Zach and Jess Poitra

About The Teacher

La Familia Ayahuasca offers small group (15 guest maximum) retreats in the area of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.  These retreats are 8 days/7 nights/ 4 ceremonies in length.

We recognize how important and "big" this work with Ayahuasca is.  We have been running retreats for the past seven years and through that experience we have found that small group retreats are an ideal setting for deep transformational work with the medicine.

Small groups allow us to provide a very high level of personal attention.  In addition, an intimate setting allows you direct access to us,  Zach and Jess, such that you can really get to know us on a personal level, ask questions about the medicine and the larger process of working with the medicine.

To take this concept even further, we want you to get to know us prior to you booking a retreat with us.  We want "all parties involved" to feel as comfortable as possible prior to booking your retreat.  Sure, this creates a few more steps in the booking process (an application and Zoom call with Zach & Jess), but again, through past experience, we have discovered that these extra steps are very much worthwhile.

Our Roots

La Familia Ayahuasca has its roots in Amazonian Mestizo Shamanism.  Initially, with the intention of doing deep personal work for an extended period of time, Zach moved to Genaro Herrera, Peru in 2010.  As a natural evolution of this personal work, Zach began studying the medicine with the Galindo family (Maestro Gumercindo Galindo and his father, Maestro Don Roldan Galindo).  The Galindo family was an extension of the lineage that began Maestro Don Julio Gerena Pinedo, who was a highly respected shaman throughout the area, and became well-known among Gringos as well after being featured prominently in the book Ayahuasca in My Blood, by Peter Goreman. 

Based on a dream his teacher had and visions Zach himself had during ceremony, Zach co-founded the La Familia Medicina retreat center with the Galindo family in 2011.  La Familia Medicina was in operation from 2011- mid 2014.

Our Initial Evolution

With the blessing of his teacher, Zach began serving the medicine “solo” in mid (contact info blocked). During this time, Zach continued to work intensely with Ayahuasca and other jungle trees and plants.  In addition, Zach began working with North American trees by applying the shamanic dieta protocol with trees such as Redwood, Sequoia, Oak, Juniper, Pando (Quaking Aspen), Cedar, Cyprus and the Bodhi tree.  It was through this work that Zach and his students came to appreciate how the shamanic dieta protocol could be used around the world to tap into the wisdom of plants and trees in every location, and that the wisdom of these plants and trees tended to be uniquely relevant for those living in their environments.

In 2015 Zach met Jess on a Redwood shamanic dieta retreat in Northern California.  From that retreat onward Jess immersed herself completely in the medicine.  Together, Zach and Jess not only worked intensely with plant medicines, but also dove deeply into the practices Buddhism. 

In late 2017 Lake Atitlan Guatemala began calling Zach and Jess through visions and synchronicity.  Prior to these experiences, Guatemala was not “on the radar”.

During the first visit to Lake Atitlan, Zach and Jess received a strong message that they were expanding beyond their traditional Peruvian Mestizo lineage.  While they deeply respect and will continue to honor their roots, they intend to skillfully let go of limitations and boundaries and explore approaches beyond the Amazonian container.  One might say, in a way, they have begun a new medicine journey. 

Our Current Revelation

 Truth is obvious.  Truth needs no defense nor argument.  Truth simply is.  It might be worth considering that resistance to Truth is the cause of suffering.

On May 15th, 2018 Zach realized a significant Truth.  It was time to step aside and encourage Jess to step forth as the spiritual leader of La Familia Ayahuasca.  

Zach simply realized that Jess had surpassed him on the great spiritual journey, it was time for the teacher to become the student.  

Many spiritual teachers have noted that it is time for the divine feminine to step forward, and be honored as the masculine has been overshadowing the feminine for much of the last 3,000+ years.  While Zach had heard this message and agreed with this message, it was not until this moment that he was ready to fully embrace it.   

Back in 2015, Zach “hooked Jess up” by introducing her to the plant medicines path and supporting her re-orientation on the larger spiritual journey.  Since that time, Jess has grown leaps and bounds, exceeding expectations and knocking the socks off of just about everyone in her presence.  Now it is time for Jess to “hook us all up” by sharing her medicine and expression of the divine feminine with myself and anyone who chooses to work with La Familia Ayahuasca.

Zach realized what a special being Jess is- she fully represents  and embodies the positive aspects of the divine feminine.  She is the loving and nurturing mother incarnate.  She understands and represents the divine feminine perspective that the divine is imbued in everyone and everything.  That the divine exists in the Universe as the Universe. 

Jess is now the “go to” person at La Familia Ayahuasca in regards to the spiritual direction of La Familia Ayahuasca.   

Zach, on retreats and in ceremony will take the role of the masculine- acting as protector and support.  Of course he will remain step up when necessary, particularly when our son Bodhi needs Jess’s attention, and at the same time he will defer to Jess.

A Note From Jess

Over the last several months, maybe even the last two years, there have been tips and hints that it was time to support and uplift the Divine Feminine.  After all, this is all she asks for— a canvas upon which to paint herself into bloom; a container in which the masculine is holding space for her dramatic unfoldment.  Even so, I was surprised by Zach’s recent revelation.  Surprised, humbled, and… exalted.  He surprised me with this in a letter… and as I read it, despite my initial shock, I realized how much this is what I had been longing and wishing for.  And I immediately felt in my bones that this was right.

Since our pregnancy and the birth of our son, Bodhi, my role in ceremony has shifted and evolved.  With the addition of this new role as the spiritual and ceremonial lead of La Familia Ayahuasca, I have no doubt that my relationship— and OUR relationship— with Ayahuasca will continue to shift and change in extraordinary ways.

Zach has blessed me first by giving me an introduction to the medicine more beautiful than anything I was even capable of imagining.  And Zach has continually blessed me in these last three years by supporting my studies and holding space for me to unmask myself, sometimes by trial and ordeal and other times by Grace.  

Let it be known that it is my intention to return the favor… and that I feel ready to do so.  Let me hold the space as we create, expand, dissolve boundaries, unfold and give birth to the next generation.  That is, after all, what the feminine does.

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My last retreat at SMC was so inspiring and so relaxing. But i'd love to have more time there to spend at the Stupa, visit the Kami shrine, and generally interact with the beautiful enlightened society happening on that entire land. Brett

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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