The Temple is deeply committed to ensuring that we provide optimal conditions for deep transformation to occur, be it in the quality of our medicine, with experienced and well-intentioned healers and staff, providing a safe setting, etc., as well as always learning from any mistakes that arise. We do not practice spiritual bypassing and our foreign staff includes skilled and experienced doctors and practitioners in a variety of healing and therapeutic fields. Our aim is to empower those who come for retreats to be present in the Now and awaken their most authentic self. Our mission is to create a container where our guests can feel safe so that they are able to create transformation for themselves and with ayahuasca.
We always handle valid complaints and criticisms honestly and appropriately. Where and when we make a mistake (which we occasionally do), we accept it, learn from it, and strive not to repeat it. The challenges that we have faced over the years have actually been our biggest teachers and have initiated an evolution for the Temple for which we are most grateful.
Dishonest complaints, disinformation, and spurious allegations unfortunately also happen occasionally. When working in “shadow territories,” as it is the nature of ayahuasca, limiting, blameful, destructive, and self-sabotaging patterns are exposed. In an effort to manage and integrate a big experience, or if the ego is not able to face the shadow within, it may then unknowingly be projected externally, and result in being triggered and/or finding fault or blame in other people, circumstances, situations, reasons, or excuses to validate a position. This is a huge aspect of shadow work and one that we see frequently. We devote a lot of energy to guiding guests towards an awareness of what projection is in the first days of working with the medicine, as it is possible to become overwhelmed with a strong experience in ceremony. We do our best to encourage awareness of this pattern before it does arise, and then again, gently, when it does.
This reviewer’s experience, like all of ours, is entirely valid, and also a reflection of their inner world. We are never interested in silencing anyone, and there is also a line between accepting when we have made a mistake and not accepting charged blame and unauthentic assumptions, which can and does happen with a very small number of guests who are not able/willing to take personal responsibility for their experiences.
Integrative Therapist – thank you for your review. We are always open to feedback and welcome constructive criticism. We appreciate the opportunity to improve any aspect of our work that is not in alignment with our mission and anything that is not of complete integrity. The Temple has evolved into one of the most respected ayahuasca healing centers in the Amazon due to being accountable for our actions and taking responsibility for any mistakes we make, then learning from them.
In response to your post, we want to share some of the actions we have taken.
Information about guests from previous retreats should never be shared outside of our team, and we are sorry that this happened. We are currently planning a staff training in confidentiality and developing standards for our integration team. Integration is a new field, and we are developing policies and protocols that are both respectful of the needs of our guests and functional in terms of how we work here at the Temple. We recognize that it’s important for guests on retreats and those working with our integration team be able to give informed consent as to how and when their information might be shared, and thank you for giving us this opportunity to re-evaluate how our integration team work outside Peru with our facilitation team in Peru.
Our retreat facilitators are not trained psychotherapists: they are experienced plant medicine people. We are proud to work with some of the very best facilitators in the Amazon / in the field of ayahuasca healing. We have comprehensive recruitment standards to ensure our staff, first and foremost, have many years of experience of personal work not just with ayahuasca, but with plant dietas too. We are continuing to improve our skills with regular staff trainings that include tools like non-violent communication, deep processing, self-inquiry, ontological modalities, and trauma release exercises, to add to the untrainable, unteachable element which all of our facilitators have in common: personal experience, kindness and compassion.
Regarding the “dark side of shamanism”, there is a culture of rivalry amongst many Amazonian healers. This is well known, and at the same time, the belief in dark shamanism, while it has its merits and some truth, is also often misleading. It is the result of several factors including gossiping, jealousy, competition, and mixing energies (of different traditions and systems) although most often it is simply fear based projections. While there are certainly people out there utilizing the power of medicinal plants for self-gain, we have worked closely with our team of Shipibo healers to establish and maintain the highest standards of care at the Temple over many years, and we trust the people we work with. We have a zero tolerance policy on what is called ‘brujeria’ (witchcraft) in the Amazon and are proud to work with a team of well-intentioned, highly skilled, kind and deeply caring healers from several core families.
Regarding the 13-day program: this retreat option was added about a year and a half ago. We no longer have the 13-day retreat guests arrive in the middle of the Deep Immersion retreat, but only at the beginning because we realized after a few trials that this format was not ideal for group cohesion. We make it very clear on the website that this offering is held within the Deep Immersion retreat (see the 13-day website description: “participants of this 13-day retreat join the 3-week Deep Immersion guests together at the beginning of the retreat and leave mid-way through the program.”). Our 13-day retreat continues to be very popular due to demand from people to have this style of retreat, with integrative practices, and more space between ceremonies but who do not have the ability to stay for 3 weeks.
And finally, yes, our founder Matthew is a businessman and is proud of the organization that he and his team have developed over the last decade. The Temple is / has always been run as a conscious (holistic) healthcare business passionately focused on individual and social transformation.