Iquitos and Sacred Valley in Peru
I stayed with Arkana in Jan 2019 for the 14 day Amazon and Sacred Valley retreat.
Being a single solo traveller travelling across the world from Australia, I was very nervous. I spent a long time picking the retreat, after years of researching ayahuasca and retreats and at a time in my life when I felt ready, I saw a post from an old high school friend who spoke about his life changing journey at Arkana. It just all aligned it was at a point I couldn’t keep carrying on how I had been. He spoke about the facilities, facilitators and how the set and setting were the perfect backdrop for deep healing. I googled straight away and had all my questions prepared.
I immediately felt well informed with Liliana answering each and every question to put my mind at ease. I was well informed about the dieta and had a medical intake. I felt like it was a professional but authentic experience., importantly I felt safe. Prior to leaving I also connected with other Australians that had been on the retreat through the ‘Friends of Arkana’ facebook community.
The nerves I felt prior to the first ceremony subsided by feeling home at ease. I have difficulty sleeping but felt like the rooms/accommodation allowed me to have a good sleep after going through some difficult self -realisations.
The days offered opportunities to go to a local village, meet sloths, jungle walk and visit markets. If you preferred deep self-reflection, exercising and immersing yourself on a hammock that was also available. It catered for what you needed. Some days I felt like being social and others I felt like journaling.
The transition from the jungle to the valley was easy – well organised and I felt safe going from one environment to another. I spent the first week in the Amazon which was an amazing setting to immerse yourself in the spirit of Ayahuasca. Coming to the valley was a different and varied experience.
The valley energy was different – a soft echo. A beautiful river backdrop. It has a gentle flow and a peace that allows for the plant to work at such a deep profound level. It was within this retreat that it got extremely deep, it really worked deep within the core and showed me the hidden parts that prevent me from moving forward. The pattern stoppers. It was confronting and real and at times scary and raw. I was so blessed to be around such supportive facilitators that could help me make sense and be there for me in what were some challenging and deep ceremonies.
The room was large and the bed massive and cosy. The range of activities including Machu Picchu day trip allowed for a once in a lifetime experience. My group was perfect and I met my soul sister who will forever hold a place in my heart and thanks to the beautiful gifting ceremonies is with me each and every day.
The room for the ceremonies was cosy and allowed for a deep experience. I felt myself connect on a very deep level with the medicine. The sweat lodge Temazcal showed me a perseverance within myself, when I truly didn’t believe I could last to the end.
San Pedro was a perfect ending allowing for a light ending with such a sacred plant immersed in nature. Having the two experiences really allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of myself and a side of myself I have been longing to meet.
The facilitators at Sacred Valley are second to none and I highly recommend a massage with Paco. Angel and his music is amazing – the songs take me back as well as the beautiful harp played by Tutis. If you go – ask for the story of the harp.
Arkana cares about integration – which after such a profound, deep cleansing experience is a must. Integration hasn’t always been easy for me – but knowing I can contact or message means I feel supported even when I feel vunerable from the truths it has allowed me to see.
I feel like I am still integrating but I have a level of self -awareness that I am working hard toward and for. I understand more layers of a complex onion then I did before which was just murky, muddy confusion. I have memories in my heart that I can call upon in the tough times as the memories of are able to be called upon in times I feel myself slipping back into old patterns. I have added resilience, independence and connections with beautiful humans which will last a lifetime. More importantly I am finally learning to love myself.
The Ayahuasca ceremonies were facilitated both by experienced shamans that genuinely cared about healing . We spoke along with facilitators about anything that may come up so we were deeply guided on our journey. The icaros assisted in grounding the experience and the setting of the maloca felt safe with enough personal space and not too many other people. I felt cared for when I felt vulnerable and supported when I had any questions that arose for the experience. I never felt alone through the healing process, the deep care and consideration of the facilitators made me feel safe at a time that a lot of deep healing and processing was coming to light. Group share provided an opportunity to have differing perspectives and allowed for easier transitions. What other group members said to me will remain with me forever in a time I wasn’t quite sure what messages meant.
I couldn’t recommend Arkana more – it isn’t a retreat it is a place of a deep healing immersion journey with family. It is a place you go to find the side of yourself that was always hidden inside. I couldn’t recommend more highly.