Ayahuasca Retreat Facilitators

Ayahuasca Retreat Facilitators

Silvia Polivoy, Ph.D.

I have been investigating modified states of consciousness for over twenty-five years. I have carried out field research in Mexico with Mazatec shamans, as well as worked extensively with Ayahuasca, San Pedro, and other sacred plants in their native habitats.

I have a postgraduate degree in clinical psychology. For more than 20 years I had my private practice in Buenos Aires, starting with psychoanalysis and later progressed to transactional analysis and transpersonal psychology, and much later to shamanism and spiritual practices.

Since 1996, I have been hosting retreats in both the Peruvian and the Brazilian Amazon. At these retreats participants have the opportunity to “meet” the ancient plant teacher ayahuasca in it’s natural environment – the jungle.

In 2004, Zoe Seven and I co-founded TheVine Spiritual Center in the Atlantic forest of Bahia, Brazil, a space created to hold retreats for those interested in spiritual pursuits. I have been living here since then and host retreats once every month at this center.

Nowadays my work is in the spiritual realm so I don’t practice psychotherapy anymore. However, integrating my expertise in psychology, modified states of consciousness, shamanism, and other spiritual practices resulted in an effective method for spiritual development and ayahuasca integration — which is the current focus of my work and the core of my workshops during the Ayahuasca retreats.

Former Facilitators

At the start, Silvia used to host large conference-style ayahuasca retreats in Peru and Brazil, where she invited experts in the fields of ayahuasca, shamanism, entheogens, psychedelic research, and other related areas. 

Since there is an abundance of information available online nowadays, she has transformed her retreats to work in a more interpersonal style. During the retreats she conducts workshops where she teaches techniques to participants so they can navigate the ayahuasca journeys and reconnect with their own power and align with their higher self. 

Below is a list of well-known and talented speakers who have presented at Spirit Vine.


Zoe7 co-founded TheVine Center along with Silvia in 2004. He was an international lecturer, author, and cartographer of altered states of consciousness and also the author of 2 books (Into The Voidand Back From The Void) which depict his experiments fusing psychoactive plants and compounds together with computer-based neuro-technology devices (a.k.a “mind machines”).

He has written for entheogen and neuro-technology related magazines including The AVS Journal, MAPS Bulletin, and the Entheogen Review and has also been interviewed on radio and television programs.

Rick Doblin, PhD

He is the founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a non-profit membership-based research and educational organization that sponsors clinical studies designed to obtain FDA approval for the use of MDMA as a prescription medicine.

Rick obtained his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a dissertation focused on the regulation of the medical use of psychedelics and marijuana. Doblin’s commitment to drug law reform through the vehicle of research derives from a deeply felt sense of outrage at the infringement of personal freedom inherent in the laws criminalizing the use of psychedelics and marijuana.

His professional goal is to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.

Rick Doblin is also a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork practitioner, from Stan and Christina Grof’s first certification training program.


Alistair Appleton

Alistair is a TV journalist and presenter in the UK with long experience of Buddhist meditation. He’s studied with monks from the Tibetan and Thai Forest tradition and completed numerous retreats in Scotland, Devon, California and Thailand. He teaches courses in basic meditation practice up on Holy Island in Scotland each summer.

A couple of years ago, he filmed the documentary The Man Who Drank the Universe which recorded his experiences with Ayahuasca in Bahia, Brazil.


Pablo Amaringo

He is a Peruvian shaman, teacher and artist, and has Lamista, Cocama and Piro Indian ancestors.

Pablo Amaringo is fluent in English, Spanish, and Quechua with knowledge of the Cocama, Amahuaca and Shipibo tribes. He was 10 years old when he first took Ayahuasca and was shown distant places, ancient cultures, others civilizations and the magical world of spirits.

In his work Pablo creates works of art which bring to life his shamanic visions along with paintings of the rain forest and its spirits and deities. Likewise during his workshops, he instructs the students to develop their capacity of perception, visual memory and concentration so as to successfully translate inner experience into art.

Pablo is the co-author of the book, Ayahuasca Visions, and lives in the city of Pucalpa, Peru, where he has an art school and teaches regularly.

Wikipedia profile

Alex Grey

Alex Grey (born November 29, 1953) is an American visionary artist, author, teacher, and Vajrayana practitioner. His body of work spans a variety of forms including performance art, process art, installation art, sculpture, visionary art, and painting. He and his wife Allyson Grey are the co-founders of The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a non-profit church supporting Visionary Culture in Wappingers Falls, New York.

In 2004 Grey published his collected works in Visions, a limited-edition boxed set which contains a portfolio of new works along with his Sacred Mirrors and TransfigurationsNet of Being, released by Inner Traditions in 2012, explores how Alex Grey’s visionary art is evolving the cultural body through icons of interconnectedness and a new symbology of the Networked Self. Net of Being contains spectacular photos of Grey’s collaboration with the cult band Tool plus his worldwide live-painting performances, and offers Grey’s reflections on how art evolves consciousness.


David Icke

David Icke was a professional soccer player for Coventry City and later for Hereford before rheumatoid arthritis forced him to quit at the age of 21. He then turned to journalism and then to television, becoming a sports correspondent on BBC 2’s “Newsnight” and contributing regularly to BBC1’s “Grandstand.”He went on to become a national spokesman for Britains’s Green Party before a visit to a medium and healer set him on the journey of discovery which was to change his life.

David Icke has written several books, including The Robot’s Rebellion, Truth Vibrations, Heal the World, The Biggest Secret, Children of the Matrix, Tales from the Time Loop and Infinite Love is the Only Truth, which describes his 2003 experience with Ayahuasca at one of our retreats.


Jonathan Ott

Jonathan Ott Is a prolific and highly regarded writer, translator, publisher, reviewer and pundit on virtually every aspect of entheogen botany, chemistry, pharmacology, bioassay, culture, history, and politics. Known for the classics Ayahuasca Analogues and Pharmacoteon. In addition to his abundance with the written word, Ott has produced and co-produced numerous conferences and seminars on entheogens over the past 25+ years. Articles and excerpts of his books have been translated into numerous other languages.

Jonathan’s writing has appeared in Harvard Botanical Museum Leaflets, Curare, Eleusis, Entheogen Law Reporter, Entheogen Review, Head, High Times, Journal of Cognitive Liberties, Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, MAPS Bulletin, and other publications.

Wikipedia profile

Martina Hoffmann

Her work has been exhibited internationally as well as being published in books, calendars and magazines such as Illuminatus, Drinking Lightning, Craftsman House, One Source, Sacred Journeys, Markowitz Publishers, The Return Of The Great Goddess, Shambhala Publishing, Celebrating Women’s Spirituality, The Crossing Press, Magical Blend, Expose and Nexus.

Martina studied sculpting at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. As a painter and sculptor, Martina Hoffmann, intersperses her life of creating art with giving painting technique workshops with Robert Venosa.


Robert Venosa

The Fantastic Realism art of Robert Venosa has been exhibited worldwide and is represented in major collections, including those of noted museums, rock stars and European aristocracy.

In addition to painting, sculpting and film design (pre-sketches and conceptual design) for the movie Dune, and Fire in the Sky for Paramount Pictures, and Race for Atlantis (for IMAX), his work has also been the subject of three books: Manas Manna, Noospheres, and Illuminatus, featuring text by Terence McKenna. Similarly, his paintings have also been featured on a number of album covers, including those of Santana and Kitaro.


Sue Minns

Sue has been working in the field of complementary health care for over 20 years. She trained as a past life therapist with Dr Roger Woolger, a pioneer in the field of past life therapy. Sue teaches workshops to help people connect with and clear past life issues and offers one-on-one sessions for those who wish to explore their past lives more deeply and remember the eternal nature of their soul.

She also trained in Shamanic practice with Sandra Ingerman and is well-known at the College of Psychic Studies, London, where she gives workshops on past lives, shamanic journeying, the chakras, soul mates and the power of love. Sue is also the author of 3 books: Bodies & Souls, Soul Doctor, & Soulmates.


Richard Glen Boire

Richard Glen Boire (rgb) is Co-Director and Legal Counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics. He is a writer, social systems analyst and legal scholar, specializing in cognitive liberty dissident thinking and control theory.

Mr. Boire received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law), in 1990. His dedication to examining the developing legal and cultural issues related to freedom of thought has led to a varied and unique career.

In addition to authoring several books, Mr. Boire’s articles and essays have appeared in a wide spectrum of magazines and journals, from mainstream and scholarly, to underground and aesthetic-focused. He has been a featured speaker at conferences both in the U.S. and internationally, and has provided interviews via print, radio, and television.


Christine Page, M.D.

She has almost 30 years of experience in the healing professions as a physician in hospital, in general practice and as a homeopath. Her vast interest in all forms of healing enabled her to play a major part in the widespread use of complementary medicine in the British National Health Service.

She is the author of five books: Frontiers of Health, Beyond the Obvious, and The Mind, Body, Spirit Workbook, and her latest, Spiritual Alchemy, all published by the C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd. England.


Isabela Hartz

Isabela Hartz Isabela was born in Rio de Janeiro and she has been involved with Santo Daime – one of the names given to ayahuasca by religious organizations that uses the brew as a sacrament – since 1984, living for several years in Céu do Mapiá, the spiritual center of the doctrinal line created by Sebastião Mota de Melo, founder of CEFLURIS and Shaman’s Drum.

Isabela Hartz has done numerous exhibitions in Brazil and has worked as a fashion designer as well as created the cover art for over one hundred books. Some of her work has been exhibited at the Richard F. Brush Gallery of St. Lawrence University, in Canton, New York.

Frank Echenhofer

He received his MA in humanistic psychology from the University of West Georgia, and his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Temple University. Currently, he is an associate professor of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, where he teaches transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy, biofeedback applications in consciousness studies, and qualitative research methods.

In addition, Frank Echenhofer is also the Director of the Consciousness and Physiology Research Laboratory at CIIS. His research includes three decades of studies in Sufism, Tibetan Buddhism. At the retreat, he reported on this ayahuasca research in the context of neuroscience and the spiritual traditions.

Andres Hu

Andrés Hu was Born in 1964 in Mexico City. He has an academic background which includes a degree in Contemporary Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Beijing and a Master’s degree from a co-program of the University of Singapore/Harvard University in Public Policy. He is fluent in: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tagalog.

Hu has spent most of his life in Asia, including over 10 years in China. He has studied different forms of Yoga, Tai-chi, Chi-Kung, Pranic Healing, Reiki and several shamanic practices. Hu has taught Yoga in the Philippines, where he is the Director of the Yoga Foundation of the Philippines and in Mexico where he was a lecturer at the First National Congress of Yoga, celebrated in 2002.

Simone Ribeiro de Paula

She graduated from Universidade UNICEUB with a degree in biology and has been working with essential oils since 2003.

She mone promotes Sustainable Biodiversity at events such as PuroRítmo Festival da Consciência in Brasília.

Simone is a member of OSCIP ALAVANCA, Organização da Sociedade Civil de Interesse Público which also the sustainability of local communities such as Comunidade Quilombola de Sant´Ana do Caatinga in Minas Gerais, Brasil. She also works as na educator in environmental issues.

Simone is a partner and Biologist at RAIZANDO Óleos Essenciais. Founded in 2004 RAIZANDO Industries prides itself in planting various plants and herbs using a agroflorestal eco system in the middle of the jungle.

John Qureshi

John Qureshi, D.O, is a registered osteopath specialising in cranial osteopathy. He has a practice at no.1 Harley Street London and has taught extensively to both undergraduate and post-graduate students.

He is also an advisor to The Sunday Times “Whats the Alternative” column which is where he read about Silvia’s retreats.

John will be available on the retreats he attends to discuss people’s health concerns, if any, and offer cranial osteopathic demostrations.

Adriano De Carvalho

He graduated from the Universidade Católica de Brasília with a degree in chemistry, and has been working with essential oils since 1998. Adriano has extracted essential oils from native species towards gastroprotective and ulcer healing effects from Hyptis spicigera Lam (Lamiaceae).

He is also President of OSCIP ALAVANCA, an Organization that promotes public sustainment projects of local communities in Quilombola de Sant´Ana do Caatinga in the city os Minas Gerais, Brasil.

Adriano is also a partner and chemist of RAIZANDO Óleos Essenciais. Which was founded in 2004. RAIZANDO industries plants medicinal herbs in na agroflorestal eco system in the middle of the jungle. He extracts essential oils using stainless steel equipment and sends them for cromotography to Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and if approved, then the oils are filtered, dried, packaged and distributed through the web site:


Upcoming Retreats

  • Dec  15 — Dec 23
  • Jan  5 — Jan 13
  • Feb  14 — Feb 24
  • Mar  8 — Mar 16
  • Apr  14 — Apr 24

Journey with us

Browse our gallery

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Articles, videos, books, quotes, retreat updates, and more...

Spirit Vine COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 5th May 2021

As travel has opened up in different parts of the world, we have resumed our retreats since October 2020. In light of the global situation, we are establishing new guidelines to ensure that we provide the maximum amount of safety to all participants who attend the retreats.

We will be following the guidelines provided by the Brazilian government which you can find below, and adding any necessary precautions suitable for the retreats.

In the Itacare area, where we are located, there are very low number of COVID cases.

We will update this section when new information is available.
Content listed here is subject to change.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Brazilian Government Recommendations for COVID-19

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water;
  • if water and soap are not available or when hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used;
  • Maintain at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and others;
  • Wear a mask, that covers your nose, mouth and chin;
  • Practice respiratory hygiene;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Be aware of the situation of your destination and follow the guidelines of local public health authorities;
  • Avoid spaces that are closed, crowded or involve close contact;
  • Monitor your health for COVID-19 symptoms and, if you feel unwell:
    – seek medical attention;
    – stay self-isolated as recommended by local health authorities.

Anyone who wants to enter in Brazil must present a negative Covid RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to boarding the flight and travelers must fill out an affidavit (printed or digitally), with the written acknowledgement to the health measures that must be complied with during the period that they will remain in the country. You can find more information about the affidavit here.

Prior to leaving Brazil, depending on the requirements of your destination country, you may be required to present an RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of your departure. In this case, we recommend you to budget the required time of 4 hours to take the test and get the results in Sao Paulo airport.

Please note that Itacare and Ilheus do not have RT-PCR testing centers.

Spirit Vine Guidelines for COVID-19

If you will arrive in Brazil more than 3 days before the start of the retreat, then you need to do another Covid test (quick Covid test) before entering our center and send the results to me by email.

Spirit Vine Cancellation Policy for COVID-19

If you have paid for a retreat and you are not able to participate for major reasons like travel restrictions due to Covid-19, then you may apply your credit to another retreat of the same value for a period of 2 years.