I came to Aya Madre intending to spend 1 or 2 months, I ended up spending 3 months there. There are so many elements that made Aya Madre the perfect place for me.
1) Community. The feeling at Aya Madre is one of being with family. When diving into the deepest part of ourselves, it is so valuable to be surrounded by an environment that holds you, nurtures, and gives you something to laugh about. When you aren’t deep in medicine work, you might be playing futbol with Maestras kids or the local children. You might be playing volleyball with Maestra herself along with other workers and pasajeros. Most importantly, you are not isolated from who the Shipibo are, beyond a Shaman to facilitate your ceremony, you are invited to engage with a Shipibo family, in all their humanness and be a part of their community- and that in itself is profund medicine
2) Maesta Estela. She is such an incredible presence and teacher. Specifically I appreciated the way she empowered me to find my own medicine and understanding. She doesn’t just tell you like it is (except when she does because she knows) she encourages you to decide for yourself what your body needs and how to get it. You get to know the plants yourself- harvest them, touch them, communicate with them. Also, while she is deeply attuned to Shipibo traditions, she listens to the plants more than anything else. She knows instructions and rules aren’t fixed- her flexibility and fluidity to adapt as she listens to the plants moment to moment makes the experience.
3) The environment was beautiful. The spongy soft ground the tambos are situated around made it possible for me to be bare foot 99% of the time. The tambos are the perfect combination of rustic and comfortable. I felt so safe and taken care of all of the time- while still feeling really connected to my natural environment even when I was inside. The food was delicious and nourishing.
I highly recommend Aya Madre to anyone seeking a profound and comprehensive experience of plant medicine. I especially encourage women to consider Aya Madre.