Matthew Mormello

Matthew Mormello, our founder and director, got involved with plant medicine in 2010. He acts as our ayahuasca guide.

Ever since Matt was introduced to ayahuasca through an episode on National Geographic, he was immediately drawn to the sacred medicine. He told himself, “This is it, this is what i have to do.” But first, his path led him to the world of ibogaine, which he was treated with in 2011 on HBO’s VICE TV. After his treatment, he stayed involved by learning the spiritual aspects of Bwiti, which uses iboga as a sacrament, and participated in ceremonies until 2013, when he came to Costa Rica and began working more intimately with iboga at a treatment facility.

At the same time he arrived in Costa Rica, Matt started getting involved with ayahuasca. Over the following 2 years, he participated in many ceremonies, traveled to Peru, eagerly consuming any information he could find or be taught about the sacred medicine ayahuasca. Now he has participated in hundreds of ceremonies and has evolved in his own rite as a ceremonial facilitator. His presence during ceremony is strong and grounding, and his Icaros and unique way of playing a Tibetan signing bowl help guide the participants’ experience.

Matt would never call himself a Shaman, as he feels he has much more to learn and his whole life to discover more about ayahuasca and theceremonies surrounding its use; he would refer to himself as an ayahuasca guide . Matt’s intentions and passion in his work are unparalleled. When researching ayahuasca, there are many warnings about false ayahuasca shamans and scams. While Matt may not be a Shaman (yet) there is no question of his integrity and his sincerity in his mission to help others.

 Matt performs rituals for protection and cleansing prior to ayahuasca consumption and contributes to the live music performed during ceremony.  New Life Ayahuasca limits spacing for ayahuasca retreats to 6 so that Matt is able to give each person the individualized attention they deserve during such a profound experience.

Read more about Matt’s story…

Tags: ayahausca iboga ibogaine icaros

  Write a review - tell others about your experience.

  • Misha   July 28, 2017


    I live in Japan and decided to make a trip out to Costa Rica to try ayahuasca. Mainly out of curiosity, and some personal-development issues I wanted to work on. This was my first ayahuasca experience. I'm very grateful to Matt who acted as our guide, drank with us, and made the experience totally awesome. Everything I read beforehand pointed to the importance of putting yourself in a great environment (especially the first time) and with a shaman or guide that you can trust, and I truly felt this was the right choice. I was super happy with the experience at New Life. I can personally vouch for both Matt and Jeanea who run it — they are wonderful people and have a beautiful, secluded retreat. You're surrounded with a small group of like-minded people so it's intimate, but you don't have to socialize the whole time and can enjoy a lot of quiet/personal space. Also, there is a badass swimming pool and some of the best cooking I have ever had. Honestly, I would pay to stay at their place even if they didn’t have ayahuasca — it’s that good. A little bit more about the actual trip: Taking ayahuasca isn’t some tourist attraction like seeing the Eiffel Tower or visiting the petting zoo— this is the real deal. It isn’t even like a fun mushroom trip. It’s a lot more difficult than that, but it can be very eye-opening. I definitely recommend having an "intention" or point of focus for each ceremony is so you can maintain a sense of purpose. Ayahuasca will transport your mind to a whole different dimension, make you think you’re a tree frog, and kill your ego 1000 times over. It will crush you and bring you back to life. Really, it will put you through the gauntlet, but it's well worth it. I'm excited to see how my life unravels over the next few months after my experience, and I can't wait to make another trip out in a year from now! :)

  • Jason Reid   May 16, 2017

      He pours his heart and soul into this

    I write this review with the utmost amazement, gratitude, and love in my heart for Jennae, Matt, and their two helpers Jake and Andy. What you do for others, and for yourselves, has moved me to tears many times since meeting you at New Life Ayahuasca. I am eternally grateful to each of you for making my experience unforgettable. Like most first-timers, I was nervous yet excited to drink Ayahuasca. I had been battling severe anxiety and hypochondria for months, and I was no longer OK with having my day run by such viruses of the mind. I had done enough psychedelics in the past, as well as research, and felt as though I experienced a gravitational pull to Ayahuasca during the several months leading up to my arrival at New Life. By my side for this adventure, like many other adventures, was my (now fiance who I proposed to at the retreat) Kat. I felt ready. We all later joked about how fairly easy it was to spot the others in the group at the airport based on clothing, mannerisms, and reading material. Once we met, the conversation flowed. I think we were all surprised with how open and transparent everyone was about why they had chosen to travel to Costa Rica to drink the mother’s milk. I couldn’t have been happier with the character, humor, sincerity, intelligence, and introspectiveness that prevailed throughout the group. When we all arrived at the actual property, we were all completely awestruck. Jennae and Matt gave us a tour around the house that sits atop a hill overlooking the mountains and ocean. It was absolutely stunning. Everything about the house was comfortable. The actual ceremony was beautiful, and the amount of care, attention to detail, passion, and love that went into it was incredible. We couldn’t say enough about Matt, the leader (or chaman) of the ceremony. He puts his heart and soul into each session, and how exhausted and spent he appeared each night was a testament to that effort. His singing was other-worldly, his guitar-playing inspirational, and his presence was very comforting. Throughout the week, we ate like royalty. The food, compliments of Andy, was gangbusters! Absolutely top-notch! Kat and I stuck strictly to the diet (la dieta) for 10 days prior to our trip, and didn’t cook nearly as well as Andy did for us. It made the experience even more enjoyable. We had access to the humungous pool, a yoga gym, a wealth of reading material, the most entertaining cats, WIFI, and plenty of land to traverse and explore. They even took us to a gorgeous beach the day after our first ceremony. Kambo (the poison from a tree frog) was another experience that was offered to us. It is a very intense yet rewarding ceremony during which Jennae administers a small amount of the neurotoxin to your left arm. A few seconds later and the effects begin. It is a challenging experience but highly worth it, as it is common to feel a higher level of mental clarity, less inflammation, and happier overall. During the kambo ceremony, Jennae is very informative, caring, and as calming as she is during the Ayahuasca ceremony. Overall, my experience was 10 / 10. Jennae and Matt run a very professional and comfortable retreat that I would recommend to anyone. Drinking Ayahuasca can be hard work, and for me, having Jennae, Jake, and Andy as caretakers (for when you can’t find your bucket in the dark haha), and Matt, who was like a real-life Gandalf guiding us through the spirit world, made this experience unforgettable. This life we live is an adventure, and drinking Ayahuasca at New Life just amplified it for me. If I was to drink Ayahuasca again, I wouldn’t think twice about returning to New Life.

  • Lucky Rogers   April 27, 2017


    Where do I start ? What an amazing experience, would have never thought I could find such peace in my heart as I did at New Life. Matt and Jeanae are the best of host and combined with the perfect location make for an amazing visit. My visions of peace and happiness will live in my heart and soul for the rest of my life. I urge you find yourself by finding New Life Ayauasca

  • Karolee Kearns Schloth   March 07, 2017

      Powerful Healer

    Matt has super powerful shamanic abilities. I am forever changed. Thank you for the upliftment and support.

  • Sara Zahava Thornton   January 12, 2017

      His intuitive approach!

    Matt may not have been in isolation in an Amazonian jungle for months on end to be deemed a "shaman" but I assure you he is the closest thing! I am still in awe of his dedication, his musical talent and his overall intuitive approach with Ayahuasca. He has undergone extensive training and has experience with the plant medicine that is obvious before the ceremony begins. It's as though he has found his help those heal themselves. I spent one week with him at New Life Ayahuasca and will most definitely go back!

  • Jason Peck   November 26, 2016

      This Guy's a Saint

    Matt is an amazing person, no doubt about it. As a guide he puts his all into ceremonies and creates an atmosphere like none I've ever experienced before. He creates a comfortable environment that's compassionate yet not overbearing at all, and really radiates as a person in general. He makes the safety and comfort of guests a priority which takes a great deal of anxiety out of the process. The atmosphere is extremely friendly and open during the entire stay. During the ceremonies he performs with everything he has and it truly is a legendary experience. Words can't describe what this man puts into his work, and I'm truly grateful that he is around to help people it really seems to be his calling in life. And in the rare event that a huge moth flies into ceremony, it's nice to know that he has your back.

  • Jesse Dykhuis   October 17, 2016

      Matt is amazing!

    My wife and I recently traveled to Costa Rica for a 5 day retreat at New Life Ayahuasca. Matt is the guide and one of the owners there. Matt has an amazing ability to be present with the participants without affecting their own experiences. He was available to process throughout the retreat and has a very warm and knowledgeable demeanor. The ceremony is so beautiful and intense - it is central to the experience. I can't imagine participating in Ayahuasca with a different guide. We were inspired by his personal story and will be unpacking the personal growth we experienced in his care for a lifetime!

  • Laura Kay   September 10, 2016

      Courage and Compassion

    Matt is a wonderful, compassionate and courageous facilitator/guide/healer - his ayahuasca ceremonies are incredibly therapeutic. Matt's down-to-earth sensibilities provides a feeling of safety, nurturing, privacy and confidence. Matt's authenticity shines through - it's obvious he is doing is life's work with passion. I've been to Matt for four ayahuasca ceremonies (over the course of two separate retreats) and I will be back in the future. Grateful.

  • Gail Bradbrook   September 10, 2016

      A wonderful person and gifted shaman

    Matt will be cringing that I called him a shaman. Because he is a humble person and doesn't want or need a title. That was my feeling in his presence during ceremony. His icaros were beautiful and his tireless service a gift I felt such deep gratitude for. The humility is a gift too because it brings presence, alertness and keeps you safe. He is also an honest and sincere person.

  • David Landes   September 10, 2016

      Gifted and compassionate

    I can't show enough gratitude for the guidance and wisdom that Matt provided me with on my journey. He is truly a gifted plant healer and I dont think I could have experienced the incredible breakthroughs I did without his spiritual guidance and protection. My appreciation for Matt, and the quality of his medicine, has only been amplified now that I have experienced aya journeys in different places with different people. Thank you Matt! Your gift and dedication to helping others is inspiring.


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