About This Center
WE ARE OUR OWN HEALERS
Awaken Your Soul was born from a magnetic pull to spread the healing of this sacred medicine. Our work with medicinal plants, specifically Iboga, as well as multiple other healing modalities, helped us save our own lives on many levels. We have uncovered our undeniable beauty, personal awareness, and truths within the human condition that we feel committed to sharing. This is part of our life’s work
Iboga is an incredibly powerful tool for healing all aspects of our lives. It is more powerful than we can sometimes even believe. One week with the Iboga medicine can truly begin to transform a person. We see this over and over and over again.
It is our mission to impact change in the world by holding an impeccable space. In this space, people can connect to their own innate power and begin to create the life they deserve. We are all our own healers, our role is to create a safe container for the journey within.
Awaken Your Soul retreats offer a warm and nurturing approach for those seeking clarity from the medicine, helping them feel safe and comfortable to explore their deepest truths. These retreats are not a “vacation” but rather a departure from an old, stale and often uncomfortable way of being.
This time offers our guests the opportunity to experience an elevated state of consciousness combined with healing foods, breathwork, art therapy, yoga, meditation and an open and safe environment for people to feel greatly supported to explore themselves in the deepest way possible.
We hold immense love and gratitude for this medicine and for the people we work with who seek a higher truth within!
WHAT IS IBOGA?
Iboga is a small shrub growing wild throughout Gabon and Cameroon, Tabernanthe Iboga typically grows to a height of seven feet. Under optimum conditions, the plant can mature into a small tree up to 30 feet tall. With vibrant green leaves, this tree produces clusters of tiny white and yellow flowers and orange-colored, oval-shaped Iboga fruit.
But its roots are what best define its spirit. Iboga root bark contains alkaloids which are scraped, powdered and ingested, containing entheogenic properties which have been used for spiritual study for centuries—beginning with the Pygmy and Bwiti cultures of Africa, and, most recently, to help heal an ailing Western world.
The forest people, or Pygmies, of Central-West Africa are said to have first brought the knowledge of this plant to others. These oral teachings were eventually shaped into the practice and culture of the Bwiti—a spiritual tradition founded on the usage and teachings of Iboga. For hundreds of years, the Bwiti have used Iboga in healing ceremonies and spiritual rituals for self-discovery, personal development, physical healing, and to master the art of living.
In Gabon, Iboga is regarded as sacred, at times referred to as the ‘holy wood.’ At the pillar of each tribe or community is a chief shaman, who is responsible for leading medicine ceremonies of initiation and healing.
Awaken Your Soul Founder Anthony Esposito has been trained and initiated by a 10th-generation Gabonese Bwiti shaman who was also the first African to bring the full Iboga root to the Western hemisphere.
PROVIDERS AND FACILITATORS
Anthony Esposito ~ Lead Iboga Provider
In early 2013, the Spirit of Iboga called Anthony to heal the root causes of his depression, anxiety, addictions, and PTSD from sexual trauma. His experience was so powerful and profound that it became immediately clear he would serve the sacred medicine and spread the teachings of the Bwiti tradition.
Just weeks after his initial life-changing ceremony, Anthony returned to Costa Rican and began working with the medicine both on a personal level and in a training capacity under a 10th generation Bwiti shaman. In December of 2013, he traveled to Gabon, Africa, and completed a Full Initiation into the Bwiti tradition. In July of 2015, he returned to Gabon and underwent a Rites of Passage, a journey the Bwiti use as a passageway from childhood to adulthood.
Through his dedication to finding peace within himself, and by facing his own truth, Anthony has unveiled his innate ability to help others access their own healing power. He maintains deep gratitude for all of his experiences—the challenging and the beautiful—which have shaped his path and led him to harness his mind and connect to his heart, passion, and purpose.
He has developed a deep relationship with the Spirit of Iboga, and has extensive experience leading ceremonies, serving the medicine, guiding the guests on explorations of spiritual self-discovery, and assisting them through the transformations that follow.
Today, Anthony spends his time between Costa Rica and Austin, Texas with his wife Amber (known as the chief of the village). Anthony’s deep connections to Self, and to the Spirit of Iboga, allow him to guide others through sacred ceremony and through the integration of these teachings.
Amber Antonelli ~ Provider Apprentice & Chief of the Village
Life for Amber as a young child was simple and relatively calm. Though her parents split at the age of 4, they remained close in both business and the parenting partnership. Early adolescence brought a wave of trauma and disconnection and by high school, she was into full-blown drug and alcohol abuse. Gratefully most of this was experimental and addiction never set in. However Amber felt ill at ease much of the time, always searching outside herself for answers.
In 2007 Amber and Anthony met and fell in love immediately. After a few years of very challenging and codependent ups and downs, she found her spiritual path quite by “accident” when Anthony was seeking relief from depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Initially, it was their work with Ayahuasca that began to open Amber’s heart and her mind and began to ease the feelings of disconnection that had plagued much of her life. One of the first and most profound shifts was in the approach to her vocation.
Since childhood Amber had a passion for cooking which grew quickly into a lifelong career. In 2011, after returning from months of deep personal work in Peru, Amber created her conscious culinary business, The Naked Bite, cultivating a connection with food in a whole new way. She began to channel her teachings from this higher consciousness into her passion for healing foods, educating others to shift their approach their body, mind, spirit.
Amber’s immense internal shifts had begun, but it wasn’t until a few years later through her work with Iboga, that some of the deepest teachings fell into place. Amber connected to the Iboga medicine easily and has since healed on many levels through the infinite wisdom of this powerful teacher plant. Coupled with many other healing modalities and her own connection to her highest wisdom, Amber has found a deep power within.
Working with Iboga has heightened Amber’s already strong intuition to best serve those during this aspect of their healing path. She believes strongly in a holistic approach to the journey within. She draws from her own personal process as well as training in multiple methodologies to innovate the most compassionate, loving and mindful container for Awaken Your Soul guests to do some of the deepest work of their lives.
Amber traveled to Gabon in November 2018 for her “official” initiation into the Bwiti tradition.
Raven Marie ~ Facilitator, Reiki Master & Retreat Manager
At the age of 29 Raven found herself feeling the weight of years of unresolved past wounds, verbal abuse, sexual trauma and deep-rooted feelings of abandonment. At the time she worked as a bottle server in the Miami nightlife scene. She was also dabbling with coke, drinking excessively and feeling as if her life was going nowhere fast. She struggled with anxiety, depression and sadness.
During this time Raven received a visit from a benevolent being showing her as a ball of light and being surrounded by other light beings blessing her on her journey. This encounter was a turning point for her, the desire to free herself from years of pain was ignited.
Raven then quit her job with a trail of financial debt hanging on her sleeve. She gave up her apartment and car and moved in with her best friend throwing herself into day-long meditations and seclusion. Ironically she was then hired to manage a restaurant and lounge in Dubai and although the opportunity was incredibly expansive, Raven very quickly after the move realized it was not the right fit.
Back in Miami Raven was led to the natural healing modality of Reiki. Her study of Reiki became the bridge between her own personal trauma and deep healing. For three years she rode a rollercoaster of extreme highs and profound lows experiencing a stint of homelessness, emotional upheavals, repairing the relationship with her father and the relationship with herself most importantly. She found solace in being in service through Reiki to Cancer patients, children, animals, friends and family.
Raven was then led to Costa Rica and began working with retreat centers and providing consulting and support to local wellness programs. This is where she encountered Iboga for the first time. This would become the redefining moment of who she was and how she would walk through life from that moment forward.
Working with Iboga granted her the opportunity to heal trauma throughout her ancestral lineage, as well as heal the deepest layers of her sexual trauma. She was freed from many things and in turn felt the love of Iboga so deeply that she will follow the call to Africa this November to be initiated into the medicine.
Raven is a Reiki Master, Advanced Belief Clearing Practitioner, and a Holistic Stress Management and Ho’oponopono instructor. Using her own life experiences and lessons learned along the way she uses the gift of storytelling and these multiple modalities to inspire others to live with passion, to take risks, be unafraid to make mistakes and to recognize that pain can be transcended into power and love.
Each Iboga ceremony starts around a fire, this is an important part of honoring sacred Bwiti tradition.
The fire was the first portal the Bwiti discovered into the spirit world. A great protector, the fire illuminates the ceremony space, its smoke serving as a runway for the spirits to enter and assist. The fire burns away what no longer serves us.
During the fireside talk, foundational Bwiti teachings are shared as well as shamanic teachings to set a stage of introspection.
The talks impart vital wisdom, that we can use in our everyday lives. Learning about who we are, that life is a gift, connecting to our soul, overriding the ego, empowering ourselves, finding inner peace, and learning how to release our past are some of the powerful topics.
The timing of the fireside ceremony is crucial. Guests will enter ceremony with these teachings at the forefront of their awareness, just before taking the medicine By the fire, our facilitators will also discuss the effects of the medicine and share our own healing experiences.
Retreats are held over 7 nights/8 days (cost includes including airport transfer).
Committing to this type of work is an investment in you. This is a life-changing and transformative process that is an illumination of the body, mind, and soul. Most people note a very defined “before and after” turning point in their lives.
Our groups are very intimate with 6-8 guests per retreat, thus giving us more time to support your individual process. You are your own healer, we simply help guide you into the depths of your own truth. The medicine is a profound teacher and we are committed to assisting each guest to understand their own unique teachings.
Our holistic approach offers many supportive elements in complement to the medicine throughout the week:
- Organic Vegetable-Driven Food (some eggs, fish from our pond and chicken served)
- 2 group integration circles
- Individual preparation sessions
- Integration support during retreat
- Access to post-retreat integration monthly group calls
- Optional Microdosing in between ceremonies
- Wholistic Breathwork
- Art Therapy
- Gentle Yoga
- Reiki (5-10 min sessions included, deeper 1 hour sessions available for additional fee)
- Relaxing & Deep Tissue Massages (additional fee)
- Dry needling- similar to acupuncture (additional fee)
Weekly Retreat Outline
Day 1 – Arrival and Welcoming Ceremony
Day 2 – Yoga, One-on-one preparation session, Bwiti Fire Ceremony & Iboga Journey
Day 3 – Rest, relaxation, introspection & processing the ceremony
Day 4 – Meditation, Breathwork, Spiritual Shower, Integration
Day 5 – Nature outing, Bwiti Fire Ceremony & Iboga Journey
Day 6 – Rest, relaxation, introspection & processing the ceremony
Day 7 – Yoga, Art Therapy, Integration
Day 8 – Departure
You can’t fear yourself with Iboga. It won’t let you. Because this medicine is where fear goes to die. Courage will give you the strength to face it, but it’s Anthony’s knowledge and Amber’s guidance and support that will give you the tools to defeat it. I trusted them with my life to get me to where I couldn’t get to by myself. Anthony and Amber’s intentions were for me, and me alone on this journey of rediscovery. From the profoundly safe and intimate space where I laid helplessly in their care, to Anthony’s insightful wisdom that navigated the dimensions of my mind, body, and soul. This medicine helped me reclaim who I am, and what I deserve to become. I can honestly say, the experience changed my life. Let it change yours.
Venue HighlightsOur tranquil property and private lagoon will make you feel immediately relaxed.
AccommodationsThere are a number of different room accommodations/options, both private and shared.
- Free Parking
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
Menu/CuisineThe food is plant-forward and consciously prepared.
ReviewsWrite a review - tell others about your experience.
Lindsey April 02, 2019
Anthony, Amber and Raven create a warm, safe environment that helped me re-connect with my emotions and myself. Going into this journey, I was nervous and very new to plant medicine. Through the pre-work and ongoing conversations, I let my guard down and be vulnerable. The journey help me get in touch with my emotions and I feel like I reset my view on life. I'm excited about my future and feel so grateful to have worked with them. Every guest got something different from the retreat and I can't wait to go back. It was a tough but powerful week.