RS Plant Medicine Retreat in Costa Rica
Reality Sandwich is delighted to announce that we are partnering, once again, with Guaria de Osa in Costa Rica, and the shamans of the Secoya tribe from Ecuador, for two council gatherings this summer. The last ones were wonderful. Many participants felt they had life-changing experiences.
Almost a decade ago, I first went down to the Amazon in Ecuador to visit the Secoya, a tribe of seven hundred who maintain an ancient lineage of shamanic practice. I wrote about the journey at length in my book Breaking Open the Head. It was one of the great experiences of my life. I remain grateful that I had the chance to apprentice with the Secoya shamans, elders in their 60s and 70s who are giggling jungle wizards, and true maestros.
Even shamans need a vacation, and this will be the 6th council gathering held at Guaria de Osa with Secoya elders who enjoy sharing their wisdom and laughter during these retreats. In Ecuador, the Secoya live on a rough frontier of colonization and oil profiteering that is ravaging their homes and traditions. Because of this, Jonathon Miller Weisberger, an ethnobotanist who has worked with the Secoya for many years, will bring a group of the elders to Costa Rica for this celebration of life and renewal. The setting for the two ten-day retreats is an extraordinary ecolodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica's "people friendly wilderness". Guaria de Osa Eco-Lodge is a wildlife paradise with ethnobotanical gardens, chattering monkeys in the trees, abundant birdlife, sea turtles nesting on the beach, whales breaching, lizards skittering, and so on. It is an auspicious place for these retreats, as the images below make clear.
The first session is July 1 - 11th. I will be co-hosting the second session, from July 15 - 256h.
Please act now and reserve a spot while spaces are available. Email Dahlia: puravida [at] guariadeosa [dot] com.
There's more information about the retreat below, and for a complete description of the retreat, visit the Guaria de Osa website:
Sentient Experientials with Reality Sandwich Present
"Nature as Teacher and Timeless Wisdom for Self, Community and Planetary Healing"
A Rainforest Plant Medicine Council Gathering
July 1-11, 2011
With the Secoya Elders
July 15 - 25, 2011
with the Secoya Elders
and guest speaker Daniel Pinchbeck -- author and editorial director, Evolver.net and Reality Sandwich
at Guaria de Osa
Rainforest Ocean Wilderness Discovery Centre & Ethnobotanical Gardens
on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica!
Join us on an adventure of self-discovery, healing, and exploration of rainforest plant medicine traditions with time-honored Maestros from the Ecuadorian Amazon, along with an intrepid author and an ardent ethnobotanist. Participants will gather in the heart of the Osa Peninsula, also known as "The Little Amazon by the Ocean," endorsed by National Geographic as "the most biological intense place on Earth."
10 nights / 11 days
Space available for 15 participants
$2000 includes ceremonies, food, lodging, local land and water transport, donation to rainforest projects, taxes, and much more. Airfare not included.
- To experientially learn from ancient rainforest plant medicine traditions stemming from the time-tested, traditional healing and well-ness practices of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon.
- To welcome an alchemic transformation, healing, and re-integration of body, mind, heart and spirit.
- To receive insight and guidance from these ancient and profound worldviews and thus strengthen one's essence and improve one's health.
- To enjoy and be nurtured by the pristine Pacific Ocean and mighty rainforest ecosystems on the Osa Peninsula and her natural wonders.
- A fund-raiser
- To continue facilitating the transmission of the Secoya People's core knowledge of medicinal plants by providing protection and support to the community elders and their families as the Gardeners of the Rainforest.
- To provide materials for fiber glass canoes for the Secoya school children who travel on the river from home to school. This project began two years ago .. with the intention of not cutting ancient trees for their canoes.
- To reprint the first ethnobotanical bilingual education booklet on the use of their medicinal plants written by Jonathon S. Miller-Weisberger for the Secoya children.
- To provide health and wellness among the community elders – for example dental and vision checkups and other necessities when they arise … choosing alternative medicine practices when applicable.
The above projects raised with funds from this Council Gathering will be coordinated by Rodrigo Yelpi who has been living among the Secoyas for the past 15 years. Rodrigo will escort the Maestros from the Ecuadorian Amazon to Guaria de Osa for the Council Gathering.
Ethnobotanist, Jonathan Miller Weisberger, director of The Council for Cultural & Biological Diversity (aka Grupo Osanimi) has dedicated efforts since 1994 to cultural heritage rekindling processes that includes participatory ethnobotanical and ethnographical field documentation and publication of this material in bilingual education booklets for local schools. It has also included the preservation of medicinal plant knowledge via workshops and educational council gatherings as well as the protection of the plants themselves in ethnobotanical gardens, in situ.
Our work has always been in collaboration and support of traditional healers and their healing methods. Among indigenous peoples communities our approach is holistic and direct in nature aimed at finding creative ways to bridging the gap among the generations in order to collaborate in the efforts of safeguarding the rainforest and the knowledge pertinent for continued sustainable living, healing and well being.
Teachers and Ceremonial Masters
The Secoya Maestros
The exploration of rainforest plant medicine traditions with time-honored maestros, are Secoyas - ceremonial masters from the Upper Napo Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, an ethnic minority, whose name, Secoya means "People from the Multi-Colored River."
The Secoya language is a Western Tucanoan language spoken by 297 Secoya People in Ecuador and 144 in Peru. Tucanoan, consisting of 15 languages, is a language family of Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. The bad news: geopolitical borders, the encroachment and harassment of the petroleum companies, and the impact of colonization now imperil their culture and ancestral lands.
The good news: the few living Secoya traditional elders refer to their plant lore as an umbilical cord that connects them to their past.
Sentient Experientials will bring to Guaria de Osa during this Rainforest Plant Medicine Council Gathering "Nature as Teacher and Timeless Wisdom for Self, Community and Planetary Healing" a number of Secoya elders – over 70 years young - who will facilitate boundless healing transformation giving participants a first hand opportunity to meet deep-forest healers and cultural masters. Their songs, profoundly and uniquely cherished, will guide your journey's meditations.
Jonathon Miller Weisberger (aka Sparrow), Ethnobotanist and student of Traditional Chinese and Indigenous Medicine, a Naturalist, and Rainforest guide, has more than 14 years of ground level experience in the Ecuadorian Amazon. His friendship and work relationship with the Secoyas date back to 1994.
Jonathan has the important task of holding the container at the Council Gatherings - as well as Sentient Experientials Journeys into the Ecuadorian Amazon and all events at Guaria de Osa on the Osa Peninsula.
He is the founder and steward of Guaria de Osa Rainforest Ocean Wilderness Discovery Centre and the director of the Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity – CCBD. Click here for more information.
Born in Berkeley, California, he was raised in Ecuador with his sister Ladna, he has over 18 years of Rainforest Conservation advocacy beginning from his early years at Humboldt State University. Jonathon writes and submits articles in Spanish and English, keeps volumes of excellent journals, and now, 'sandwiched between' rainforest conservation projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes, marine rescue turtle project on the Osa Peninsula, and the creation of Guaria de Osa and its medicinal plant garden, his book is now in progress. He says:
"Over the years, I have been working on what I call The New Ethnobotany, an emerging discipline that seeks to enact new methods of cultural transmission to revive, validate, and strengthen the vast plant lore among and within Indigenous and rural peoples' communities. I believe that the preservation and attentive transmission of Indigenous plant knowledge both among forest communities and the world at large are crucial links in ongoing forest protection. Ultimately millions of hectares of priceless tropical Rainforest lie in the hands of Indigenous peoples' communities undergoing rapid changes and cultural dissolution, and the fate of these forest lies directly in the ability of Indigenous People(s) to continue renewing their relationship and sustainable approach to living in the forest. Consequently much work is necessary among these communities to, at the very least, strengthen traditional plant knowledge. The problems of deforestation are tremendously complex, yet, that shouldn't stop people from finding practical solutions to this global concern. We are seeking to discover effective techniques and strategies towards these ends."
Daniel Pinchbeck, guest speaker. Well-known author, activist, and advocate of shamanism living in New York's East Village, where he is editorial director of Reality Sandwich. He is the author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism, and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl.
Rodrigo Yelpi is a master metallurgist and baker who has lived since 1995 among the Secoya elders. His passion for life and unadulterated vision has shown him the path of selfless service while at the same time having a darn good time. His jewelry and baking are equally unforgettable. Not a moment is lost with Rodrigo and every second with him will be well remembered. He is a true brother and reliable friend to the Secoya elders. Rodrigo Yelpi will accompany the Secoya elders from the Ecuadorian Amazon to the "Little Amazon" at Guaria de Osa on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. He is also translator for the Secoyas and the fire-keeper for this auspicious event.
Dahlia and Ladna Miller (mother & daughter) are the ones who will get you to Guaria de Osa effortlessly by arranging all your Costa Rican logistical reservations and transfers. Once you get off your international plane you will be 'escorted' all the way to Guaria de Osa on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.
Getting to Guaria de Osa
We make the following round-trip reservations to get you to Guaria de Osa effortlessly!
"It's a family operation (Dahlia, Ladna, and Jonathon,) and what a family! I have worked with all three and they do a wonderful job. The retreat participants just need to get a flight to San Jose and the rest is taken care of. They will arrange for the hotel in San Jose, the transfer from the hotel to the domestic airport, the flight to the Osa Peninsula, and the boat to Guaria. It's a real adventure and everything goes like clockwork. Once at Guaria, all meals are provided and the yoga/meditation space is wonderful. The participants can spend their free time on the beach or in the jungle, or Jonathan provides some really interesting trips for the more energetic and adventurous. In addition, our investment supports rainforest conservation." —David M. geological eco-engineer
1. Costa Rican domestic round-trip flight from San José to the Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay & Palmar Sur). You will receive instructions how to pre-pay.
2. Taxi transfers in San José: from Juan Santamaria International Airport and Tobias Bolaños Domestic Airport; to & from hotel in San Jose. Please pay taxi driver.
3. Hotel in San José: cozy and affordable, centrally located near museums, shops, and parks with benches to sit on and watch the people go by. Please pay hotel directly
4. Included in your investment: Osa Peninsula roundtrip land and water transfer to Guaria de Osa.
For more information, and to register, email Dahlia: puravida [at] guariadeosa [dot] com.