Ayahuasca  –  The  Vine  of  the  Soul

Ayahuasca, or Oní in Shipibo, is an Amazonian plant medicine that has been used as a sacred healing tool by indigenous cultures for hundreds, possibly thousands of years throughout the Amazon basin. The brew is primarily made from 2 plants, the Chacruna leaf (which contains the powerful psychoactive compound, dimethyltryptamine or DMT) and the Ayahuasca vine which contains other healing alkaloids. When ingested, the brew induces altered states of consciousness and is used in a variety of therapeutic ways for diagnosing and healing dis-ease of the body, mind, and spirit. In essence, this powerful medicine provides a deep and transformative cleansing process ridding the energetic and physical body of blockages that hinder our connection and authentic expression. 

From a shamanic point of view, illness and emotional imbalances are manifestations of blockages in a person’s energy, creating an imbalance in the overall system. These blockages can stem from childhood trauma, PTSD, surgery, accidents, illness, stress, disconnection, living a life out of alignment with our true self, and so many more circumstances. With the help of Ayahuasca guided by experienced healers and comprehensive facilitation and integration support, we can understand, address, heal, and release the energetic imprints of trauma to restore ourselves to a more embodied, alive, and authentic self.



Honoring the Shipibo Nation

At Anam Cara, we serve Ayahuasca intentionally and solely under the guidance of highly experienced Shipibo Curanderos. Although there are many diverse and beautiful indigenous tribes that serve Ayahuasca medicine, we strongly connect with the wisdom and integrity of the Shipibo Lineage. Shipibo Ayahuasca medicine ceremonies are held with rooted tradition and strong integrity, bringing safety, intentionality, and ritual to every aspect of the ceremony and energy work exchanged between healer and patient. The Shipibo Lineage is one of the oldest carriers of Ayahuasca medicine and their culture has deeply shamanic roots, influenced by their devout connection to nature. Their relationship to the elements, plants, animals, and ecosystem is the foundation for their connection to spirit and access to powerful healing wisdom.

Shipibo healers undergo an incredibly challenging and devoted training process which includes master plant dietas. For many months, and even years throughout their life, they venture deep into nature to consume large amounts of medicinal Amazonian plants in order to receive their healing wisdom. For months before, during, and after they follow a very strict food diet, refrain from sex and technology, and live in total isolation, completely connected to their natural environment. They believe the spiritual body gains strength as the physical body breaks down for a temporary period of time. This process is done dozens of times before they are ready to heal others. The Shipibo path to becoming a Curandero is thorough, arduous, and very specific. A committed Ayahuasquero will continue to diet frequently throughout their career to maintain their connection to their work, remain energetically clean, and deepen their healing knowledge. These challenging yet beautifully thorough practices are just a few reasons we are so committed to serving Ayahuasca done under the guidance and tradition of the Shipibo Lineage. We hold their culture with deep reverence and while we strive to support the medicine work being done with western psychology and relatable tools for integration, our ceremonies are held as traditionally as possible. 

A unique aspect of the Shipibo culture is their woven song tradition. Through their dieting process, they learn the healing messages and healing wisdoms that come through nature and they channel them into healing songs called icaros. The elaborate geometrical designs you see on their clothing and textiles is the design of their icaros which they hand sew with intention and prayer. The patterns and icaros have many different purposes among them such as protection, healing, abundance, and gratitude. In ceremony, each guest will be going in-depth about their intentions and process with our families of Shipibo Curanderos so they may work with intention and specificity on each guest in ceremony. As the ceremonies build on one another throughout the week, our guests develop deep and profound relationships with the healers and often reach powerful cleansing which brings alignment, liberation, and deeper levels of love.  

The Shipibo tradition is centered around the idea that if the obstacles to healing are removed, wholeness and harmony will naturally be restored within us. They believe in our body’s natural ability to heal itself in reciprocity with nature. Their healing tradition is based heavily on cleansing and purification. They welcome the purging process as part of honoring their body through a willingness to let go of what does not serve them. Their medical system is more complex and beautiful than we can articulate and it is a deep honor for us to experience their medicine tradition with them.

At Anam Cara, we structure our small-group retreats in such a way that the relationships and connections built between the Shipibo healers and the guests is not solely taking place in the ceremony. Our intimate and intentional container holds extensive time throughout the week for our guests to interact with our healers, share meals as a family, spend time helping them collect herbs, make sacred plant baths, engage in other indigenous practices, and share stories around the fire. 

We hope to welcome you to the family.  

San  Pedro

San Pedro or Huachuma is a plant medicine that has been used in sacred ceremonies in the Andes for at least 3000 years. San Pedro medicine is powerful and heart-opening, as it help us to connect deeply with nature and land energy. It can also help us to perceive limiting beliefs and trauma that hinder us from living our lives more fully. 

Each ceremony with San Pedro is a reunion with ourselves, Mother Nature, and the Divine. It is a medicinal mirror that can help us see where we hold onto self-limiting beliefs and patterns in our lives, gently guiding us toward releasing that which no longer serves us.

San Pedro is often underestimated as powerful plant medicine, however, we have found San Pedro to be incredibly powerful,  especially when working with our trusted Huachumero Bernhard Karshagen. Bernhard is a close friend, mentor, and healer of the highest integrity. In our opinion and based on our experience, there are few limits if any to San Pedro’s capacity to help us heal.


Integration  Support

At our retreats, we emphasize a strong focus on the supportive work being done outside of the ceremony space in preparation and integration to ensure you get the most out of your experience with these sacred plants. We will host and provide a number of supportive modalities and practices with movement, breath-work, sound, nature, and deep process work to support you throughout the week and connect you with yourself and this sacred land. We will hold a number of group and individual preparation and integration circles to ensure everyone is feeling deeply supported throughout the medicine work and long after the retreat is finished. 


Preparation + Intention Setting

Group preparation calls

1:1 Intention setting calls

Preparation resources

Travel planning and support



1:1 Consultations with healers

1:1 Extensive facilitator support

Group sharing circles

Multiple Processing & integration workshops and discussions


Integration Support

Group sharing and integration calls

1:1 integration calls

Long-term support with our facilitation team