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Rainforest Plant Medicine Gathering

June 27, 2015 - July 7, 2015

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Council 1: Rainforest Plant Medicine Council Gathering to Experience Indigenous Science “Nature as Teacher, 
Plant Medicine Traditions and 
Timeless Wisdom for Self, 
Community and Planetary Renewal”

Class Description:
An Experience with Ancient Amazonian Medicine for Self, Community and Planetary Renewal” with traditional SECOYA ELDERS
from the Ecuadorian Amazon to offer endless possibilities while changing the outer world from within.

To Experience Indigenous Science
“Nature as Teacher, 
Plant Medicine Traditions and 
Timeless Wisdom for Self, 
Community and Planetary Renewal”

• To Experience the prehistoric origins and vital importance of Plant Medicine Traditions from the Upper Amazon as taught and lived by the Secoya elders for centuries.
• To provide an opportunity for renewal of body mind and spirit through rainforest plant medicine traditions that act as a catalyst for auspicious transformation and tangible human progress.
• To make known the holistic indigenous ceremonial science of “God’s Multicolored People” (translation of “Secoya”), under the tutelage of skilled Secoya wisdom keepers, the traditional elders, accomplished “torch bearers,” and adepts of this sacred spiritual culture.
• To experience tropical biodiversity in a remote rainforest wilderness and beach setting. Meet a pristine Pacific Ocean and the mighty rainforest ecosystems of the Osa Peninsula, where birds, plants and wildlife abound, sing and play.
• To facilitate right livelihood by creating work opportunities for people in remote ecologically sensitive regions and raise funds for rainforest conservation and cultural heritage projects.
• Tuition proceeds & sales of all traditional Secoya arts & crafs and ceremonial atire, as well as Pablo Amaringo visionary art replicas, available at the event, will be channeled to rainforest projects overseen by the CCBD (, supporting traditional elder masters in the Amazon and a Marine Turtle Conservation Project on the Osa.
• To be in the presence of Secoya elders from the Ecuadorian Amazon who come from a lineage of time-tested plant medicine knowledge
• To welcome endless possibilities while changing the outer world from within
• To have direct experience with rainforest plant medicine traditions
• To meet mindful fellow travelers from our global community
• To gift yourself with the opportunity with the help of an ancient amazonian medicine that has the potential to inspire quantum benefit changes in oneself, community, and planetary renewal
• To be an agent of change
• To be part of a fundraiser to preserve rainforest projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes
• To take an intrepid inward journey
• To give yourself an opportunity to shift fear to curiosity
• To feel mindfulness and magic
• To experience re-setting your mind
• To magnify one’s sense of wonderment (the beginning of wisdom, according to Socrates)
• To come with a beginner’s mind like a child with wonder in your eyes
• To cease all expectations and you have everything.
• To expand one’s guts and grace.

With traditional SECOYA ELDERS from the Ecuadorian Amazon *

Agustin “Tintin” Payaguaje and Basilio Payaguaje are the ceremonial guides for these events, experts in the ingestion of heroic doses of extra strong entheogenic plant medicines. Their laughter is contagious in lighting up each part of the day. Their presence an absolutely natural stance on life! Miguel Payaguaje will also be present, he is a student of the traditional way of life and will be the interpreter for the elders, who are in their 70’s and only speak Pai’cocá.

The exploration of rainforest plant medicine traditions will be ushered in by these legendary time-honored maestros from the Ecuadorian Amazon, good elders who were raised in the wilderness, living traditional ways of life that include copious ceremonial meditations. Our good elders share visions and designs too spectacular to be acquired in any other way, other than sitting with them through the timelessness of the cool nights of Yage. Indelible on their way of being is this “great spirit, bedecked in designs, aromatic, beaded and leafy,” acquired while fasting with their maestros in their wilderness motherland. Long before roads and interruption from modernization occurred, these whole-hearted elders already understood the entire picture! Their presence represents both the sacred gift and the serious joke that is life, and a whole lot of fun! The designs they embody were garnered in times of antiquity, and while older than old, they are also newer than new. Seeing them offers an ever-pertinent navigation perspective for these tumultuous times. They are traditional Secoya elders, torchbearers of a millenary spiritual tradition, who will be the ceremonial guides during both councils.

The Secoya, or as they are called among themselves, the Siecopai, are an truly authentic, millenary Amazonian society, whose name means “Multicolored People.” The elders embody a culture and tradition of immense spiritual magnitude. While dwindling, as this modern era tears at the seams of the most ancient fabric, this way of life, a heritage of humanity, is an ever effective time-tested medical system of universal significance. The spiritual and ceremonial science these elders embody and joyfully transmit is one of the great wisdom traditions of Gaia, its magnitude just beginning to be understood. This is the spiritual science of “God’s Multicolored People.” Kindling the lights of the most ancient prophecies, of universal oneness, and how to understand and achieve this as a tool for happiness, seamlessly helping improve every aspect of one’s life! A way of life that brings all subtly together back onto the one great path of universal whole-hearted living, the one that walks alongside everything and everyone together towards an integral salvation for all species alike. Sadly though, due to geopolitical borders, the encroachment and harassment of the petroleum companies, as well as the impact of colonization now imperil their culture and ancestral lands. Despite these changes the Secoya live with grace, whole-heartedness and natural presence, and are happy and willing to share their wisdom with those who come with sincere hearts.


Our relationship with the Secoya is based on a long-standing genuine friendship of love and reciprocity that began in 1994 when Jonathon S Miller Weisberger began working with the community and facilitated a process of ancestral land reclamation that led to gaining access to a large tract of ancestral lands on the Ecuadorian and Peruvian boarder area. The trips began as a way to fund the work that since their onset in 1994 have channeled significant percentages of tuition proceeds to rainforest and wildlife conservation initiatives, as well to traditional elders and indigenous peoples communities in Ecuador. Since 2003 tuition proceeds have also supported a marine turtle conservation initiative in Costa Rica. Through these acts, the events have benefitted plant, animal and human communities far beyond the first circle of the gatherings participants. Funds are allocated and used where the needs are most prevalent, and we have learned from our knowledge at ground level, how to make a lot happen with a little.

• Teacher Bios:

The host and ‘he who holds the container’ for the councils:
Ethnobotanist Jonathon S. Miller Weisberger is an enthusiastic storyteller whose extensive and knowledgeable understanding of rainforest medicinal flora and indigenous life and world view is unique. A rainforest conservation advocate, he has collaborated ethnobotanical studies with 5 distinct indigenous communities and tribes in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes from 1990 – 2000. Since 2000, Jonathon lives 9 months a year in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula at Guaria de Osa EcoLodge. He is author of Rainforest Medicine: Preserving Indigenous Science & Biodiversity in the Upper Amazon, director of CCBD (Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity), and steward of Guaria de Osa (Orchid de Osa) Ecolodge. He is an intrepid and knowledgeable rainforest guide with more than 15 years of ground-level experience. A hike with Jonathon must not be missed as he guides you to explore the primary, spectacular rainforest surrounding Guaria de Osa.

Fire-keeper Josep “Waosutu” Rosas, steadfast to the Secoya tradition, who lives in Ecuador and has been in service to the Secoya elders for nearly six years. He accompanies them from Ecuador to the Guaria de Osa EcoLodge. Josep is their helper and attendant at the council gatherings. He is also the assistant ceremonial cook and fire keeper.


James Ficklin aka “Duff” is a Massage Therapist trained in traditional Thai massage, Reflexology, Acupressure, Taoist-Chi Nei Tsang (internal organ massage). He’s also a certified Chi Gung & Meditation instructor teaching the basics of the Universal Healing Tao System. He studied with Taoist Grandmaster Mantak Chia this past summer in Thailand. He is talented Permaculturist and Healer. Duff has been trained as a “cook” by Jonathon, the Secoya elders and Josep. Since 2005 he has made many journeys to the Ecuadoran Amazon with Jonathon. He worked as a volunteer assistant at Guaria de Osa in Costa Rica for several council gatherings. Duff is an environmental activist, filmmaker, photographer, world traveler, and tree hugger; an enthusiastic, nature-loving, and a warrior-of-the-heart healer in training.

Illit Rose (I. Rose) is a yoga and meditation instructor, artist, community and peace activist, with a background in Environmental Research and Social-Cultural studies. She started practicing Iyengar style yoga in New York in 1988 and is teaching since 1996. She included mindfulness (Vipassana) meditation and other yoga styles to her practice in 2000. “In my classes I focus on awareness of the aligned body as source of knowledge, grounding and wellbeing. I introduce postures, meditation, breath work (Parnayama), props and hands-on patterning. Aligning skeleton and muscles the organs settle, the body takes roots, the breath finds ease, the mind quiets and the spirit can soar.”

Andrea Eck, a licensed massage therapist from Texas, specializes in integrative massage, pulling from several different modalities to customize the most effective massage for each person’s specific needs. She has advanced training in orthopedic massage, Deep Massage, structural integration, and facial work. Andrea is also a Reiki practitioner and loves to incorporate energy work into her practice.

Serra Russell Chase, Acupuncturist, began her exploration of Chinese Medicine at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in 2002 and graduated with a masters degree in 2006 after spending over one year living and studying in southern China. She has been fortunate to learn medicine traditions with Heiner Freuhoff, Lonny Jarret, Thea Elijah, Hua Ching Ni, the Wu Sheng’an family in Xi’an, and the good elders of the Secoya community in north eastern Ecuador. A thorough pulse diagnosis guides her acupuncture, body work, herbal, and dietary treatments and Serra hopes to encourage the highest expression of health and wellbeing in all the people she works with. Serving through community acupuncture in Brooklyn for over seven years and traveling to South and Central America for the past four years, Serra has assisted thousands of people with many different needs and will confidently treat everything from body pain to broken heart, wholeheartedly and without hesitation. She started the Brooklyn Acupuncture Project in 2007 and is grateful to the community for making it the amazing place it is! She has been serving Council Gatherings at Guaria de Osa since 2012.

Language class is taught in:
English, Español, Bilingual

• Cost/Accommodations:
$2200 per person Includes Sleeping Accommodations

— Food Options:

• Notes or Comments:
“For Jonathon! Thanks for your work in the world! With best wishes.” – Jeremy Narby, author of The Cosmic Serpent, DNA, and The Origins of Knowledge

“Jonathon! What good magic here at Guaria de Osa! Presided over by a most benevolent array of plant energies and animal intelligences, leafing and leaping spirits, laughing under a gazillion gleaming stars, accompanied by the steady drumbeat, like a dark heart of the wave on the sloping strand in wilderness and wonder.” – David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World

“Wonderful to visit paradise here! Much love.” – Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head (see Chapter 22 “My Shamanic Vacation” with Jonathon in the Ecuadorian Amazon to be with the Secoyas)
* * * *
About the book
Rainforest Medicine – Preserving Indigenous Science and Biodiversity in the Upper Amazon by ethnobotanist Jonathon Miller Weisberger, steward of Guaria de Osa and the Council host

“Rainforest Medicine offers valuable insights into deepening our understanding of the natural world and thereby re-discovering ancient ways of thought that can guide us toward healthy living.” —ANDREW WEIL, MD, author of Spontaneous Happiness

“Jonathon Miller Weisberger has been dedicated to the preservation of biodiversity, indigenous cultures, and indigenous knowledge in the Northwest Amazon for over twenty years…. In this book he shares the spiritual perspectives of healers and traditional elders as well as his own body of experiences. It will be appreciated by researchers of Amazonian topics for years to come ….” —DENNIS MCKENNA, PhD, ethnopharmacologist, author of The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss

“Rainforest Medicine carries a timeless message, one that makes evident our essential need – to reconnect with nature. This book is an instrument of positive transformation. Highly recommend.” —GRAHAM HANCOCK, author of Supernatural

“Weisberger offers a great work of ethnobotany necessary for our time. He has a gift for evoking a sense of place and purpose, and the characters he meets come alive on the page. There is little doubt in my mind that Rainforest Medicine is a masterpiece and sets a new standard in ethnobotany and conservation.” —MICHAEL COTTINGHAM, director of Voyage Botanica School of Botanical Medicine

“People interested in indigenous uses of ayahuasca will enjoy reading this book. Author JMW shares what he has seen, heard and experienced during long years spent with indigenous Amazonian people. He discusses the dangers of sorcery even for those who do not believe in it, as well as the importance of keeping quiet about one’s visions. He also discusses a jaguar-centered world view, in which jaguar embodies energy, and energy makes up the universe. JMW shares nugget after nugget of Secoya wisdom about how to work with rainforest medicines. This book is personal rather than academic; its approach is “kaleidoscopic” and packed with knowledge, experience and respect for indigenous cultures. I will recommend it to friends.” —JEREMY NARBY, PhD, Anthropologist, author of The Cosmic Serpent

“A remarkable account from a scholar and experiential adventurer who has devoted more than twenty years of his life, much of the time in the field, to the study of physical and metaphysical realms where plants, nature, and the human imagination merge in the mind of the shaman, the true wizards of the upper Amazon.” —WADE DAVIS, PhD, ethnobotanist, anthropologist, photographer, author of One River and Into the Silence

• Directions:

Guaria de Osa | Orchid of the Osa | EcoLodge & Ethnobotanical Gardens situated in South Pacific Costa Rica, just south of Drake Bay, adjacent to Corcovado National Park, on the westernmost cove of the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.

Guaria de Osa is not a ‘drop-in’ off-the-beach venue, please contact Dahlia Miller how to get to Guaria effortlessly.
Rainforest Plant Medicine Council Renewals must be a commitment for the entire 10 nights / 11 days.


Lapa - NorthWest   Beach Boardwalk  Bird Calling - Jonathon


Ocean Forest – Ecolodge Retreat
Costa Rica
View Venue Website


Dahlia Miller
(510) 235-4313
View Organizer Website

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