As an international visitor to the Wayusa School you will become a student to an ancestral lineage of indigenous knowledge. The cultural teachings that have maintained the life and spirit of the Ayuy Yu territory will be offered to you via traditional oral and experiential methods. The Santi teachers hold a sacred imperative to be open and welcoming with their knowledge. The understanding is that the teachings heal.

In today’s global world there are many ways to study the traditional knowledge of indigenous cultures. In South America many outsiders have studied with spiritual teachers, or spiritual plants, and found that a new path can emerge from such learning. The Santi healers recognise and respect the shadow of this path. Great care must be taken to provide internal context for such knowledge, and to generate the necessary integrity to manage spiritual power in a responsible way. Otherwise a dark power comes from the light of Knowledge. Teachers sicken, teachings sicken, and the medicine practices themselves can sicken. The foundational disciplines of the Ayuy Yu tradition teach the secrets of the Three Children – the Gardening Child, the Firewood Child, and the Sweeping Child. These figures instruct us in Right Relationship to Territory, Family, and Soul. This is the cultural learning that provides the gateway and the safeguard to shamanic training.


At the Wayusa School we place our focus with these foundational teachings and practices as the context for spiritual study. We teach the practice of land-based culture. The land holds us, the land teaches us; the land is our container and our guide.

Core routines of this cultural practice involve pre-dawn wayusa ceremonies to hear origin stories, origin songs, and to interpret dreams, dawn-time tobacco ceremonies, medicine walks, hunting, fishing, the planting, harvesting and eating of traditional foods and medicines, visiting with sacred sites, playing ancestral games, crafting traditional baskets, fibres, and pottery, and expanding sensory awareness to acutely observe the land – we enter the stories of Creation, and find we have a place.

It is this cultural container that grounds a deep connection with the land to fully support powerful internal work with ayahuasca and other plants.

The cultural mentorship by the Indigenous teachers is facilitated by a team of Western interpreters who have lengthy experience working with the Santi family, and also in other Amazon lands and cultures. The facilitators have experience in North and South America leading healing retreats and Land-based Mentoring, or “Nature Connection”, programs. The aim of the facilitators is to bridge the Indigenous teachings for the Wayusa School students, to catalyse powerful, dynamic soul-learning for Western(ised) visitors. The program aims to guide a personal process for each student of deepening connection to Place (where we are), Land (what we are), and Ancestors (who we are).

A necessary part of this is teaching awareness of cultural context, and cultural baggage. We seek to engage in a process of decolonization – confronting our own cultural expectations and assumptions to recognise the colonizing forces still at work in this supposedly “post-colonial” era, and to come to a clearer balance of mind and soul for the global challenge of defending humanity through compassionate, cross-cultural, spiritual alliances.

During your stay at the Wayusa School you will pay a one-time financial offering that constitutes your Exchange for a path of healing/learning during that time. You may be recommended certain practices, plants, or undertakings specific to your journey, and this is factored into a one-time fee. Our aim is not to isolate and monetise sacred experiences, so we offer a holistic model of reciprocal exchange.

Certain cultural practices and resources will be dependent on seasonality and other factors. Similarly, scheduling will depend on weather and the shifting imperatives of daily shamanic life. For this reason we prefer not to create an itinerary; this is a cultural teaching in itself. As a wayusa school student you WILL experience the following:

  • Mentorship through your personal path of healing/learning with the land and your ancestors
  • Awareness practices to deepen sensory perception with the land
  • Guidance in “solo” practices to walk into mythic perspectives
  • Daily pre-dawn wayusa ceremonies receiving teaching stories and Dream guidance
  • Dawn/dusk ceremonies with tobacco and traditional flute music/singing
  • Guided walks in the forest to learn trails, medicines, and local stories
  • Ancestral games to ground a sacred relationship of Play with Creation
  • Instruction in traditional hunting methods (blowgun, traps)
  • Fishing
  • Instruction in traditional skills – (examples) carving, pottery, beading, basket weaving, bag weaving, natural cordage, natural building
  • Visiting traditional Ayuy Yu sacred sites – waterfalls, headwaters, wellsprings, caves
  • Ayahuasca ceremonies
  • Spiritual cleansing and medicinal plant treatment (if necessary)
  • Fasts/traditional dieting (if necessary)

The majority of your stay will be in the Wayusa Runa community of Amazanga territory in the large Puyukruna Comuna (reservation) outside of Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador. Wayusa Runa is a small, new community, founded by Flavio and his brother-in-law on Amazanga territory (Rafael Santi’s community). The small clearing is surrounded by forest. The reservation is a mix of primary and secondary forest with some limited pasture lands; it has been tended by the Ayuy Yu clan and the Puyukruna people for many generations. You will stay in a shared room in a simple cabin with the Palandayacu river to bathe in. Flavio’s family and his brother-in-law’s family live on-site. Flavio’s parents, thirteen siblings, and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins live in the community of Amazanga, an hour’s walk away. All food, drinking water, and medicines will be provided.

During a 1-week stay you will visit sacred sites local to Puyo, on the Tijun Urcu mountain, recovered by the Santis over the last 15 years. During a 2-week stay you will visit the Eternal Forest of the Children– the Llushin Reserve territory adjacent to Sangay National Park, for at least four days, for a deeper exploration of the land and the teachings.

For complete groups (eight individuals) we are able to discuss and design a tailored itinerary.

The Santi family are still fighting to recover their ancestral territory, focused on buying back strategic sacred sites. Your funds are directly investing in a process to re-establish sanctuaries of ancestral knowledge.

We decided upon the following guidelines for appropriate Exchange:

$2800 USD for a 1-week stay (all-inclusive, including travel to/from Quito)

$3650 USD for a 2-week stay (all-inclusive, including travel to/from Quito)

The unique character of the Wayusa School program is the commitment of our Indigenous teachers, the Ayuy Yu medicine clan, to their work as universal healers. They share the teachings of their people, the voice of their land, patiently, openly, and constantly during your time as a visitor on their territory. This will be the doorway to your experience with the land, the spiritual forces, and your own ancestors. Your dreams and personal reflections will come to guide your learning as much as the Teachers. At the root of the Ayuy Yu teachings is the anchor of Autonomy – this is the goal of their spiritual tradition, to empower initiates into a personal relationship of trust and guidance with the land and the ancestors. In this way a true path emerges for each of us.

We are currently planning a visit for 15-30 September 2019, with options for a 1-week or 2-week stay. Please get in touch via our email with any questions and to book. Group bookings are possible for other dates.

Our group size is eight, with one male facilitator/interpreter, and one female facilitator/interpreter.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER (posted 7/22/2019):

We have received a number of complaints from women who have visited the Amazanga community regarding inappropriate touching and sexual harassment, including incidents occurring within a healing and ceremonial context. We strongly recommend all potential visitors to consult with us directly in advance of planning a trip to this region. Based on this information, we cannot endorse any healing sessions, ceremonies, or cultural visits beyond those organized by the Wayusa School team.  The Wayusa School team is committed to the ethical practices of providing a safe, informed, and harassment-free environment for the engagement of ancestral teachings and healing.

To support a safe environment for those participating in Wayusa School activities, we are committed to the following:

–       Transparency in our procedures of facilitated healing and learning

–       Clear communication with regards to expectations and outcomes

–       A set protocol for participants to provide informed and ongoing consent, with opportunities to request additional support

We welcome all inquiries and feedback, please contact us at wayusaschool@gmail.com