La Familia Ayahuasca's Lineage
La Familia Ayahuasca has its roots in Amazonian Mestizo Shamanism. Initially, with the intention of doing deep personal work for an extended period of time, Zach moved to Genaro Herrera, Peru in 2010. As a natural evolution of this personal work, Zach began studying the medicine with the Galindo family (Maestro Gumercindo Galindo and his father, Maestro Don Roldan Galindo). The Galindo family was an extension of the lineage that began Maestro Don Julio Llerena Pinedo, who was a highly respected shaman throughout the area, and became well-known among Gringos as well after being featured prominently in the book Ayahuasca in My Blood, by Peter Goreman.
Based on a dream his teacher had and visions Zach himself had during ceremony, Zach co-founded the La Familia Medicina retreat center with the Galindo family in 2011. La Familia Medicina was in operation from 2011- mid 2014.
Our Initial Evolution
With the blessing of his teacher, Zach began serving the medicine “solo” in mid 2014-2018. During this time, Zach continued to work intensely with Ayahuasca and other jungle trees and plants. In addition, Zach began working with North American trees by applying the shamanic dieta protocol with trees such as Redwood, Sequoia, Oak, Juniper, Pando (Quaking Aspen), Cedar, Cyprus and the Bodhi tree. It was through this work that Zach and his students came to appreciate how the shamanic dieta protocol could be used around the world to tap into the wisdom of plants and trees in every location, and that the wisdom of these plants and trees tended to be uniquely relevant for those living in their environments.
In 2015 Zach met Jess on a Redwood shamanic dieta retreat in Northern California. From that retreat onward Jess immersed herself completely in the medicine. Together, Zach and Jess not only worked intensely with plant medicines, but also dove deeply into the practices Buddhism.
In late 2017 Lake Atitlan Guatemala began calling Zach and Jess through visions and synchronicity. Prior to these experiences, Guatemala was not “on the radar”.
During the first visit to Lake Atitlan, Zach and Jess received a strong message that they were expanding beyond their traditional Peruvian Mestizo lineage. While they deeply respect and will continue to honor their roots, they intend to skillfully let go of limitations and boundaries and explore approaches beyond the Amazonian container. One might say, in a way, they have begun a new medicine journey.
Our Current Revelation
Truth is obvious. Truth needs no defense nor argument. Truth simply is. It might be worth considering that resistance to Truth is the cause of suffering.
On May 15th, 2018 Zach realized a significant Truth. It was time to step aside and encourage Jess to step forth as the spiritual leader of La Familia Ayahuasca.
Zach simply realized that Jess had surpassed him on the great spiritual journey, it was time for the teacher to become the student.
Many spiritual teachers have noted that it is time for the divine feminine to step forward, and be honored as the masculine has been overshadowing the feminine for much of the last 3,000+ years. While Zach had heard this message and agreed with this message, it was not until this moment that he was ready to fully embrace it.
Back in 2015, Zach “hooked Jess up” by introducing her to the plant medicines path and supporting her re-orientation on the larger spiritual journey. Since that time, Jess has grown leaps and bounds, exceeding expectations and knocking the socks off of just about everyone in her presence. Now it is time for Jess to “hook us all up” by sharing her medicine and expression of the divine feminine with myself and anyone who chooses to work with La Familia Ayahuasca.
Zach realized what a special being Jess is- she fully represents and embodies the positive aspects of the divine feminine. She is the loving and nurturing mother incarnate. She understands and represents the divine feminine perspective that the divine is imbued in everyone and everything. That the divine exists in the Universe as the Universe.
Jess is now the “go to” person at La Familia Ayahuasca in regards to the spiritual direction of La Familia Ayahuasca.
Zach, on retreats and in ceremony will take the role of the masculine- acting as protector and support. Of course he will remain step up when necessary, particularly when our son Bodhi needs Jess’s attention, and at the same time he will defer to Jess.
A Note From Jess
Over the last several months, maybe even the last two years, there have been tips and hints that it was time to support and uplift the Divine Feminine. After all, this is all she asks for— a canvas upon which to paint herself into bloom; a container in which the masculine is holding space for her dramatic unfoldment. Even so, I was surprised by Zach’s recent revelation. Surprised, humbled, and… exalted. He surprised me with this in a letter… and as I read it, despite my initial shock, I realized how much this is what I had been longing and wishing for. And I immediately felt in my bones that this was right.
Since our pregnancy and the birth of our son, Bodhi, my role in ceremony has shifted and evolved. With the addition of this new role as the spiritual and ceremonial lead of La Familia Ayahuasca, I have no doubt that my relationship— and OUR relationship— with Ayahuasca will continue to shift and change in extraordinary ways.
Zach has blessed me first by giving me an introduction to the medicine more beautiful than anything I was even capable of imagining. And Zach has continually blessed me in these last three years by supporting my studies and holding space for me to unmask myself, sometimes by trial and ordeal and other times by Grace.
Let it be known that it is my intention to return the favor… and that I feel ready to do so. Let me hold the space as we create, expand, dissolve boundaries, unfold and give birth to the next generation. That is, after all, what the feminine does.
Our View on How Ayahuasca Works
In this short write up we will do our best to describe how Ayahuasca works from a shamanic standpoint. This is somewhat challenging because the perspective taken by shamans or healers is very different from the western scientific, reductionist viewpoint. Therefore, we will not get into the western scientific definitions of how Ayahuasca works. If this western scientific perspective is of interest to you, there is a significant amount of that information available via the internet and various books.
First, It is important to point out that from a shamanic standpoint the difference between spiritual healing and emotional or physical healing is non-existent. The shamanic perspective is that the spiritual or energetic system is directly correlated with the mental, physical and emotional systems. In fact, the perspective is that if we can correct the imbalance in the energetic and spiritual systems, it will flow through to the mental, emotional and physical systems such that they become balanced.
Taking it a step further, there really is no difference between these “systems” as they are part of the greater system. This perspective can be confusing for westerners as we have been conditioned throughout life to view our bodies in a reductionist vs. wholistic manner i.e. the idea that the mind or emotions are separate from the physical body, etc..... Really, to sum it up from a shamanic perspective, what we are all striving for is connection (to the divine, the world, and to people), flow and harmony.
When the connection (channel) is clear and operating correctly, that leads to proper and efficient flow (energetic flow) which then enables harmony and well being in a spiritual, energetic, emotional and physical sense.
Many other ancient spiritual/healing “systems” take this approach as well. For example, we can look at both the Chinese medicine/Taoist cosmology with their meridian system and then we have the Indian Yogis who talk about the nadi system. These two approaches both speak to the concept that we are energy bodies with various energy sub systems. Some systems, like the physical system, simply being denser forms of energy.
These viewpoints ultimately do not differentiate between the spiritual, energetic, mental, emotional and physical. These are simply creating smaller systems within the larger to simplify their comprehension. However, they still keep the larger system in mind when tinkering with any of the sub-systems.
Because of this wholistic view regarding our connection to the divine via the energetic or spiritual body there is no differentiation between the words “sacrament” and “medicine”.
In our view Ayahuasca is really both a medicine and a sacrament. Ayahuasca quite literally cleans and opens the channel to the divine. Ayahuasca contains “Christ Consciousness”, “Buddha Consciousness”, “Divine Consciousness”, “Gaia Consciousness”, “Unconditional Love” etc....
From the perspective of La Familia Ayahuasca, the terminology regarding this consciousness is not important. One can come to their own conclusions via direct experience as to how to describe the essence of Ayahuasca.
When we take Ayahuasca into our bodies it is that “higher consciousness” or “higher vibration” that interacts with various “energies” that reside in our bodies. These “energies” are either in alignment with the resonance of the sacrament or they are not.
The energies that are not in alignment with this higher vibration tend to be products of various negative traumas that we have experienced and held on to in our lives. Holding on to these traumas tends to cause tension or constriction in the system such that they cause “energetic blockages”. These energetic blockages then cause “energetic pools” that stagnate and one might say that they start to become putrid over time.
These energetic blockages or putrid pools of energy kink up the system and can manifest as such things as negative thoughts, depression, anxiety, feeling disconnected from the world and other people (only a few examples).
Ayahuasca, as it goes through one’s system will start to loosen and clean out these energetic blockages in a myriad of ways. Sometimes the cleaning is quite physical through vomiting, going to the bathroom, sweating, crying, and shaking just to name a few. Sometimes the cleaning is through visions or lessons where one re-experiences a past trauma, negative thought pattern or receives instruction on how to live one’s life in a healthier way.
This cleaning process is a continual process. It is truly a process and a practice. Everyone is different in their starting point and their expression in the process. It can be quite challenging at times, particularly when Ayahuasca brings forth aspects, events or emotions that we have been avoiding or suppressing for a long time.
However, as the process progresses the cleaning becomes subtler and subtler. This happens as we clean out the denser energies and as we become more versed with our interaction with Ayahuasca.
Once we achieve what might be called a “baseline of energetic cleanliness” which could also be described as “all channels (relatively) clear” one may notice a feeling of connection. This feeling or experience is a direct connection with the consciousness of Ayahuasca.
This connection then, can open up further to larger spiritual “vistas”. In turn, we can then tap into a larger wisdom, broader perspectives, and deeper understandings that we were not able to access before. This previous lack of access being due to the presence of our energetic blockages. With the channels clear one can experience a sense of connection, flow and harmony.
It is very important to point out that Ayahuasca is not a “magic bullet”. That is Ayahuasca will not “fix” you.
When doing any kind of spiritual work whether it be meditation, mantra, prayer, etc... there is a large personal component as one needs to put forth their own personal effort in the process. The practices or techniques will not bring forth results without this effort. As Ayahuasca is a sacrament and a spiritual practice, the same requirement applies.
As one approaches Ayahuasca and this practice, it is strongly suggested that one accept that this practice involves significant amounts of personal responsibility and commitment. It is important to understand, particularly in the beginning, that there most likely will be some challenges and discomfort. One needs to commit to the process, trust the process and keep moving forward through the process.
It is not an easy path, but it is a path that can be extremely rewarding and beautiful.