The Ayahuasca Foundation has an incredible team of assistant healers who work with the Shipibo curanderos on the retreats and courses. Much more than facilitators, the assistant healers listed below have all completed rigorous training in the Shipibo tradition and are most definitely healers in their own right. They essentially lead the programs, working together with the curanderos to determine the optimal itinerary for each program according to the flow and energy of each group. They translate from Spanish (or sometimes Shipibo) to English and combine their own practices of meditation, yoga, massage, crystal therapy, tarot, journey work, dream interpretation, herbology, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and counseling to the Shipibo practices to enhance the healing potential of the tradition. They are bridge builders and leaders in a movement to return indigenous wisdom to the countless cultures who have lost their way without it.
Ari was born in the Mishana community near Iquitos, Peru, in 1993 and has a degree in tourism from the National University of Peru. He is a resident of the Mishana community and has been training with Shipibo curanderos since 2012. He was born and raised in the jungle and his knowledge of the plants and ability to identify plants in the wild is at the highest level. Ari is simply solid gold. His humility and honesty and dedication to his work is at the highest standard. While his English is still a work in progress, his assistance is incredibly important and beneficial to the retreat programs. Plus, thanks to his training with the Ayahuasca Foundation, Ari is helping to bring the ancestral tradition of plant medicine back to his community.
Carlos is from the United States and has degrees in both art and philosophy. He moved to Iquitos in 2004 and lived with his first teacher for four years before creating the Ayahuasca Foundation in 2008. He led every retreat and course until 2012, when he hired the first two assistant healers to accommodate the opening of the Inkan Kena school. In 2013, he stepped back from leading the programs to dedicate more time to the administration of the retreats and courses. He currently manages the website, handles the bookings and client communications, and organizes the various aspects of each program like airport pick-ups, hotel reservations, transportation, supply and staff management, maintenance, etc.
David recently completed his degree in psychology at Naropa University. Because of his extensive experience doing retreats with the Ayahuasca Foundation and his eloquence in articulating deep concepts regarding consciousness and self perception, David has developed a unique skill set in assisting others with the challenging process of integrating profound transformations that often take place during ayahuasca retreats into real metamorphosis in daily life. A talented musician and brilliant mind, he has a remarkable talent for openness and listening and is always a beneficial person to talk to, even if you haven’t experienced ayahuasca. He currently does pre-program ayahuasca counseling for www.ayahelp.com.
Dean is from South Africa and has a degree in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University. He has three years of experience working in the mental health field as a residential counselor and a Certified Nurse’s Assistant, where he assisted in the treatment of bi-polar disorder, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, dementia, and alcoholism/addictions. He has a very strong interest in Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and has been intensely studying the Shipibo tradition since 2011. He has an amazing talent for connecting with program participants, quickly earning their trust and becoming close friends thanks to his humility and sense of humor.
Jamie is from the United States and has 20 years of experience as a landscape architect and plant spirit communicator. She is the founder of Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens where she specializes in restoring native plant communities and reconnecting people with nature. Also a practicing Intuitive Medium, she acts as a clear channel, interpreter, and translator for the non-physical world of Spirit, bringing through inspired guidance that is useful, practical, and transformative. Jamie completed the AF initiation course in November 2016, and felt a calling to return. With compassion and insight, she gently guides program participants back to their inner wisdom and towards their higher purpose.
Her practice: Intuitive Readings
Jim is from the US and has 20 years of experience as a teacher, program facilitator and professional consultant focused on healing interconnections between people, the planet and collective prosperity. He has degrees in ecopsychology, with emphasis in wilderness rites of passage, and whole systems design. He is also certified in Permaculture Design, a creative approach to cultivating dynamic, healthy, food producing relationships. Following practice in meditation, chi gong and yoga, he discovered a passion for helping people through shamanic healing, and for 8 years has developed practitioner skills with indigenous teachers and elders in Huichol, Q’ero, and Shipibo lineages, including the AF Initiation Course.
Keyo is from South Africa and has years of experience in the study of herbology, permaculture, and plant medicine. He is especially fond of preparing all natural products like toothpastes, soaps, salves, and a host of plant remedies. His knowledge and connection to plants is extremely high, and his hands-on approach is truly admirable. In 2010, Keyo participated in the Ayahuasca Foundation’s first six week Curandero Initiation Course lead by don Enrique, which was also the first program held at the Chamisal Retreat Center. He returned in 2011 to assist Carlos with retreats and another six week course, attended by his friends, Dean and Skye. With several years experience working with the Shipibo tradition and discovering his own style, he brings a unique combination of knowledge, musical talent, imagination, and personality to every program.
Marcia is from Portugal and has nearly a decade of experience as a teacher of theater, dance, and creative music, specializing in therapeutic theater for at risk youth. She has studied yoga and meditation and enjoys painting, dancing, playing guitar, and gardening. She uses her unique communication skills to motivate and inspire others to help bring light and love to their hearts. She completed the AF initiation course in February of 2016, but has a longer history of ayahuasca use. She brings her positive attitude, fun loving sense of humor, and powerful spirit to the retreats and ceremonies. Her personal achievements in her own healing to overcome life long depression allow her to truly connect with the issues faced by most program participants and to demonstrate methods to achieve their own personal healing.
Mike is from Wales and has a degree in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry. He worked within Human Resources for 8 years prior to leaving the Western world to travel through India & Nepal. There he trained as a Reiki Master & Teacher, Hatha-Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, learnt new mediation techniques, and developed his own meditation practices while delving deeper into his own spiritual evolution. He participated in the January 2017 10-week initiation course with the Ayahuasca Foundation where he realized he had found his new home in the jungle and stayed here to work. Mike is continuously exploring combining eastern knowledge & shamanic practices. He is passionate about the environment, loves the guitar and writing music inspired by his own journey to the jungle to overcome addiction, depression and trauma.
Mike grew up in Austria and the US. He has worked in the corporate sector for 17 years and has also been persistently interested in spiritual and personal growth. This interest has led him on a variety of paths: first to yoga, then to ayahuasca, ayurveda, and sound healing. Mike is a certified Iyengar yoga teacher, ayurvedic health counselor and ayurvedic massage therapist. He has been working with ayahuasca for several years, attending ayahuasca retreats at different centers in Peru each year until he found the Ayahuasca Foundation. After his retreat with the AF he attended an initiation course in 2016 and was hired soon after as a facilitator. His connection to the plants and high level of gratitude enhances his ability to assist retreat participants with their personal healing journeys. His other interests are in sound as a method of affecting consciousness and gaining a deeper understanding of Shipibo traditions.
Sophia is a native of the UK and has an honors degree in Ancient History from the University of Birmingham, diplomas in Swedish Massage and Crystal therapy, and level 3 Reiki training. She has completed the Flower of Life course at Drunvalo Melchizadek’s school and is a PADI dive master. Prior to joining the AF team, Sophia worked as a therapist for five years while also working for the UK’s largest crystal retailer. She completed the six week initiation course in February, 2015, and stayed on to work for the Ayahuasca Foundation. She is currently studying Shiatsu and Mayan astrology and has been active in yoga and meditation for several years, bringing a wide variety of integrative practices to the healing and learning processes for retreat and course participants. Sophia is a naturally giving, attentive, and selfless person with deep insights into the medicine and dedication to the healing tradition.