In order to understand Acsauhaya’s mission and vision better, we want to take you on a tour through our core values and show you the seeds that have grown out to form this organisation
Safety: your safety is our highest priority!
Creating a safe environment is our most important task. Facilitating ceremonies comes with a great responsibility. Because ayahuasca can put you in a very vulnerable state, it is essential that you feel safe and can trust the intentions, the medicine and the (experience of the) team facilitating your (inner) transformation.
The Acsauhaya organisation only works with experienced, honest, and well-intentioned shamans, protecting our guests from self-appointed shamans with lack of experience or other unscrupulous or dodgy practices. We have joined forces partially because of our shared concerns over the intense proliferation in ayahuasca providers that we have witnessed.
Proliferation of Dutch ayahuasca providers
When René, founder of Acsauhaya, started to work with ayahuasca and in the early years of Om-Mij (read more), there were only a handful of ayahuasca centers in The Netherlands and most of them had already worked successfully with this sacred medicine for years. However, in recent years, the interest in (working with) ayahuasca has grown rapidly. Even mainstream Dutch media have picked up on this topic. Although, on one hand it is a very good evolution that many people started working with this medicine, the (wild) growth also comes with a price.
To give you an idea, today, in The Netherlands only, approximately 400 people work with ayahuasca. The majority of these has started in the last 4 years. René has personally witnessed people starting to facilitate ceremonies after participating in 1 or 2 ceremonies themselves, without having a clue about the many do’s and don’ts that keep it safe. Even though their intentions might be good, that is not enough for the safety of the participants when you work with such a powerful medicine.
Since there’s no supervision in this field, no regulation(s) exist and there is hardly any education on working with plant medicine, the market becomes a wild west show that educates itself through trial and error. For the public, it becomes increasingly hard to separate the wheat from the chaff and thus people find themselves lost in the search for a safe space.
Proliferation of Peruvian ayahuasca providers
Our shaman Ronald has been witnessing an even more intense proliferation over the years in Peru. He has observed how the ayahuasca market has been flooded with unscrupulous, self-appointed shamans operating with hidden agendas and driven by foul intentions. These shamans put on a show but are unable to facilitate a safe healing space.
The internet is overflowing with scary stories and warnings. Mainstream media – worldwide – wrote about it repeatedly to caution people. It leaves people worried and insecure about whose work is safe and how to find a trustworthy provider.
When Ronald and René’s paths crossed, they shared their worries of what they can see happening in the field of ayahuasca and the understanding of the need for a safe place to facilitate traditional healing ceremonies with this sacred plant medicine.
Ronald, who understands the great importance this ancient brew holds in bringing spiritual awareness and understanding to Westerners, decided he wants to participate in René’s mission. After all, it is predominantly Western culture that is very cut off from their spiritual side and would benefit from walking a path of self-reflection, transformation and awakening. They decided to join forces and bring the best of both worlds together in the safe environment of the Acsauhaya setting.
Our worldwide network and Peruvian contacts that we have gained over the years, enables us to find the right shamans to work with. Members of the Ascauhaya team regularly travel to the Amazon to strengthen this network. We thereby take the risk away of you having to search for an honest, capable shaman in the Amazon yourself and make your safety into our highest priority.
Authenticity: the courage to be yourself
Authenticity is a conscious decision and it is a practice that we take very seriously at Acsauhaya. Authenticity is not something you have or don’t have. It requires dedication, vulnerability, transparency and integrity.
The more you are authentic, the more you share your soul and your unique gifts with this world. By bringing indigenous wisdom from shamanic healing practices and medicinal plant ceremonies from the Amazon to Europe, we aim to (re)connect you more to your true (authentic) self, therefore authenticity is very much at the core of what we do.
– Brené Brown
Authentic ayahuasca ceremonies
René grew and nourished a desire that cultivated over the last years of working with ayahuasca. Many years ago, he wanted to create and facilitate a safe space for Westerners to experience ayahuasca ceremonies in a more down-to-earth therapeutic setting. This triggered him to start the Dutch ayahuasca center Om-Mij, which grew out to a well-known and respected center that has – ever since – guided thousands of participants from all over the globe.
However, in the last years it was shown to René that his new path was to share the sacred medicine through a more holistic and authentic approach, yet tailored for the Western mind. More and more he came to understand the need for a safe fixed place in Europe, that offers more authentic shamanic healing practices through the permanent presence of a respected Amazonian shaman.
The Acsauhaya organisation is the first center in Europe that works all year round with authentic, respected Amazonian shamans, who have at least decades of experience of working in this field. The retreats combine the authentic ceremonies led by the Amazonian shaman with (integration) support by René and his team. Together, they bundle decades of experience of working with plant medicine, each in their own authentic way, to help you unravel your authentic self and give you the courage to be yourself.
when “I” is replaced by “we”, even “illness” becomes “wellness”
Ayahuasca has enabled us to experience oneness and to see the interconnectedness of all there is. Ever since, we choose to live more from “we” instead of from “I”, the latter being pretty much the default amongst Westerners. Interconnectedness is about understanding that we all come from the one great source and that this precious earth is our common mother. It is an understanding and a philosophy that brings harmony.
We strongly believe that healing comes from reconnecting people to their true selves and this ultimate truth of interconnectedness. Once you reconnect to this philosophy, you’ll want to live from a place of genuine care and compassion and have respect for the symbiotic relationship between the parts and the whole.
The very core of spirituality is the recognition that life, nature and our environment are inseparable and thus interconnected. Humans have polluted, depleted and exhausted our planet for long enough. We need to make peace with each other and with Mother Earth. We need to reconnect to our interconnectedness.
The Acsauhaya organisation aims to reconnect Westerners by walking a path of self-reflection, transformation and awakening. Also, the Ascauhaya organisation aims to reunite the wisdom that different cultures and peoples possess, because our own experience has taught us that when we replace “I” again by “we”, even “illness” becomes “wellness”.
Building a bridge between cultures and traditions
Having had the privilege to see the sacred medicine change so many people’s lives for the better, René felt a growing desire to build a bridge between the traditional Amazonian rituals and healing knowledge and the spiritually poor Western world. He feels medicinal plant traditions can play a vast role in the global movement towards a more connected world. Therefore, he decided to bring the Amazonian knowledge to Europe.
At Acsauhaya we intend to introduce as many people as possible to the wonders of medicinal plant traditions, and to educate them about their potential and the interconnectedness of all beings. We make the sacred plant medicine more accessible to the (European) world, so Westerners are enabled to reconnect to (plant) spirit.
– Mudrooroo, Australian aboriginal
Respect: having respect means seeing the value in the other
The last essential value in our set of core values is respect. We want to show respect to the Amazon, the indigenous culture and the tribes that live there. But we also want to treat ourselves, each other and our surroundings with respect. Working according to this value expresses respect towards the following stakeholders:
- Respect for the Amazon and the plants
We only work with plants that have been harvested by the shamans from our network themselves. As a way of giving back and reducing our footprint, we strive to invest into replanting Banasteriopsis Caapi (the ayahuasca vine) in the Amazonian rainforest.
- Respect for the indigenous
For years we have invested in a strong Amazonian network, so we can find honest, capable and well-intentioned shamans to bring to Europe. When we get into touch with them, we show the utmost respect for those that have dedicated years of their lives to connect to the plant, study it and master the art of healing with this sacred plant medicine.
When they decide they want to take part in our mission, we make sure everything is well-arranged for them and their families and receive them as part of our Acsauhaya family. We also set-up a web shop that sells locally produced products and provides the manufacturers with an access to the European market and a fair price for their products.
- Respect for each other
We respect every single brave “warrior of light” that enters the path of ayahuasca to heal him- or herself and unravel the truth that is buried in the subconscious. It is vital for us to safeguard an atmosphere of genuine care and compassion, because we trust this to be an essential component of the overall healing process.
This doesn’t mean we see it as our task to take away your suffering or hurt, because that is yours alone to handle. Instead, we hold a compassionate and respectful space for you to see the truth that has been buried in the subconscious and heal what needs to be healed in you. This also means that we expect our guests to treat us, each other and our environment with respect. We have used our experience to set some house rules to ensure everyone feels respected.
- Respect for the environment
Where we can, we try to reduce our footprint on the environment (recycling, reducing laundry and dishes, etc). We always strive to find more efficient and environmental-friendly ways of doing things and are open to learn from more experienced people.
The Acsauhaya concept of bringing Peruvian shamans to Europe, is of course more efficient in terms of the environmental burden of travelling between continents. Having one shaman travelling to The Netherlands to provide his medicinal plant traditions here, saves the Europeans that participate in these ceremonies from each having to travel to the Amazon.
We feel very blessed with our beautiful location (the Dutch farm house). We do not litter on or around the property. We respect our neighbours and the animals that live on and around the property.
– Bryant McGill