EntheoNation partners with trusted retreat centers, ceremony leaders and facilitators to promote psychedelic retreats in countries where the medicine being offered is not illegal.
- We promote retreats to the EntheoNation audience on behalf of our partners, and receive a commission for participants who complete their booking.
- We also offer a retreat cash discount to the EntheoNation audience as a benefit for being part of our community.
Why Consider Our Retreat Reviews?
While a great many psychedelic retreat reviews proliferate the Internet, most (but not all) have been written by online influencers from the Global North who have limited experience with psychedelics, who are new to ayahuasca, or who have mainly experienced ayahuasca served by “gringo ayahuasca shamans”.
By contrast, Lorna Liana is an experienced psychonaut and psychedelic researcher, who has been drinking ayahuasca since 2004. She has spent extended periods of time (months adding up to years) in Brazil, Peru and Ecuador immersed in ayahuasca culture.
A self-professed ayahuasca snob and perennial ayahuasca tourist, Lorna has been in approximately 150 ayahuasca ceremonies (from terrible to fantastic), and tasted wide variety of ayahuasca brews (from awful to exquisite).
Her ayahuasca experience spans 30+ different shamans and facilitators, seven indigenous tribes, several Brazilian churches, and a host of neo-shamanic circles in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Europe, the US, and Asia.
Through this widely-varied background, she hopes to shed some perspective on the globalization of ayahuasca, while endorsing safety and discernment in the Psychedelic Renaissance, and encouraging the development of psychedelic ceremonies into a high spiritual art form.
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“Not illegal” means that the substance in question is not considered to be a prohibited narcotic, and does not carry criminal penalties in the country where it is being offered. In some countries, there may be limited right of use under laws that protect religious freedom or cultural heritage. This is true for ayahuasca use in countries like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.
In other cases, there may be a legal loophole created by unknowledgeable drug policy lawmakers, such as in the Netherlands, where psilocybin truffles became commercially available in the Netherlands after psilocybin mushrooms became prohibited. While a psilocybin “truffle” is the schlerotia of the psilocybin mushroom it grows to become… it’s not technically a “mushroom”.
“Not illegal” is different from being “legal”, because legality typically involves a formal regulation and taxation infrastructure. Legalization typically involves many years of advocacy, legal, and policy deliberation, as seen with the legal recreational marijuana industry in the United States.
Legal status of psychoactive substances, even naturally psychedelic plants and fungi that have a long history of human use spanning centuries, if not millenia, can change at any time.
For this reason, we urge you, as a consumer, to always check the legal status of the psychedelic you wish to experience at the time you wish to participate in a retreat, in case laws have changed after the publish date of an article or email you may have read about the offer.
EntheoNation may receive a $150-$500 commission for every booked retreat participant referred. EntheoNation might also receive no commission for its endorsement.
In order to experience the retreat offering, Lorna may receive a fully complementary retreat package or a 50% discount.
In some rare cases, Lorna might pay the full price of a retreat, if it is a retreat that she is personally interested in. But because she already has trusted shamans and a local medicine circle she regularly sits with, as well as access to psychedelics in a country where personal drug use is decriminalized, she rarely invests in psychedelic retreats herself.
Lorna attends psychedelic retreats solely to vet providers make trusted referrals for her audience, as this is the #1 inquiry she receives as the publisher of EntheoNation. She only refers providers operating in countries where the psychedelic is not prohibited. She does not refer providers in countries where the psychedelic in question is illegal.
The Difference Between “Uncensored Reviews” & “Reviews”
Many high-end retreats have Media Trade Agreements whereby online influencers are invited to experience a fully-compensated retreat in exchange for producing content that favorably promotes the business. Any content that is produced under a Media Trade agreement may be subject to review. Any refusal to produce the content outlined in the legally-binding Media Trade Agreement may result punitive legal action.
Obviously, this situation becomes problematic if Lorna perceives issues of concern related to the provider.
Other retreat providers have more flexible terms. Understanding the above mentioned ethical dilemma, some retreat providers have offered Lorna a fully-comped retreat, with no mandatory review or content production requirement. If the retreat is deemed unethical or unsafe by Lorna, she is not under obligation to produce any content.
For this reason, in order to differentiate Media Trades from unedited, non-obligatory reviews, Lorna has opted to use two different naming conventions:
- “Uncensored Review” refers to retreat review content that has not undergone a review or editing process, outside of factual correction around program details or pricing.
- “Review” refers to retreat review content that is produced under an enforceable Media Trade Agreement where the final content has been subjected to management review.
Partner Evaluation Process
Because psychedelics can have a long-lasting impact on a person’s mind, life, well-being, psychology, etc, EntheoNation does not promote retreats that Lorna Liana, the website creator, hasn’t personally vetted herself.
Personal vetting typically involves:
- Participating in at least three sessions in a plant medicine retreat
- Investigative research of the retreat provider, through direct and indirect inquiry methods
Most shamans endorsed by Lorna are ceremony leaders she has sat with for many years, with whom she has long-standing relationships. In rare occasions, she may only sit one session with a ceremony facilitator, but only if the facilitator has been known to her for several years and the endorsement of industry associates that Lorna trusts and holds in high esteem.
Quality of Medicine
Natural psychedelics and plant medicines, being organic compounds, can be highly variable in strength and quality. Furthermore, psychedelic experiences can be highly subjective, with one person having a full-blown, visionary experience, and another having a mild experience, where not much was felt beyond insights, on the same medicine and serving size.
Quality and consistency of medicine can change if any of the following change: the source of the medicine, time of year the plant medicines were harvested, production methods, and who the producers are.
Observations related to the quality of a psychedelic that Lorna consumed during her retreat is accurate only for the time of retreat and subjective to her experience, and can change at any time for the reasons indicated above.
By far, the number one influence on a psychedelic retreat experience is the skill and experience of the ceremony facilitator. Retreat centers may employ different facilitators at different times, or rotate facilitators seasonally. Furthermore, ceremony facilitators being human, the quality of their services might also vary depending on what might be happening in their personal lives.
The quality of ceremony facilitation observed by Lorna is only accurate to her experience of the facilitation staff the time of the retreat, and might change for the indicated reasons.
With the mainstreaming of psychedelics and globalization of ayahuasca, the diversity of retreat and ceremony service offerings is expanding to meet market demands. Market influences, for better or worse, have a direct impact in the transformation of tradition and evolution of culture. Market influences, for example, have given rise to the “musiquero” form of ayahuasca ceremony, which is decidedly different than how ayahuasca is typically consumed in indigenous villages. Music-led ceremonies are an extremely popular way of experiencing ayahuasca.
Even though Lorna has her personal preferences on how she likes to experience psychedelics like mushrooms and ayahuasca, she has evolved to understand that some non-traditional formats are preferable and more accessible to some segments of the market.
For some, ayahuasca is a deeply transformational personal development tool best experienced with recorded music played off a laptop, than in a dark maloca to words eerily chanted in an indigenous language.
For this reason, Lorna orients her reviews towards the needs of the target demographic the psychedelic provider best serves, rather than critiquing how closely the ceremony offering resembles “tradition”. Tradition is always changing.
Management Team & Core Staff
The management team of an ayahuasca retreat center sets the vibe of the establishment, which can really impact guest experience, because everyone is in an expanded psychedelic state – and in this state, you’ll notice everything.
Integrity, respect and responsibility are EntheoNation’s core values when it comes to psychedelics. When attending commercial ayahuasca retreats, Lorna will at some point sit down with core staff members and facilitators to ascertain their knowledge about the psychedelic that is central to their service offering.
Any venture that is providing psychedelics in integrity typically has no issue answering questions about their methods or medicines; in fact, rather than feeling threatened by questions, they would invite them rather than avoid questioning.
Provider Safety & Ethical Recommendations
Psychedelic retreats have safety and ethical requirements different from transformational or health and wellness retreats that do not offer mind-altering substances. This is because psychedelics put participants in an open, highly-suggestible state, which can make them vulnerable to abuse.
For this reason, we make these recommendations of all psychedelic retreat providers:
- That the Advisory Board / Board of Directors include long-standing scientific, medical, legal, and cultural experts in the psychedelic that is on offer, and not primarily individuals who have financial gain in the success of the venture.
- That the management team be knowledgeable and continue to deepen their knowledge on the science, legality, and social justice issues concerning the psychedelic on offer.
- That the management team commit to safety, harm reduction best practices and medical marketing ethics.
- That sexual and intimate relations are discouraged between retreat center staff or participants, and that disciplinary actions are taken towards personnel who violate sexual safety guidelines.
- That the management team refrain from financial opportunism towards clients who are in a psychedelic state, by soliciting additional sales or investments from retreatants before the retreat is over. Furthermore, that they wait a reasonable amount of time after the completion of the retreat, before making a sales offer to retreat participants.
- Have a licensed psychotherapist on staff that has specific training in psychedelic integration and harm reduction.
- Provide a complimentary, ongoing integration program for retreatants to join after the retreat is over.
- Implements a social responsibility program, especially if the provider is offering a plant medicine that is sacred and integral to the cultural identity of indigenous peoples, like ayahuasca.
- Participates in international conferences in order to increase knowledge of key issues in the sector, and further cross-sector dialogue.
Retreat Center Complaints
As with any industry, the psychedelic industry also sees its fair share of scandal, drama, and gossip. Being a publisher, a fair amount of negative information makes its way to the EntheoNation news desk.
Due to global drug prohibition, even in countries where a psychedelic is not illegal, much of this information is difficult to verify, and many people reporting such information will not do so on record.
If safety and ethical concerns are noted by Lorna during the course of her retreat, Lorna will address these issues directly with retreat center management.
However, because she is external to the organization, Lorna has no ability to enforce structural changes, or verify whether her suggestions have been implemented.
Due to the environment of drug prohibition, psychedelic retreats are an unregulated industry. It remains up to the psychedelic community at large to self-enforce safety and ethics standards through communication and awareness campaigns – which are not legally enforceable and can be easily ignored by offending providers.
Because of these considerations, Lorna will attempt, to the best of her ability to identify the best candidate for a retreat provider, as well as factors that can impact one’s experience, regardless of her personal opinions about the venture.
At the end of the day, it is up to you, as the consumer, to do your due diligence to determine whether a provider feels safe and right for you.