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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Empathy is the Sacred Gateway to Consciousness

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~ C.G. Jung

The question I regularly confront myself with is how do I raise consciousness when the paradigm of western culture feeds the antithesis of consciousness valuing comparison over compassion, judgment over inclusivity, achievement over process, fitness over feeling alive, looks over inner beauty, youth over wisdom, wealth over passion and individuality over collective unity? I come up against myself time and time again with these internalized values and find that going through the motions is as painful as starting to recognize the pain itself. Becoming vulnerable and allowing myself to experience the falseness of comparing my worth to another, allows me to experience my own pain and vulnerability. When I choose to live with my vulnerability, with a willingness to experience my experience rather than shutting down, I become present to what is always there, the higher vibrations of consciousness.

We often think we protect ourselves by not allowing the pain inside by placing ourselves in our predicted environment, walling up with our cell phones, to do lists, errands, friends, spouses, lovers, careers, kids, pets, homes and other preoccupations. The harsh world outside is also a beautiful world and if I shut down the harshness, I simultaneously shut down the beauty. When I let in the pain of another, I am made to feel my own pain. Do I just see the homeless person on the street or do I choose to witness him and feel his vulnerability as my own? By choosing to observe with my heart with empathy and compassion, both our bodies open to the possibility of consciousness with a felt awareness of the other. I am not separate from his pain nor is he separate from mine. Our connection is now unified instead of stratified. If I’m living in an unconscious state, the illusion of separation will feel real and be fed, and I will only perpetuate masked living, where all love including self-love is based on condition.

The vibrations of higher consciousness are not available in a vacuum or exclusively, but rather, in our ability to open up to the relationships we have with all beings and all aspects of nature. When I wake and don’t really notice the light, the beauty of my son’s face, the pain in my right foot, the popcorn smell of my dog, I am living without sensation and without awareness. I am basically cut off from the possibility of the transformation of higher consciousness that occurs in the process of connection.

Author: Sandra Sneiderman
I am looking to strengthen my connection to myself through Spirit Vine’s Ayahuasca Retreat so I can be more deeply available for others.

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Spirit Vine COVID-19 Update

Last Updated: 9th August 2022

We have established guidelines to ensure that we provide the maximum amount of safety to all participants who attend the retreats.

We are following the guidelines provided by the Brazilian government which you can find below and have added some 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

The current guidelines from the Brazilian government state that anyone who wants to enter Brazil must present a Covid vaccine certificate. You do not need to take any other vaccines to enter Brazil. These guidelines may change in the future.

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 or at the airport in Sao Paulo.

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

Spirit Vine Guidelines for COVID-19

We require that vaccination must be done at least 2 months prior to drinking ayahuasca. This is for the safety of participants to make sure the vaccine doesn’t have any reaction with the ingestion of ayahuasca. 

We also require all visitors 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.