Listed in Ayahuasca
- Iquitos, Peru
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.
This was my first time taking the medicine and I only came to TOTWOL for the 9-day Integration Workshop because someone I highly trust recommended it highly. I was not disappointed, and you can stop reading at this point as everything else I’m going to say simply elaborates on this.
Nobody comes to the jungle to drink ayahuasca unless they’ve got some stuff to deal with. There’s a thousand ways it can go wrong, so I was balancing being open to the process with keeping my eyes peeled for red flags. There were none. Don’t get me wrong, there were some dicey events where some members of our 20+ group dealt with any number of issues that arose in person, in group, in the ceremonies, etc. but the healers and facilitators dealt with it in the most gentle and professional manner.
And then there’s Tanya.
There’s a 1000-watt head and heart in that woman and I was inspired by the way she gave her all to each member of the group, including myself. You know when somebody looks at you and you can tell that they really see you? She does.
The facilities, the amenities, the program, the healers, the medicine itself, all fitting to the task. I feel like I got what I came for, and believe most of my cohorts did as well. Some of the toughest nuts were cracked, and while I know my journey has an individual trajectory I was amazed by the diversity, thoughtfulness and intelligence of the others in my group and the loving dynamic within.
I may come back. Not sure. Too early. But I did recommend wholeheartedly to those with whom I can discuss.
I recommend to you too.
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.
I attended the Temple’s 30-day Deep Immersion Program in October 2015. At the time it offered 8 ceremonies over 4 weeks, with plenty of down time between ceremonies for integration, yoga, meditation, art therapy, and group sessions. It’s been sharpened to 7 ceremonies over 3 weeks, which I’d consider an improvement.
In my opinion, the Temple is aspiring to be one of the biggest and most renowned centres in Peru to meet growing demand from cultures afflicted with spiritual maladies. It thankfully understands the importance of doing so sustainably, which is evidenced in the Chaikuni Permacutlure Center work that’s being done on site.
The most important point I want to make is that the Temple is great for a lot of people, especially newcomers to the medicine, but can fall short on delivering what’s possible due to needing to give a lot of people a good experience.
Plant medicine is often intense. In rare cases, people die. Compared with all my other experiences, my opinion is that medicine at the Temple was mild for the sake of not scaring too many people off. If this is your first retreat, it will sufficiently knock your socks off, and give you a wonderful first experience. They have a knack for attracting world-class facilitators. If you’ve already journeyed before, or if there’s any urgency to your healing process, I’d advise finding a smaller specialized centre that follows the Shipibo healing lineage more closely.
My last thing to mention is that if you have any trouble with mobility or moving around, you should absolutely consider a different retreat centre. The hike in is gruelling, even with their porters carrying your bags.