1371 Hancock lone palm rd Orlando, Florida 32828
I came to ayahuasca as a last resort after years of depression, axiety, and PTSD. I had run out of cards to play. This was my last. I initially went to Gaia Sagrada in Ecuador for a 12 day retreat. That was a good experience. The staff and shamans were wonderful and the facility is beautiful, as is nearby Cuenca, so if you have the opportunity I highly recommend Gaia’s retreat as well.
With that said, during that retreat, I unfortunately was not able to reach any of the answers I was hoping to get to. My understanding is that the medicine needed to do some physical cleansing first. Still, I did see a few others experiencing some of the things I was in need of so it told me to hold on and try again. At the suggestion of a friend and fellow veteran I decided to go to Soul Quest.
With my admittedly limited experience, Soul Quest is at a whole different level.
I arrived still carrying myself like a body without a soul. Stuck very deeply in my own head and having access to none of the positive emotions I now have access to again. The staff at soul quest was/is wonderful. The founders are very much available, when they are not actively running an activity throughout every day of the retreat.
The Taita (healer/shaman/curandero), Pedro, who runs the evening ceremonies is a deep, kind, and powerful soul who does absolutely incredible work with creating a sacred space, bringing powerful music, and with ensuring everyone is safe and free to be with the medicine to do their healing, which is what most people do and need most of the time. He also knows from his training and experience how to help people (not most or many, but the few) release a deeply powerful emotion or dysfunction they don’t seem to be able to let go of or seem stuck in (I think these are the people who do the most healing in a single night).
Likewise, the facilitators, medics, and volunteers are standing by at all times to ensure everyone has a safe environment and an experience most conducive to healing, learning, and growth as they go within. All this is an awe inspiring team effort for me to witness and feel and it is absolutely necessary because the medicine at Soul Quest is an increasingly pure, loving, and STRONG medicine. The moment this medicine took effect on me during each ceremony, I knew I had entered deep self, deep inner space, deep emotional trauma, deep programming, and when I worked my way up to a full dose (which is measured in tablespoons!) I was able to get in direct touch with deep reality (and look forward to doing more work going forward). This medicine, especially at a full dose or beyond, is formidable, not for the feint of heart but for those wanting and needing to do serious (wonderful, magical) inner work to face demons, process trauma, regain access to their true self, the life force within, and the heart and that is just what I needed and exactly what I got. Of course, this experience was nothing like I expected and nothing like others had described, so keep in mind that every experience is as unique as every moment. No two are the same, not even the same person one day apart, so be prepared to get what you need, as opposed to what you want, think, hope, plan…etc.
Throughout the retreat, during recovery time there are wonderful classes you can partake in including different kinds of yoga, yogic science (the chakra system, etc) and breathing techniques. The longer retreats also have other classes including nutrition. Of course the grounds are also very conducive to both spending time reflecting/journaling, or to discussing and processing experiences with other participants or with facilitators so I felt like throughout the retreat I was always doing something that was good for me and my process.
The medicine is made right on sight by the ayahuasquero who runs the daytime ceremony, Anthony. Anthony, like Taita Pedro, has a beautiful, powerful, loving presence and is able to create an environment that was beautifully conducive to absolutely transformational work for me during the day time ceremonies under the white oaks. Like Taita, Anthony helped me feel safe to go deeper within, knowing that if I get into trouble, I am not alone, I am in incredibly good hands. This was/is absolutely key for me.
While I could not say enough good things about Soul Quest and realize this review does have to come to an end I will mention something very specific. Soul Quest’s commitment to help heal the many military veterans who are out there fighting alone. Chris Young, Verena Young, Dr. Scott Irwin extended me and other veterans I know a full commitment to support us, including in times of financial hardship through their Veteran Program/Fund, as we fight the demons we carry…those demons who continue to take lives not in combat but in suicide every single day.
If you are or know a veteran in need, please let them know there is at least one more card to play at Soul Quest. And it’s a powerful one.