Shamanic mysticism, ayahuasca and yoga in Cusco, Peru (November 25 – December 6, 2017)
The Living Project has one mission – we want you to have a travel experience that awakens your soul and changes your life. And, our incredible trip to the Sacred Valley of Peru and legendary Machu Picchu is no different.
We chose Peru because it is considered to be a major energetic and spiritual ‘vortex’ on this planet; home to one of the earth’s seven chakras.
We will be working with Peruvian Shamans and sacred plant medicines – Ayahuasca and San Pedro. We will explore some of the most spiritually rich locations in the world, and cap off our retreat with a tour of one of the new seven wonders of the world, Macchu Picchu.
Our time in Peru is designed to be a deep dive into ourselves, into our pasts and our futures. The sacred medicines and our time together will help to introduce you to spirit allies and forces, remove obstacles that are in the way of our greater expression and potential, retrieve lost soul parts or vital essence, and merge with the loving inter-connectivity and healing properties of nature, the elements, psyche, and spirit.
And we will have a blast doing it.
Mornings will begin with meditation class led by Jonathan and open-level yoga practice with Domenic. In some of the afternoons and evenings (when we are not in ceremony with plant medicine), we will meet in sacred circle with Jonathan to delve into the world of Shamanic mysticism or Domenic will teach a second yoga class.
On this retreat there will be three Ayahuasca ceremonies, a San Pedro ceremony with purifying Chulla Chaka (sweat lodge), and Despacho or traditional Peruvian offering ceremony to the earth. These events will be facilitated by local and trusted Peruvian shamans that we and our venue, The Source-Peru, have hand-picked for their excellence, integrity and knowledge.
Other local shamanic guides will take us on unforgettable day trips to the famous Pisaq market and ruins, the ruins of Ollantaytambo, the ancient Incan Salt Pans, and the Andean terraces of Mora. We will explore the traditional village of Maras, and rejuvenate in the hot-springs of Aquas Calientes. We are not going to leave a stone un-turned as we take in the totality of this incredible and holy place.
(If you choose, many of these day trips and sacred site expeditions can be experienced using other plant medicines that our local guides may recommend).
For the last two days, we will journey by train and stay overnight in Aquas Calientes. This is the heart of Machu Picchu, one of the most beguiling places you will ever experience. We will be taken on a guided tour of the breath-taking ‘ancient city in the clouds’.
Our final destination will in Cusco, so that the beginning of your travel home the next day is an easy and restful one.
The Living Project’s trip to Peru will be an absolutely transformative journey to a magical and sacred land; a place steeped in tradition, spirit, wisdom, and mystery.
This is an initiation into higher consciousness and of deep healing, and we promise a once in a lifetime adventure that you will you will never forget.
The Source, Peru has been voted the #1 accommodation for the Sacred Valley on Trip Advisor.
It is an ‘edge of luxury’ Ayahuasca center and retreat destination nestled between the breathtaking 100-foot KillaUnu waterfall, a river canyon, and two spectacular mountains in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru.
It is brand new, having opened its doors recently in January, 2015.
The Source, Peru realizes that participating in medicine alone can push people completely out of their comfort zone so Source Peru exists to create a level of comfort that allows our guests to move out of their comfort zone in ceremony while having a beautiful and comfortable space in which to integrate during the down time.
It is just below the clouds at 10,000 feet in the heart of the Sacred Valley and just a short distance from many incredible Incan ruins, including the spectacular Machu Picchu.
The property is beautifully landscaped and surrounded by fragrant eucalyptus groves with an abundance of fruit trees and flower, cactus and vegetable gardens on the grounds. Cascading water features run through the property, receiving their flow from the KillaUnu waterfall that towers above.
When you drift off to sleep under the Milky Way and awaken to sounds of a waterfall, you’ll know you’ve come to a place where nature can heal both body and mind.
Accommodations are impeccably maintained, cozy, and decorated with the flavor of the Incas.
In the main lodge, our twelve primary guest rooms are split between two floors, with each level boasting a huge shared bathroom containing rich tile flooring, multiple glass shower stalls and on-demand hot water. Guest rooms are beautifully appointed with two roomy dressers and two exceptionally comfy single beds dressed with two pillows, high-thread count linens, thick duvet and alpaca wool blankets.
All rooms can be converted into singles and queen-size beds are available for couples, or those who don’t wish to share a room.
There are beautiful and spacious shared bathrooms that have completely private showers and changing areas. Each shower has a large rain shower head and 24/7 hot water. The walls and floor are decorated with high-end tiling and halogen lighting illuminates the space.
Fresh, local and delicious food is lovingly prepared to order by a dedicated and knowledgeable staff. You will delight in the on-site tea house and gourmet chocolate shop, offering purely crafted sweets as well as homemade kombucha. Enjoy a fine chocolate and cup of fine tea or homemade mead around one of the many fireplaces.
The magnificent temple is the crowning jewel at The Source. It consists of a number of design elements – including crystals, sacred geometry, the four sacred elements & directions, and archetypes/deities – that support the sacredness and healing potential of the space. It can fit more than 60 mats and features radiant heating through the floor and a surround-sound system. Yoga can also be held outside on the lawn amid the cascading water features that flow throughout the property.
Adding to its many exotic amenities is a traditional Andean sweat lodge located on the property.
Terra Viva Hotels in Machu Picchu and Cusco
On the last two days of our trip, we will leave The Source-Peru in the sacred valley and take a train together to Aquas Calientes (Machu Picchu). And, on our last night we will make our way back to the Cusco so that you are near the airport and can easily begin your journey back home.
The Terra Hotels Machu Picchu and Cusco are both award-winning boutique hotels in incredibly unique settings in Peru. And, we will be staying in these charming accommodations on these evenings.
Tierra Viva Machu Picchu Hotel’s strategic location ensures it’s guests the best experience possible of the amazing Inca citadel of Machu Picchu – facing the Urubamba River and surrounded by the Forest of Clouds.
This modern style Hotel has 43 spacious and comfortable rooms, a lounge with a fireplace, a breakfast room and a bar to relax and enjoy some drinks after a day of adventures. Our hotel has a panoramic lift that has been decorated with Andean inspired graffiti by the Peruvian artist Carolina Málaga. Near the entrance of the hotel is the dining room, where every morning a delicious Andean buffet is served.
Tierra Viva Cusco San Blas Hotel is located in the heart of San Blas, Cusco´s most artistic neighborhood, also called the “Artisan´s Neighborhood”. A remodeled old colonial residence, which was constructed in adobe, carefully preserves the most traditional aspects of its architecture. The residence has 24 spacious rooms, an inner courtyard, characteristic of Cusco´s colonial houses and a marvelous garden.
Next to the hotel´s entrance you will find the dining room where the buffet breakfast is served and a cozy hall where you will be able to check in. The rooms are located around the indoor patios, with large windows that let in the amazing colors of the Peruvian highlands. Tierra Viva Cusco San Blas Hotel is decorated with colonial paintings, designs made by local Cusco craftsmen and is surrounded by the plants, flowers and trees of the Andes.
In spite of its central location, the hotel is situated just far enough from the noise and the hustle to let you enjoy the peace and quiet that every traveler needs, in the most bohemian neighborhood of Cusco.
Ayahuasca is a sacred tea, that has been taken ceremonially in the indigenous cultures of Latin and South America for thousands of years. It has been said that spirit of the plants themselves spoke directly to these original peoples showing them the combination of plant elements and the deep spiritual intentionality in which it was to be created.
The Shaman or Ayahuascadero prepares the tea (through a lengthy cooking and spiritual process), oversees the ceremony, and energetically guides each participant through their individual journey with the medicine.
Attending an ayahuasca ceremony can bring people to deep spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight into how to be the best person they possibly can. This is true spiritual awakening and is often described as a kind of rebirth.
In addition to it’s spiritual benefits, ayahuasca has been used in treatment of depression or addiction, physical ailments, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological issues.
This is profound medicine and is absolutely no joke. Ayahuasca can be an incredibly joyful or a difficult experience. It is a strong physical, psychological and energetic purgative. And, an ayahuasca ceremony is approximately a four hour commitment.
While Ayahuasca is absolutely safe, its consumption isn’t suitable for those taking MAOIs, those who have recently undergone antibiotic treatment, those with severe psychiatric conditions (schizophrenia, bi-polar, dissociative disorders), and those with a chronic heart condition, severe blood pressure, or diabetes.
Ayahuasca has been described as taking in ‘Pure Mother’ – we drink in the Earth Goddess, taking in her unconditional love and wisdom – letting her transform us and open our eyes anew.
There have been reports of a single Ayahuasca ceremony being equivalent to 10 years of psychotherapy.
San Pedro (ceremony with sweat lodge)
Huachuma (San Pedro) cactus has perhaps the longest history of use of any plant medicines in South America. Its ceremonial use dates back over 3,000 years and its traditions continue today.
The cactus contains a number of alkaloids, including Mescaline. Huachuma is relatively gentle, can produce a deep sense of calm, and can create a very powerful connection to one’s surroundings, which may induce powerful hallucinogenic visions.
The authentic sweat lodge that accompanies this 10-14 hour daytime ceremony, helps to purify the body.
The effects of San Pedro as told by a Peruvian shaman:
“The cactus first … produces … drowsiness or a dreamy state and a feeling of lethargy … a slight dizziness … then a great ‘vision’, a clearing of all the faculties … it produces a light numbness in the body and afterward a deep tranquillity. And then comes detachment – a type of visual force … inclusive of all the senses … including the sixth sense, the telepathic sense of transmitting oneself across time and matter … like a kind of removal of one’s thought to a distant dimension. Emerging into the vision of true unity”.
Our Andean shamans, Christian (Tito Amaru Salka) and Roberto (Illapu Qorimallqui), come from a long line of healers on their mother’s side of pre-Incan origin, which started as an ancient family known as the Antasayas. The Antasayas have the knowledge of the chulla chaka or “bridge of dew” (an Andean sweat lodge,) a treatment for which they use the energies of the tawaapukunas, or four elements.
On their father’s side, their great-grandfather Alejandro Calero was an alpaca breeder and their grandmother Catalina Apu had a high spiritual energetic level. The sons of Apu include the eldest Ausangate, and are proud followers of their ancestors of Tayta Qoyllorritty who are guardians of the mountains and rituals, and protectors of Wachuma and of haywaricuy. Their ancient family was called Qamasqa but when they relocated to Cusco they changed the name to Calero. The essence of the medicine and the energy of the rituals have persisted in their family for three generations through what is known as the “kuti”, or the return of energies from one generation to the next. In this generation, instead of coming through to just one source, as with their grandmother Catalina, the spirit came back in two bodies – Illapu (Roberto) and Amaru (Christian).
Christian and Roberto have been practicing medicine for over 20 years and are on a continual path to deepen their understanding of and experience in shamanism, as it is their way of life. Each June they, along with close and extended family members, make the epic pilgrimage to Qoyllur Rit’i as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. They carry all of their belongings to the remote location on Mt Ausangate and immerse themselves in traditional medicine and dance rituals at the top of the glacier there for 4 days. With little sleep and only Wachuma and their devotion as guardians of the mountains to fuel them, they dance on the glacier in freezing temperatures to clear the negative energy that accumulated over the year and prepare for the Incan New Year to come. Historically the dancers cut a large block of ice from the glacier and carried it down to their village for use in healing ceremonies; however due to global warming the glacier is shrinking and removal of ice is now forbidden. The annual Qoyllur Rit’i pilgrimage a tradition that runs very deep in Christian and Roberto’s family and carries great significance for them.
Brothers Christian and Roberto lead our plant medicine ceremonies in a humble and compassionate way using music to guide the ebb and flow of energy in the temple. In addition, they, along with their mother – Mama Ruth – and cousins, lead our powerful and healing Chulla Chaka ceremonies.
Our retreat will also be supported by local tour operators Alternative Inca Trails.
We recommend you arriving in Cusco on Friday 24th (see below), but these overnight accommodations are not included in the price of the retreat.
Saturday 25th – Shuttle leaves CUZ at 11:30am. 1pm arrival & Lunch at the The Source-Peru. Opening Circle, Dinner
Sunday 26th – Meditation/Yoga, Breakfast, Lunch, Ayahuasca Ceremony #1
Monday 27th – Meditation/Yoga, Breakfast, Bagged Lunch, Pisaq market & ruins 11am-6pm, Dinner, evening Spirit Circle
Tuesday 28th – Meditation/Yoga, Breakfast & Lunch (for those not taking medicine) or Smoothies & fruit for those taking medicine, 9am Wachuma Ceremony, 4pm Chulla Chaka, 7pm Pachamanca Dinner for all, evening Spirit Circle
Wedensday 29th – Meditation/Yoga, Breakfast, Lunch, afternoon Despacho ceremony, Dinner, evening Spirit Circle
Thursday 30th – Meditation/Yoga, Breakfast, Lunch, Ayahuasca Ceremony #2
Friday 1st – Meditation/Yoga, Breakfast, Lunch, Ayahuasca #3
Saturday 2nd – Breakfast, Lunch, Moray/Maras/Salineras trip, Dinner, evening Spirit Circle
Sunday 3rd – Meditation/Yoga, Smoothies, Offsite excursion with Shamans & Wachuma (San Pedro) & Bagged Lunch, Dinner, evening Spirit Circle
Monday 4th – Breakfast, Morning Closing Circle, Bagged lunch & noon departure for Ollantaytambo & Machu Picchu. Dinner & overnight in Aguas Calientes.
Tuesday 5th – Meditation/Yoga, Hotel Breakfast, Machu Picchu, Lunch, Train to Ollantaytambo, Transport to Cusco. Dinner & overnight in Cusco.
Wedensday 6th – Meditation/Yoga, Hotel Breakfast, Departures OR guests stay extra days to experience Cusco on thier own.
*This schedule is subject to change. In addition to the above, on some days we will have 2 yoga classes or an additional class in shamanic journeying.
14 days prior to the retreat and 14 days after the retreat the following dietary restrictions are highly recommended:
· No alcohol
· No recreational drugs (including marijuana)
· No pork products
In addition, gradually decreasing and/or avoiding the following items for two weeks prior to the gathering and continuing for two weeks beyond the gathering will greatly enhance the experience and energy of your event:
· Sexual activity (including self-pleasure)
· Red meat
· Dairy products
· Excessive fatty/dense foods and excessive oils (deep fried especially)
· Garlic, onions, and strong spices
· Salt (including high amounts of salt in processed foods)
· Processed foods
Daily Breakfast Buffet:
Fruit smoothie, green smoothie or juice, jar of emoliente (natural Peruvian digestive tea), almond/cashew/coconut milk, granola/muesli, hot quinoa cereal with nut milk, fruit salad, eggs any style, guacamole, almond &/or cashew &/or coconut cheese, sliced tomatoes & black olives, yeast-free bread (gluten-free option available).
Cherry tomatoes stuffed with basil & almond cheese
Creamed carrot soup
Power Bowl with sweet potato, quinoa, kale, black beans, and avocado dressing
Dehydrated veggie chips (tomato, cucumber, zucchini) with carrot mayonnaise
Hearty garden salad
Pumpkin stew with quinoa
Summer rolls (cilantro/mint, rice noodles, red pepper, leek) with peanut sauce
Creamed broccoli soup
Veggie stir-fry (red pepper, kale, broccoli, carrot, red onion) with whole cashews on a bed of quinoa
Babaganoush with sweet potato chips
Raw zucchini and cucumber noodles with avocado and almond sauce
Huachuma(San Pedro) Day Pachamanca Buffet Dinner:
Hearty Zucchini soup
Variety of fresh salads
Chicken & trout prepared with huacatay sauce and roasted over heated rocks
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, occa, plantain, habas (Andean broadbeans in the pod), and choclo (large-kernel Andean corn on the cob)
Variety of sauces and dressings
Arrive in Cusco on Friday, November 24th, Return flight from Cusco on Wedesday, December 6.
You will fly into Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM), which is the main international and domestic airport in Peru. You will then transfer through to the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco (CUZ).
It is possible to book with some airlines – such as LAN and Avianca – straight from your departure location to Cusco. Other airlines will only get you as far as Lima and then you will have to book a flight to Cusco with one of the local Peruvian airlines. Sometimes this works out cheaper, but you do run the risk of losing your flight to Cusco if you have travel delays getting into Lima. And the same would apply in reverse – if you have delays leaving Cusco you could lose your flight from Lima. Booking with the same airline, where possible, will assure that your subsequent flights are taken care of in the event of delays.
We suggest booking your flight to arrive in Cusco the day before your retreat start date (11/24). This will allow room for any possible travel delays – which are fairly common coming into CUZ – and ensure that you will join the group on time.
Note that it is common for Sacred Valley-bound travelers to arrive at the Lima airport late in the day and have an overnight layover before continuing on to Cusco. If this is the case for your itinerary, The Source- Peru can recommend a few hotels in the Lima area. There are very few hotels in the immediate airport vicinity that are appealing. The nicer areas are 30-60 minutes from the airport; however, most reputable hotels will arrange for airport transfers to their location for you.
Once you have your travel info please let us know, and don’t hesitate to reach out to The Source-Peru if you have questions or would like any recommendations for an extra overnight in Cusco – firstname.lastname@example.org.
If arriving on the 24th (recommended)…
We recommend that you schedule to arrive in Cusco on November 24th not the ‘official’ start day of the retreat on the 25th. The Source-Peru has a range of hotel recommendations depending upon your budget and style preferences. You need to make these arrangements on your own
Hotel recommendations in Cusco are below for the evening of your arrival on Nov 24th (use expedia.com, hotels.com, booking.com) to find the best rate:
-Tierra Viva Cusco – San Blas location $85+: http://tierravivahoteles.com/tierra-viva-cusco-san-blas/
-Tierra Viva Cusco – Plaza location $85+:http://tierravivahoteles.com/tierra-viva-cusco-plaza/
-Any of the Casa Andina Cusco locations $102+: http://www.casa-andina.com/en/destinations/cusco
-Antigua Casona – San Blas $120+: http://antiguacusco.com/
– Palacio del Inka – Luxury Collection (Starwood) Hotel – $155+: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3287&language=en_US
-JW Marriott El Convento Cusco – $200+: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/cuzmc-jw-marriott-el-convento-cusco/
-Belmond Hotel Monasterio – $300+: http://www.belmond.com/hotel-monasterio-cusco/
If arriving on the 25th…
No problem. If you don’t want to stay over in the 24th (and book your own hotel room), you can arrive on the 25th.
Flights usually arrive in Cusco around 3:30pm, and the Source, Peru will arrange a shuttle for you t get you to the property in plenty of time for our 7pm opening circle.
Because we have heard that flight delays are common, we do recommend arrival on the 24th, but arriving on the 25th is an option as well.
Regardless of what the airlines tell you, when you arrive in Lima, make sure that you pick up your checked luggage, carry it to the check in counter for your next flight, and re-check it onward to Cusco. If you do not claim your bags and re-check them in Lima, they will NOT make it to Cusco with you.
On arrival at the airport in Cusco, claim your bags from the carousel and proceed outside the airport where you will see a number of taxis waiting.
If you are arriving a day or more early, choose whichever feels right for you and be sure to negotiate your fare from CUZ to your destination before getting into the cab. As a general rule, the ride from the airport to Cusco city center will cost approximately S/.12. If the driver wants to charge you much more than this, choose another taxi and negotiate again.
On the start date of the retreat (11/25), you will take another taxi back to the airport to meet your group at the designated time (11:30am). From there, the shared shuttle for your group will transport you to The Source-Peru.
If you are arriving on the first day of your retreat, look for a sign that says, “The Source” and head to meet the driver. You can stash your bags in the shuttle and head upstairs in the airport to one of the cafes for a cup of coca tea while you wait for the rest of the group to arrive.
Vaccinations and Medical
You will not need vaccinations or malaria pills to visit the Sacred Valley; however, check with your home country before you leave to ensure that you are aware of any vaccinations or requirements to return home from Peru (some countries require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination after visiting Peru…even though Yellow Fever is a concern in the Amazon and not in our area). We strongly recommend that you purchase for appropriate travel/health insurance before you leave for your trip.
There is a fully equipped hospital 6 miles from The Source- Peru. They have 24/7 access to transportation if a serious medical condition should arise.
It is your responsibility to inform the staff of any medical conditions you may have or medications you will be taking during the retreat so we can make sure they do not conflict with the medicine and cause serious issues/harm/death.
If you are taking any medications or drugs whatsoever, you need to have disclosed them on your application form which will be sent to you after you register and pay or make a deposit for the retreat.
Weather and what to pack
During Nov/Dec it’s usually clear, dry and sunny most mornings with possible rain in the afternoons, though rainfall can come at any time. The daily temperatures are typically mild – averaging 64F (18C) during the day – and see a much lesser drop at night – in the range of 48F (9C).
· Long pants
· Long sleeve shirts. One for warmth and a lightweight one for protection from the sun.
· T-shirt/short sleeve shirts
· Swimming suit for the Andean sweat lodge (and dips in the cold plunge or under the waterfall.)
· Hiking shoes
· Shoes you can slip on and off quickly. Handy for wearing to/from the Ceremony House. Slippers with a solid bottom/sandals/flip flops/crocs work well.
· Warm Jackets (Fleece – and Down in April/May)
· Lightweight Rain Jacket (Even in the dry season short rain showers are possible.)
· Underwear and socks (cozy wool socks are lovely to wear during ceremony)
· HAT! The sun can be intense. Bring a hat and/or sunglasses.
Each participant will need to fill out the following form. This is sent directly to The Source, Peru, so that they can review to make sure each participant can safely take part in the plane medicine. Please click here for the link to the intake form.