- Iquitos, Peru
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Phoenix Ayahuasca Retreat Centre is nestled in the beautiful Amazon rainforest. Located just 25km from the jungle city of Iquitos, Peru our center is a perfect blend of solitary jungle isolation with convenient access to a modern city.
The centre derives its name from the legendary Phoenix, the firebird that lives up to 500 years before dying in a nest of flames to be reborn from its own ashes.
The creators of Phoenix Ayahuasca, Mark and Tracie Thornberry, saw the parallels between the process experienced through ayahuasca ceremony and the legend of the firebird. Ayahuasca helps us to let go of the past and be reborn into our true nature, that of spiritual beings having a human experience.
The Phoenix is an Egyptian legend, but many countries have the same story. In Hindu the name is Garuda, in Persian Ankal or Simorgh, in Tibetan, Me Byi Karmo, Chinese, fenghuang and in Japanese, Ho-oh. In every culture it is associated with resurrection, regeneration, rebirth and immortality.
The Phoenix reminds us of the one constant in life: change.
“Ayahuasca helps us to let go of the past and be reborn into our true nature, that of spiritual beings having a human experience.”
At Phoenix Ayahuasca our focus is on offering a safe and supportive place to experience plant medicines and explore the true nature of the self. The safety of women is a priority. Ayahuasca is a purgative that removes spiritual and emotional blockages. It is extremely beneficial for people who have suffered emotional trauma through war or abuse. It is also a useful tool for spiritual seekers.
ReviewsWrite a review - tell others about your experience.
Sara Neault January 11, 2016
I visited phoenix a year ago. It was my first time taking the medicine. Tracie greeted me at the airport and I rode with her and her adorable dog in a motor car. In her lap was a cake that she was bringing one of the guests for his birthday. We turned off the road into the jungle, and it felt like a Disney adventure ride. We were stuck in the mud, and behind us were a few small village children running up to help push the vehicle. Tracie handed them some soles, and we arrived to the spot. The site was like being in paradise. The weather was an amazing escape from the cold winter back home. There was a lake to swim, a steam room, a nice deck to relax, hammocks, and friendly staff. We were able to hang out and drink tea and meet new people from all over the world. All around us were beautiful butterflies, and I even saw fire flies for the first time. The staff are incredibly friendly. We were shown around for a jungle walk, where my group saw many of the different medicinal plants. We crossed the water with bamboo sticks. One of the girls became dizzy, and two of the men brought her back a piece of pineapple they cut from the land. I felt connected to them, and would love to go back some day. One of the best things about this retreat was the integration. Every session was followed by discussion the following day, which is important in understanding the translation of the visions. In addition, I have been given wonderful advice after I arrived back home. Tracie has taken the time to respond to any concerns regarding the medicine. Also, I went back Peru for another retreat and ran into Tracie. At a hotel, I was trying to find a taxi, and she helped me find one, even though I was not her guest during that time. I trust Tracie and her brother. They are doing honest work, and they show they care about their guests.
Rhianna Shayne Michele January 01, 2016
My experience at Phoenix was truly life changing, and I have deep gratitude for the Centre and its staff, the Shamans and in particular Tracie and Mark the owners. I had spent around two years researching Ayahuasca and was finally able to make the trip to Peru. During my search for a retreat, I came across many in Iquitos but when I saw Phoenix come up I felt drawn to it. I could sense the feminine, nurturing energy and was very happy when I found out there was a female Shaman – Celia. I got in touch with Tracie and she answered all my questions, and with some strong recommendations from fellow travellers, I booked myself in for the 10 day retreat. Tracie came and collected me from the airport, and I immediately felt at ease. On the journey back to Phoenix she took the time to learn about me, understand what I had come for and what I wanted to achieve, and just generally alleviated my quite significant anxiety with her calming presence. When we arrived at the centre I felt at home, I knew this was where I was supposed to be! Tracie showed me to my room and then introduced me to my fellow attendees and the staff. The centre itself is stunning. The main house area has everything you need – a hammock, couches, a FANTASTIC library, kitchen, as well as a great little deck to chill on - there is a lovely little swimming hole, and the maloca itself is beautiful and comfortable. The accommodation was better than I expected for the jungle, the rooms are spacious with good privacy. The food was great and fresh, again much better than I expected. When I arrived I did a tobacco purge, which is the first cleanse you do. It’s bloody horrible! But I certainly felt cleansed afterwards – I believe it helps prepare your body to work with the plants. I can’t remember what order other things came in, but there were a couple of rounds of Sapo – the frog poison treatment. This was incredibly unpleasant for around 15 minutes, which Mark told me it would be. Liquid coming out both ends – all bile – supposed to boost immunity and has a host of other benefits. I was sceptical at the time, but 18 months on and I have not been sick once – I have not even had a head cold and I constantly bang on to people around me about Sapo being the reason for this. It’s totally worth it! I did 4 Ayahuasca ceremonies and 1 San Pedro. I won’t go into details of my personal ayahuasca experience as everyone’s is different. But I did have a very frightening experience with Aya on my first time. I was terrified, and already went into the ceremony with huge anxiety about it. There were two Shamans in the ceremonies during my retreat – Celia and Don Daniel. Their singing of the icaros throughout the ceremony was incredible – I think having both the feminine and masculine energies was really powerful. I was really, really struggling in that first ceremony, and towards the end Don Daniel came and sat at the front of my mat and sang me an icaro. I instantly returned to my body/awareness, it was like I suddenly ‘snapped out of it’ – out of the horrendous place I was in. Celia then joined Daniel and sang with him. It was incredible – the energy and space the Shamans hold is so powerful, I felt incredibly safe and comforted during my difficult personal experience with Aya. After that first ceremony had finished Tracie came to make sure I was ok, as I was the only ‘newbie’ in ceremony. She helped ground me which I really needed. A cup of tea, a chat, and a big hug from the dogs was exactly what I needed at that point in time so we went into the main house. It’s really a homely, caring space – Tracie is such a warm, nurturing mother figure and just has this incredible calming energy. Others preferred to process their experience on their own and in silence, and they were welcome to stay in the maloca or be escorted back to their room. The day after each ceremony there is a circle share/debrief with the Shamans to discuss and process the experience from the night before. I found this really helpful in helping me understand some of the difficulties that Aya brought up for me, and to alleviate my anxiety about going into the upcoming ceremonies. Ahh there’s too much to write – I’m in the process of writing a more in-depth blog about my experience but suffice to say that Phoenix changed my life and I am forever grateful. I continued travelling for months after my retreat and recommended it to everyone along the way. I know of at least 3 people that actually went and did retreats with Phoenix on my recommendation – and loved it. My sister also went recently and had a similarly incredible experience. I’m planning on visiting again this year, it’s purely a matter of money and time off work, but I will be back!
Nathan Chardon January 01, 2016
If you want a wonderful, peaceful and loving atmosphere in a Peruvian jungle setting to explore some of the most beautiful and powerful plant medicines nature provides then Phoenix Ayahuasca is the place. I attended Phoenix Ayahuasca for it's ten day retreat in August 2015 having had Ayahuasca as a plant medicine recommended to me by a good friend. From a Google search two weeks before my intended travel dates Phoenix came up and from the moment Tracie replied to my enquiry I felt welcomed and in good hands. This would be my first trip to Peru and a much needed couple of weeks peace from the kids. Before I had even arrived in Peru, Tracie had asked the name of the hotel I would be staying in at Iquitos so that she could organise transport to the retreat. Sure enough at the exact time specified my driver arrived to my hotel and I jumped in the motor-taxi for the 40 minute drive to the retreat. The ride was a blast, with wind in my hair and jungle smells I arrived to Phoenix Ayahuasca to be greeted by Tracie and her brother Mark Thornberry who run the center along with their local Shipibo staff, introductions were made and I sat down with Tracie to have a talk over a cup of tea. I instantly felt at home. Tracie is an old loving soul, a person you feel you can talk about anything with, who doesn't judge and doesn't make conclusions she helped me throughout my stay work through problems by leading me to my own conclusions. From the moment I arrived I knew I was in safe hands, Mark was a great down to earth Aussie guy, a man who had seen the world and had lived and survived, someone I knew I could learn a great deal from, someone who had traversed the hard path before me. Over the course of ten days I took part in a tobacco purge, San Pedro ceremony, four Ayahuasca ceremonies and Sapo (frog venom). I never once felt unsafe, uncared for or in the wrong hands, all ceremonies were conducted with a local shaman with Mark and Tracie assisting as needed. The medicine that Phoenix Ayahuasca provides is incredibly powerful. For me Ayahuasca took me to some incredibly wierd, wonderful and at times frightening and euphoric places, I saw things I cannot describe and understood things I should not know and should not understand. If it wasn't for the great team at Phoenix Ayahuasca, Celia the Shamana, Tracie and Mark who helped me work through all that I saw and felt every day in our post ceremony briefings I might truly be lost, I loved these briefings it was a chance to process and chat about my experiences whilst hearing the experiences of the other retreaters. I give Tracie, Mark and Celia all credit for changing my life around and giving me an experience I will never forget I left Phoenix Ayahuasca with such love in my heart and I yearn to return every day. I will be back and I have made plans within the next year or two to return. As far as the basics go, food was great! Fresh fruits and vegetables and it was great to sit down of a night and just share experiences with the other retreaters. I loved my jungle hut room, the rain when it fell on the roof and I had a good book in hand. And Mark and Tracie's local staff were lovely and you knew they had great respect for everything Mark and Tracie had done for them when they referred to Tracie as "mama Tracie", I thought it was such a mark of respect. For me Phoenix Ayahuasca was a family, a place I was welcomed into from the start, the medicine was powerful and worked, the support during the ceremony and both before and after I couldn't have asked for anything better, there was always a number of staff on hand to help you to the toilet or your bunk at the conclusion of a ceremony. Sitting at home post the New Years celebrations, four months after my Peruvian trip, I am filled with nostalgia, Phoenix Ayahuasca has had such a loving and positive impact on my life, I have made friends for life and I have found the center I will be returning to from now on. I only wish I could jump on the plane and attend the next ceremony that starts in ten days.
Al Amojo December 24, 2015
A couple of years ago, I and some friends dropped in to Phoenix Ayahuasca after meeting with Tracie in Iquitos. At first she seemed nice, but after getting to their relatively nice center I with others started to get creeped out; especially after the first ceremony. Fortunately, I have experienced good ceremonies and well run centers... so I knew the difference. Owners Mark and Tracie came across as very "know it all" and I was further concerned about how they would sit around on the center's deck and talk trash about other guests and former attendees; very unprofessional. Tracie really got on my nerves in her approach to "de-brief" ceremony attendees at the end of ceremony while they were still highly under the influence of the medicine. She would "fish" for personal and private background. Mark was busy hitting on the young girls which I found disgusting dirty old man stuff. Yuck! Mark was trying to come across as a "shaman" and to me it was clear he was on some kind of ego-trip. My skin would crawl as he sang. BTW. while there, Tracie administered San Pedro to two guests and immediately took of to Iquitos to go shopping, leaving these two totally inexperienced men who never had done San Pedro before totally on their own; completely unsupervised One of them wondered off into the jungle and got lost. He didn't freak and finally made it back some hours later.