“Dancing With the Heart of the World” is an intensive journey to the heart of the Amazon rainforest, ancestral territory of our Achuar and Sápara indigenous partners. This is the fifth experience co-led by Pachamama Journeys director, David Tucker, and School of Movement Medicine founders, Ya’Acov and Susannah Darling Khan, and continues their tradition of powerful Amazonian immersions. This journey is appropriate for those ready to participate in a strong integration of shamanic, movement and creative processes involving both personal and group work, meaningful engagement with the indigenous people and with the spirit of the forest. We go as allies, not as tourists. This journey is for those who have both experience with inner personal work and a commitment to being part of the solution in these critical times.
Ya’Acov Darling Khan
From a young age, Ya’Acov has been drawn to the down-to-earth connection with the spirit world that shamanism invites. More about Ya’Acov
Susannah Darling Khan
Susannah Darling Khan is a dancer, singer, writer and teacher whose integration of physical, emotional and conceptual awareness creates a fertile field of possibility. More about Susannah
As Program Director of Pachamama Journeys, David has been facilitating Journeys for over 15 years.
More about David
Day 1: Orientation, Movement Symposium, Descend Andes to gateway of Rainforest
Wednesday, January 3
Group meets at Zaysant Ecolodge at 10am for a welcome, orientation circle and an integrated Movement Medicine ‘Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream’ Symposium. This will create the proper context for our journey and support us to fully arrive in our bodies and in Ecuador. After lunch, we’ll make the descent in our chartered bus down the Avenue of the Volcanoes and waterfall-laden Pastaza river valley to the edge of the Amazon rainforest. Staying at the charming hosteria El Jardin outside of Puyo, we’ll have a briefing for entering the rainforest and dinner followed by a drumming and dreaming circle before sleep.
Day 2: Fly Over Pristine Rainforest to Achuar Territory, Arrive in Village of Sharamentsa
Thursday, January 4
Head to nearby airport for a 45 minute flight over the forest to the Achuar community of Sharamentsa where we’ll stay for the next three days in the community lodge constructed in ancestral Achuar design and ideally situated on the banks of the Pastaza River. We’ll have the opportunity to learn about this unique Achuar village and get situated in our accommodations. Evening Movement Medicine session and conversation by the fire.
Day 3: Dream Sharing Ritual, Hike to Waterfall, Kayak, Forest Meditation, Ceremony
Friday, January 5
Early morning dream sharing ritual over Guayusa tea. Set out on a hike with our Achuar guide to learn about the extensive flora and fauna of this pristine rainforest. Witness how the Achuar live in an interconnected way with their environment, including the use of medicinal plants, natural building materials and small-scale, sustainable farming. We’ll visit a sacred waterfall and learn about the Achuar cosmo-vision and spiritual practices. Here we will enjoy some quiet and contemplative time to connect with the forest and ourselves, taking in the innumerable forms of life all around us. Gentle Movement Medicine session, followed by an evening shamanic ceremony.
Day 4: Open Space, Group Sharing, Community Visit, Raft/Swim, Cultural Exchange, Traditional Feast
Saturday, January 6
Time for rest in the hammocks, journaling, reflection, etc. After a siesta, we’ll have a movement session and then have the chance to float on balsa rafts, taking in the magnificence of the rainforest from the water. In the evening we’ll exchange songs, chants and dances (bring small instruments, songs and dances for sharing) and enjoy an Achuar feast with locally grown foods.
Day 5: Artisan Market, Boat Trip on River, Arrival in Village. Ceremony with Elder
Sunday, January 7
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll prepare our belongings and return to the community to say our farewells and be treated to a beautiful display of Achuar hand-made artisan items (available for purchase in support of the culture and community). We’ll then continue to the river and embark on a 4-hour relaxing boat journey down the Bobanaza and up the mighty Pastaza, taking in the magnificence of the forest from the water. We’ll arrive in the Achuar community of Wachirpas, where we’ll stay the night in the family compound of an Achuar elder shaman, with breathtaking views overlooking the Pastaza river. Set up our rustic camp. That evening the elder will invite us to participate in an ancient ceremony he has been conducting for over 50 years.
Day 6: Morning in Village, Canoe to Kapawi Lodge, Rest/Reflect, Forest Hike, Swim/Kayak
Monday, January 8
Morning sharing with elder and his family. Continue by canoe up the Pastaza to the mouth of the Capahuari River where the highly acclaimed Achuar owned and operated Kapawi ecolodge is situated. Time for rest in the hammocks, journaling and reflection in the peaceful environment. In the afternoon, we’ll head out on a hike to learn about the medicinal plants and traditional uses of the forest with our Achuar guides, and then descend the Capahuari River in kayaks, dugout canoes or simply swimming with the current in the refreshing water. Evening sharing circle.
Day 7: Movement Session, Open Space, Kapok Tree, Waterfall Purification, Ritual
Tuesday, January 9
Morning bird and animal watching followed by breakfast. Movement Medicine session then some free time at Kapawi. In the afternoon, we’ll head up the Capahuari river to the Achuar community of Wayusentsa, visiting a massive Kapok tree, and learning about Achuar spiritual traditions, en route. An Achuar elder uwishin (healer) will greet us at the community and take us to a sacred waterfall for a purification ceremony before inviting us to participate in an ancient ritual that evening.
Day 8: Community Interactions, Integration Time at Kapawi, Movement Session
Wednesday, January 10
Time in community before breakfast and sharing with elder about the prior evening’s ceremony. Return to Kapawi Lodge for some quiet and contemplative time in the comfortable environment. There will be ample free time for journaling, swimming, fishing, solo nature walks, etc. In the evening we’ll have an integration circle and Movement Medicine session.
Day 9: Bird/Animal Watching on River. Fly to Sápara territory. Welcome, Purification, Orientation, Swim in River
Thursday, January 11
Early morning bird and animal watching on river. After breakfast, we’ll head to local village and fly to a different part of the pristine rainforest where the Sápara people live. The community of Llanchamacocha will welcome us with smiles and embraces. They will then provide a purification ceremony with each of us to be open and available to fully receiving the energy, gifts and magic of the forest. After an introduction and orientation to the Naku project aimed at creating a viable alternative to oil exploitation, we’ll take a refreshing swim in the river, settle into our newly designed encampment and enjoy the peaceful environment of the rainforest and kindness of our hosts.
Day 10: Dream Sharing, Cultural traditions, Hike to Medicinal Plant Garden, Evening Ceremony
Friday, January 12
Morning dream sharing and cleansing ritual. Share in village activities and cultural traditions. Learn about the Sápara’s unique physical and spiritual connection to the rainforest. Hike through the pristine forest exploring the diverse flora and fauna and medicinal plants. In the evening, we’ll be invited to participate in an ancient shamanic ceremony co-led by the tribal leader and your journey leaders.
Day 11: Integration Time, Movement Session, River, Cultural Sharing
Saturday, January 13
Morning time integration, rest, reflection and quiet Movement Medicine session. In the afternoon there will be space for being on the river and sharing with the village including traditional foods, dances and intimate conversation.
Day 12: Dream Sharing, Appreciations, Fly Out of Forest, Arrival at Hacienda Manteles, Movement Session
Sunday, January 14
Morning dream sharing. After breakfast, we’ll prepare our belongings and share gratitude for our new Sápara friends and then fly from the rainforest to the small town of Shell, where our bus will take us to the cozy and inviting Hacienda Manteles in the Andean Patate valley with sweeping vistas of the active Tungurahua volcano. Free time for rest and reflection. Sharing circle Movement session to integrate the rainforest experiences.
Day 13: Staying at Hacienda Manteles in Llanganates National Park, Integration Session with Movement, Sharing
Monday, January 15
Immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of the nearby majestic Llanganates National Park and cloud forest, hiking to rivers and waterfalls of immense beauty. Afternoon Movement Medicine session to integrate and prepare us to take what we have learned, discovered and awakened into our lives out into the world. Open-space forum for exploring next steps.
Day 14: Completions, Celebrations, Commitments
Tuesday, January 16
A day of completion, commitments and celebration. After a final circle and ritual together, we will complete with a celebratory lunch. For those who want, the bus will head back to Zaysant Ecolodge (near the airport) and on to Quito.
Itinerary is subject to change
We recommend having a day or more on the front and back side of the formal itinerary to acclimate, rest, integrate and see Quito if you wish.