“I can’t begin to explain how amazing the experience was with Spirit Plant Journeys. Everything was better than imagined, and Sara and Neils were the most caring and attentive hosts. The retreat center was beautiful, food was delicious, Shamans were so powerful and I was really able to connect with them- it was all perfect and I plan to head back one day. I am forever grateful for the life changing experience and for the connections I made!”
Kori Zornes, USA
“I am so grateful for my experience with Spirit Plant Journeys. I had felt a strong, very strong calling to commune with Ayahuasca. I planned my trip in just a couple of months, and it felt a little like jumping off a cliff. I had no experience with Ayahuasca, didn’t know anyone in Peru, and had never met a Shaman before.
So, this process was a leap of faith for me, but I felt completely at ease and comfortable within an hour of meeting Niels, Sarah, and my retreat group. I can’t explain it other than things just felt right.
Neils and Sarah are compassionate and love their work. They were so friendly, I felt my heart open to them in love and trust immediately. I really appreciated their knowledge of the process, and the effort they put in allowing us all space for our work with Ayahuasca, balanced with getting us out and about and seeing breathtaking sites. I loved all of our side excursions, they added much to my experience.
The accommodations and food were all top-notch. Initially, this wasn’t a concern of mine — but during my Ayahuasca process, I came to really, really appreciate it! Aya was very taxing on my body and the love, care and comfort I received were SO important to me in the midst of that challenge.
The San Pedro experience was very gentle with me, and it was a lovely way to start the ceremony. I felt like I connected deeply with Bernhard, both during the San Pedro and later, when I was feeling flattened by the Ayahuasca. It was a very challenging time and Bernhard was there with me and gave me love, support and guidance.
I experienced Gume, the Ayahuasca shaman as a powerful father figure. He made it clear that we were there to do our own work, and he did so much to create the space to allow that to happen. I appreciated his care, intensity, and clear, no-nonsense manner. He was such a beautiful instrument and channel. His singing the Icaros has stayed with me since the retreat.
Myra, the massage therapist and Machu Picchu tour guide was so sweet and loving. I was in such a delicate state… and her healing touch and encouragement made such a difference for me.
I did the Machu Picchu tour, and it was great. I almost didn’t go because I was still feeling the effects from my Ayahuasca process, but Neils and Myra encouraged me. It wasn’t easy, but that fit given the process I was going through.
I let a lot go during those 11 days. I have been working so hard spiritually, seeking and looking and trying to find God and healing and I left with such a powerful sense of having it deep inside all the time. On Aya, I experienced myself as a mountain, as earth and rock… and Aya came to me as water, flowing into my cracks and letting me know that all was going to be ok.
Being back home, I’ve experienced such acceptance of myself and others, and a noticeable release of stress and existential tension. Aya has given me a beautiful exhale.”
Manny Rodriguez, USA
“I lived the experience of A Spirit Plant Journey this February 2017. Going there was the better gift to myself. Neils and Sarah brings together the best of everything and it will make your journey an overwhelming experience. They are dedicated to your well-being. The site in the Sacred Valley is marvellous and calm, surrounded by the mountains. The houses where we stayed are modern and clean. We ate incredibly well. The retreat start with a ceremony of San Pedro guided by a generous shaman named Bernard. The Ayahuasca ceremonies were conducted by a powerful shaman, Gumercindo Galindo. His signings are divine. He worked personally on everyone’s challenge and intention. We also had sessions of yoga which are really good to align the body and energies before the Ayahuasca ceremonies. Those yoga sessions were guided by the wonderful Paulette. She also worked with each of us with Theta-healing, which is an astonishing experience. This retreat brought me in 10 days, thanks to these wonderful persons, what I was looking for without finding it for about 10 years in the western civilization.”
Marie-Andree Turguen, Canada
“If you are looking for a genuine, authentic, beautiful, healing experience then this is the place. Gumercindo, Mairuna Shaman and Ayahuasquero is the REAL DEAL!!! He comes straight from the heart with a true and deep desire to help as many people as possible experience the phenomenal healing power of plant medicine. He is supported in this work by the beautiful Neils and the talented Sebastian who provide a space and atmosphere that makes this deep inner work as easy as they can. Bernhard Karshagan, Huachumero, also provides an outstanding and nurturing experience of San Pedro, gently initiating the entire process with his ceremony.
The accomodation and meals are first rate and the setting in the Sacred Valley is serene with magnificent views and awe-inspiring skies. Having participated in several of these retreats and feeling the incredible life-changing healing they helped provide I could not recommend them highly enough!
Love and light.”
Alexander Zachary, Australia
“My wife and I attended the Nov 2016 ceremonies and it was a great experience. I have nothing but praise for the whole event. Sara and Neils are gracious hosts and really care about the comfort of their guests. They make you feel at home and offer their genuine friendship and hospitality freely. There was also Seb, the new addition to Sara and Neils team. He is such a great man with a gentle soul offering support and helping to take care of the guests.
Bernard, leading the San Pedro ceremony is wonderful. He is so gentle and compassionate, offering help and support during the ceremony. Gume, leading the Ayahuasca ceremonies is simply amazing. He is a powerful shaman and I was grateful for his help during the times of difficulty with the medicine. His Icaros were great help particularly towards the end with their soothing words. He is a great human being.
The venue where we stayed was like a little heaven on earth. Being surrounded with mountains it really lifted the spirit. The accommodation was first class. The food was delicious and healthy. I would not dream of experiencing the medicine again anywhere but at Spirit Plant Journeys. It feels like home. Thank you Neils, Sara, Gume, Seb and Bernard. Thank you.”
Mehdi Naseri, Canada
“Without hesitation, I recommend Spirit Plant Journeys if you are considering ayahuasca. Given how potentially intense the experience of ayahuasca can be, having a supportive environment that ensures your well being is essential. Spirit Plant Journeys does that and so much more with endless compassion and ceaseless humor. Their website represents a small portion of the service they provide– I was constantly amazed at their attention to the experience of the group. It was a seamless operation from start to finish. The retreat site is beautiful, the food was incredible, and a long list of other things that will stay in my memories of a great week and a half.
I cannot speak highly enough about Sarah, Neils, Sebastian, Gume, and Bernhard. It was evident early on that their bottom line is not financial profit. They believe in the work they are doing and are committed to improving the lives of the people they work with. I could write pages on what I observed them doing over the course of 10 days, but I’ll just say that their integrity and commitment are second to none.
If you are planning on ayahuasca, I hope you choose Spirit Plant Journeys.”
Robert Thomas, USA
“If you feel you have done everything in your life, have everything you have ever truly needed, no real wants and you are still searching for something, may I please recommend Spirit Plant Journeys.
I have not even been through the second Ayahuasca ceremony as of this writing and if I was to leave now the price would have been worth it for this retreat. The accommodations alone in the Sacred Valley are worth the price. The area of the accommodations is totally surrounded by huge and gorgeous mountains. Breathtaking! The afternoons are breezy and the air is fresh and clean. The hosts Neils and Sarah are awesome by themselves but the interactions between them are sometimes priceless. The kitchen staff and housekeeping staff Julian and Yony (pronounced Jenny) are perfect. The food preparation amazing, the Shamans are the best of the best. And for me, I believe Ayahuasca is going to save my life. I felt my body going downhill fast and now I am on the verge of a total health reset. BTW I am going on 63 and this is my first experience with anything like this. In between time includes massage from a true sweetheart of a person (Paulette), hikes through the Pisac and (Ollantay Tambo) ruins, visits to local markets and best of all, the making of lifelong friends.
The San Pedro ceremony was awesome as Bernhard has a way of seeing into your heart and providing comforting suggestions when he takes the time to see everyone individually several times during the ceremony. I am a huge fan of AVATAR and the San Pedro experience took me directly into the beauty of Pandora. Just Amazing beauty and a total sense of living a natural life with total respect for nature. San Pedro, to me, was the perfect lead in to the Ayahuasca ceremonies.
The Ayahuasca ceremony was to date the most spectacular experience I have had and as of this writing, I have three more to go. I strongly suggest anyone coming to this retreat to please take the preparatory recommendations by Neils to heart to get the most out of the process. The Shaman Gume is absolutely the real thing. His ceremonial singing and ritual (Icaro’s) is so impressive it is hard to believe one can have that much energy and virtually nonstop. The ceremony is followed up with music and singing by Gume, Neils, Sarah and guests. Indescribably beautiful.
September 6, 2016
As of this writing I have been through two ceremonies’. The second was a step up more powerful than the first. I feel healthier than I have in years. Ayahuasca has automatically taught me to chew my food completely before swallowing and slow down my eating pace significantly. I feel like I have lost 10-12 lbs and 4 inches off my waist. Ayahuasca has purged my system of a vast amount of my undigested food in my gut. It is amazing what has come out of me. On the spiritual side, I have fulfilled a major goal of this trip by actually meeting with my mom and dad and especially my niece that had passed the same week I had left for this trip. I got a lot more than I had bargained for here as many family members, friends and pets showed up too. It was all incredible. I know there is a lot more cleaning up to do of my body and spiritual experiences ahead of me and I am looking forward to that as I experience ceremony 3 tonight.
If you have read this far, I have been through all four ceremonies and it is by far the most incredible experience of my life outside of watching the birth of my two awesome sons, one of which I was lucky enough to have been able to bring with me. Number 2 son definitely must join me in the near future. I am so impressed that I am planning to do what I can in my life to make a new start in the Sacred Valley within the next two years…. God willing and I am sure God is willing and going to assist me all the way. I just have to be part of this.
The whole movement towards Ayahuasca retreats has really taken off and become extremely popular for quite a while now. I highly and strongly recommend Spirit Plant Journeys for their highest levels of integrity and value in every possible respect. And please, do not take Ayahuasca without a Shaman and proper guidance. One MUST take this highly spiritual experience 1000% seriously and with an open mind and heart. See you soon SPJ, I will return in March 2017.
Much Love and Thanks to you all!”
Gary Steeves, USA
“Simply amazing! I could write a long review, but really, I would just suggest you have the experience yourself. I cannot guarantee that the whole time will be enjoyable….mine was not. But I grew from it. No matter what you have read, you do not know what Ayahuasca is.
With spirit plant journeys, you are in good hands. Neils and Sarah are professional and experienced in helping those through tough spots. Gume and Bernard hold the space well and help to facilitate the plant medicines to their fullest effects.”
Matt Brown, USA
I basically never ever write reviews, but it just wouldn’t be fair to deny the possibility of more people having the amazing experience I had through lack of a review, after all , it was the testimonial page that helped me take the leap of faith and fly across to the other side of the world on my own to have my own experience. So unbelievably glad I did. Didn’t have any trouble with the locals , basically everyone is friendly in the neighboring areas.
The location at the sacred valley is a beautiful spot. Was wonderful to wake up there every morning , and have a good cup of tea and a chin wag with my fellow adventurers. It didn’t take long at all for our bond to grow incredibly strong, and a huge part of that development process is the way that our hosts “held” us. Neils and Sarah are wonderful people and the best hosts in the world, its amazing that they can put on such an incredibly great retreat for people from all walks of life , and allow them to come together and have an amazing experience. Which is exactly what we had.
Food is fantastic, walked away from the retreat a stone heavier than I entered (which for me is a good thing, and it really was a whole stone! don’t underestimate the power of diet) How to possibly summarise those weeks… Take a leap of faith , everyone had their own individual reasons for attending, I certainly had mine. If you know its something you want/need/feel the urge to do, and you want to experience it at an awesome place , with amazing hosts, then I can’t recommend Spirit Plant Journeys with Neils and Sarah enough.
Peace and Love.”
Ryan Gentlemen, United Kingdom
“My husband & I went on this tour after obsessive on-line research (ad nauseum). Why did we seek a specific “spirit plant” experience? We are are in our 50’s, and after achieving “success” (as defined by western culture), and after having been kicked in the gut by “life,” we were seeking answers to questions we couldn’t even articulate. Another bout of online research ad nauseum, I arrived at ayahuasca as the answer to our journey’s next step. The San Pedro experiences also offered at Spirit Plant Journeys was a rare serendipity. Most venues don’t offer this.
Why Spirit Plant versus other venues? 1) Neils. His online persona/vibe screamed “this is a positive, decent soul.” First time I ever wired $ via Western Union to an unknown entity. Yikes. This is counter to my nature. I don’t do this! Neils is responsible for that. His “real self” is even better than his online vibe. 2) They offer a Machu Picchu add-on (most venues don’t). Let’s face it, if we were going to Peru for the first time — how could we NOT see MP?? Do not hesitate — you MUST see MP if you do this tour. It is a perfect supplement to the journeys you will have had prior to this add-on at the end of the tour. (Once you do it, you will understand exactly what I’m talking about). 3) We weren’t ready for the more solitary, less varied (in food and site seeing) experiences more characteristic of the remote jungle venues. I might be ready for that experience now — after having had my initial foray with Spirit Plant Journeys.
The living quarters, food variety and flavorfulness, and access to local sites (markets, local digs, ruins, etc…) are far more abundant — and nicer — than characteristic “jungle” venues. Again, if I was going to Peru — I wanted to see as much as I possibly could while I was there. Spirit Plant Journeys provides that (most venues don’t). I didn’t realize — because I hadn’t met them yet — that Neils, Sarah, Bernard and Gume — were the fundamental reason why our lives have — and will continue to change — since our experience — in February 2015. Why did it take me so long to write this review? Quite simply, my life has changed so profoundly since this experience — I kept waiting — so I could capture the specific things that have happened. As we make plans to move to Peru (in early Jan/Feb 2016), I realized that this bold step says enough — about the impact that this trip had on 2 outwardly successful people who on the surface, “have everything.” What was so special about them? I struggle to describe this (because part of my learning with the plants is that words are limited and limiting. This was difficult for someone who realized — that despite her love of words, learned that words are part of the armor that kept her limited).
They create, as a team, an environment that allows everyone to have the unique experience that one needs to have — to allow the life changing power of this experience to happen. They are humble, human, self-deprecating, real, evolved, approachable, kind, genuine, interested, interesting. I recall Sarah telling me it was “ok to puke” on her — that it “happens all the time.” How humble — and kind — is that? And her voice gives insight into the true angel that is the core of who she is. Gume knew things about me that still haunts me to this day. My corporate power brain cannot logically explain how he knew things. I cannot explain how the “concoction” he made for me (some type of tree bark) — that I used as prescribed (2x/day both orally and vaginally) — I know — gross, right? …. I cannot explain how something that was on an ultrasound — was no longer there — 3 months after taking Gume’s treatment. That one spooks me too.
Bernard single handedly guided me through what could have been a very hellacious experience. He is an under-stated gifted, truly gifted healer. He is slight of body, and possess a soft voice — yet his presence and long-lasting impact — are truly life changing for us. He speaks of duality in the most provocative and yet profoundly simple of ways. And it is Neils who makes it all happen. Neils… the quintessential Aussie … whose blue eyes, quick laugh, truly good nature, don’t hide the oldness of his soul. He is definitely on some different evolutionary vibration than most of us. (I can’t believe I’m talking like this). He is gifted at making everything look easy — nothing is a problem — a thoughtful, pragmatic optimist (is that an oxy-moron?) Give yourself — your soul — this gift. It is a must have experience for anyone who has ever asked the questions — what is my purpose? what is life about? does God exist? Skip the beach vacation — or trip to Europe — or new whatever…. This is truly the gift to yourself of a lifetime.”
Teresa Shore, USA
“The Spiritplant Journeys organization facilitated the most personally expansive, eye opening and liberating experiences of my life. From hospitality and accommodation to understanding and gentle guidance through what memorable adventure followed, the facility and its loving caretakers weaved a beautiful tapestry for me to witness upon my own becoming. I was personally certain, once laying eyes on pictures of the two guides’ warming smiles and confident, knowledgeable energies, Neils and Sarah, that I wanted to behold such an awakening in their company. Literally one of the best decisions of my life.
The Shaman they invited to spear-head our ceremonies are the most powerful and comforting beings I have yet to encounter a parallel to. The food provided (according to the supplemental diet) is gourmet and quite incongruent to anything my imagination “cooked up” for an experience as such, complimented by always stocking fresh native fruit in a nearby bowl just at arm’s reach. The cottage environment I stayed in is star quality and slightly exotic over its rustic foundation. The grounds are gorgeous to walk through and lounge about in, be it a nearby hammock, stone bench or plush turf grass which beds the entire area. Everything was adeptly organised, from train rides and bus passes to exciting hikes around the Incan plain’s ancient ruins and ever-pleasant bartering in adjacent town’s markets.
I am forever thankful of my experience held and of those wonderful faces who walked with me along the way. Much love”
Byron Stolle, USA
“I went to this retreat a nervous wreck. I had anxiety daily. I was stressed out from work, alienated from family and friends, and felt completely lost. Its been a little over two months and these days I experience very minimal stress, no anxiety, and I am reconnecting with people again. I feel for the first time in a long time like I have a direction and meaning in life. I have Ayahuasca, San Pedro and Spirit Plant Journeys to thank for this.
The medicine was great. Some days, most days, were pretty rough for me. I was shown a lot about myself that was hard to accept but I was also shown a way through it. I am so thankful for the guidance of Bernhard who spent time with me talking me through the pain I was releasing. He always knew the right things to say and shared many helpful insights.
The Shaman Gumercindo held powerful ceremonies and I felt safe in his care. During one ceremony I felt the medicine really strongly and didn’t feel I could cope. I am not sure what he did, I could hear him singing over me, and I could feel him holding my head. I just followed the sound of his voice and found myself back in the room. Each ceremony with Aya was powerfully healing and insightful.
Neils and Sarah were wonderful guides and took us on day trips around Peru.
I went to the retreat for healing & inner exploration and also experienced the leisure of travel & exploration of ancient ruins. It was quite symbolic . The facility was a hidden and private gem with the cutest adobes, & plenty of pets to hang out with! The whole experience was life changing.”
Melanie Breton, USA
“I attended the Spirit Plant Journeys retreat in May, 2015. As a 46-year old woman who doesn’t speak Spanish, traveling alone and venturing into my first-ever experience with the plant medicines (and, for that matter, psychedelics), you can probably imagine I had some anxieties over whether I was making the right decision, choosing the best venue, and so on. I am pleased to report that this was one of the best trips of my life and without a doubt, working with the plant medicines was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It really is a game changer, and I could not be happier that I chose Spirit Plant Journeys to do this with. It’s going to be impossible to cover everything in this review, but I’ll attempt to highlight a few major points.
Originally, I had hoped to go into the Amazon, but the dates for that retreat were booked. I’m now relieved that I was directed to SPJ by Sara. Thank you Sara! It was ideal to not deal with the challenges of the jungle in addition to my first experience with the medicines. The Las Chullpas eco lodge in Urubamba is a quiet, beautiful, safe venue for the retreat (and no doubt less buggy) that includes comfortable rooms/beds, daily room service, running showers, electricity, a lovely dining room and staff that serves healthy meals, and plenty of space to wander around and reflect on the experience. I also loved the resident cat, dogs, and alpacas! A quick word on logistics pre-trip: The system for collecting deposits may seem awkward to you as it did for me. I experienced much hassle with this, and advise that you go directly into a Western Union location to pay your deposit. Do not attempt to send money using the online systems, regardless of how “easy” they claim it is.
On arrival, it is okay to drink the Coca tea! I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to chance interfering with the medicines, so I turned down the kind offer from hotel staff only to find out later that the tea helps tremendously with altitude sickness. When offered to me on the day I arrived at my hotel in Cusco, I felt fine; however, shortly after getting to the room, it came over me like an avalanche. I’ve never actually been hit by an avalanche, so perhaps I’m exaggerating, but you get the point: it was pretty awful. I had planned to walk around and do some shopping after checking in, and instead spent the entire day in bed, miserable. Please don’t make the same mistake that I made. That tea is your friend. On the first official day, everyone met at the Starbuck’s in Cusco, which faces the town square. Yes, it is located upstairs but is easily identifiable by the Starbucks Siren/logo that you are used to seeing.
In a nutshell, Neils and Sara put together a fantastic retreat. They are kind, generous individuals with beautiful spirits who went out of their way to make sure that everyone was comfortable and had everything they needed. I was continually impressed by how hard they worked to make it all happen. We had laundry service twice; our own yoga instructor; a generous, continuous supply of fresh fruit; and they even brought in a massage therapist! I felt that our group of 12 was perfect–not too many–and ranged in age from mid-20s to mid-50s. I love them all. They seem like family to me now, and I look forward to seeing everyone again. Some of the best shopping can be found in Pisac, so be sure to take advantage of that day if you’re interested in bringing back some good deals from the trip. Among other things, you can expect to find great prices on silver, crystals, scarves, and sweaters.
The hike is also absolutely gorgeous! One thing that initially attracted me to SPJ was the combination of the ayahuasca and san pedro ceremonies. My instincts were correct, as this turned out to be a perfect blend, with the san pedro ceremonies at the beginning and end of the retreat, and the ayahuasca ceremonies in the middle. I really enjoyed working with Bernhard and Gume, who are wise, genuine, wonderful teachers and shamans. I am deeply grateful to them both. The Machu Picchu trip is a great way to end the retreat, and I highly recommend going if you can swing it. Aguas Calientes is a strange little village, but the Machu Picchu tour is very good and who knows when you’ll have another opportunity; it’s also a nice way, albeit bittersweet, to spend time a bit more time with your group.
It’s now been a month since the retreat, and the medicines have stayed with me and continue to teach and guide and heal. There have been ups and downs since returning to everyday life, and it can be tricky navigating old routines while integrating new insights from the medicines. But even the downs are good. They are a pre-sent moment to remind me there’s an opportunity to change my mind about something I previously decided was a down moment. That simple. One of my favorite lines from the movie Avatar: “Everything is backwards now. Out there is the true world and in here is the dream.” That will only make sense if you’ve worked with ayahuasca, I think. Overall, I’m still in awe, and just overwhelmed with gratitude and love for this moment, and looking forward to every moment that is to come. The medicines show you very clearly just how magical life really is, and how we create it all. From my spirit to yours, thank you Neils, Sara, Bernhard, Gume, and our amazing group for each perfect moment you shared with me.”
Beth Bernstein, USA
“My stay with Spirit Plant Journeys was hands down one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I was a little nervous signing up and arriving but within a few hours of arriving I felt completely at home. Niels, Gume, Carlos and the team made us all feel so welcome and comfortable that all the initial worries soon fell away. The group of people were also very friendly, open and by the end we were like family, I have without a doubt made friends for life. The ceremonies were beautiful, well organised and everything was thought of and accounted for. The accomodation was also beautiful which made such a difference, going back to a lovely clean and warm room after the ceremonies, not to mention the amazing surroundings we were in. This retreat has changed my life for the better and I don’t think I will ever be the same again, and I am so happy and grateful for that. For anyone considering a retreat I would say, choose Spirit Plant Journeys – I can’t imagine a safer, more friendly and more beautiful setting and group of people to experience plant medicine with. It was perfect.”
Holliday Philips, United Kingdom
“I spent 10 days with Spirit Plant journeys in March of 2015, and I could not have chosen a better group to go with. I had so many questions before attending the retreat, and Neils was wonderful with answering all of my emails and walking me through the process of what I could expect. The result is that I arrived at the trip feeling incredibly well prepared. The photos on the website made the retreat center look nice, but I honestly had no idea how absolutely gorgeous it would be. It’s like a paradise there, tucked into the side of the mountain. Flowers fill every part of the grounds, and there are the most lovely dogs that greet you every day and even a baby llama. Neils and Sarah are extraordinary people who helped us with ever detail and really inspired us to be brave with the process of using plant medicine. The two shamans we worked with were so caring and supportive. Bernhard is a light energy worker who knew the exact ways to guide us through our use of San Pedro. And Gomae is an unbelievable shaman. The work was hard, but the payoffs incredible. When not in ceremony the retreat provided yoga and massage and wonderful field trips. I am deeply grateful for my experience with this group, and could not recommend them more.”
Rachael Durchslag, USA
“Something wasn’t right. I had been feeling it for months and every passing day felt like life was literally ebbing out of me. I had heard about ayahuasca many years previously and while doing some soul searching as to what might get me out of the spiral downwards I heard her calling. I searched the internet, including this site, and the feel of Spirit Plant Journeys when I came across it, just seemed right- warm and welcoming. Something about Spirit Plant Journeys was speaking volumes to me, the more I read about this retreat and the facilitators, I sensed authenticity- very quickly I decided that this would be the place I responded to the call of Mother Aya.
Niels,Sarah and Sebastian are incredible souls, filled to the brim with genuine compassion, empathy and understanding of the weight life can bear down on all of us. Immediately you feel a bond with them as they discuss the process of the ceremonies and the power of the plant medicines- it is surreal to be surrounded by the mountains at the retreat and hear these human beings talk,free of ego,pretence or agenda.
Bernhard is the shaman who undertakes the first ceremony using San Pedro. In the presence of Bernhard, you will marvel at the depth of understanding,compassion and truth that radiates from him. He has the ability to view whatever your issue maybe and help you approach it from a completely different perspective. The San Pedro itself is a very potent medicine. During the ceremony my experience was profound, I experienced a vision that humbled and grounded me. Bernhard was able to help me better understand this vision during the sharing after the ceremony. The prospect of the ayahuasca ceremonies gave me butterflies, this was truely a step into an unknown for me.
With Gumé undertaking the ceremonies, I distinctly remember the sitting in the molokai during the first ceremony wondering if this was actually the right thing for me, did I belong here…? The first ayahuasca ceremony for me will stay etched in my mind for the rest of my days and I would like to share it; We drank the ayahuasca one by one and received a blessing from Gumé. After 45 minutes or so, I aware it was working on the group but I felt completely unaffected. I asked Niels if I could have some more. I was brought in front of Gumé who preformed another blessing on me and I took the second cup. I returned to my spot and half laid back / half sat up. In this position focused on my breathing and kept my eyes open. The aya came on slowly, I had the most intricate geometric shapes rapidly moving past in my peripheral vision. Suddenly, my body moved on its own and sat bolt up right. My eyes were wide open but I wasn’t in the molokai anymore. I was sitting in front of a pyramid shaped alter covered in the geometric shapes that had been moving past me. Behind the alter descended down our creator- the mother. I was completely coherent and remember the experience vividly- as the creator descend down, peace washed over me and I felt that my soul was home. The mother reached forward and took me out of my physical body and placed me behind the alter with her- I was looking back at myself ! I have never been religious but my physical body was sitting bolt upright with my hands clasped together in praise of the divine mother.
The look of awe and happiness on my face was incredible- I didn’t know I could smile like that ! She started to communicate with me, explaining that all of the things I was holding on to; the sadness, the anger, the ego, the negativity, it was all temporary, just a human experience and that we all come from this place of infinite love. She then went on to explain the my wife and I had been chosen. She reached into the etherial swirling universe above her and placed a soul in my arms. She explained that my wife and I had been chosen by this little soul to give love and guidance to during her time during this life. ( My wife and I don’t have children and she wasn’t pregnant). The divine placed me back in my physical body where I spent the next hour or so in awe, cradling and staring at the soul of my un-born, un-conceived daughter. I have shared this experience with you in the hope it emphasises the power of these plant medicines- 4 weeks after the retreat, my wife became pregnant!!
Gumé is truly a gifted and powerful shaman, his icaros and blessings are phenomenally healing. His ability to connect with spirit, see energies and bring about transformative healing is beyond belief. If you are wanting to answer the call of ayahuasca like me, Spirit Plant Journeys offers authentic, safe and powerful healing. Remember, fortune favours the brave – step into the unknown !!”
Kieran Emery, Australia
“I really can’t express my gratitude to these guys enough. It would be an understatement to say that I have been around the block a time or two. I did not show up as a naive tourist with wide eyes and foggy notions. I have experienced a lot of modalities and have a pretty discerning eye for the real deal.
I came to Spirit Plant Journeys with an objective and focus. I say all of this knowing full well it may sound arrogant and I say this to highlight the true pleasure it was to have found this place. Not only were the accommodations charming and warm, the people who run and facilitate it were exceptional in their kindness, generosity and willingness to share whatever knowledge they had. One key factor that stood out was the complete lack of superiority or “know it all-ness” by the shamans and facilitators. They made it clear from the the moment we met that they hold no special powers, are not here to fix or change us. They have, however invested their lives in making themselves effective facilitators so that the participants can be engaged in their own self discovery and transformation so that they leave the center with something powerful and applicable without the need to be dependent on some shaman or guru.
That being said, it was also clear that we were being supported by some highly evolved individuals. There was a particular clarity and authenticity they had that allowed our entire group to let our guard down and have a profound evolution together. We walked in as strangers and out as family. The mix of rigor and relaxation was a great blend for me (even though I tend to ere in thinking that harder = better). Mixing the day trips in with the ceremonies was a great balance and did not disrupt our progress. I am sure there are many great centers who offer ceremonies and I can not speak for them. All I can say is that I am forever grateful for this experience and plan on returning next year ready to see what’s next.”
Sean Mader, USA
“This was such a rewarding and enlightening experience for me. It’s impossible to sum up in words the closure and peace I felt after working with plant medicine with Neils and Sarah. As an Afghanistan combat veteran, I was quickly losing hope that I could return to a positive world outlook. Several years of medications and therapy did very little for me, but the depth of my ayahuasca experiences brought me a much-needed respite, and gave me hope for the future. I plan to return to Peru very soon to work more with the plant medicine and Neils, Sarah, and Gumercindo.”
Jonathan Ruhl, USA
“It’s hard to find the words to describe my Spirit Plant Journeys experience this just past July mucho gracias to the unforgettable Sarah & Neils. In any case, I’ll breathe, go deep; here’s my best shot… Sarah and Neils provided a sanctuary at the foothills of the mountains that became, not only my home for 12 amazing days, but the place in which I re-discovered the true nature of the world, my place within it, and ultimately experienced my first ancient medicine healing which has changed my life, forever.
I can honestly say that without the nurturing, support and incredibly considered programme that Sarah and Neils provide, my experience wouldn’t have been as rich nor profound. Sarah is a beauty-plus-some with a knowledge of the medicines surpassing her years. She is accepting, kind, open-hearted, broad-minded and loaded with wisdom – everything you’d ever want from a facilitator or mentor throughout the daunting plant medicine experience! Neils, likewise, is the sweetest, gentlest and most intelligible man. He was always there to answer every one of our questions or requests no matter how small, big, outrageous – and regardless of the time of night! [Matt… I’m thinking of you ;)] The potency of the combined talents of these two really shone through in the ceremonies. Sarah & Neils have definitely found their vocation! Plus, as both talented musicians, we were entertained, lullabied and serenaded at the closing of each of our ceremonies – a magical addition to the retreat and definite point of difference you’d find hard pressed to experience anywhere else.
Our medicine men, Gume and Bernard, are something else. Gume is a machine of a man – I won’t wax on about his credentials as you can read these at Spirt Plant’s website. However, throughout the course of the ceremonies I began to understand the immense power of this man and his ability to hold the ceremonial space. Bernard – our San Pedro healer – will forever hold a special place in my heart. He assisted me with digging up and resolving extremely ancient pain – exactly why I came to the retreat in the first place. Bernard is extremely gifted at his craft and is kind, humble and generally a good time. (P.S. wait till you try his soup! Delicious!) In short, I cannot bang on enough about Spirit Plant Journey’s. If you are thinking of going, just go. Don’t hesitate. Don’t wait. Don’t do it later. Do it now. This will change your life.”
Rachael Sorensen, Australia
“My experience with Spirit Plant Journeys is something that I’m not really sure I can put into words.. Actually, I know there is a great portion of the experience that I cannot put into words, but the rest I will attempt to articulate. Overall, it was nothing short of amazing! Through and through, it was a deeply profound, beautiful and life changing experience. The insights I’ve gained here are priceless, and I can easily say this is one of, if not, THE most meaningful experience I’ve ever had in my life. Having such awesome facilitators and shamans to guide me through the experience was definitely key, big thanks to Neils, Sarah, Bernard, and Gume! They are always there for you and whatever you may need, so you can relax knowing you’re in good care, and of course, the gorgeous, lush and cozy lodging area sure doesn’t hurt either.. Basically, if you’re looking for a safe, comfortable and powerfully transformative retreat, then look no further!!”
Michael Finke, USA
“I have to say that this was a life changing stay I had with this group. Neil’s and Sarah are friends forever in my heart. They really knew how to get a lot of work done with out making this atmosphere too heavy. They were incredibly understanding and accomadating while I was on my stay in Peru. I believe they are a unique breed of people, the kind that know how to give and guide genuinely. I’m embarking on a knew chapter in my life and have even jump started a knew approach in my work. Being an actor I need that. To always be refining. Spirit Plant Journeys allowed me to see that I can operate without fear and focus more purely on my process and work by understanding myself more than I have ever before. I will definitely be back soon for continued growth and healing.”
Tony Ruiz, USA
“I had the great privilege of attending Spirit Plant Journeys’ 10 day San Pedro and Ayahuasca retreat at the Sacred Valley near the town of Urubamba on May 2015 and the experience had profoundly changed my life. As a complete novice with sacred plant medicines, I did extensive research in choosing the right retreat that would work for me. I am very glad that I chose Spirit Plant Journeys for the following reasons: – The facilitators, Sarah and Neils did an outstanding job in organizing and running the retreat. Sarah and Neils worked incredibly hard to ensure that every participants’ needs were met. I felt safe and comfortable throughout the whole experience knowing that the group is under the care of such capable and responsible hands. – Gumercindo, the shaman who conducted the four ayahuasca ceremonies is a powerful healer who has extensive experience and vast knowledge of plant medicines and their healing powers. He is a gentle soul who is quite friendly and approachable. While he speaks limited English, talking to him is never a problem as Sarah and Neils are excellent interpreters. – Bernhard, the Huachumero was our guide for the two San Pedro ceremonies. His calm presence and deep knowledge of the healing powers of San Pedro helped me understand and challenge some of my long standing beliefs and behavior patterns that undermine and block my personal growth. Bernhard is one of those rare souls, wise beyond his years, who is genuinely passionate about helping others. – Las Chullpas Eco Lodge is the incredible setting of the retreat. It is a secluded property at the foot of Pumahuanca mountain near the town of Urubamba. The lodge is home to 3 wonderful and very friendly dogs, 3 alpacas and a very cuddly cat. Nancy, the manager of the Lodge and her staff did an amazing job taking care of of all of us. The food was plentiful, healthy and nourishing. The rooms are comfortable, immaculately clean and come with a wood-burning fireplace. – Finally, I chose Spirit Plant Journeys because it offered the unique experience of combining Ayahuasca and San Pedro as part of the healing experience. More than two weeks after I came back home from the retreat, I continue to experience the powerful and positive effects of the medicinal plants which I have grown to respect. Thank you Neils, Sarah, Gume, Bernhard, Nancy and the wonderful staff at Las Chullpas Eco Lodge. My gratitude also goes to the dear friends I met- my fellow retreat participants who shared this great experience with me. Till we meet again!”
Noel Castaneda, USA
“I visited the spiritplantjourney.org retreat in September 2014 and had a wonderful experience with Ayahuasca and San Pedro there. It was truly eye- and heart-opening. The venue is very safe, the food very good. The shaman, Gumercindo, led some outstanding ceremonies, making the medicine talk and teach and the positive energies work within. Adding to that, we were able to visit such amazing places like Macchu Pichu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Sachsayhuaman in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Altogether a journey that truly can start something new in your life.”
Gerald Hoffmann, Germany
“Sarah and Neils put together an amazing retreat. It far exceeded my expectations and I can really say that this was a truly life changing experience. The ceremonies led by the shamans were always an amazing experience. They create a space where you can truly connect with the medicine and the people who will eventually become your closest friends. The excursions were an awesome addition to the San Pedro and Ayahuasca ceremonies they picked amazing ruins to visit and I highly suggest going on the Machu Picchu excursion at the end. If you want a retreat that includes amazing facilitators, loving, friendly shamans and a BEAUTIFUL venue. Spirit Plant Journeys is the place to go. Real people, real experiences, amazing friendships. You will not be disappointed.”
Ashley Buckner, USA
“If you are reading this and are even slightly curious about participating in this retreat – I urge you to follow your heart and go for it! You will be in VERY good hands with Neils, Sarah, and the two amazing shamans who lead the ceremonies. The ceremonies are authentic, thoughtful, beautiful…but challenging. The plant medicine is pure, and you will likely get exactly what you need and probably a little more 🙂 And – even during the difficult moments, you will have two loving, caring, knowledgeable guides (Neils and Sarah) who will be by your side when you need them. This is an amazing retreat, and I would recommend it with 10 stars instead of 5 if I could!”
Lauren Cooper, USA