Spirit of Yagé: Ayahuasca Journeys to Colombia

Taita Bonifacio and guest with a Tigre Yagé specimen, in the Putumayo jungle. Photo: Gabriel Simboni © El Mundo Magico

Taita Bonifacio and guest with a Tigre Yagé specimen, in the indigenous Inga community of Yunguillo, in the Putumayo jungle. Photo: Gabriel Samboni © El Mundo Magico

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Please note that we won’t be able to offer the Yagé retreat in Colombia until at least November 2021 (when the onsite interpreting service Spanish-English / Spanish-Italian will also resume). Also, please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions, access to the indigenous Inga community is no longer permitted. In the meantime, you may want to consider doing your Ayahuasca retreat in Peru instead.

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An incomparable Yagé retreat in the Colombian Amazon, with Ayahuasca rituals led by the senior indigenous master shamans of Putumayo, spiritual guides and medicine men (Taitas). A magical window to see through – and a door to enter – the world of the Taitas from an inner perspective, as an authentic explorer willing to share, learn, understand and accept the time-honored ancestral traditions of the Yagé shamans of Colombia.

 

Spirit of Yagé

 

We offer Yagé pilgrims the rare opportunity to take part to an amazingly intensive Yagé retreat in the Colombian Piedmont, working with Taita Bonifacio Gabino Garreta who has currently matured over 43 years experience (the first 30 years of which, working with the Maestros) as a traditional Yagé master shaman. One of his main teachers – whom he still remembers with a profound affection and admiration – was the legendary Taita Querubin Queta Alvarado, maximum spiritual authority (Taita Mayor) of the Cofán people. Watch here on YouTube a magical Yagé journey of healing, learning, knowledge and discovery, with Taita Bonifacio, in the remote wilderness of southern Colombia.

 

La Pata del Tigre", the jaguar's paw! Cross section of a Yagé Tigre vine, resembling the paw of a jaguar. In the jungle compound of Taita Bonifacio's "Resguardo Inga", in Putumayo (Colombia).

La Pata del Tigre“, the jaguar’s paw! Cross section of a Yagé Tigre vine, resembling the paw of a jaguar. In the jungle compound of Taita Bonifacio’s “Resguardo Inga”, in Putumayo (Colombia).

 

“God bless them, true common heritage of mankind. Masters of humbleness, peace, joy, love and the art of exorcism. With a lifelong practical knowledge of hundreds of medicinal plants, they are a living encyclopaedia condensing millenary wisdom, plant medicine, knowledge of the illnesses and of the spiritual realms. Recognised by the Colombian government as traditional doctors, they are held in high regard as true wise Masters by their own indigenous community and their friends alike. Their Yagé sessions are incredible and it may only be witnessed first hand how powerful and touching they are.

Emile Mac, PORTUGAL

 

"Tales of Power": storytelling by Taita Bonifacio before the Yagé ceremony at night, in our Finca, in Putumayo.

Tales of Power. “Cuentos de los Abuelos”: storytelling by Taita Bonifacio, recounting the magical feats of his shamanic ancestors shape-shifting into jaguars, during a Yagé ceremony at night. Putumayo (Colombia). Photo: G. Samboni

 

The retreat will be hosted in either our usual Finca in Putumayo (50 mins drive from Villagarzon airport) or the Taita’s own house. The Yagé retreat will be lead by Taita Bonifacio himself, with the assistance of a senior assistant (a “Sahumerista”, a senior disciple traditionally in charge of smudging with frankincense the space where the Yagé ceremonies take place) and an highly expert local coordinator-facilitator, who will also act as on-site interpreter Spanish-English-Italian on behalf of El Mundo Magico, from November 2021 onward.

Enjoy the Taita’s storytelling sessions (before each ceremony with Yagé, the most sacred medicine), talking about the magical feats of the great shamans of old times, their deep knowledge of Yagé, their capacity to heal with it virtually all illnesses, and their ability to shape-shift into jaguars.

 

Taita Bonifacio Gabino with his senior assistant at the Yagé retreat in the Finca. Photo: G. Simboni © El Mundo Magico

Taita Bonifacio Gabino & his senior assistant at the Yagé retreat in our Finca. Photo: G. Samboni © El Mundo Magico

 

The Yagé ceremony with Taita Bonifacio: “Musica, cuentos y cantos” (Music, storytelling and singing). During every Yagé (Ayahuasca) ritual, the Taita plays his harmonica, producing haunting beautiful, mesmerizing melodies, alternated by the playing of guitar and (loud) medicine songs (sang in either Spanish, or in his native Inga tongue, or in a mixture of the two), always in front of a nice bonfire. The Taita is very flexible and accommodating, and participants who are not used to loud singing during the Ayahuasca ceremonies and who prefer a more soft journey, may kindly ask him (well in advance of the start of the ceremony), or us (at the time of placing your reservation), to only play music (with his harmonica and/or guitar) during the Yagé ceremony, without the storytelling session and/or the singing.

 

Magical Yagé ceremony with Taita Gabino, in our Finca, in Putumayo. Photo: G. Samboni' © El Mundo Magico

Yagé ceremony with Taita Bonifacio, in our Finca, in Putumayo (Colombia). Photo: G. Samboni’ © El Mundo Magico

 

The Yagé brew: “Miel de Yagé”. The powerful, very concentrated, cream-like, Yagé brew of Taita Gabino – his “Miel de Yagé” (Ayahuasca honey) – is prepared by boiling together, for well over 35 hours continuously, the scraped and pounded stem sections of Tigrihuasca (literally, “the vine of the tiger”, or “the vine of the jaguar”, in Quechua, also known as Yagé Tigre, a variety of ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis sp., Malphighiaceae), with the leaves of Chagropanga (Diplopterys cabrerana, Malphighiaceae), the most important admixture to the brew. The Chagropanga is like the magical bride, the female companion of Yagé and is sometimes known as Yagé hembra (female Yagé). The Tigrihuasca ayahuasca vine variety is given this name because of the resemblance of the pattern visible in its cross section, with the the paw of a tiger, or of a jaguar. Yagé Tigre and Tigrihuasca are just different names for the same ayahuasca variety.

Taita Alfredo playing the harmonica during a Yage ritual. Photo: J. Imbachi Ⓒ El Mundo Magico

Taita Alfredo Juajibioy, from the Kamsá people of Colombia, playing the harmonica during a Yagé ritual. Photo: G. Samboni Ⓒ El Mundo Magico

Some shamans – like Taita Alfredo Juajibioy – maintain that a shaman dieting for a long time (around 20 years or more) with Yagé Tigre can shape-shift into a jaguar, during the Yagé ceremonies.

 

Contact us to book your Spirit of Yagé journey to Colombia


Cross-sections of Yagé Tigre vine specimens, in the jungle of Putumayo. Note the resemblance with a jaguar' paw. Photo: Gabriel Simboni' Imbachi

Cross-sections of Yagé Tigre vine specimens, in the jungle of Putumayo. Note the resemblance with a jaguar’ paw. Photo: G. Samboni’

Spirit Of Yagé – Practical info

Cost, Reservation, Payment & Booking Deadline

Taita Bonifacio and guest holding a "Tigre Yagé" vine in the jungle compound of the Inga community. Photo: G. Simboni © El Mundo Magico

Taita Bonifacio and guest holding a “Tigre Yagé” vine in the jungle compound of the Inga community. Photo: G. Samboni © El Mundo Magico

Yagé retreat with:
Taita Bonifacio Gabino Garreta (indigenous Yagé shaman from the Inga people of Colombia)

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INDIVIDUAL/PRIVATE/SMALL GROUP RETREATS – Taita Bonifacio Gabino (1-5 participants, 1-4 weeks/8-29 days; ideal for individual participants, couples, or very small groups of friends):

Payment/booking deadline: MINIMUM 30 days ahead of your chosen retreat start date. Based in our Finca in Putumayo (about one hour drive from Villagarzon airport, in Southern Colombia).

Deposit:

Deposit of £ 400 GBP per participant must be paid immediately, to reserve your spot for your preferred dates (deposit goes towards the total cost of your retreat, remaining balance must be received by the deadline). 

Cost:

Please visit the Yagé retreat price page for 8 days to 4 weeks staying in our Finca in Putumayo (prices are included of interpreter/facilitator/coordinator English-Spanish and Italian-Spanish from November 2021 onward). If you wish to stay for any period between 2 and 3 weeks, you need to multiply 2 or 3 times the relevant price for 1 week, according to the number of participants (1, 2, 3 or more).

SMALL-MEDIUM GROUP RETREATS – Taita Bonifacio Gabino (6-11 participants):

Payment deadline: Strictly, MINIMUM 50 days ahead of your chosen retreat start date. Based in our Finca in Putumayo (about one hour drive from Villagarzon airport, in Southern Colombia). Please contact us for a quote, specifying intended dates, exact number of participants in your group, retreat length (minimum 8 days/7 nights) and number of Yagé ceremonies you would like to have included in your staying (minimum 3 Yagé).

Deposit:

Deposit of £ 400 GBP per participant is payable immediately, to reserve your spot for your preferred dates (deposit goes towards the total cost of your retreat, remaining balance must be received by the deadline).

Cost:

Please contact us for a quote, specifying intended dates, exact number of participants in your group, retreat length (minimum 8 days/7 nights) and number of Yagé ceremonies you would like to have included in your staying (minimum 3 Yagé).


Important requirements

The luscious leaves of Yagé Tigre vine specimens, in the jungle compound of a native Inga community in Putumayo (Colombia). Photo: G. Simboni'

The luscious leaves of Yagé Tigre vine specimens, in the jungle compound of a native Inga community in Putumayo (Colombia). Photo: G. Samboni’

Interpreter/Facilitator English-Spanish, and Italian-Spanish:
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Yagé retreats with Taita Bonifacio Gabino are now included of onsite interpreter English-Spanish and Italian-Spanish, and are open to all guests who speak English, Spanish or Italian. Participants must be well acquainted with either one of those languages and must be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit for the experience.

Women in fertile age and Yagé. Important health restrictions:
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In line with the shamanic traditions of the Taitas of Colombia, pregnant or menstruating women may not be allowed to attend the Yagé retreat and participate to the Yagé ceremonies. If you have your period in coincidence with the Yagé retreat, you will either need to take period delay tablets/pills (hormone medication), or else, please choose alternative, period-free dates. Please carefully review all other health restrictions which may apply.

Polite Notice:
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Reservation requests not accompanied by the immediate receipt of the correspondent deposit/full payment, whichever is applicable, will not be considered. We kindly reserve the right to permanently refuse admission to our retreats to perspective guests whom we repute unsuitable to the spirit of the programme and initiative offered. 

Excursion to the Amazonian Experimental Centre, with Don Victoriano and Grandfather Laureano. Photo © El Mundo Magico

Yagé group retreat: visiting the Amazonian Experimental Centre (CEA). Photo © El Mundo Magico

Accommodation at our Finca during the Yagé retreat
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Overview of the Finca where we host our Yage retreat in Colombia. Photo: J. Samboni

Overview of the Finca where we host our Yagé retreat in Colombia.    Photo: G. Samboni

The Yagé retreats with Taita Bonifacio Gabino Garreta will be hosted in either our family-run Finca, in Putumayo (Southern Colombia), close to nature, overlooking the mountains, at the foothills of the Andes and at the eyebrows of the Amazon, or else, in the Taita’s own house (only 2 very simple rooms available for guests); in the latter case the actual Yagé ceremonies will take place in a new Maloka built by the Taita in the countryside, about 70 mins drive from Villagarzon airport.
The Finca has running water, hot water, UV-filtered water, electricity, free Wi-Fi, individual and double rooms (with shared bathroom at the floor), and two en-suite double rooms (with private wash basin, shower, and flush toilet). The Taita’s Maloka has six toilets and two showers.
No anti-Malaria prophylaxis needed. The extremely friendly, safe and supportive environment at the retreat – alongside the residential nature of it – will allow international participants to focus, absorb and process the long and intense Yagé ceremonies (which usually lasts until the early hours of the following day), in a much better and more meaningful way than simply partaking to a rushed, one-off Ayahuasca ceremony, without time to meditate and prepare, before and after the experience. No anti-Malaria prophylaxis needed.
SATENA: Is the domestic Colombian airline operating daily flights between Bogotá and Villagarzon, in Putumayo. Satena is currently the only airline serving the route to Villagarzon, with only one flight a day, either way. Their website is at the URL: www.satena.com/

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Pick-up & transfers between Finca and Villagarzon airport, Taita Gabino welcoming you at the airport, interpreter-facilitator English-Spanish & Italian-Spanish, private consultation with the shaman, 4 all-night Yagé ceremonies per week, as well as food and lodging, are included in the cost of our Spirit of Yagé journeys to Colombia.

International and domestic flight tickets, airport taxes, travel and medical insurance (and associated costs) are not included in the price of the retreat and must be purchased independently. Should you need help with booking your SATENA flight to/from Villagarzon, please contact us and we shall be happy to assist and guide you through. Their website occasionally experiences technical issues and the best way to book a ticket with them is via their (usually efficient) online Chat (lines open 7 AM- 7 PM, Mon-Fri, and 8 AM-5 PM, Sat-Sun; all times are local times. Colombia Time (COT, or Standard Time) is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC – 5).