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Spirit Vine, Itacare, BA, Brazil
Date of retreat: Early April 2018
When I first started investigating Aya two years ago, I was immediately drawn to Silvia and Spirit Vine was my first choice although I ended up doing my first retreat in Peru, that was 18 months ago. The Peru trip was great but I knew I wanted to experience Spirit Vine at some stage and it certainly lived up to expectations. Some insights below.
Accommodation / facilities:
Top draw, can’t find fault with anything. There was limited wi-fi on our balcony, not so much inside, but for me that was a good thing, may be an issue for others. Good wi-fi was always available in the main lodge. The food was probably the best vegetarian food I’ve ever had and there was plenty. The retreat itself is just stunning and the staff were attentive and unobtrusive
I learnt so much from others during the workshops and it was a real privilege being able to witness Sylvia draw on her years of professional therapeutic work as she gently guided us along this path of healing and exploration.
The Aya experience I had in Brazil seemed to have a different, calmer energy to Peru, where I had been before, I’m told this was down to the setting. I found the Sprit Vine experience gentler, although I did see a lot of familiar scenes and experience some of the same “spiritual ceremonies” with elders/guides
Don’t know how she does it but she managed to bring a really interesting mix of people together, something like 14 different nationalities. Loved the fact that she was all about teaching us to go inside and find the answers from within, that we already have the knowledge and not to rely on “experts” (including her) to tell us what they think. It’s not a perfect process and is work but she patiently strives to give us tools we can use in a practical sense to explore our perceptions and experiences and interpret what comes up in the ceremonies.
Silvia’s assistant Rohan is a very interesting guy who is a great listener with a lot of cool stories. Interaction between Silvia, Rohan and the group was very easy and caring. Nice balance of energy with Silvia and Rohan always making sure they were at opposite sides of the dinner table so it was easy to listen and learn.
The only concern I had before the retreat was that they used recorded music. This turned out to be the most amazing, mind blowing music that totally worked and had the shamanistic songs interwoven in a really original way. Silvia could make a fortune off those soundtracks!
Close enough but not too close to the retreat. It’s a good ideal to stay a few extra days and explore / wind down after the retreat. English in the area is not widespread, use google translate and try to learn basics of Portuguese. After the retreat I stayed for a few days of surfing in Itacare and it was fantastic to be able to hang around in the evenings with a few of the new friends from the retreat who did the same.
Health / Life changes:
I have kept up with a mainly vegetarian diet and feel amazing for it, although I will occasionally eat meat in the future if at friends’ houses, etc. Because I had done Aya before it now feels more normal for me. I haven’t experienced any drastic changes, this is what I expected anyway. I do feel like I’ve had a spiritual “tune-up” like some of my antennae have been adjusted.
Thank you Silvia and Rohan
Iquitos and Urubamba in Peru
I went on the 14 day Matchu Pitchu to Jungle trip from Cuzco to Iquitos Nov24-Dec7. Met a really fantastic bunch of people who were finishing off in Cuzco after beginning their journey in the Jungle, over the first 5 days of the trip they were able to give us a heads up as to what to expect without spoiling anything, this was very useful.
The San Pedro ceremony in Cuzco was a really cool and gentle intro into the experience and the conversations around the fire that night were. Matchu Pitchu was also as expected, nothing was rushed and everything ran smoothly.
The Aya part of the trip was incredible. I think this is probably the most important thing I will ever do in my life because I feel it has truly connected me with a higher spirit/being (that’s something I never thought I’d say). I’m a pretty normal, balanced person with no big traumas or difficult things I’m trying to resolve/heal (yet!), my primary aim was to explore consciousness and clean anything that needed to be cleaned.
The actual ceremonies are different for everyone. They were very visual for me with only a little purging but I agree with the view that it felt like I was in a Spiritual hospital and that people were being healed. At the end I felt like I had been cleaned and given a lot of seriously valuable knowledge. I have been through a sacred initiation of sorts and am now connected to the force that guides me in my life.
Something I didn’t expect was just how much I would learn from the group shares. What people share about their experience is fascinating and humbling and the way Rafael facilitated was outstanding, he is a truly compassionate, engaging and enlightened person. The interaction between the group, Rafael and the Shamans was spot on. I will be forever grateful that I was able hear what others in the group were experiencing and see the progress we all made as the journey progressed.
A big thank you to:
Melissa: For such a great energy and definitely the best laugh I’ve heard in ages! Made everything seem so easy. You were such a key part of the trip, I really wish you well on your path.
Donal, Rafael, Val, Chandre, Tatiana: For all the facilitation, guidance, amazing knowledge, yoga, meditation and warmth.
The Shamans: Wiler, Ernesto and Angelita for your protection during the ceremonies, feedback during the group shares and for the opportunity to experience the incredible connection you have with this amazing spirit world/dimension. I won’t meet many people like this in my life, it’s been a real privilege.
Wilbur & Peche: For the jungle tours, swimming, fishing etc. You guys are a great team and the info you have about the locals and old ways really adds to the experience.
Cleaning ladies and staff who prepped the food: Everything we needed was done in such a non-intrusive and friendly way.
The only complaint I have is that the crazy dog needs a buddy!
Not sure when, but I’ll be back and will only recommend this place with the highest praise.