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Ecuador: Seiko'pai
Nature. Ceremony. Helping Hands.

July 28 - August 6, 2024

Join us for a unique and powerful trip to Ecuador to do some hands-on work and traditional healing ceremonies. Take a step beyond spiritual tourism and develop real relationships and contribute in more meaningful ways than financial exchange. It is this kind of hand and heart involvement that is key to long term sustainability and true healing for everyone involved. 

Our destination is deep in the Amazon in NE Ecuador in Seiko'pai territory. This is not a commercial resort. We will travel from the highlands down into the Amazon, eventually by canoe to visit Basilio and family. Basilio, the last elder 'Yagé drinker' (Shaman) of the Seiko'pai people. This is a rare opportunity to be served the sacred medicine of Yagé (Ayahuasca) by a true elder in the old way of holding space free of unnecessary theatrics. It is a simple and profound communing with nature, supported by some of the most gifted and loving people you will meet. Throughout time, many individuals have sought out Basilio hearing word of mouth of him quietly living his jungle life, making the traditional hammocks, and serving the sacred Yagé as he learned from the age of eight. 

As much as we will benefit from this trip and bring back into our lives and communities, they also need our help. Petroleum and palm industries create constant pressure for them to give in. The youth are forced to take jobs, leaving their families and traditions behind. Through the efforts of many individuals there is hope, including the recent recovery of their traditional homelands, but the work is far from done. By participating in this trip, we will provide much needed hands on help and resources to build a new ceremony lodge and do other improvements to create a strong center for the Seiko'pai community. There is a resurgence of interest in the youth to learn the traditional ways but there are many challenges. What we do in this trip creates support on many levels. 

There will also be hiking to sacred locations and waking every day to the jungle orchestra of birds, insects, frogs and other inhabitants that make this a true paradise. All of the plants used in the ceremonies grow near the ceremony lodge as a part of the jungle garden. It is the combination of nature, meticulous integrity to the preparation of the medicines and authenticity that makes the ceremonies so special.  If you feel called to this, I have no doubt it will change your life as it has mine. Group size is limited to 6 with just a few spots available.

What we will do...
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Power Walk in the Highlands

Begin our journey  with a Wachuma (San Pedro) walk in the highlands. Wachuma is a cactus that grows abundantly in the highlands. It is a gentle plant medicines providing deep connection, opening the heart to the land and our time together. This is a traditional way of working with the medicine and a great way to begin our trip, connecting us to nature and preparing to enter the sanctuary of the jungle. After our walk we will soak in the luxurious healing waters of Papallacta geothermal hot springs. 

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Yagé Renewal Ceremony

After traveling down into the Amazon and a 45 minute canoe ride we will be welcomed by Basilio and family along the shore os the Aguarico. We will spend an amazing week here, assisting in the building of a new ceremony house and other projects, visiting the mother tree and other sacred sites, while preparing for the Yagé Renewal ceremony. This is sanctuary, home, to the ceremony space, jungle garden, wild monkeys, animals and birds, all vibrant and alive - a modern day garden of eden.

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Projects & Jungle Hikes

Nothing lasts long in the Jungle, and a few willing hands to assist in various ways is very helpful. They are in the process of designing and building a new ceremony lodge, the only traditional one in the Seikopai territory. It will be a real honor and experience to be a part of its construction. Our time there won't be all work though. There will be day trips, visiting the Mother Tree, sacred sites and learning local plants and trees to connect more deeply with the land and traditions. 

About the Seiko'pai 

In their traditional language, Seiko'pai means 'The multi-colored people', referring to stories of multi-colored luminous beings who came to live in the jungle paradise. For millennia they have lived in harmony y with the natural world. Their traditional lands encompassing what is now Peru and Ecuador was lost during the Ecuador and Peruvian war, forcing them into the lands they live in today along the Aguarico river. Recently, in historic court decision, due to decades of organized efforts, the Seikopai have been given back their traditional land. This infuses hope for good things to come. 

Basilio is the only true elder left in the Seikopai lineage of 'Yagé Drinkers'. The elder "shaman' is given the title 'Yagé Drinker' after extensive, intensive training lasting many years. Basilio is in his 80's and, true to tradition, has been drinking since he was 8 years old. He is also the only to carry the knowledge of making the traditional hammocks out of palm leaves. They are absolutely stunning, with one in the Smithsonian. Their traditional pottery, beadwork is beautiful and the knowledge of medicine is astounding. Many of the youth want to learn the traditional ways but are pressured to get jobs, forcing them to leave the jungle ways they love. Supporting them in these ways empowers them to continue the traditional ways.

the Yagé Ceremonies 

Yagé (pronounced Ya-hay) is a type of Ayahuasca but as Josep explains, the experience of drinking Yagé is different than Ayahuasca. Two unique plants used create a distinctly powerful, feminine and in-the-body experiences. Another key difference is the way the ceremony is held. There is one or more 'Renewal' ceremonies to cleanse and prepare for when we drink the Yagé. The ceremony is held over several days with special diet and fasting. 

Meet Your Guides

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Michael Cutter
trip coordinator

For many years Michael has dedicated his life to learning the traditional healing arts. He has spent time with elders and wisdom keepers from al over the world, traveling to Africa and South America and within North America. He travels frequently to Ecuador for training and ceremonies in the traditions of the Andes and Amazon. In addition to his healing and coaching practice, Michael is a passionate artist, drum maker and incense maker. He lives in Denver, CO

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Josep & Marcela
Guides & translators

Josep is a native of Catalonia. He was invited as a young man to live with Basilio and his family. His relaxed nature and ever present smile conceal his extensive knowledge and intensive training with plant medicine and traditional ways. A true medicine man himself, he will be our guide, meeting us in the highlands and taking us into the jungle. He speaks Spanish, Catalan, English and Paikopa the language of the Seiko'pai.

Marcela will be supporting in many ways, behind the scenes with food prep, in the ceremonies and logistics. She is a passionate force of nature, gifted musician and medicine woman. 

 

We could not be in better hands, you will fall in love with them both. 

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Basilio

Seiko'pai elder, Yagé Drinker

Basilio Payaguaje is the last remaining true elder Yagé Drinker of the Seikopai people. My first encounter with Basilio was waiting to be picked up at the river during a trip with Itzhak Beery. It was Basilio who arrived in the canoe. Soft spoken, unassuming and smiling he took us back to climb the mud stairs leading up the riverbank to the house and sacred land where would be staying. 

Though the property is relatively undeveloped, it has been a destination for famous musicians and royalty who come for the powerful healing ceremonies. Basilio has never sought to be in the spotlight, quietly living in the jungle, but is well known and highly respected as one of the last living elders with knowledge of the old ways.. 

Trip Outline*

It is best to arrive a day or so early to acclimate before we begin the trip. The following is an outline of the trip.  

 

  • We will meet and begin the trip with a Wachuma  (San Pedro) walk in the Highlands - Drop in and open our hearts to the highlands. Soak in the Healing waters at Papallacta Hot Springs resort.

  • Travel to the Amazon, arriving by canoe to be greeted by Basilio and the family. Sleeping (under mosquito nets) to the sounds of the jungle.

  • Waking to the orchestra of birds, tree frogs and insects. project work, building the new ceremony lodge, experiencing the stunning natural world of the jungle. 

  • Renewal Ceremony (part of the Yagé ceremony) to prepare for Yagé ceremony and arrive home in the jungle. 

 

  • Jungle walk to the Mother Tree, visiting the hunting grounds, waking to the orchestra of tree frogs, birds, cicadas, monkeys, and all of the inhabitants that make this place so special. We will enjoy simple wholesome traditional foods, harvesting bananas, 'jungle grapes', cacao and other foods from the jungle.

  • Yagé Ceremony. In the evening we will walk to the ceremony lodge, find our places in our hammocks and settle in for the night. You will be held by the jungle and the supporters as the medicine works its wonders. 

  • Integration meeting, resting, eating nourishing foods, discussions, etc.

  • Travel back into the highlands to bathe and relax in the stunning hot sulphur springs at Pappalacta Hot Spring resort in the high Andes before returning home. Spa services available including chocolate rub. 

*Due to weather and other variables, itinerary may adjust. It is important to bring an attitude of flexibility when traveling in Ecuador and the jungle. 

Trip cost $2990

Includes trip activities, transportation, food and board,  does not include airfare, pre/post trip expenses or personal purchases made on the trip. A $1000 deposit is required to reserve your spot.

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