A Brief History of My Path

This article is a submission for the Ayahuasca Awareness Program, an initiative by the Spirit Vine Center in Brazil. The program aims to help increase awareness of the potential of ayahuasca by sponsoring free ayahuasca retreats every month for people who feel the call for spiritual development with ayahuasca and other methods.

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A Brief History of My Path

It is a strange thing we call enlightenment. What does happen to someone to have this feeling of connection? What marks the difference between before and after?
I was 26 years old when I felt I had reached most of the goals I had set in my young life. But once there I looked around and nothing happened. It didn’t fulfill me the way I thought it would. Reality often falls short from the dream.
I needed more. I needed to understand my purpose. I needed true happiness so I looked for it in the most basic form. One of the things that made and still makes me really happy is snowboarding. So I left my life on the Canadian east coast to move to a small village in the Kootenay Mountains. I felt the need for a simpler way of life and found it there. So what was supposed to be a year off enjoying mountain life became a 2 year retreat and somewhat spiritual journey.
It’s there that I first heard of Ayahuasca. Having done my share of experiencing with recreational drugs I was instantly interested by the spiritual aspect of the ceremony. It was the first time someone introduced me to something that had a purpose other than just “tripping” I knew then that it was just a matter of time before I got to live this. Fortunately for me about a year later, a friend of mine who knew of my interest told me that a ceremony was happening close by in a few months and that he may be able to get me in.
My first night went well and was a great initiation but I didn’t get to see much. Still felt like a weight had been lifted. I went back home and spent the next day hearing this voice in my head saying: “You need to come back, it was great meeting you but we didn’t really have time to talk. I have more to say to you.” I called the group and they invited me for the third night. It’s on that night that I believe was visited by my spirit animal. More like my spirit animal was coming out of me letting me know what tribe I belong to. My life has never been the same since.
A month later I was back in the city and felt this clash of being so awake when surrounded by so many sleepwalkers. This new found energy and awareness helped me going thru many situations but it is hard sometimes to find ways to regenerate and rest. It’s been almost 5 years and since then I have cumulated a lot of pain and energies that are not mine, especially from one person. This pain doesn’t serve me anymore. Like you probably know, being an empath attracts a lot of “broken people” and it is always a challenge to try and help yet not be too affected by their pain.
It is both a curse and a blessing to feel everything so deeply as they say.
I notice now that this new found light is dimming. My routine, the way I eat, the way I feel is not at its best. It’s time to cleanse my body and soul to allow me to help other as best I could, to put some fuel on this flame and light up the entire room.
This was a brief history of my path. Hoping that a stop at your retreat is part of this strange road I embarked on.

Author: Michael Berrigan

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Spirit Vine COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 5th May 2021

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 or a negative Antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding the flight. 

Travelers must also fill out an affidavit 24 hours before departure acknowledging the health measures that must be complied with during the period that they will remain in the country. You can find the affidavit here.

Prior to leaving Brazil, depending on the requirements of your destination country, you may be required to present an RT-PCR or Antigen test. If you need a PCR test we recommend you to budget the required time of 6 hours to take the test and get the results at Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport. Antigen test can be taken in the town of Itacare near our center before you go to the airport.

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

Spirit Vine Guidelines for COVID-19

We are requiring all participants and staff to provide a valid Covid-19 test prior to entering the center. The Antigen test is only valid for 24 hours and PCR test is only valid for 72 hours. A valid negative test result must be sent by email prior to entering the center.