Listed in Ayahuasca
The Temple of the Way of Light is a traditional plant-medicine shamanic healing center located in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest that offers intensive ayahuasca retreats with female and male Shipibo healers. We are dedicated to providing our guests with the opportunity to benefit from the ancient healing wisdom of the Shipibo people, and to helping this unique culture preserve its knowledge and identity in the 21st Century.
We work with some of the most respected and powerful healers (Onanya) from the Shipibo tribe. They are highly experienced, gentle, caring, and deeply dedicated to healing and embodying the wisdom and sincerity of their people. The healing traditions of the Shipibo people offer an ancient yet pioneering path to health, re-discovering our true nature and re-awakening to our true purpose.
The Temple firmly believes in respecting and honoring the ancient practices of the Onanya, experts in ayahuasca healing and plant-spirit shamanism of the Amazon. They bring a rich cultural and medicinal legacy to the healing process: time-honored rituals, intricate practices, an expansive cosmology, an encyclopedic knowledge of medicinal plants of the Amazon, and a far-reaching ancestral lineage.
The Temple has safely facilitated healing for thousands of people since 2007 and has forged an exemplary reputation for stringent safety protocols, compassionate care, and a balance of female and male healers and facilitators. We have used our experience to fine-tune a synthesis of ancient Shipibo medicine traditions and modern and Eastern integrative practices that now extends to comprehensive aftercare and integration support long after guests have returned home. All this takes place with an institutional focus on sustainability, permaculture, ethics, and social responsibility.
We offer ayahuasca retreat programs of varying duration, focus, and intensity, with a balance of female and male Shipibo healers, experienced western facilitators, floral baths, a steam bath, a high ratio of healers to guests, a high number of ayahuasca ceremonies, individual consultations, a nutritional and balanced ayahuasca food diet, and a strong focus on how to process and integrate healing, both during and after each ayahuasca retreat.
The safety of our guests is paramount. We are constantly working to offer the safest container and most effective ayahuasca healing experience in the Amazon. We have developed the most stringent health and safety protocols available on any ayahuasca retreat in Peru. The Temple’s commitment to guests begins with in-depth medical and psychological screening during our booking procedure and continues after the retreat through our integration support. Guiding you safely through deep personal healing and growth is our priority, both in and out of ceremony.
I would say that while the healers of this organization are gifted the staff is dangerous in that there is a lack of awareness and accountability for blind spots and spiritual bypassing. The staff dabbles in areas of therapeutic healing that they are not skilled to handle and don’t even recognize that they aren’t skilled to handle. They can’t see what they don’t know and from that perspective they have the potential to cause great harm to clients who are vulnerable.
I had thought that I was one of few people to hold this perspective but the more I speak out the more I find that others have unfortunately had this experience as well. You likely won’t hear from these people as the Temple does a good job of silencing them.
I have been at the Temple in 2014 and I now have been thinking long and hard if I indeed should write this review or not and I came to the conclusion that taking this step is an important step for me to take to complete that chapter and to continue my own healing journey. I personally do not perceive my experience with the Temple an overall positive one. I loved the Temple ground and I am absolutely sure that I have received from Ayahuasca and the Shipibo people what I was ready for and I will forever remain grateful for that aspect of the journey. However, when it comes to the organisation of the Temple itself, I perceive it as a highly patriarchal system with maybe even what can be considered dysfunctional western people working in positions they simply might not be qualified for at all. The pinnacle of what I am talking about was a person responsible for integration tell me “as a joke” in a core wound healing session that it would be awful to continue to work with me. I had had a few sessions with her prior and as the integration program had not existed yet when I made my journey, I felt the sessions were really helping me integrate my experience, even though my original journey already had been a few years prior, and I was considering to keep doing them for a while till I had mastered a certain step on my continued journey, and so I somehow wanted to check if working with me was working for her as well. I thought that when I pay somebody a solid weekly fee, I want that to be appreciated and that the person feels comfortable working with me too. And I was really vulnerable in that situation, which she knew, and my humour just does not cover that situation at all. And, that snapping energy of darkness or coldness or insensitivity coming from that organisation or people working for that organisation on the western side of things is something I have experienced as a pattern, and that conversation was then the point at which I finally decided to move on. I also have to say that leaving situations, which are not good for me, is not my strength, and I was really attached to the location and somehow thought that walking away would mean I am not grateful for what I have received from the Shipibo people, which is really not the case at all. So I guess in the end you all have to decide for yourself and I guess it might be the right place for some. My needs however for emotional safely had not been met at all. I had chosen that place with great care and consideration, but in the end, I have to come to the sad conclusion that it was not the right one for me. I am truly sad about that, as I was really interested in developing a long-lasting relationship and wanted to contribute with my unique gifts long after my original visit, but that one was not appreciated as well, so, really, not a good experience. I only wish I would have been able to let go much sooner, but soul level things I guess just take their time.
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.
In five ceremonies out of seven, there was loud music from the village almost all night long?.and this happens all the time. Additionally during the day there was construction work going on. Not relaxing at all…And not helpful for my healing journey. A place where I have been served medicine by a gringa facilitator whilst the shaman lady was sitting next to her doing nothing. Unacceptable! A place where you have shamans on a payroll, without any power to make decisions, because it has been taken away from them. I have been told, that I was not allowed to talk to the maestros, because everything needs to go through the facilitator. The owner came into the dining room one day and did not even acknowledge the people who help to make his “vision” come true. No “thanks for being here” or even a hello. A sign of bad manners. Ive also seen him screaming at his staff in a meeting.
During my time there, I did not see the caring and loving environment that has been advertised on the website. They say they work with the divine feminine. I had the feeling that it was all about control and male dominance. You can’t even post in social network sites, without approval. So they clearly want to control everything.
There were dogs on the ground and we have been encouraged to “beat the shit out of them” by some of the staff, because these dogs don’t belong to the temple of the way of light.
I could go on and on, but bottom-line is, if you are looking for a loving environment and personal attention, in a place where you can relax without being disturbed by loud music until 3am and shamans who kept their dignity then the temple of the way of light is not for you.
Its just a well done website with some good marketing behind by a real estate guy from england.
I cannot recommend this place at all. It was very disappointing, a waste of my precious time and my hard earned money.
My experience was a mixed bag. Inez is wonderful…absolutely amazing. There were one or two other shamans that were excellent as well. Half of the female shamans there took every opportunity to insult and mock me. One was yelling at me for not going to the arts and crafts fair they had. Selfish, absurd and wildly inappropriate. Yes, I can take it but if I want to hear that childish nonsense I can hang out with my puerile beer drinking buddies. They were selling people magic potions for supposedly increasing the ability to attract a mate. In the end it was expected that we tip the shamans and pressured to do so. This was not discussed (as far as I know) on the website. Felt like a trap. The facilitators we had were into silly group exercises and had an arrogance about them. That arrogance that so many in the “helping” professions have where if they don’t feel that they are above you and they get snarky. They need you to need them.
I know someone who did not have any visions there and then went to [REDACTED] where they were able to clear his blocks and then he had wonderful experiences. The facilities are much nicer at [REDACTED] as well. The Temple has no way to secure important items like passports etc and the maloka’s are cramped.
There are much better places.