Jaguar Medicine and Ayahuasca Spiritual Renewal.
28 DECEMBER 2015 - 04/07 JANUARY 2016

Jaguar Medicine. Honouring the Wisdom of the Elders. Experiential Ayahuasca group retreat in the Amazon, with special guest Don Laureano, 109 years old Siona Elder, Sage and oldest living Yagé Shaman.

Taita Laureano, Siona sage and elder, 109 years old, oldest Yagé shaman. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015

"And at any master who lacks the grace
To laugh at himself - I laugh."

Friedrich Nietzsche
Don Laureano.

No better quotation may perhaps describe the cheerful, humorous, jokes-loving and down-to-earth nature of Grandfather Taita Laureano, Siona Elder, Sage and oldest living higher Yagé Shaman, whom we shall have the great pleasure to have again with us on this special New Year's Eve Ayahuasca retreat in Putumayo (Colombian Amazon), from December 28, 2015 through January 04, 2016. There will also be a chance to stay three more days, until January 07, 2016. 

This last 3 days option is aimed at those wishing to explore more wilderness places (like a breathtaking complex of waterfalls, known as "World's End"), who would like to take part to a fourth Yagé ceremony and who also speak Spanish. A rare and charming opportunity to experience in full the transformative power of the Ayahuasca medicine (known in Colombia as Yagé), the Wisdom of the Elders, and to immerse oneself into the sacred nature of Putumayo, the most beautiful region of Colombia. 

Taita Victoriano talking about the Yagé Gente vine encountered during an excursion

Taita Victoriano talking about the Yagé Gente vine encountered during an excursion. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015.

Always escorted by the shaman Taita Victoriano and our indigenous guide.  In the company of one of the last surviving great native  Yagé  grandmaster shamans who, at the age of 109 (soon 110), has been using Ayahuasca for just about a century...
Don Laureano - the guest of honour of our Ayahuasca journey in Colombia - bears the special title of "Taita Mayor" (literally, "Higher Taita", i.e. Higher Shaman) and that of "Sabio" (Sage) - for which he is known amid the Siona people as Yuë-bicüro Yai. He is one of the very few elder shamans officially recognised, endorsed and recommended by the Colombian Ministry of Health. 

We are honoured to be able to offer international participants the privilege and blessing of closely working with a living treasure of the Colombian nation and one of the highest ranking Yagé shamans of South America. 

"[The things seen and heard during the mysteries:] medicine."

Jambicus, On Mysteries, I,II

We have been told many wondrous stories about the powers of Taita Laureano. His daughter-in-law, Lidia (wife of Don Victoriano and governor of a local Siona community, who will also be our guest at the retreat), recollected with awe the time she saw him completely shape-shifting into a jaguar, roaming around the house where they were staying. We also heard of a miraculous healing of a young patient who suffered from an incurable mental illness (and fully recovered) and that of a woman whose leg needed to be amputated but escaped that fate thanks to the herbal preparations and treatments of Don Laureano and  Taita Victoriano.

The jaguar and peccary teeth collar of Taita Victoriano. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015
Yagé, Spirits of the Ancestors and Jaguar Medicine.
Once upon time, in antiquity, in our Western world we had special high priests, shamans, sorcerers, men of knowledge and magicians - like Parmenides - specialized in the art of incubation, through total stillness and dreaming in darkness. A practice that took place in special sacred places, consecrated Temple areas and sanctuaries. There those masters accessed - in altered states of consciousness, in ecstatic trance - the underworld and the supernatural realms, bringing back to the world of the living the message of the divinity. We have lost this tradition in the West, but we can make up for this loss with  Yagé as tool and aid for accessing the supernatural and with the help of the higher shamans as our guides when entering those mysterious worlds. 
"Happy is he among men upon earth who has seen these mysteries".
Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Don Laureano and Taita Victoriano both work with the spirits of the Ancestors (belonging to their shamanic lineage) whom they contact whilst intoxicated with Ayahuasca. The brew that they prepare contains as its main ingredient "Yagé Gente" - an unidentified (?) variety of the Banisteriopsis jungle vine family. Yagé Gente is the sacred plant which makes possible the consultation with the spirits of their shamanic forefathers. An ancestral practice which has been passed on for countless generations of Siona shamans. 

Jaguar in the Amazon rainforest

The Jaguar (Panthera Onca) - Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015

During one of the last Ayahuasca sessions we had back in August (as part of the Spirit of  Yagé retreat), the Taitas told us that we were visited by four-five jaguars that night.
One of them was unmistakably the spirit of Don Feliciano (father of Taita Laureano and grandfather of Taita Victoriano)!! A very powerful Siona shaman who lived a long life and was famous for his capacity to shape-shift into a tigre or jaguar. (In this area of the Amazon - as it was also the case in pre-Columbian cultures all over South and Meso America, in ancient times - there is the widespread belief that some very powerful shamans are indeed capable to physically transform themselves into jaguars, the shamanic animal par excellence.)    
The advice received by the ancestors during the Ayahuasca ceremony is of paramount importance for the Taitas. Any important decision - be it of shamanic nature, the therapy to choose, prescribe and follow for a healing treatment, or for a crucial personal or business matter, including essential advice to their patients - is always taken following the advice of the ancestors, as received during the Yagé ceremony. 
The jaguar (or peccary and jaguar) tooth collar that the Taitas use is not an aesthetic/decorative/folkloric feature. It is meant as a real protection and a defence to scare off bad and evil spirits. Those who were lucky enough to experience in full the power of vision during a Yagé session with Taita Victoriano, could see the jaguar teeth on his collar emanating energy, glowing with light. Even more intense and intriguing was seeing - under the  Yagé intoxication - the full face of a black panther radiating from his collar. 
Peccaries at the Amazonian Experimental Centre. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015

Peccaries, Amazonian Experimental Centre. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015
Peccary teeth are also widely used by the Taitas, because - aside from their large and sharp shape - of the special behaviour of this animal when encountering ayahuasca vines in the wild. The peccary starts to go around the vine in circles, naturally digging the ground as it constantly walks in circles, then sits and baths in the mud, in front of the vine.

Ocelot, Amazonian Experimental Centre. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015
"Hallucination: a sacred illness".

Diogenes Laertius, 9.7

Ayahuasca and Animal Spirits.

Almost in any Ayahuasca sessions the shamans might be heard mimicking the calls of different jungle animals, like mammals, birds, monkeys and wild cats. Almost inevitably, during the ceremony, they may also be heard imitating the roar of the tigre or jaguar. This happen when the spirits of those animals enter into contact with the spirits of the shamans and manifest themselves into the ceremonial space. The Taitas - like the ancestral shamans of primordial times - engage into a sort of privileged, channelled communication (on an energetic level), with the spirits of the jungle animals.

One night, unexpectedly, many animal spirits showed-up in ceremony, and that night there was - in return - an intense mimicking activity on side of the shamans. We were told by them that overnight we were visited by the spirits of the animals we saw the previous day at the Amazonian Experimental Centre (A.E.C.) - which hosts tapirs, peccaries, giant jungle rodents, ocelots, an anaconda, monkeys, birds, tortoises, turtles and several species of fishes, including the giant Piraracu - a place at the forefront of the implementation of management and conservation policies in Putumayo. But that is another story...(it will be covered in a future issue of this Newsletter).

Taita Victoriano and Don Laureano, traditional Ayahuasca shamans. Carriers of the ancestral Yagé traditions of the Siona people of Colombia. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015.


Our work in Colombia would not have been possible without the invaluable help and assistance provided by our dear friend and traditional Siona shaman, Taita Victoriano, 59 years old and only surviving son of Don Laureano who dedicated his entire life to the Yagé path and to the traditional Amazonian medicine. It would not have been possible also without the tireless efforts of our guide, Gabriel, who spared no sacrifices, energy and time constantly providing all necessary help to coordinate everything with everybody else. 
With them we shall go almost every day to explore some of the most outstanding wilderness places in Putumayo, including pristine waterfalls, to replenish our energy, cleanse and regenerate our mind, body and spirit.

Satena flight arrives in Villagarzon from Bogota. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015

Satena flight arrives in Villagarzon, from Bogota. Photo © El Mundo Magico 2015

  "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Lao Tzu

Download the full daily programme outline for the New Year's Eve Amazon Ayahuasca  group retreat here
£ 1,310 GBP (Option 1, up to 04 January 2016).
£ 1,495 GBP (Option 2, up to 07 January 2016).

Optional *
*Subject to confirmation, only if no Satena flight is available on December 28:
+ £ 40 GBP (arrive 1 day earlier, inclusive of transfer and full board only).
+ £ 61 GBP (arrive 2 days earlier, inclusive of transfer and full board only).

£ 400 GBP, payable immediately, to secure your place.

Balance / Deadline:
£ 910 GBP / £ 1,095 GBP to be received - with funds cleared - on/by the 4th of December 2015.

PAYMENT: Go to the payment page here

BOOKING FORM: Go to the online booking form here

Advice for ladies: If you are likely to have your period during the retreat please ask your doctor to give you something to stop temporarily your menstrual flow during that time. There are also Chinese herbs which are known to stop menstruation. You may want to see a qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner for professional prescriptions. Shamans are very sensitive to energy and do not allow wome n with their menstrual cycle  to take part to the Yagé  ceremonies. 

Price policy: In lieu of the limited number of participants who we may be able to accept, we regret that there won't be concessions for this retreat. We have nevertheless endeavoured to make it more accessible to a larger number of people, by lowering our prices (the equivalent Yagé retreat back in August 2015 was £ 1,560 GBP), offering two different options, increasing the number of Ayahuasca ceremonies and  the quality of the food (in lieu of the festive period!). All this despite the higher costs of international flights and Hotels during the Christmas/New Year holidays!

SATENA flights: Please book immediately your domestic flights in Colombia - Bogotá-Villagarzon (on December 28) and Villagarzon-Bogotá (on January 04, or January 07) - with SATENA Airlines
This is the ONLY airline serving that route, they ONLY have 1 flight each day with ONLY 1 small plane (1 and half hours flight). It gets VERY busy under the Christmas period, and seats are likely to sold out VERY quickly.

Once the few remaining seats available on the plane will go, your only other choice to join us for the retreat will be by coach from Bogotá, on an 11 hours trip, with a company called Expreso Bolivariano .

Or else, will need to book your domestic flight in Colombia to reach Villagarzon a day earlier, arriving on December 27, 2015 at Villagarzon. In such a case, we will need to re-organize your pick-up at the airport to take place on that day. There is a small charge of £ 40 GBP for this service, which also includes meals and accommodation on that extra day. Should even the December 27 flight be booked-up, check availability for December 26 and let us know immediately so we may coordinate a different set-up, if needed.

Places for this event are LIMITED. If you need assistance in booking your Satena flights - their website is in Spanish-only - please email us.
In order to help you, we will need to have FIRST received the following from you:
  • Your credit card details (which you may pass over the phone, by Facebook, or by email, splitting the details in different messages, for security).
  • Copy of your passport (only the page with your details on), by email.
Venue: In a private Finca (Colombian farmhouse, with farmland), in the wilderness, overlooking the mountains, in Putumayo.

Shipibo Maestra Palera and Ayahuasquera, Dona Lucinda. Photo: M. Mori


" And always, at the same time, is ayawaskha. Ayawaskha, which for us is not fugitive pleasure, venture, or vain adventure, as it is for the virakocha. Ayawaskha is a gateway, not to escape but for eternity, to enter those worlds, to live at the same time in this and in other realities, to travel through the vast, endless provinces of the night.

Cesar Calvo  

Those were the splendid, dream-like verses of Cesar Calvo, the Iquitos-born Peruvian visionary poet, in his wonderful book "The Three Halves of Ino Moxo". 
And in Peru, in the Amazon rainforest near the jungle town of Iquitos - in the "Sacha Huarmi" Ayahuasca centre - we organize ongoing, all year round Ayahuasca and teacher plants retreats with authentic native female shamanic healers from the Shipibo tribe. 
Alongside our Ayahuasca retreats (which might be complemented by optional San Pedro rituals) and shamanic plant diet apprenticeship (which also includes many Ayahuasca rituals), we now have full  San Pedro retreats  of one and two weeks in length, at exactly the same price as our Ayahuasca journeys. Expect four magical Huachuma ceremonies each week! These may be done either during the day, at night, or else, in variable combinations of both day and night, according to preference. 
You may download from the link here the PDF programme for the 3 months/13 weeks shamanic training with plant teachers and Ayahuasca, as done by our native shamankas, in the Shipibo tradition.  
For either the San Pedro or the Ayahuasca retreat in Peru, you may select the period that best suits you , reserving your place at least 30 days ahead of your preferred retreat start date. We require 50 days advance reservation for the shamanic plant diet. However, whenever possible we may try to accommodate you at a shorter notice, depending on availability and chosen times. 
Dona Lucinda, Dona Rosa, Dona Leonilda and Dona Ercilia - a Shipibo Maestra renowned for her shamanic extraction skills - will periodically alternate, offering their healing services in Sacha Huarmi. 


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