263. Jungle Journeys: My Ayahuasca Awakening At Soltara (Part Two)

Todd Michael Roberts, Daniel Cleland

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

This two-part episode features a play-by-play account of my eight-day experience at Soltara Healing Center. In 263, I recount the second half of my trip + share an interview with Todd Michael Roberts, the lead facilitator at Soltara, and Daniel Cleland, the co-founder of Soltara and the author of Pulse of the Jungle

Todd Michael Roberts was born and raised on the southwest coast of British Columbia Canada. His deep interest in living a creative life is what initially inspired or lead him into many years of travel and exploration in institutions of higher learning and the inner world of the self.  Ayahuasca and the use of it in sacred ritual has been part of his life since 2004 and has been closely aligned with the Shipibo tradition from the beginning. He has had a continued practice of ayahuasca ceremony facilitation since 2011. He is also a life long avid surfer and visual artist.

Daniel Cleland is an international entrepreneur, traveler, and author of the book, Pulse of the Jungle: Ayahuasca, Adventures and Social Enterprise in the Amazon. Originating in Walkerton, Ontario, he has spent over a decade globe-trotting and hosting group tours all over Latin America and in the deepest parts of the Amazon to work with traditional indigenous medicine practices.

After completing his Master’s of Intercultural and International Communication, Daniel founded the company Pulse Tours, a company operating in Peru which became one of the highest-rated shamanic retreat centers in the world before he sold it completely in 2017. In 2014, he produced a documentary called Drinking the Jungle and has just released his second production, The Plant Teacher, which includes a buffet of interviews with some of the world’s leading minds in psychedelic research.

Daniel keeps busy hosting his podcast, The Daniel Cleland Experience, which conducts interviews about plant medicines, consciousness, the future and societal/cultural issues of our time, and by developing Soltara, of course. He believes in supporting sustainability initiatives around the world, such as a free solar power installation that he spearheaded for an entire village in the Amazon in 2017, and the work being done by Amazon Rainforest Conservancy, a Canadian NGO wherein Daniel sits as a member of the advisory board.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

In part one of this week’s two-part Costa Rican adventure, I shared my field recordings from the first six days of my recent trip to Soltara Healing Center and an interview with Founding Partner and COO Melissa Stangl. If you haven’t listened to that already, I highly recommend listening to part one first.

In part two, you’ll hear about my last two days at Soltara and my final plant medicine ceremony, which is my most profoundly moving ayahuasca ceremony to date, and how I’ve been feeling in the month since I got back in LA. On top of that, I have an awesome interview with two of the people who made it happen: Todd Michael Roberts, the lead facilitator at Soltara, and Daniel Cleland, the co-founder of Soltara and the author of Pulse of the Jungle: Ayahuasca, Adventures and Social Enterprise.

And we’re going to keep the ayahuasca train rolling through the end of the week, too! 

I have been getting so many emails and DMs from people asking, “Which is better, Soltara or Rythmia?” Spoilers: neither is better or worse than the other, they’re just different flavors, but this Friday I’ll be releasing a detailed side-by-side comparison of the two Costa Rican retreats to help answer any questions you might have.

08:55 — Field Report #6: Preparing for liftoff on Day 7, right before my fourth ceremony, and a recap of my third ceremony

  • Setting my intention to come from a place of surrender and trust, which is counter to my natural inclination to control everything
  • Praying on my mat + speaking to the medicine
  • Trusting that there’s a plan and order to the universe; accepting that what I need is not always what I want
  • Addressing my underlying sense of existential loneliness
  • The words that came to me when I was deep inside myself: Heart is where The Home is, Your Heart is where Your Home is
  • The feeling of separation that occurs when you leave your heart
  • Lessons that I will bring home from this experience
  • Realizing how powerful the force of gravity is
  • Painful experiences that have served me
  • “See the soul, but also see the whole”

41:50 — An interview with Todd Michael Roberts & Daniel Cleland

  • Integrating what I’m learning at the ceremony through these field recordings
  • How Daniel and Todd’s first met Mother Ayahuasca
  • How a major intoxication-induced injury led to the creation of Soltara
  • Trying to join a retreat hosted by Dennis McKenna (without signing up)
  • The difference between tripping on LSD or psilocybin and experiencing ayahuasca
  • Building a healing center in Peru before Soltara
  • How the ayahuasca scene has evolved over the past few years, for better and for worse, as it’s gone from counter culture to mainstream
  • The media sensationalizing ayahuasca
  • Bridging the ancient lineage of Shipibo practitioners and the modern world
  • Underground ayahuasca ceremonies in the US
  • The effects of colonialism and cultural appropriation on indigenous peoples as a result of ayahuasca’s growing popularity
  • What Soltara is doing to avoid appropriating from the Shipibo people, instead actually supporting indigenous communities
  • What does it mean to have an authentic experience?
  • Truth isn’t meant to be hidden
  • How many ceremonies have these two guys done?
  • Why did they name it Soltara?
  • How ayahuasca’s effect on the brain helps people recover from addiction
  • Why there is a necessity for facilitators during ayahuasca ceremonies
  • How the experience of taking ayahuasca is counter to the experience of most drugs
  • Can people get addicted to the ayahuasca experience?

02:21:50 — Field Report #7: My final night in Costa Rica + the day after my last ceremony

  • I don’t feel hungover after an ayahuasca ceremony — I feel more focused, calm, and optimistic
  • Getting too hung up on the dose
  • Comforting my inner child
  • Standing up to my trauma + for my own happiness
  • Witnessing the minutia of your psyche
  • Performing psychic surgery on your own brain

02:53:10 — Reflecting on what I learned at Soltara, one month later

  • Landing back in my heart
  • Increasing my capacity for self-love and forgiveness
  • Staying connected to my higher power
  • Reaffirming my role and mission in this lifetime
  • Peyote Vs. ayahuasca
  • I’m not trying to escape — I’m trying to INscape

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