If you’re considering an Ayahuasca retreat then perhaps one of your questions or concerns will be about the type of people you will be sharing your experience with. You will, after all, be putting yourself in a somewhatÂ scary place by entering unfamiliar territory (both inner and outer) with a group of strangers to take part in some very deep and personal psycho/spiritual work. It is certainly a vulnerable position to put yourself in, and so it’s understandably important that you will want to feel comfortable and trusting of the people you will be with.
Now of course nobody can say what your particular group will be like, even we won’t know that until we meet everyone for the first time the same day that you will. However, if all my past experiences are anything to go by, then whoever you’re with, you should be in good company.
I’ve personally been a participant in 4 Ayahuasca retreats over the last 10 years, while also taking part in well over 50 Ayahuasca ceremonies outside of retreats. Three of those retreats had over 20 participants, and most of the ceremonies have had between 5 and 15 people taking part. It’s incredibly rare that I’ve been with people I’ve not liked or not felt comfortable with. AlthoughÂ admittedly,Â I have a very relaxed and easygoing nature that allows me to get on with most people most of the time.
I’ve loved the fact that on retreats I’ve met people from all walks of life, with all kinds of different career paths. I’ve met doctors, surgeons, holistic healers, chiropractors, artists, writers, engineers, school teachers, journalists, computer programmers, web designers, entrepreneurs and pretty much everything in between.
When I did my first retreat in 2003 I think I was 27 years old and I was definitely the youngest person on the retreat by a couple of years at least. I think the average age on that retreat was around 40. When I did my last retreat in 2010 I think the average age had dropped to around 30. Most people were in their twenties or thirties. Here in Iquitos I meet people of all ages arriving here to drink Ayahuasca. It’s hard to put an average age, but I think the majority of people are between 30 and 50 with an increasing number of people in their twenties or even younger.
I would say that the one thing that most people have in common is that they are all intelligent, usually pretty well-educated, and more importantly – pleasant to be around. If you’re worried you might be surrounded by a bunch of crazy hippies who already think they’re living in the 4th dimension, then don’t be, because that’s never been my experience at all. In fact I’m always surprised by how ‘normal’ most people seem to be. ‘Normal’, of course, is all a matter of perspective.
It’s fair to say that almost everyone on a retreat will be somewhat spiritually minded and will also live fairly alternative andÂ independentÂ lifestyles to some degree or another. Ayahuasca is certainly not the kind of thing that will attract mainstream people who obsess over American Idol or whatever else the media is trying to distract us with.
And of course it’s not likely that you’re going to absolutely love everybody to bits. Wherever there are people and personalities there will be clashes and differences of opinion, and an Ayahuasca retreat will be no different, but in my experience it’s usually very minor stuff with no hard feelings or major arguments taking place.
If you’re interested in joining an Ayahuasca retreat then you’re probably someone who is intelligent, good-natured, friendly, somewhat spiritual, fairly easy to get along with, and you’re someone who wants to really work on yourself so you can become the best person you can possibly be. And chances are, mostÂ other people in the group will be just the same.