Ceremony and medicine FAQ's
Santiago is certified as a shaman by the Ecuadorian government. This certification follows the legal requirements and ethical guidelines for organizing medicinal ceremonies to give you peace of mind during our retreats.
Our retreats are limited to 13 participants to give each attendee the personal attention needed to integrate their healing experience. We also offer small group ceremonies.
Mattresses, blankets, and pillows are provided to keep warm during ceremonies. A sacred fire is also kept burning by our Keeper of Fire during all ceremonies.
Ceremonies are held in a temple called a “Maloka”, an outside bungalow and sacred prayer space. Our San Pedro Maloka sits on the backbone of the San Pedro Valley mountain with breathtaking views. Our Ayahuasca Maloka sits beside the beautiful rushing sounds of the river.
The duration of the ceremonies varies according to the situation, the participants, the medicine. The approximate time is 8-11 hours
Nighttime ceremonies begin between 9 and 12 at night and end with the sunrise. Day ceremonies begin at 9 in the morning and end at approximately 5 in the afternoon
We start all ceremonies by sharing group intentions for taking ancient medicine. During the ceremony, our family will share songs to call the spirits of medicine, distribute the plant medicine and transmit their teachings.
Grandmother Ayahuasca ceremonies last all night with accompaniment of prayers and traditional live music from our medicine givers. The entire group remains together until the end of the ceremony to hold sacred space for this beautiful journey inward.
Grandfather San Pedro ceremonies last all day. As a ritual, we sing traditional songs, pray to the water, ask assistance from the jaguar, and gift food to the fire. This journey into our interior reflects the essentials of life, love and beauty within our own true essence.
During ceremony, we stay seated, calm and remember the intention we set prior to ingesting the medicine. Then, just listen and be open to what comes.
Though speaking can be a therapeutic part of the process, it is not mandatory and we respect the word as well as silence.
Our shamans guide the course of the ceremony, but we gather to listen to the unique teachings the sacred plant medicine has for each of us.
Ceremony is intended to be understood and felt through the heart, though most of our participants speak English. We speak english or have a translator for the beginning and ending of the ceremony. Speaking is limited during ceremony aside from sharing teachings. Most songs (called icaros) are in Spanish and Quechua.
Everyone starts with a single dose of medicine that varies according to each person. All participants are free to ask for and receive more medicine assuming composure and respect of the medicine and ceremony purpose is maintained.
In general, the purpose of each ceremony is to receive teachings for life to be better human beings. What we do before and after are exercises on sending an intention to the universe.
All our medicine is processed while praying and putting the highest intention in this act.
- San Pedro – In the case of San Pedro, this is collected and prepared by Santiago in the sacred forest of San Pedro on the property of Casa del Sol.
- Ceremonial Mushrooms – Ceremonial mushrooms are collected with much love and respect by Mateo the son of Santiago and Ximena in the beautiful fields of Vilcabamba.
- Ayahuasca – Ayahuasca is harvested in the Ecuadorian jungle by a very dear Shaman friend who cooks medicine with devotion.
- Rapé – The Rapé is prepared by Titi, a Brazilian healer with many years of experience.
- Kambo – The Kambo comes from reliable sources of the Amazon of Peru
The medicine is administered orally in the case of San Pedro, Ayahuasca and Ceremonial Mushrooms. The Kambo through the skin and the Rapé medicine by nasal route. The person who administers the medicine is Santiago or the rest of the facilitators always under the consent of Santiago and under his supervision.