I spent many years meeting all kinds of shamans and ayahuasqueros, and  today I met a very particular one.


I just met a man who combines, among others, these four characteristics, and he uses them to live, enjoy and work with people who want to exceed themselves through the use of ayahuasca. I am using deliberately these four qualifications of his “BEING” as I know that every adjective or descriptive words put after the word “BEING” is half-true, it is only a facet of the being that cannot define what he is. Perhaps these partial and limited labels we use to define each of us are the reason why we are so lost in our search for what or who we are; and I therefore assert that, BEING YOURSELF is one of the most complicated tasks for a human being.

Today is the 16/10/15 and I am in Tepoztlan, one of the famous magical towns of Mexico, it’s supposed to be the highest energy point of the Mexican territory and it attracts many people on a spiritual quest. The area is full of holistic places, healing houses, hotels whose names are clear about their activity: “Hotel of Light”, “Hotel and mystical center”, “Holistic healing Hotel” etc. But most sites dedicated to therapeutic and spiritual work are houses with no sign, belonging to private owners who -for some reason that I will comment later- have chosen to use their house for retreats with Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, Peyote, San Pedro, etc. One of them is called David Sonsino, I met him because he is one of the most dedicated fan of all the texts publish on my blog and website; he wrote to me because he wanted meet me and knew I was in the area conducting a psychotherapeutic evolution indoor retreat with the use of ayahuasca; not only did he introduce himself and attend a day workshop on psychotherapeutic and healing techniques, but he also invited me to visit his home and meet his partner, a famous Mexico artist.


Upon arrival at the house, next to Tepozteco, a chain of magical mountains, we began to hear a symphony of bells as there was wind and the whole house is surrounded by sound tubes performing a spontaneous melody at all times according to the wind. While crossing the garden, I was already entering an introspection process, but, entering the house, I felt a creative energy filling my heart; there is a work of art on every wall, suddenly, the author of those paintings appearred, Pascal Roy a Canadian artist and David’s partner, they tell me they have been living together for more than 20 years, organizing ayahuasca ceremonies once a month for small groups, and are also dedicated to art; one of them is paints and the other one sells. While they tell us things about their lives, we walk through the house and contemplate the paintings which make a real art gallery, and test all kinds of instruments from around the world.

I was also accompanied on this visit by the singer and composer Darwin Grajales and  his partner Gogy, and we looked at each other unable to believe what we were seeing and feeling, especially some of the paintings with high spiritual, human and transformative meaning.


When David got back to the place where Darwin and I were handling a retreat for a group of Mexicans, I took this opportunity to ask him: How come you started working with ayahuasca? What incited you to do it? How did you train or learn?, he said: “It was a very strange situation, in 2011 I took ayahuasca for the first time and since then my life has not been the same, a great transformation occurred. A few months later, I decided to invite a shaman from Peru to my house to handle a ceremony for a group of friends and acquaintances, a few hours before the ceremony, the shaman went out to meet the people of Tepoztlan, and when he came home, just before taking ayahuasca, he was drunk! One could see he drank much alcohol. When starting the ceremony it was obvious that the man could not accompany and take care of the people who were going to take ayahuasca, I therefore politely suggested he rests on a mattress in a corner of the room and he obviously fell asleep. That’s how I handled the first ceremony of my life. The shaman brought ayahuasca from Peru, I had tools, a little courage and a great fear as I would never have imagined to be suddenly giving ayahuasca and supporting people in their healing processes; but I was encouraged by the necessity of the situation. The first time I gave ayahuasca was by accident, and since then, I’ve been organizing groups in my house every month. I buy ayahuasca in Peru, I am really aware of everything going on in the shamanic world thanks to the Internet, I am a fan of almost every page about Ayahuasca, I have on my own some 5,000 fans, I read a lot, do research, and I believe that ayahuasca came to me in that way for something, maybe because I was chosen to do this job. No one allowed me to give ayahuasca, I have never been to the jungle, but I would go with you to the Colombian jungle to cook myself the ayahuasca that I will give to people coming to my house. I never invited any shaman anymore but I was willing to meet you in person as I read every word you post, especially the texts about the voice of ayahuasca. These texts are the highest I’ve ever read.”

When I came back from this artistic tour I was feeling very sensitive, opened and attentive to many details. It seems that, when the perception opens, one begins to see what he couldn’t see previously with the same eyes. I passed beside a pond I had already passed by several times as it was at the entrance to the place where we handled the retreat, but, this time, I saw something amazing, something I had not seen the previous times I walked past it, I saw a flower flourishing, I came closer to contemplate it and it seemed to talk to me … I connected with her and felt an infinite gratitude in my heart for dedicating myself to flowering … of mine and of the one of people coming to me.

I do not know if David will dare to come to the European Ayahuasca School, I suggested it so he improves his contact with the people who will take ayahuasca at his house, but he is very focused on love, nothing more. He even told me, “You’ve been handling a psychotherapy integration group for a couple of hours and you only mentioned once the word LOVE.”

I do not know if I will mention that word more times, but what I do know is that meeting ayahuasqueros, although they are so different, can be a wonderful occasion to enrich our work. It’s really absurd to look at another ”ayahuasquero” as a competitor, an enemy, or as someone who doesn’t do things well because he doesn’t do them as I do.

Perhaps this judgmental model comes from the many shamans not accepting the possibility of other shamans doing things differently, or it might be a misguided human tendency; but what is certain is that all the people involved can correct that error, based on the fact that ayahuasca itself teaches unconditional respect to the other, no matter how he is and how he does things, the other is part of one, and one is part of the other, we are one expressing ourselves in different ways.

The existence has shown us a very friendly creation model, it makes each of us unique and irreplaceable. One can’t find two identical persons. WHAT A WONDERFUL CREATION.

Alberto José Varela

Click here for a complete listing of  information of all the 2016/17 Ayahuasca International Retreats Calendar . It includes subsequent links to information about each one of them.

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