Q: Would being on my menstral cycle (moon cycle) during the retreat exclude me from participating in ceremonies?
A: Yes. There are varying cultural traditions and opinions regarding the relationship between the medicine and the female menstral cycle. In the Cofan Ayahuasca / Yage tradition, the female cycle is a revered and sacred time in which a woman has a private and intense relationship with lunar energy. That relationship involves a purge or cleansing that replaces the need for medicine. This lunar energy causes a woman’s aura to become powerful and expansive, and she can strongly alter the effects of the medicine for herself and other ceremony participants.
For these reasons female participants are asked to plan their ECA retreats at times when they can be in ceremony without complications for the shaman and other participants. If a female participant’s menstrual cycle unexpectedly arrives during the retreat, she will not be able to participate in the remaining ceremonies. The menstrual cycle in these cases is considered to go from 24 hours before the appearance of blood until 48 hours after bleeding has stopped.
Q: Can I attend Ayahuasca ceremonies while pregnant?
Q: How should I dress for an Ayahuasca ceremony?
A: Bring comfortable but presentable clothing for the ceremonies. When we enter the maloka to share a ceremony together, we want to present ourselves in front of the fire, the medicines, the healer and each other in a way that reflects our intention for being there. Vibrantly colored or white shirts, blouses, dresses or long skirts are encouraged.
Q: Should I remain in the maloka, or ceremonial space during the ceremony?
A: The short answer is ”yes”. If you need to use the bathroom or purge, you should leave the maloka to do so and return as soon as possible. A group facilitator will also come and retrieve you and help you reenter the space if necessary. When we are around the fire together, the healers and group facilitators can observe how participants are interacting with the medicine more easily and provide the safest and most beneficial experience for everyone.
Q: Do participants socialize during Ayahuasca or San Pedro Cactus ceremonies?
A: Emotions, thoughts, urges, and feelings arise when we are in Ayahuasca and San Pedro Cactus ceremonies. It is recommended to resist the urge to socialize.
Q: Is it alright to sing along with the shaman during ceremony?
A: We ask that participants do not sing along with the shaman during an Ayahuasca ceremony. Much of the energy of the Ayahuasca journey is guided by melody, tone, and song. Please leave the energetic guiding of the ceremony to our curandero and shamanic team.
During San Pedro ceremonies participants may sing along with the shaman.
Q: In what way is tobacco used in ceremony?
A: Tobacco is used for prayer during ceremonies. It also can help to harmonize energies and emotions that arise during ceremonies.
Q: I’ve heard that the plants used in Ayahuasca can be different from place to place. What plants do you use?
A: At ECA our Ayahuasca, or Yagé, is composed of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) containing leaves of the Diplopterys cabrerana (chagropanga) bush. No other plants are used. We are absolutely opposed to the use of the plant known as toé, borrachero or floripan in the plant medicine.
Q: Do you make the medicine yourself?
A: At ECA, Ayahuasca is prepared by Greison Lezama in the Colombian Amazon according to the ancient traditions of the Cofan people. The San Pedro Cactus medicine at ECA is prepared by Gonzalo ‘Aguila’ Garcia. Under no circumstances are untrained or unauthorized individuals permitted to be in contact with the medicine during preparation. No group participants are permitted to prepare medicine.
Q: Is the dieta (with all of the restrictions following the retreat, such as sex, alcohol, or drugs) required or optional?
A: There is a zero tolerance policy of drug or alcohol use during the retreat. Guests found using alcohol or drugs during the retreat will be asked to leave. Regarding sex and the dieta, we highly recommend following the recommended dieta and sexual abstinence before, during and after an ECA retreat. These recommendations are for the overall benefit of each participant.
More specifically, this food regime helps to remove the influence of toxins and various unqualified energies that can cause blockages in the physical and energetic body. By restricting certain foods you eat, before, during, and after your use of Ayahuasca, you are allowing the plant medicine to be more effective. The pre-dieta exists for several other reasons: to ensure that you limit the amount of tyramine in your bloodstream, to begin building an “energetic home” for the plant medicines, and also to ease into the full dieta.
As for the post-dieta restrictions, Ayahuasca both physically and energetically remains in your body for months following your dieta. Many insights and teachings will continue to unfold during the 3 to 6 months following your retreat experience. Holding true to the post-dieta restrictions greatly facilitates this process. Crossing your energies through sex, alcohol, or drugs too soon after dieta or Ayahuasca in general can lead to undesirable results.
Q: Do I need a visa to travel to Colombia?
A: No. Travelers arriving to Colombia as tourists are granted up to 90 days upon arrival. For more detailed information please click here.
Q: Is the water safe to drink?
A: Yes. The tap water at all ECA retreat accommodations is pure, sweet and safe to drink.
Q: Do I need vaccinations to visit Colombia?
A: Unless you are planning to visit the Amazon during your trip in the country, no, you don’t need any vaccinations.
Q: Is there Wifi/telephone?
A: Yes. There is Wifi and telephone access available at all ECA accommodations. However, we strongly recommend limiting screen time during retreats and maximizing time outside and in meditation.
Q: Is there hot water?
A: Yes. All ECA accommodations offer hot showers.
Q: What is the climate like?
A: The mild Andean climate enables you to enjoy being active during the day and to sleep well at night. If you can, imagine springtime meets autumn at 8,500ft in the tropics. Bring clothing for warm and crisp evenings. A warm jacket for night ceremonies and bonfires is recommended.
Q: Can you recommend a place to stay before or after my retreat?
A: ECA’s group facilitators are more than happy to help arrange accommodation before or after your retreat.
Q: What type of sunscreen and bug repellent? What type of shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste is ok?
A: Please bring with you organic or 100% natural shampoos, soaps, toothpastes, bug repellent or sunscreen.
Q: I wear contacts, would I be able to bring them?
A: Please bring your contacts. It might also be good to bring a back up pair of glasses.
Please Feel Free to Contact Us with any Other Questions