In previous conversations with friends and acquaintances, I made veiled references to the “intensive healing retreat” I planned to go on while in Iquitos, Peru. But now that it’s over, I feel comfortable to speak openly about it.

I attended a 12-day Ayahuasca Retreat at the Temple of the Way of Light, having been referred there by people I trust. I sat in 7 ceremonies over that time, which for those who are familiar with the work of this wise and powerful plant spirit, is quite an undertaking.

For those unfamiliar with Ayahuasca (and even for those who are) I’m in the middle of writing a lengthy post about my experiences with it, what I believe it to be, what I’ve known it to be, and its very vital purpose in this age of crisis and transformation we are all living through.

Healing Circle
Our healing circle, sharing on the final day of the workshop. (We were all quite tired!!)

I intend the piece to help fill a gap in some of the writings about the plant, which can often be quite ungrounded. And of course, also to help process my rich and diverse experiences in ceremony, which number 11 so far, including 4 in the United States.

In the meantime, while I digest and integrate what was one of the most profoundly healing, transformative, challenging, and beneficial times of my life, if you are looking to either initiate or continue your work with Ayahuasca – as part of a healing path you are on, or are beginning – it is my strong belief that there is not a better, safer, and more genuine and effective facility than the Temple.

The maloka
The main maloka, or healing and gathering space, in daytime non-ceremony mode.
(Click to enlarge)

They offer multiple programs, linked directly here:

– 9-Day Integration Intensive Ayahuasca
– 12-Day Ayahuasca (the one I did)
– 13-Day Ayahuasca, Yoga, Meditation, and Psychology of Healing
– 3-Week Deep Immersion Ayahuasca
– 1-Month Deep Immersion Ayahuasca

The Shipibo maestros and maestras (also called shamans, or curanderos) and Western facilitators are truly masterful in working with the spirit of Ayahuasca to address effectively both inner emotional/psychological/spiritual issues, such as those I brought to them, and issues and ailments of the physical body, as well.

Me with healers
Me on the final day of the workshop, with (L to R):
Maestra Elena, Maestro Romulo, Maestra Lila, Maestra Lucinda, and Maestro Suy
My shirt and obsidian necklace were made by hand by Maestro Suy 🙂
Me with facilitators
Me with two of the wonderful, kind, amazing facilitators: Jason, and Debs <3
Hosho, one of the two Temple dogs, aka owners. 😉
The other one, Luna, drinks Ayahuasca. No seriously. But she doesn’t drive the bus.

I’ve included some photos to offer a small window into the place, and the incredible people who run it, and who have blessed me with their skill, presence, wisdom, grace, and love.

Main lagoon
The lagoon at Center 1, with a private sleeping hut, or “tambo” in the background.
A great place for smoking “mapacho”, or medicinal jungle tobacco.

The Temple website is also excellent, and provides many valuable details – including this series of posts – about the what/how/when/why of Ayahuasca (also honored as “La Medicina”, or The Medicine) should you feel curious about this work, or feel called to it. And that call is the first step.

Maestro Rumelo plants
Maestro Romulo, discussing one of the many healing plants of the Amazon


I’d like to close with deep gratitude and a hearty Irakú! (Shipibo for “Thank you!” / gratitude) to all the people with whom I shared this remarkable experience: my new family of 21 pasajeros/pasajeras at the workshop, the facilitators, Temple staff, and especially the maestros and maestras. Of course to “Mama” Ayahuasca, as well! And also to myself for signing up, showing up, and doing the work, both inner and outer, to get what I came there for.

Blessings to you, as well, fellow travelers, on your journey forward, home, to the light, and to yourselves.

May your road lead you through this wonderful and special place.

Do you know where you are?
You’re in the jungle, baby!
You’re gonna… have a safe and deeply transformational experience!

Subscribe to

The Lost Pilgrim


  1. Sounds amazing, terrifying, life-changing, extremely challenging, and wonderful. I don’t know that I’d ever have the guts to face my demons that head-on, even though it’d be nice to come to better terms with them. 🙂

    Love you!

    • Will Spencer

      It was all of those things, except terrifying.

      I’ll get into this more in my future blog post on the topic, but Ayahuasca is a mother. As such, she is loving and wise. And like a *good* mother, she never gives the individual more than he or she can handle. So terror, or that form of existential overwhelm, has never really come into the picture for me, especially because I have sat in ceremony in such safe places.

      But also like a good mother, she isn’t afraid to compassionately challenge, to push in the name of our personal growth. But that’s a long way from terror, in my experience.

      And Skye I actually thought about you a lot on the retreat. If I know 5 people who are capable of getting the most out of an experience like this, who would appreciate it, grow from it, and really derive the most benefit, you’re one of them. At least. 😉 You have such inner strength and wisdom and love, that you would bring online to meet this experience.

      And it’s not as if all our demons line up in front of us, like a football squad. In my experience, they present themselves one at a time, gently, and with amazing support, both inwardly and outwardly. Courage is needed to do our part, as that is part of the exercise. But all the best and most valuable growth requires that same courage, which really we use every day in different ways, and that I know you as a mother of 3 now must use quite often.

      And I’ll close by saying one thing. We as people are often afraid to confront our demons because we’re afraid they’ll hurt us. But the truth is that our demons ALREADY hurt us every day, from the shadows. We live with that hurt all the time, in little and big ways. It’s part of being human.

      Bringing the demons out into the light of our consciousness – again supported so wonderfully by Ayahuasca, the maestros, the facilitators, and our fellow travelers – is the way to remove the power those demons have over us to harm us. We confront their fear with the light of our love, which we all have within us and we also use everyday.

      So not only do I know that you have the guts to engage with an experience like this, you have so many other equally- and more-valuable qualities that are essential for the real transformation and healing this opportunity provides.

      If you feel called to it, genuinely called to it, you can do it. <3

  2. Fred Burks

    Wow, Will!!! You are quite courageous, my good friend! Congratulations, and I look forward to hearing more. You rock!!!

    • Will Spencer

      Thank you, Fred! I would not have found the Temple without you, and your sweetie. You are one of the aforementioned “people I trust”, and I thought of you often, and so fondly, during my journeying.

      YOU rock, and I am grateful for your friendship. I look forward to sharing more. I think you of all people will especially like it. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *