Meet Our Team

Arkana Spiritual Center prides itself on bringing together a team of highly-qualified and diverse staff, such that your time with us also feels like a welcoming into our family. All of our staff have extensive experience working with the medicines they facilitate, and are extremely dedicated to this sacred work. We employ personnel with a wide variety of skills including medical expertise, psychology, yoga teaching, and art, in addition to their qualifications as facilitators, managers, and other roles. We are proud to continuously grow our family through professional development and employment opportunities, and encourage you to read their biographies and as always, feel free to reach out and say hi!

Jose

Managing Partner

Jose, an adventurous entrepreneur at heart and father of five, is the driving force behind Pulse’s operations and growth initiatives. Originally from Mexico, Jose grew up in a conservative middle class home. At the age of 18, his best friend presented him with Carlos Castañeda’s Journey to Ixtlan, the book that had a profound impact on his life, awakening his curiosity. He started questioning everything around him without finding any satisfying answers. Frustrated, he decided to put his curiosity on hold for years, buying into the conventional story of many: Marry up, have kids and make a lot of money – what seemed to be the formula of success. For a number of years it seemed like he was on the right track. He started his family and after graduating with an MBA from Harvard Business School made strides climbing the ladder in the corporate world, first as an Investment Banker in Wall Street and more recently as a Real Estate developer. Under all accounts he seemed that he was successful however deep inside it was a different story, he battled with depression having a sense that something was missing in his life.

In 2012, after both his personal life and business spiraled out of control, he found his way to the Amazon in need of deep healing and discovered the world of plant medicine. His first encounter with La Madre was healing and very profound, providing many of the answers that were missing; helping him find true meaning and purpose. It was in this first center that he met Wiler, becoming the best of friends and his apprentice. With a new perspective on things, Jose managed to reinvent his existing business into a procurement agency that outfits multi million dollar hotels and turned his personal life around. In the following years, he has deepened his work with plants doing several plant dietas along the way and even venturing to the forests of Gabon in Africa to be intiated as a Bwiti practitioner.

Today he lives a happy and simple fulfilled life in the service of others. He insists that each person is responsible for crafting his/her own personal story, rather than buying into social norms. He has rewritten his success formula to include love, faith and hope at its core. At the helm of Pulse, since the fall of 2016 he dreams with global expansion, bringing the world of plant medicines and spirituality to those who need it most. His favorite quote: “Starve the Ego, Nourish the Soul.”

Daniel

Founder, Trip Leader

Over 10 years ago, a young man from Walkerton, Ontario, Canada had a recurring dream to explore the world. The day to day cage of 9-5 was not big enough to contain this young adventurer. He began to research the great land of sandy beaches, cheap beer and groovy vibes … Brazil.

After learning some Portuguese, buying some maps of Brazil and maxing out his credit at the bank, Daniel Cleland ventured off on an independently organized six week journey through Brazil. The minute he arrived to his hostel in Copacabana, he dropped his bags and B-lined straight to the beach … the first time this land-locked boy had seen the ocean in years. As his eyes feasted on the glorious expanse of Copacabana beach, Daniel knew that dreams were just reality waiting to happen. His life had taken a turn, and the rest of his six week adventure would define the next decade of his life.

Upon returning the 9-5 grind in Canada after his six week sojourn in the land of samba and caipirinhas, the only thought in Daniel’s mind was “how do I get back there?” Within a month, he’d located a job in international tourism and began to work his way back down to the promised land. Working for a major international travel company, Daniel spent the next years leading adventures all across Central and South America, where he learned how to communicate like a pro in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, and how to show people the gems of this awe-inspiring continent.

Never being one to play by anyone else’ rules, Daniel began to do his own thing and create itineraries to South America for family and friends. Now, Pulse Adventure Tours has become a live and thriving entity, with a growing culture of awesome people’s support!

Traveling the world has also inspired Daniel to enroll in a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural and International Communication, from which he is graduating in 2014. Familiarity with this field of study helps Pulse Adventure Tours build strong intercultural bridges between our travelers and the locals we encounter along the way. Many of our travelers experience a whole new world which they return to independently in the future.

Melissa

Director of Business Development

Melissa took a leap of faith in September 2015 to step out of Corporate America and into the Amazon jungle, and hasn’t looked back since! With a background in engineering, science, and management, Melissa helps keep the ship running smoothly as our Director of Business Development. She is likely every guests’ first point of contact as she manages emails, bookings, and operations, while helping us continue to expand our horizons and fulfill our mission to change the world, one heart at a time.

Melissa originally met Dan and Tatyana on their very first, fateful June Solstice Journey in 2013. Having just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, she was about to take a high-paying, yet ultimately unfulfilling job that she knew would be a temporary stopping point. During this transition point in her life, she became interested in the healing power of Ayahuasca and other plant medicines. As this was prior to the establishment of the Ayahuasca Adventure Center, participating in this trip was the first of a series of successful leaps of faith that would eventually lead her to join the team just a couple years later. Inspired by the traditional shamanic work, the vision of Dan and Tatyana to spread the medicine to others while giving back to the native Amazonian people, and the desire to use her problem-solving and management skills for a higher purpose than the corporate world of cubicles and money, Melissa kept in touch with Pulse Tours throughout her tenure in the States. As soon as she was able, she jumped at the opportunity to leave her comfortable yet unfulfilling life behind and join the team. She has since become a crucial member of Pulse Tours, and we are lucky to have her as part of the family!

While at the Center, Melissa enjoys connecting with the guests and helping them through their process, while making sure all is organized and running well. When abroad, Melissa manages our marketing and social media, while developing community outreach and other social projects. Ultimately, Melissa’s larger goal is to be the bridge between the scientific and spiritual worlds, as she strongly relates to the difficulty of breaking the mold of Western thinking. She envisions accomplishing this in a variety of ways – through spreading the message of the healing power of these medicines on both a spiritual and physical level, helping those that come through reconcile the gap for themselves if they so desire, and advancing the movement at large, through science-based studies and mainstream media, such that Western society gives more credence and attention to the potential benefits of traditional plant medicines. If you come through our Center and like to talk about science, skepticism, spirituality, philosophy, or just need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on, Melissa’s here for you, and we couldn’t ask for a better addition to round out our jungle family!

Cecilia

General Manager - Arkana Spiritual Center

Cecilia has walked a very eclectic path. Originally from Mexico City, she has also lived in England, Portugal and the Netherlands, from the year 2000 until 2015.

Graduated as an Architect with a post-graduate degree in Urban Arts, she decided to take other directions towards the expansion of different worlds within the fields of consciousness. Being a citizen of one of the biggest cities on the planet led her to question and reflect about the kind of world we live in, and the possibility to find more natural, holistic, artistic and holier ways to live.

She found her answers - as well as a new path and refuge - during the threshold of 1999-2000, when she encountered what is known as the Discovery of the Law of Time based in the Mayan calendar systems discovered and developed by José Argüelles - her beloved teacher since that point.

This path has facilitated for her an understanding of the universal mind as a super-intelligence that is regulating all that we experience; and led her to gain access to the studies of higher mind technologies to be applied as templates of order and peace.

Parallel to this process, she came to encounter and experience psychedelics. Accounting as the two most important, she recalls one experience with Peyote - Hikuri - in the Wirikuta desert at the end of the 90's and another ``accidental`` intake of psilocybin in Morocco in the year 2001, which got her close to what she could recall as a near death experience.

Both of her parallel explorations have been of reciprocal benefit to each other, and now, as the Manager of the Center, she has been offered a new field to serve, play, apply, integrate, and also include another sacred wisdom, the wisdom of Ayahuasca.

She would love to share what she knows, but above all, surrender to the new mission ahead. Learning what is still to learn, and most importantly, supporting the accomplishment of the dreams and new visions of Arkana Spiritual Center.

Alexa

Chef and Nutriologist

Alexa is originally from Mexico City, she was raised in Houston Texas and has also lived in France Spain and the Mexican Caribbean. Her formal education is in Psychology, Gestalt Therapy and Health Coaching. Through out her life she has picked up knowledge and gained work experience in Herbal Medicine, Ayurvedic food, Radionic vibrational medicine, Chinese traditional massage (Tui Na) and Organic agriculture.

She describes herself as an all-around therapist that integrates multiple tools to promote wellness and a compassionate, congruent lifestyle both to self and with mother earth. Her personal desire to promote life led her to become a vegetarian and animal rights activist for 10 years. In that time cycle she worked making ferments and sprouts with raw vegan chefs, with quantum medicine doctors as an energetic masseuse and in doing organic agriculture landscaping.

She has always resonated with the continent's Native American traditions and medicines and has a vast knowledge in the Mexica and Lakota temazcal/ sweatlodge ceremonies and altars. She has been assisting to the yearly all-female ritual of the Moon Dance for more than 6 years now.

In the last years she has been working giving workshops on Live Food, Conscious and Ancestral nutrition, creating menus for healthy restaurants and wellness centers. She loves working side to side with organic farmers and promotes local and vegetarians foods. This lead her to create her farmer to table nutrition concept called NutriCultura Holística in 2015.

She has been recruited as a key part of the Pulse Tours team bringing her skills on board not only to the Amazonian jungle Arkana center but to the new Sacred Valley Arkana site. Her main interests as a part of the team is to raise the environmental and ecological approach in the logistics and to enhance the overall nutrition experience, general staff training and holistic awareness for passengers.

Rafa

Lead Transition Coordinator

Since 2013, Rafa has been working with Pulse Tours as a translator and ceremony facilitator with our founders, Dan Cleland and Tatyana Telegina. As his primary role throughout the year, Rafa serves as the lead transition coordinator. The transition coordinator role involves calling all upcoming guests by Skype to answer any questions they may have regarding Ayahuasca, certain preparations for working with Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine, and any questions you may have about our program in the Amazon.

The main purpose of the transition coordination program is to serve as an information resource for guests before they arrive in order to ensure a smooth transition for our guests before they arrive to Arkana Spiritual Center. Additionally, the transition coordination call with Rafa helps to ensure safety protocols are followed in preparation for working with Traditional Amazonian Plane Medicine (TAPM).

Over the last year, Rafa has worked closely with Pulse leadership at Arkana to develop our ``Post Retreat Integration Program`` (PRIP ©). He continues to lead this program. The intention of PRIP © is to provide optional, ongoing support for our guests as they integrate their experience at Pulse back into their lives at home.

Rafa's passion for helping guests transition both into and out of their visit with Pulse Tours stems from years of experience working with Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine. Rafa has a deep respect for the opportunity to embrace the challenges of life transitions, and a willing commitment to help people navigate these transformative times.

Rafa began working with visionary plants and psychedelic medicines 23 years ago and has been working with Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine for the past 8 years. He has been studying with our head shaman, Wiler Rodriguez, for the last three years. Rafa feels fortunate to be mentored by teachers who support his ongoing esoteric-medical studies. Originally from Argentina, Rafa currently lives in the United States where he teaches yoga, meditation, and art. On a typical day, he enjoys nature walks with his partner and their dog, painting, reading and cooking.

Tamara

Main Facilitator

Our main facilitator Tamara Garriga Rodriguez has been involved in the world of the medicine since 2014. Before she got to Pulse Tours she was working as a Psychologist in Valencia, Spain. One day she decided to change her life and do what she really felt was her calling and started traveling around South America for a year. After being in Iquitos for a month she got an offer to work as a translator at the Ayahuasca Adventure Center and fell in love with the place, the people and the beautiful sacredness of the environment that the medicine creates.

Her main duties are facilitating and translating at the Center where she holds the space during group share (where guests share their Ayahuasca experiences from the previous night), and offers the knowledge and lessons that her life, education and experience with the medicine has given her, as well as leading discussions about integrating the lessons of the medicine into life back home.

The main purpose in her life is to help others reach their highest self, emotionally, spiritually, and physically – trying to bring as much light, clarity, love and union to the people.

She has been training to become a shaman since 2015, following the path of her Masters Wiler, Ernesto and Angelita. Her future projects are to help as many people as possible reach their own enlightenment.

Dolan

Facilitator/Medic

Dolan first came to Pulse as guest in 2015 and has been part of the staff since August 2016. With him comes a wealth of love and compassion for the healing process, as well as a dedication to creating and maintaining a safe environment. A Veteran, Dolan spent eight years serving in the United States Marine Corps. and is especially sensitive to the process and needs of those who have served as well.

After his Military service Dolan moved to Japan for university where he studied International Business, Japanese and minored in Photography. Returning to the States, he went back into Engineering working in Telecommunications, eventually moving to the South of France where he was the lead Electrical Engineer and Fabricator for Alkaline Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Anaerobic Digester technologies. Dolan is a Nationally Registered EMT focusing on urban pre-hospital care, and specializing in remote/wilderness medicine. Thoughtful and articulate, Dolan is committed to supporting your process in an open, empathic and intuitive way. Besides being a Poly Math, Dolan also comes with a useless fact button you can push at any time!

Craig

Trip Leader, Facilitator

After being at breaking point after working in the very lucrative mining industry in Australia for 6 years and developing a bag of bad habits, a faithful decision in 2015 lead Craig to start working with the medicine of San Pedro in Australia. It soon became very clear to sell all his possessions and pack his life up and head to Peru to receive the healing his life desperately needed and begin his journey with Ayahuasca in its traditional setting. After a transformative 3 week retreat at Pulse it became clear to him to continue down the path that was shown and continued on to Cusco with a fresh lease on life and ready to learn deeply the medicine and history of that region before once again heading out to the jungle to learn deeper with other master plants. Craig has since returned to Pulse in late 2016 and has been with us since to learn the medicine of the Shipibo people with his maestro Wiler.

With a lot of diet time with other master plants, Craig has worked deeply with the medicines of Love and food and by putting these into practice received a lot of insights into them as a practical way of easily improving our lives and is very open to sharing this knowledge.

Craig is a knowledgeable tour guide for our Machu Pichu expeditions with lots of insights, particularly after spending 6 months living in Cusco, into the mystical traditions and powerful energetic sites of the Cusco region, as well as a deep connection to the powerful heart medicine San Pedro.

During his time at the center as one of the students of lead shaman Wiler, some of Craig's roles Include facilitating Ayahuasca ceremonies and organizing and giving guidance with master plant diets that guests are partaking, and sharing all his love, light and knowledge wherever possible.