retreat. I hope this helps anyone trying to find a safe, healthy and peaceful place to take some journeys.
Much Love, Mia