A list of questions I'm asked, if you have one yourself then contact me and I can add it to the list.
What is a shaman?
A shaman has one foot in the ordinary critical-consensual world and one foot in the world of the unseen collective consciousness to which we are all connected, also known as other worlds. Through this ability they are able to carry out healing and provide information.
What is shamanism and what do shamans do?
Best answered by reading this article.
How should I prepare for working with the plants?
In terms of mental preparation, I highly recommend you read this article on considerations for your plant medicine experience. This helps to ensure we're all in alignment in terms of expectations on retreat. It will give you a good idea as to the ethos. Feel free to ask questions about anything you're unsure of in this regard.
In terms of physical preparation, there is a lot of debate over what should constitute a pre-ceremony diet. I feel the following gives best results:
Be salt-free, sugar-free and alcohol-free for the week before the retreat, but ten days is optimal for your body to be cleansed.
Carbs: It's fine to have potato, sweet potato, basmati rice (the grain with the lowest glycemic index), gram flour, lentils, peas and beans, but not broad beans.
Other grains: eat sparingly.
Spices: no hot ones like chili and garlic. Other spices are great in moderation. They can lift a dish into deliciousness and they aid digestion. We especially recommend cumin, coriander, turmeric cinnamon, saffron (another great brain food) fenugreek, asafoetida, tamarind.
Herbs: oregano is another brain food. Basil for digestion. Thyme and rosemary are also good.
Oils: coconut is the best there is. Just research the endless list of benefits and you will become a convert. Virgin olive oil forms free radicals when heated, so use coconut or sunflower oils instead. Salt-free butter is OK if you’re not vegan, but plant oils are better. Hemp oil is best for salads.
Proteins: legumes are all good, and you can eat fish if you require animal food.
Fruit: I recommend all fresh fruit. In our experience bananas are fine! Pineapple is especially good for liver support and berries are a great anti-oxidant rich brain food, as is all coconut - oil, water, milk and cream. Fresh fruit smoothies and fruit and vegetable juices are wonderful – but consume within 15 minutes of juicing.
Chocolate: Raw chocolate that you make yourself is so rich in nutrient and antioxidants we highly recommend it. Normal chocolate is a no. It contains unhealthy refined sugars and emulsifiers etc.
Snacks: This one is difficult for some. Try and avoid nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
Dairy: If you are not vegan, natural un-sweetened yoghurt is OK, as are eggs (we don’t need to tell you that organic, free-range is best). However, they are animal products so use sparingly to support your work with the plants.
Drinks: You would be wise to detox from caffeine for the week that you’re preparing. Keep it simple with clean, fresh water. If you enjoy herbal teas have a large glass of water as well. Drink a good amount of water to aid the body in any detox it is going through ahead of the retreat. 2-3 litres of water daily, ideally.
Sweeteners: If you must have some sweetener, make it honey, preferably raw from your local beekeeper and not cheap excuses for honey on supermarket shelves. Agave is less desirable, maple syrup is ok but it is important to avoid refined sugars and toxic chemicals such as aspartame and saccharine.
Note: In general, each day, I recommend you have a hot dish, a salad and a fruit dish. Here are some recipe ideas.
Some people prefer to fast the day of the retreat, some do not. I personally only eat very lightly and nothing after lunch time, to give the medicine the best chance to work in the body without feeling so hungry that we’re distracted! With Huachuma I eat little or nothing before, and the food happens later as part of the experience.
How many participants do I accept on retreat?
I feel that smaller groups are better than huge halls full of people. This is so that my attention and care can be distributed evenly between participants. I also prefer intimacy; and like to give participants the chance to bond with each other, which is easier in smaller groups. For this reason, I accept a maximum of fifteen participants.
What do I need to know about participants?
I need to know about any dietary requirements you might have, allergies or intolerances, so that I'm prepared with alternatives. I also need to know about any possible conflicts with the plant medicines, for example any pharmaceutical medicines you may have been taking, like antidepressants.
It's good to know about any previous medicine experiences. This is so that we can get an idea of the kind of group we may have and I can tailor the details accordingly.
I will send you a form when you book so that we can get the information we need from you.
Which medicines are used?
I use several plants and this is sometimes varied on our retreats, but the main plants we use at every retreat are ayahuasca and huachuma. The medicine we provide is brewed by us, so we know what goes into it, the strength and the dosage. I always offer three doses per ceremony, however, two doses are the most that the majority end up taking.
Please see Ayahuasca, Huachuma and Pusanga for more information.
What food will there be on retreat?
The food is not simply thrown together by a well-meaning assistant. The food is grown on site and sourced from local organic suppliers. We provide vegetarian and vegan options only.
Please let us know if you have any allergies or intolerances!
What do the retreat centres/accommodation consist of?
Retreats in Portugal's beautiful, wild nature. I love participants to experience the plant medicines in a natural setting. Portugal is a very beautiful country with a perfect climate for this work. Your rest, comfort and well being are my top priority and the accommodation we provide is pristine and beautifully simple. All aspects of your physical experience have been considered and taken care of so that your attention can be placed on your personal healing process.
What is the price, what is included and what payment options are there?
I ask for £495 for the three day retreats. I also accept up to three instalments so you can spread the cost, but require the full amount to have been settled before the retreat starts. You can pay by card on our bookings page, and also by Paypal. UK residents are welcome to pay in GBP, to avoid exchange rate problems and fees. Contact me for bank details to do transfers, or our Paypal email address if you prefer.
I do one night ayahuasca ceremonies from time to time, at £150 per ceremony. This includes the ceremony, bed, breakfast and integration. You can pay in full, or a deposit of £80 with the rest payable on the night.
Everything is covered except flights, so accommodation, meals, art materials, external trips, the plant medicines and all complementary healing sessions are included. See our retreats for details of what we do, and the specific event you are interested in for the exact schedule.
How do I get to the retreat?
This retreat centre is accessible from Faro airport. I can put participants in touch to arrange group travel to Portugal. If coming from Lisbon, regular buses and trains go directly to Faro at very reasonable prices and can be pre-booked online. We can then either collect a group from Faro airport for a small transfer fee, or take a train from Faro train station to town nearest the centre, which doesn't take long and is very cheap. We can then collect you to take you to the retreat.
PLEASE NOTE: Incoming flights should be booked to arrive by 4.00pm latest. Return flights should be booked for no earlier than 3pm, as you will not leave the retreat until 12:00 and it is wise to leave time to get organised (especially with larger groups).