Julie-Roxane here and I want to tell you a story.
The story of how we came to creating and offering a 7-day psilocybin retreat in the lush jungly hills of Guatemala this coming January.
In the late Fall of 2018, Alasdair and I were living in a lovely forest of mostly oaks in the southwest of France in a small trailer we had gutted and entirely renovated ourselves. Every piece of this home was intentional and full of love. We had plush red curtains everywhere and cushions on the ground for a makeshift couch. We had just moved back from Asia where we had met just over a year prior and were in the very early stages of figuring out what this next big stage of life would look like for us. Aka - what the fuck are we doing with our lives?
Ah, the good ol' days.
One weekend that we had the whole land to ourselves, we made the decision to journey with LSD together. If you've read Alasdair's email this week, you know that he had quite a bit of experience with that substance, mainly from college days of partying.
I, on the other hand, had never done the experimenting in college, never really partook in the rave scene and always felt that the timing for me to dive into the psychedelic realm would come later. And man, am I glad I waited for the right moment.
I was scared but felt ready and open to what would happen for me and for us, and I felt safe with Alasdair's knowledge of the terrain.
Long story short - LSD took me on a blissful, orgasmic, healing and core-shaking journey that we extended to be 18-hours-long
Even though this took place what now feels like lifetimes ago (2018! another decade altogether!), this journey is one of the most vivid experiences of my life and it lives forever etched in my memory.
- The incense smoke dancing in the sunlight.
- Falling to my knees in the wet grass to worship a decaying log covered in mushrooms (foretelling!).
- Crying on the bed from sheer ectasy - discovering realms, entire universes of feelings I was now remembering had always been there.
Some people make the claim that our waking consciousness is actually a sort of dream, of sleepwalking and that the trance states, regardless of their nature, are the true moments of glimpsing reality as it is.
I don't claim to know that they are right or wrong but I can tell you this: what I discovered on this journey were states of being that I knew were my
And the soul-quenching feelings that ensued after that experience confirmed that for me.
Alasdair and I circa December 2018 in front of our self-renovated caravan lovingly named “Chana Massala”.
The seed of an idea
It was not too long after that experience, that Alasdair uttered the dream that was starting to form in his consciousness.
Being able to one day, guide other people through psychedelic experiences.
Back then Wild Within was barely the seed of an idea -- it was still called RippleOut Retreats & we hadn't even led our first retreat yet (who remembers?).
So let's just say that Alasdair's uttered dream felt like something for a VERY distant future
But thus is not the way our life works.
Just a year later, in 2020, we had moved to Lake Atitlán, Guatemala and I guess the Great Mystery deemed we were ready for the next step because it is there that we met our teachers with whom we have been studying Ayahuasca ever since.
But more importantly, I met Ayahuasca herself and the very clear, boundaried space of ceremony.
The best way I can describe ceremony is that I was finally home
The ancient memories held in my cells were activated in what felt like energetic fireworks and I knew that I needed to spend more of my life here, in this ceremonial place with others... Home
While my initial LSD experience was full of intention and reverence, the ceremonial space I witnessed my teachers hold was unlike anything I knew and yet felt ancestrally familiar.
Humans, in a circle, journeying into themselves and into the spirit realms, while sacred songs are being sung and lifetimes are being alchemized ~ I don't think it gets any more real, true and sacred than that ️
And fast forward to now.
A mere few days ago, we announced our 7-day psilocybin retreat in Guatemala where we will be holding ceremony for 12 human beings to journey together.
Since that uttered dream in 2019, we have been (fairly single-mindedly might I had) working towards this moment.
Years of preparing ourselves, studying, practicing over and over and over again.
Getting put in our place by Life, by our teachers and by the medicines we work with.
Over and over and over again.
Until we finally felt ready and heard the call of the Mushrooms
Circa December 2019, Alasdair in our garden overlooking Lake Atitlán in Guatemala where we will be returning to lead this 7-day psilocybin retreat.
Why mushrooms and why ceremony?
I don’t know many things but I do know this ~
Years into this profound journey of re-membering, I firmly believe that we are designed for ceremony, for doing this work in groups, in community, to re-member, to heal and to whole.
"Attainment of the trance state has been such a primary driving force for human beings that some anthropologists have even called it the main need of the ceremonial animal that is the human being."
Mushrooms showed up for me in an Ayahuasca ceremony. Ayahuasca showed me how the mushrooms were going to crop up in Wild Within and that the mycelium was already being woven for this purpose. This was over a year ago.
The collective consciousness of mushrooms feels so right for the purpose and mission of Wild Within: re-orienting the culture towards a Life-affirming one, towards a collective effort of supporting Life.
We are currently living in dark times, times of a Death-culture -- and no, this does not mean that our culture honors Death. Rather it means that we systematically and chronically destroy, tear down, disrespect and oppress the Life-giving aspects of reality: the Wild, our bodies, mothers, fathers, children, true community, Earth-based wisdom and the people who carry it and so on and so forth.
Wild Within is here to be a part of the conversation to re-orient to a Life-affirming way of walking this Earth.
The time has come, we cannot keep going like we have been.
And we are here to be a part of the collective awakening around this.
And I know that if you're reading this, it's because you feel the same as we do.
And you can feel the revolution stirring in your cells
We believe that entheogens, psychedelics, like Wilderness, like our bodies, are gateways to awaken to the new ways forward.
We believe that those ways will be informed by the truth of our bodies, the ancestral knowledge lodged into our DNAs and the new understandings available to us in this modern era.
And we believe that psychedelics, when used in the right kind of ceremonial container, amplify each of our personal work, but also all of our collective prayers
We gather in ceremony, not only to personally heal but to plea, to pray, to kneel to the spirits of the worlds that they help us find the way forward - individually, but perhaps more importantly, collectively.
May it be so
In Wildness & Love,