I've attended the 8-day retreat at Spirit Vine in October 2014, looking for a safe, supportive and instructive environment for my first Ayahuasca experience - and I was not disappointed. Silvia is an experienced guide, with background not only in the use of Ayahuasca but also in Psychoanalysis and various philosophies of mind. This has enables her to create a program of self-exploration in which consumption of Ayauhasca is but a part, with complementing activities before and after ceremonies. Such activities seem to me essential in order to deal wisely with the experience of Ayahuasca as it occurs, and in order to fully understand it in hindsight. Otherwise, instead of being enlightening, the experience might be merely entertaining, frightening or confusing, or with only vague insights that eventually fade away without a lasting impact. Yet Silvia is only a facilitator; the main teacher at Spirit Vine is first and foremost the Ayahuasca itself. This is not trivial: at other places you might find yourself at the mercy of the Shaman, with relatively little control or understanding of the situation. The accommodation is quite luxurious; the surrounding is beautiful and inspiring. I believe all of this is a recipe for a responsible and enlightening Ayahuasca experience, and indeed my stay at Spirit Vine seems to have had an enormously positive effect on me and my life. It was the most amazing thing I've done - the strangest, the most exciting, the most difficult and the most rewarding. I've learned a lot, and have realized how much more I have to explore. And I have little doubt that I'm a better person than I was - more helpful and less detrimental to living beings around me, less constrained by imaginary bounds and petty concerns, more in accord with the values I hold to be true, with more faith in myself and in the ultimate benevolence of the cosmos. Thank you Silvia and Michael and the maids, and thank you my fellow participants. Love, Dan

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