With so many Ayahuasca healing centers, what makes Aya Madre unique? We've summarized what we think makes Aya Madre the ideal choice for your healing and plant medicine journey into five concise points.
1. The owner of Aya Madre, Estela Pangoza, is an indigenous woman (Shipiba).
In the Ayahuasca and plant medicine world it's hard enough to find a center owned and run by a Peruvian, let alone a female indigenous Peruvian. With the ever-present demons of racism, sexism and imperialism, the odds are stacked against Estela, and she has overcome them all very skillfully.
2. Education, community and care are considered integral to your healing process.
Coming to Aya Madre doesn't just mean taking part in Ayahuasca ceremonies and dieting plants. Coming here means embarking on a healing journey that includes learning, connection and deep transformation. Estela takes it as a point of honor to be part of her guests' journey; to help them understand this tradition, and to be a figure of support, care and learning. Not only is she a curandera and shaman, but also a teacher, guide and mother. Estela encourages guests to connect to nature, to her family and traditions, and to oneself, as a vital part of her healing process.
3. Cultural exchange is encouraged and celebrated.
It has become the norm in many centers that local workers and employees (including shamans) do not and cannot engage or speak with guests. The guests engage with translators, Westernized employees and sometimes the main shaman. Although this provides guests space and concentration to focus on their healing, something is often lost in the process – a chance at real cultural exchange and cross-cultural engagement. This can be deeply healing when done with the right boundaries and respect. We try to strike that balance, where guests, shamans and workers engage, share, and freely converse, while maintaining appropriate boundaries and roles.
4. The bottom-line is healing, not profit.
Ayahuasca has in many ways become big business in Perú and other parts of the Amazon, but as Estela says, the plant has never come to her in a vision and said, “turn me into a business, please...” Accordingly, we try to keep our fees reasonable and accessible to all, our business practices down-to-earth, informal and flexible, all the while maintaining strong safety standards, ethical business practices, and a strong, sustainable foundation. This center is primarily about healing, learning and connecting -- not money.
5. It's not all about Ayahuasca
Among healing plants, Ayahusca has certainly become a super-star, and with good reason. It's powerful, and at times, a life-changing brew. Ayahuasca is certainly utilized at Aya Madre and offered to all guests within safety limitations, but Maestra Estela incorporates it in her healing as part of a larger system of Shipibo plant medicine--as the teacher synthesizing all the benefits of a broad plant-based transformation. This Shipibo plant medicine tradition is thousands of years old, and sometimes in the Ayahuasca-business, it can be hard to find true, deep healing with the use of other plants. Aya Madre is trying to revive this ancient wisdom and make it accessible to all guests. For more information about our plant medicines apart from ayahuasca, please visit our Dieta page.