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Ayahuasca Retreat for Women

Updated: Mar 24

Last weekend, Mercedes and I held our second women’s ayahuasca retreat in Ecuador.  We were inspired to offer this weekend-long ayahuasca retreat for locals who feel the call to be held in a space by and for women.

It was a beautiful ayahuasca retreat with twenty-four women who came with the intention of healing and praying for their lives.  For me, these spaces are healing, not just because there are specific experiences that we need to process and learn from to move forward, but also because it is an opportunity to remember how sacred, beautiful, and powerful it is to be a woman.

It’s also an opportunity to remember that although our experiences are unique, we all experience similar feelings, we are all connected, and we are all one.  

The format of these weekend ayahuasca retreats consists of beginning with exercises that foster a feeling of inclusion.  We engage in activities that allow each participant to present themselves to the group and share their intention for the experience.  This is followed by group therapeutic practices that invite us to connect with our bodies, and how we’re feeling, which helps to cultivate more awareness of that which is coming to the surface and is ready to be transmuted and released.

Sometimes, we arrive at ceremony with a very clear feeling of what we need to work on, but much of this work deals with what lies in our subconscious.  By incorporating these practices, we become more aware of what’s lying there, even if we don’t fully understand.  

I’m increasingly understanding that our body is really the key to understanding myself, and it’s always sending signals that can lead to greater understanding if I am attuned enough to notice them, and then do the work to follow the thread to discover what it’s trying to tell me.  

I’ve also observed that beginning with these therapeutic activities helps to prepare the participants mentally and emotionally for an experience that can often generate a bit of anxiety.  It’s normal to feel fear, while at the same time feeling certain that one wants to drink Ayahuasca, because it’s deciding to step into the most ultimate of unknowns.  Fostering a sense of community among the participants and having the time to settle into the space, settle into the body, connect with ourselves, and remember why we decided to drink Ayahuasca in the first place allows the group to enter into ceremony with a greater sense of calm and ease.  

The following day, we close the Ayahuasca retreat with a ceremony of offerings and prayers.  Each person is invited to sit in front of the fire that accompanied us throughout the evening of the ceremony and share what they became aware of, what they took away from the experience, and express the prayers in their heart.  It’s a more shamanic way of closing the encounter and an inspiring way to begin what for many feels like a rebirth.  

These encounters always leave me feeling so grateful to be living on this powerful land and to weave more and more of the ancestral practices I am learning about into my everyday life.  And, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the facilitation of these healing encounters with the soul during our Ayahuasca retreats in Ecuador.


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