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Re-entry…new post on La Familia Medicina blog page

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New Post on http://lafamiliamedicina.com/our-philosophy/blog. I discuss my experience going back to the states and observations regarding how to deal with re-entry.

Written by ayahuascalife

June 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

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Maestro Gumercindo Singing an Icaro

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I have been working hard on our new website and e-book for La Familia Medicina- http://LaFamiliaMedicina.com and have not been able to post.  If you want to check out my e-book which runs through my story about discovering La Familia Medicina go to http://LaFamiliaMedicina.com and at the bottom of the Home page are instructions on how to get the e-book (free).  In the meantime, here is a video of Maestro Gumercindo singing “Cielo, Cielo ayahuasca….”  All new blog posts will be on http://LaFamiliaMedicina.com.

Written by ayahuascalife

June 2, 2011 at 9:04 pm

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God…it is so nice to meet you.

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This is the last week for me here in Jenaro Herrera before I go home for a quick 6 week visit home to put the finishing touches on the La Familia Medicina web page and just have some fun with family and friends.

As a send off, the family agreed to do a round of 4 ceremonies before I go.  Increadible as always.

My dear friend Rollan has said many times that in the bible God or Jesus says something like- “Do not believe in me….KNOW me.”  Rollan also says that ayahuasca helps him KNOW God.  I always thought this was an awesome perspective on ayahuasca, and while I had experienced the divine with the help of ayahuasca I did not feel that I could say that I knew God.  This changed during the 3rd ceremony this week.

I may have mentioned before that one of the things I really find useful is to ask ayahuasca specific questions prior to drinking and focus on that question during ceremony.  This week I wanted to get to know God.  So I did a couple of things 1) I asked ayahuasca to help me know God prior to each ceremony. 2) I implemented a mantra of “God”.  Throughout my days I would repeat the mantra and look for God in everything.  This mantra alone had an amazing effect on my psyche and spirit.

The first couple of ceremonies were fairly uneventful from my request standpoint.  I did run into Grandpa Sanango and played in his beard a bit…this made him laugh.  The third ceremony came…and so did my request.  The vision started as a white circle in the sky.  It was a weird white with a unique light to it…I have never seen anything like it before.  The circle got bigger and bigger until it changed from a circle to an all encompassing light.  From the “ceiling” came this big closed hand- straight down in front of me.  At this point I already knew I was experiencing God (actually we experience God all the time)….the hand opened and there was this cute little colorful creature moving slightly- clearly new to the “world”.  This vision lasted for several minutes before the hand retracted and the light went back up to the sky and hung out for the rest of ceremony….all I had to do was look up and there the light of God was.  I had such an amazing feeling of joy and contentment.  This feeling still persists as I write this.  Awesome….God, it is so nice to finally meet you.

Now for something completely different-

During one of the ceremonies this week I had a problem with eyes.  That is that pairs of eyes kept coming into my visions- staring at me.  I could feel that they were not friendly in nature and that I needed to get rid of them.  First I tried to mentally block them- no luck.  Then I tried to do a “three stooges” two finger eye poke- this seemed to work, but they kept coming back a few minutes after the poke.  I was getting frustrated.  Then it occured to me…so these eyes are staring at me, I might as well give them something interesting to stare at.  In my vision I stood up, took off all my clothes, turned my back to the eyes, bent over and gave the eyes the ol’ brown eye.  I was giggling at this point…then another idea hit me….I let loose a gigantic flood of projectile diarreah straight at the eyes.  When I turned around the eyes were not in good shape, they were clearly distressed and suffering from my shit.  At this point I plunged my fingers deep into them as it was clear a poke would not do the trick.  Voila!  no more eyes.  Lesson- sometimes shit works.

La Familia Medicina’s Tour Dates-

- 10 guest maximum.  Only 3 spots left in the July tour.

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- July 17-23

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- August 21-27

- Shamanic dieta available

- The tour will take place at La Familia Medicina’s jungle camp on the Aucayacu River.  30 minutes from Jenaro Hererra.  4.5-5 hours from Iquitos.

- Maestros Gumercindo and Roldan will be leading the ceremonies.  Both Maestros are curranderos, ayahuasceros, and paleros.  Maestro Gumercindo studied under Maestro Don Alberto.  Maestro Gumercindo lives in Jenaro Hererra and regularly works with Maestro Don Alberto to help with ceremonies.  Maestro Roldan (Gumercindo’s father) studied directly with Maestro Don Julio and continues to work with Maestro Don Alberto as well.

- Our philosophy is “Pura Medicina”.  We focus on Love and Light which is all God.

- The tour is all inclusive of the following:
Transportation to and from Iquitos.
Food and lodging at La Familia Medicina
24/7 Purified water
Laundry
Boat excursions into the jungle areas on the Aucayacu river.
Jungle walks with a focus on learning about medicinal plants in the immediate area.
Night spearfishing (on nights without ceremony) trips available, and day fishing trips available.

Contact me at zach@lafamiliamedicina.com for pricing.

This is a great opportunity to participate in a very small group ayahuasca tour with high quality Maestros from the Don Julio lineage.

Again this is a “seed tour”.    We will not have our web site nor payment system up until mid-June.  Until then please contact me at zach@lafamiliamedicina.com with questions.  I will be posting pictures  and written posts regarding the camp’s progress.  At this point the camp is scheduled to be completed by June 1.

Written by ayahuascalife

April 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm

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Ayahuasquero vs. Curandero- A Western Misunderstanding of Shamanism

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I have noticed that in general westerners are misinformed about the different types of Amazonian shamans.  This is especially true in regards to ayahuasca shamans.  It is unfortunate that this is the case because westerners who come to Peru to drink ayahuasca often do so with some expectations that may not be met if they drink with the wrong type of shaman.  In fact, in some situations, drinking with the wrong shaman can be dangerous.

This confusion is largely around the difference between “”ayahuasquero” and “curandero”.  For many westerners they are just looking for a shaman that works with ayahuasca and therefore end up drinking with an ayahuasquero.  After all, the name fits….right?  The answer is yes….and no.

An ayahuasquero is simply someone who has the ability to prepare the ayahuasca brew, set up the space for an ayahuasca ceremony, and conduct the ceremony.  Sounds good right?  Maybe…..

A major problem is that if there is healing to be done, it is largely out of the hands of the ayahuasquero shaman.  An ayahuasquero is generally not a healer, or they are a healer still in training. (Note: when I use the words “healer” or  “healing”, I am talking about healing on all levels- physical, mental, and energetic/spiritual as ayahuasca is a truly holistic medicine.)  Ayahuasqueros are relying on the medicine to provide the insights and healing.  Ayahuasqueros are not actively working with the guests energies or the medicine to maximize healing and insights.  They may notice that there is something “off” in the guest’s body or energetic body, but usually an ayahuasquero does not have the training to do anything about it.  In fact a good ayahuasquero that sees something is amiss in a guest will refer that guest to a curandero for actual healing.  Now, if you are considering drinking ayahuasca you may be thinking, “I don need any healing”.   This may be true….or not.

Sometimes people go to an ayahuasquero “just for the experience”, not for healing.  Then they go into ceremony to discover they have some very significant energies/spirits that they were unaware of and those energies need to be dealt with.  Again, if the ayahuasquero is of high integrity, he/she will refer the guest to a quality curandero.  There is a bit of a catch though.  If the energy that manifests is too powerful or overwhelming for the ayahuasquero it can be a problem.  I have heard stories of this happening.  An ayahuasquero comes across a very strong energy or spirit in a guest, they can’t deal with it, and they end up running scared out of the ceremony.  Not good for the guest in question nor the other guests in attendance.

To summarize, an ayahuascero is essentially that can run a ceremony.  They can cook the brew, set up the space, serve the ayahuasca, sing icarros, and run the ceremony.  They generally are NOT healers.

A curandero, as the name implies, cures people.  A curandero has a large toolbox to draw from as the training for a currandero is much more extensive and varied.

Curanderos do a large number of plant and tree bark dietas.  These dietas form a strong bond between the currandero and the plants dieted.  Those plants become allies, and the plants teach the curandero how to work with them during ceremony and in healing.  A curandero can call on one of his plant/tree allies to protect the guest, to bring in the medicine, and help cure a guest.

A curandero has learned to work with energies/spirits that may be in the guest.  If the spirit or energy is not useful or harmful, the curandero helps the patient learn to control that energy/spirit so that it does not cause further negative manifestations in ceremony nor in life.  It is also possible that an outside spirit may try to get into a guest during ceremony.  A curandero protects the guest from these outside spirits.  This skill of managing energies/spirits is particularly important in an ayahuasca ceremony as a person’s energies open up significantly in this space.

Finally, curranderos often have the ability to make remedies for various ailments like candida, arthritis, herpes, and in some cases cancer.  These plant remedies are administered alone or in conjunction with ayahuasca.  The idea behind the remedies is to cure the root cause of an illness vs. the western  model of just treating the symptoms.

As you can see there is a significant difference between an ayahuasquero and curandero.  Personally I think working with a currandero is a safer and better way to go.  A good curandero has much more training and a large toolbox to draw from.  Of course I am biased as the maestros I work with at La Familia Medicina  are all curanderos/ayahuasquero /vegetalistas/paleros.  Note: a curandero can also be an ayahuasquero, vegetalista,and/or palero, but not necessarily vise versa.

Below are som brief descriptions of some other types of Amazonian shamans:

Vegetalista-  a shaman that works with various plant medicines.  This can be done alone or in conjunction with ayahuasca.

Palero- a shaman that works with tree barks.  These tree barks are used in dietas alone (Puro Palo dietas), or with ayahuasca.  The trees are another source of remedies.

Tobaquero- a shaman that works with tobacco.  Tobacco is a strong medicine , a strong purgative that cleans the body out.  It can be drunk, snorted on its’ own or mixed with a brew such as ayahuasca.

Brujo/Bruja-  The literal translation for brujo is sorcerer and bruja is witch.  These people dwell on the darker side of shamanism in Peru and throughout Latin America.  A brujo is a shaman that does not necessarily act in a guests best interest, they act in their own interests.  A brujo is most interested in money and power.  There are more brujos than shamans in Peru because it is easier to become a brujo and oftentimes more profitable.  The lines between shaman and brujo can get blurry as many shamans become tempted by money and/or power.  Those shamans try to straddle both paths of love/light and power.  Unfortunately the path of power is quite seductive.

The above is by no means complete.  My main intention is to educate westerners about the difference between curranderos and ayahuasquero.  This is due to the significant and increasing interest in ayahuasca by westerners.

La Familia Medicina’s Tour Dates-

- 10 guest maximum.

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- July 17-23

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- August 21-27

- Shamanic dieta available

- The tour will take place at La Familia Medicina’s jungle camp on the Aucayacu River.  30 minutes from Jenaro Hererra.  4.5-5 hours from Iquitos.

- Maestros Gumercindo and Roldan will be leading the ceremonies.  Both Maestros are curranderos, ayahuasceros, and paleros.  Maestro Gumercindo studied under Maestro Don Alberto.  Maestro Gumercindo lives in Jenaro Hererra and regularly works with Maestro Don Alberto to help with ceremonies.  Maestro Roldan (Gumercindo’s father) studied directly with Maestro Don Julio and continues to work with Maestro Don Alberto as well.

- Our philosophy is “Pura Medicina”.  We focus on Love and Light which is all God.

- The tour is all inclusive of the following:
Transportation to and from Iquitos.
Food and lodging at La Familia Medicina
24/7 Purified water
Laundry
Boat excursions into the jungle areas on the Aucayacu river.
Jungle walks with a focus on learning about medicinal plants in the immediate area.
Night spearfishing (on nights without ceremony) trips available, and day fishing trips available.

Contact me at zpoitra@gmail.com for pricing.

This is a great opportunity to participate in a very small group ayahuasca tour with high quality Maestros from the Don Julio lineage.

Again this is a “seed tour”.    We will not have our web site nor payment system up until mid-June.  Until then please contact me at zpoitra@gmail.com with questions.  I will be posting pictures  and written posts regarding the camp’s progress.  At this point the camp is scheduled to be completed by June 1.

Written by ayahuascalife

April 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Rollan is a Rock STAR!

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The past two ceremonies here in Hererra have been absolutely fucking amazing.  The entire mesa seems to be jumping to new levels….FAST.  The icarros sung by Maestro Don Alberto and Maestro Gumercindo now have an energy that is simply mind blowing.  I listen to them sing and I just sit there and say, “WOW!”  over and over again.  They are touching my heart like never before.  Thank you Maestros!!

Personally I am starting to ENJOY the medicine like never before.  I am now able to have fun in the medicine space.  A new kind of fun that is this immense feeling of pure joy and love.  Oh my GOD!!  I am discovering more and more of my own icarros and finally learning icarros from the Maestros.  A big part of this evolution has been Rollan and his recent break through.

I spent hours over the past few days writing out the story of Rollan.  It is a REALLY long story with lots of detail.  I decided to trash it.  I think the following is a much better version.

Many of the readers of this blog know Rollan.  For those that don’t, here is some background….

Rollan is incredibly high energy.  Rollan is high-amplitude bi-polar.  Rollan is misunderstood by many.

You see, Rollan’s brain works in a very interesting and amazing way.  He is able to take information (once he understands it completely) and think about it in several different ways at once.  Not only is he able to do this, but he makes connections to seemingly unrelated items.  He then uses impeccable logic to produce amazing realisations.  However, there have been some negative side effects of how his brain works.  These negative side effects have been due to misdirected focus and understanding that other people are not nearly as fast as Rollan.

Over the past several months Rollan had been focusing his energy and brain on an online community that really was not all that helpful to him nor anyone else. It was dangerous. In fact it caused those in our local community of friends significant concern.  Rollan was “looping”.  His mind was focusing and rationalising in an unhealthy manner.

When he came to Hererra, Rollan knew that he needed to do some serious work.  Based on the advice of many, he had finally come to the conclusion that it was time to get serious to clean up his own personal energies so that he can help others.  The suggestion we all had to do this was for him to do at least one dieta if not several.  For those that do not know, a dieta is specifically designed to open the bodies energies so that ayahuasca can do its’ work more effectively (there are other effects of the dieta too, future post on that point).  Rollan put up some resistance to this idea, tried to come up with a special custom “Rollan dieta”, and finally agreed to a dieta suggested by Don Alberto.

I am not going to lie to you.  It was tough working with Rollan the first few days of the dieta.  He was not aware of how his focus point was causing harm to him, and maybe others.  His mind was continually coming up with reasons to get online and connect with this online forum and a specific woman on this forum.  I pleaded with him, Gumercindo pleaded with him.

He would listen to what we were saying, “This woman that you are connecting with online and via phone in order to “save” from dark forces is a Trojan Horse.  She has gotten through your defences and is working to damage you from the inside.”

In these conversations he would agree not to contact her again during the dieta and to focus on the medicine during this time.  Then the next day his brain would come up with a reason to get back online.  He even told me one morning that Hamilton told him to keep in contact with this woman during the dieta as she needed his help.  I thought, “Really!?!”  I backed off as I was not going to get in the way of Hamilton’s instructions.  As it turns out, the woman told Rollan that she contacted Hamilton in the dream space and that Hamilton told her to tell Rollan to stay in contact with her.  I was like, “Umm, so you did not talk directly to Hamilton via email or otherwise!?”  “No”  was the answer.  I pointed out the conflict of interest, the problem with accepting her “message from Hamilton”.  Rollan would not listen.  He insisted that by listening to the words in the message he could tell the message was true.  We were frustrated, but we were not going to give up on Rollan.  We love Rollan.

The next two days or so, was much of the same type of behaviour.  There was progress, but it was slow.  Rollan was on an eliptical arc that was getting closer and closer to a healthy space, but it was moving slowly.  I was starting to worry that one dieta and round of ceremonies would not do it.

Two nights ago, Rollan popped.  He purged really well.  Then during a break in ceremony.  He chuckled and said, “I just realised that this woman is the one attacking me (energetically).”  I said with a big smile, “Yes, that is what we have all been telling you for days now.”

Then I noticed Rollan’s energy expand and expand.  His mind was making huge leaps of realisation.  He was now free from the heavy weight of dark BS.  I could feel it in myself.  He was teaching me via his energy.  He was also influencing the entire mesa in an incredible way.  I can not say for sure, but I think Rollan contributed significantly to the huge positive shift in the mesa.

I am sooo happy for Rollan.  He has transformed into a budding Rock Star.  I can’t wait to see him grow into a Maestro.  Thank you Rollan for helping me and the entire mesa.

La Familia Medicina’s Tour Dates-

- 10 guest maximum.

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- July 17-23

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- August 21-27

- Shamanic dieta available

- The tour will take place at La Familia Medicina’s jungle camp on the Aucayacu River.  30 minutes from Jenaro Hererra.  4.5-5 hours from Iquitos.

- Maestros Gumercindo and Roldan will be leading the ceremonies.  Both Maestros are curranderos, ayahuasceros, and paleros.  Maestro Gumercindo studied under Maestro Don Alberto.  Maestro Gumercindo lives in Jenaro Hererra and regularly works with Maestro Don Alberto to help with ceremonies.  Maestro Roldan (Gumercindo’s father) studied directly with Maestro Don Julio and continues to work with Maestro Don Alberto as well.

- Our philosophy is “Pura Medicina”.  We focus on Love and Light which is all God.

- The tour is all inclusive of the following:
Transportation to and from Iquitos.
Food and lodging at La Familia Medicina
24/7 Purified water
Laundry
Boat excursions into the jungle areas on the Aucayacu river.
Jungle walks with a focus on learning about medicinal plants in the immediate area.
Night spearfishing (on nights without ceremony) trips available, and day fishing trips available.

Contact me at zpoitra@gmail.com for pricing.

This is a great opportunity to participate in a very small group ayahuasca tour with high quality Maestros from the Don Julio lineage.

Again this is a “seed tour”.    We will not have our web site nor payment system up until mid-June.  Until then please contact me at zpoitra@gmail.com with questions.  I will be posting pictures  and written posts regarding the camp’s progress.  At this point the camp is scheduled to be completed by June 1.

Written by ayahuascalife

March 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

An Anthology….

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-Why Ayahuasca is Not a “Drug”

Most people reading this blog understand that ayahuasca is not a recreational drug.  The reason I am writing this is that for a very long time I had a hard time articulating why ayahuasca is not a drug to other people who were not familiar with ayahuasca.  I would try to explain its’ medicinal benefits.  I would tell them to look at all the research online. Etc…  The response after these explanations was usually a blank stare and a response like, “So it is like mushrooms then.”  After being frustrated for a long time with this, I think I have come up with what I think is a relatively articulate way of explaining away the “drug” issue.

Recreational drugs intoxicate, and technically so does ayahuasca. This is where the similarity ends.

Recreational drugs are taken to escape daily life, pain, heartbreak, loneliness, depression, etc…

Ayahuasca is drunk to heal.  It is taken confront, deal with, accept and/or if appropriate let go of these issues.

Recreational drugs provide a temporary escape.  Recreational drugs are just masking the symptoms of the problem (pharmacuticals act in a similar manner).  As soon as the high is over, the problems return with the added bonus of a hangover, a stone-over, or withdrawal.  In fact, after the effects of a recreational drug have worn off, the problem that the person was trying to avoid may have gotten worse due to the drug usage.

Solutions and healing with ayahuasca are permanent. Ayahuasca goes to the source of the problem and straightens it out.  Realisations and healing that happen during and after an ayahuasca ceremony stick around.  In fact with ayahuasca realisations, learning, and healing continues for some time after ceremony as the medicine continues to do it’s work for days, weeks or even months.

Recreational drugs are detrimental to your health.  No one will argue that  recreational drugs affect your physical and mental health in a negative way.

Ayahuasca is good for your health.  The best source to site is the UDV (Uniao De Vegital Church) Study started back in 1993.  Essentially the ayahuasca drinkers tested equal to or better than the control group on ALL markers- physical and psychological.  In fact, participants tested much better than the control group in terms of depression, addiction, and psychosis.

N’uff said.  I hope this is helpful for some people trying to explain to others why they are drinking ayahuasca.

- Power vs. Love

There are really only two paths.  The path of power and the path of love.

The people who are attracted to power are attracted to the tools and objects that they think will bring them power.

What people on the path to power do not realise is that those tools and objects are manifestations of love.  With some of those manifestations we may have a hard time finding love, but love is still there.  Love is the source of EVERYTHING, including power.

So, to follow the path of power is actually quite limited.  It only includes those tools, objects, and power itself.  This, in the grand scheme of things, is tiny.

The path of love on the other-hand is UNLIMITED.  Love is INFINITE.  Love is the source of power.  Love is beyond power.

“No matter how far you have gone down the wrong path, it is never too late to turn back.” – quote from a forgotten Sufi.

- The White Shaman

I have to admit, when I decided to make the first trip to Peru and Blue Morpho one thing that wriggled around in the back of my mind was that Hamilton was a white guy.  I thought, “Ugh, a white shaman!?! WTF!?!?”  The fact that I knew ayahuasca was unpredictable and with The National Geographic article backing up Hamilton and Blue Morpho, I figured it was the safe way to go.  I was happy I did, as Hamilton and Blue Morpho opened up a new world and in fact a new life for me.

What is interesting is that I have come across this attitude about the ¨White Shaman” several times since then in conversations with others.  There seems to be a negative sentiment regarding this issue that appears to be wide spread.  There are a few points that I want to bring up that may change peoples perception a bit:

-Shamanism has been practiced all over the world for thousands of years.

-People that have the gift to heal and see receive this calling regardless of ethnicity.

-Culturally westerners tend to want to talk and process their experiences/feelings more than Latin Americans.  Because of this there can be a communication gap beyond just language.  The “White Shaman” has been gifted with understanding both cultures and having the ability to articulate concepts in both worlds.  He is the bridge that many people need.

Personally I think the “White Shaman” should be celebrated for their talents and work.

La Familia Medicina’s Tour Dates-

I am happy to announce that La Familia Medicina has set our first tour dates: July 16-23, 2011.  This first tour is a seed tour/friends and family tour.  We are limiting the group to 10 people. The tour is 50% full now. Here are brief details:

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- July 17-23

- 7 days, 5 ayahuasca ceremonies

- August 21-27

- Shamanic dieta available

- The tour will take place at La Familia Medicina’s jungle camp on the Aucayacu River.  30 minutes from Jenaro Hererra.  4.5-5 hours from Iquitos.

- Maestros Gumercindo and Roldan will be leading the ceremonies.  Both Maestros are curranderos, ayahuasceros, and paleros.  Maestro Gumercindo studied under Maestro Don Alberto.  Maestro Gumercindo lives in Jenaro Hererra and regularly works with Maestro Don Alberto to help with ceremonies.  Maestro Roldan (Gumercindo’s father) studied directly with Maestro Don Julio and continues to work with Maestro Don Alberto as well.

- Our philosophy is “Pura Medicina”.  We focus on Love and Light which is all God.

- The tour is all inclusive of the following:
Transportation to and from Iquitos.
Food and lodging at La Familia Medicina
24/7 Purified water
Laundry
Boat excursions into the jungle areas on the Aucayacu river.
Jungle walks with a focus on learning about medicinal plants in the immediate area.
Night spearfishing (on nights without ceremony) trips available, and day fishing trips available.

Contact me at zpoitra@gmail.com for pricing.

This is a great opportunity to participate in a very small group ayahuasca tour with high quality Maestros from the Don Julio lineage.

Again this is a “seed tour”.    We will not have our web site nor payment system up until mid-June.  Until then please contact me at zpoitra@gmail.com with questions.  I will be posting pictures  and written posts regarding the camp’s progress.  At this point the camp is scheduled to be completed by June 1.

Written by ayahuascalife

March 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

LOVE

with one comment

 

Maestro Gumercindo and his wife Nierla on the way to La Familia Medicina

Maestro Gumercindo and his wife Nierla on the way to La Familia Medicina

The Ceremony House...almost done.

La Familia Medicina's future ceremony house.

Written by ayahuascalife

March 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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