Upon arrival to our Arkana Spiritual Center, nestled in the mountains on the expansive banks of the Urubamba river, you are greeted by our loving staff of facilitators and healers. Meet the other members of your tribe, enjoy a tour of your new home, and get all your questions answered during an introductory information session.
The next morning at sunrise, you will begin the cleansing process with a Temazcal purification ceremony. This sacred practice involves a sweat lodge in the ancient Mesoamerican tradition, and is the first step towards releasing negativity and fear, opening oneself up to receive healing, and moving past the point of resistance to release and heal past trauma. Afterwards, step out into the cool mountain air refreshed, renewed, and revitalized to begin your work with the medicines.
The medicine of Rapé is a powerful and potent blend of ground tobacco. It is considered a traditional medicine with a multitude of physical and spiritual benefits. Known as “the medicine of air and fire,” the blend is blown up the nostrils by a shaman to facilitate a clearing of emotional, physical, and spiritual blockages, enabling a thorough grounding and centering of the recipient. The intense blow immediately focuses the mind, silences the chattering, and paves the way for your intentions to take center stage. Many shamans use Rapé to cleanse their energetic field and increase their connection with themselves and the world. As an added bonus, it also clears the sinuses and has incredible antimicrobial benefits for the nasal passages. The ceremony will take place prior to your first ayahuasca ceremony, in order to help prepare you and connect you to the sacredness of tobacco, a powerful plant ally of Ayahuasca.
Our Shipibo shaman, Maestro Diego, will do a one on one session with you (with a translator if needed) to do an intake, and see what it is you are looking to release, help or heal. He will be your guide you as you begin your healing journey with Ayahuasca, and integrate your intentions into the personalized icaros (songs of the plants) that they sing directly to you during the ceremony. All this is done in the native Shipibo dialect, passed down through our lineage of Shamans from generation to generation. This time-honored tradition has a far-reaching ancestral legacy of plant spirit shamanism, in which the knowledge and healing energies of the plants are transmitted through the icaros sung in ceremony to heal a wide range of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical ailments. With their rich cultural history and expansive knowledge of medicinal plants of Peru, our loving tribe of “light workers” cleanse and purify the space and set the stage for truly profound and deeply healing work.
The morning after each ceremony provides an opportunity to share your experience with Maestro Diego and your fellow guests, which can help you gain clarity, integrate your lessons, and set your intention for the next ceremony. While all activities are completely optional, we find that sharing your experience and learning from others’ ceremonies can be a vital and extremely profound part of the healing process. Many guests claim that the new perspectives gained during group shares were as powerful as the ceremonies themselves. Nevertheless, private consultations with Maestro Diego and facilitators are possible for more sensitive healing or issues that feel too personal to share with the group. At the Center, we also have a bilingual female and male Facilitators on staff, so both male and female guests can easily find an understanding ear for more sensitive conversations.
In addition to the Grandmother medicine of Ayahuasca, we are honored to offer the Grandfather medicine of San Pedro, or Huachuma as it is called in Quechua, administered by our Q’ero Shaman. A perfect balance to what can sometimes be the “tough love” of the Mother. San Pedro is a gentle and loving medicine, filled with warmth and light. This ceremony is done during the day, so you’ll have the chance to step outside and bask in the beautiful landscape, both within and without. Those who work with this medicine describe the essence of the experience to be an opening of consciousness and connection to the oneness all around us, of which we are all a part. Through this opening and connection, the ability to release and heal on all levels, including physical, is presented. We are honored to provide this medicine for you in its native land, the Andean mountains, and help you integrate the experience in a loving and grounded way. Through the work of both Ayahuasca and San Pedro, in addition to our other therapies, our guests find a balanced and deeply effective healing experience.
For an extra fee, you also have the opportunity to partake in the medicine of the Sonoran Desert Toad. This powerful and potent medicine has been a vital part of many shamanic ceremonies in Central and South America for thousands of years, and its active ingredient (5-MeO-DMT) is also known as the God or spirit molecule. This short but profound ceremony offers an intense, concentrated, and deeply mystical experience comparable to Hindu experiences of Moksha or Buddhist experiences of Samadhi and Nirvana. We are lucky to work with this potent and beautiful medicine, and will gladly discuss the benefits and therapeutic potential further for those interested.
One of the best parts of our Andean retreat center is the abundance of nature and the myriad of opportunities to reconnect to it. Throughout your stay with us, you’ll have the chance to experience the full bounty that Pachamama offers us in the beautiful Peruvian countryside. We understand that working with the medicines isn’t always easy, as we are sometimes brought face-to-face with parts of ourselves we have avoided for so long. This is important work, and necessary for true healing, and so we find that balancing this effort with opportunities to decompress, play, and connect with others in our slice of paradise translates to a more effective and fulfilling healing journey. As we begin to more fully open ourselves up to love and our true selves, a clear truth is revealed: Put simply, life is about love and connection – to ourselves, to others, and to the Earth. It is our sincerest joy to offer you the opportunities that can guide you deeper into this truth for yourself, in whatever unique way that is for you.
And so, with the mountains as our backdrop, explore and play in Mother Nature’s playground through horseback riding, hiking, and river rafting down the Urubamba with the members of your tribe. Take a trip to the little town and cultural hub of Pisac, where you’ll find a vibrant market with all manner of gifts, colorful foods, and sometimes even cultural dance performances. Or, trek 45 minutes from our Center through fields, farms, and other country beauties to Moray ruins, where we find the agricultural terraces of the ancient Incas with their complex system of irrigation and terraces. These terraces have varied microclimates depending on their location, and it is thought they were used by the Incas to discover the optimal growing conditions for their crops. These terraces served as a natural green house to grow an extraordinary variety of crops at an altitude normally not conducive for growing. It has also been suggested that the terraces had a cosmological meaning. While there, you’ll also have a chance to visit the impressive pre-Inca salt mine – Salineras, which consists of 3,000 small pools roughly 5 square metres (53.8 ft²) in size. Throughout this cultural and architectural exploration, you’ll learn about the advanced knowledge of this ancient civilization with a local guide as you witness the clues left behind in this mysterious and energetically powerful place.
For those who wish to further explore the culture, customs, and sacred sites of Peru, we offer the option to journey to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, one of the great Wonders of the world. Just two hours by scenic train ride, we’ll arrive in Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu village). During this excursion, you will be accompanied by your professional English-speaking guide with in-depth knowledge of the ancient Inca civilization, Machu Picchu and Peru’s history. Many people find his knowledge to be of significant effect on the Machu Picchu experience. While there, you’ll have the option of trekking up to the Sun Gate, the Inca Bridge or the Moon Temple if you want some extra physical activity. It’s an adventurous and scenic journey while quite physically demanding.
Upon returning to our Center, enjoy a well-deserved meal and a night of relaxation around the fire with your tribe. We balance out this exploration of both inner and outer worlds with wholesome nourishment for the body. At Arkana, we believe cultivating a solid framework of health for the mind, body, and spirit leads to a sustainable and fulfilling life. All of our food is fresh and organic, incorporating the superfoods of the region and with an inclination towards vegetarian, while including some lean animal proteins for those who require it. Most importantly, we believe in the adage of letting food be thy medicine, and thus we create a community around our kitchen, putting our hearts into our dishes and cultivating a love for our bodies and our food. Join us during the week for workshops on healthy cooking and permaculture. Our goal is to create a sustainable practice of conscious eating that you can take with you into your life back home.
Finally, we round out your experience by incorporating Eastern and modern healing practices such as sound therapy with Tibetan singing bowls, pranayama breath work, guided meditations, and Om circles. For those looking to find their creative flow, we offer a fully-stocked collaborative art space for drawing, painting, and other artistic expression. Or, if movement is your preferred medicine, let go of any inhibitions and join us for ecstatic dancing sessions or yoga, where we provide a safe and judgement-free space to get in touch with your body, move freely, push the edges of expression, nurture your senses, and transform your energy. There are no steps except the ones that come from within. Join our tribe for these cleansing movement practices, and deepen your awareness and connection to yourself and others.
Throughout the week, we also offer the chance to further integrate your healing with add-on options including Chakra rebalancing, Reiki energy work by a trained Reiki master, Shiatsu and deep tissue massage and aromatherapy.
Our holistic Center, therapies, and work with the sacred plant medicines offer us the opportunity to understand our true nature and discover a deeper meaning and fulfillment out of life. We do not side-step this process, but dive right into it, shining a light onto our darkness, and holding a mirror up to our fears, negative thought patterns, and self-limiting beliefs. By facing these parts of ourselves directly, rather than shying away from them or burying them as we may have done in the past, we can heal the root cause of the issue, resolving the inner conflict and turmoil that has caused us to bury and suppress our pain (often reaching all the way back to childhood), and releasing the energy that has been trapped there for so long. We provide the environment and expertise of a team of highly skilled, loving, compassionate Shamans and facilitators to guide you through this process of awakening, of choosing differently, healing, and expanding. It is a slow but steady path towards freedom – from fear, from illusion, from self-constructed boundaries – resulting in a lighter, brighter, more authentic self, and the full experience of love. It is our honor to help you on this most fulfilling of all journeys: the journey back home.