When I booked my workshop at the Dawn of Eden with the shamans of the Jaguar Temple of Transformation in April of 2019 for four ceremonies, it was with apprehension. Two years prior, I experienced my first 3 Ayahuasca ceremonies deep in the jungle outside the city of Iquitos with another center. Like many people seeking this kind of healing, I did my homework prior to coming out the first time: learning about the city, the grounds for ceremony, the culture itself, the shaman I was to work with, and the effects of the sacred medicine. Also like most, I had no idea what I did not know. Looking back, what I should have worried about most were three things:
1) Preparation of the Ayahuasca itself (are there additives to the brew? is the shaman a worker in the light or somehow unbalanced?)
2) Security for participants (how the shaman/facilitators interact during and outside of ceremonies with participants)
3) How the shaman are regarded by the community it serves.
It is very apparent to me now just how unsafe (mind, body, and spirit) my first 3 ceremonies outside of the Jaguar Temple of Transformation were. Firstly, the Ayahuasca was prepared at the other center with toe (an addictive that many shaman would consider desecrating) along with other admixtures. Most shaman would agree that Ayahuasca should be prepared chiefly using only two ingredients: the Ayahuasca vine itself and the leaves they interact with (Ayahuasca vine + chacruna leaves). These are the only ingredients utilized at the Dawn of Eden complex. There are no additives. It is a pure experience in that regard.
Some first-time participants may have anxiety about having a “bad trip” or being taken advantage of when under the influence of such a powerful medicine, which can unfortunately occur in a less reputable establishment. In my first three ceremonies in the deep jungle a couple years ago, there were two ceremonies that were highlighted by a facilitator inappropriately touching one of the participants. This story is unfortunately par for the course in the jungles of Iquitos especially when taking Ayahuasca tourism into consideration. Some people are motivated more by easy money than by the healing that the sacred medicine can provide. Unfortunately, those dangerous people are becoming overrepresented as the world learns more of the healing properties of Mother Ayahuasca. Fortunately, this is not the case at the Dawn of Eden compound; healing, elevating consciousness, and helping stimulate personal growth are paramount goals of Master Shaman Dan Reynolds and Shaman Denis Montes.
Most of the lodges that I found online were located out in the jungle – away from any sort of oversight or control, let alone medical services should they be needed, much like my first 3 ceremonies two years ago. The Dawn of Eden Compound and the Jaguar Temple of Transformation it houses are in the city itself; mere minutes from the city center, and any emergency services should they be needed. It is a member of the Iquitos Chamber of Commerce and is both physically accessible and transparent in its goals.
Shamans Dan Reynolds and Denis Montes, along with the Shipibo singers utilized during ceremony, were absolutely professional and focused on either healing or integration at all times. Their professionalism and conduct cannot be overstated. I felt not just comfortable interacting with their team, but indeed welcomed home by them. They are in total harmony with the community that they support. This was an enormous departure from my first experiences a couple years ago.
Outside of ceremony, the compound itself is exquisite. Suites accommodate 2 beds. There is a bathroom in every suite. There is Wi-Fi, few insects (wow!), and even a calming waterfall on site. Food is prepared to order by an amazing chef, and if you like Ceviche (the National Dish of Peru), you’ve come to the right place! The Ayahuasca experience can be uncomfortable to say the least, knowing that comfort outside of ceremony was only a few steps away (even if that just meant a midnight shower) provided so much relief and made the process of ceremony itself so much easier.
I could talk for hours about the best practices utilized at Dawn of Eden, or the unique sound system in use during ceremony that aids in concentration and synchronicity, but some things are better experienced than talked about.
In short, I feel confident recommending Dawn of Eden to any that seek the sacred medicine; especially for those with wounds from war; whether visible or otherwise. I can definitively say that your safety, security, and growth are the most important facets of your stay at the Dawn of Eden. Though this is relatively brief, I am happy to answer any questions that may arise or to give any information I’ve accrued to those that seek it. Simply ask Master Shaman Dan Reynolds for my info, and he will provide it.
The Jaguar Temple of Transformation is just that: transformative. If you seek an experience in the light, for healing and growth, and have a strong heart – if you are to go anywhere in Iquitos, my suggestion is to look no farther than Dawn of Eden. For your growth, investment, and time there is no better alternative.
Wyly Gray, United States