I've been to several Inner Mastery retreats across Europe over the last few years and have honestly never had a bad experience with them. They are kind and friendly, they vet everybody thoroughly, the accommodation is split male and female and is very comfortable, the houses are beautiful, the food is delicious, and everyone seems to be having a productive, spiritual and beautiful experience. These retreats helped me change my life for the better. I hope people look beyond the bad press, a lot of which just seems to be rooted in fear. I have nothing but love and gratitude for these guys.
This review is in two parts as it is too long.
I did 3 ceremonies with Inner Mastery. The 1st 1 was a one off and I had a very good experience, it was an amazing journey. This led me to sign up for 3 days over new year this year. They were running an 11 day retreat with people coming and going. One day, 3 days, some people staying for the full eleven days. I went on the Friday which was supposed to be the 1st night of a 3 session retreat, (I can't say ceremony as what they do is far from ceremonial). On the Friday morning I woke with a cold starting, I took a cold remedy without thinking then texted the 'Ireland director' to ask if it was still OK to take the Ayahuasca after this, she assured me it was fine. I went in the evening to the house where they hold their sessions. My cold had worsened by now but I was assured that this was just my body beginning to heal pre session. I drank the medicine and had an OK journey, nither particularly good nor bad, it was led by a Mexican guy who seemed to be able to manage the energies alright. Physically I was getting sicker as the night went on, it was becoming apparent I was ill with more than just a cold. When I got up on Saturday I informed the woman who is running the Ireland show that I felt I needed to see a doctor so I was going to go home and go to see the out of hours doctor. This organisation has a house in my home town so this was easy to do. The 'Ireland director' told me to come back afterwards as it is quite OK to drink with antibiotics...... When I got to the surgery the doctor told me that I had a severe respiratory infection and needed super strong antibiotics. I went home, went to bed and stayed there for 2 days. On the Monday I was feeling a bit better so I called this woman and she assured me it was fine to come back to the retreat. I take full responsibility for the fact that I went back. This is where my real problems started...... I did a session that night, it was against my better judgement but I wanted the convenience of having the mother a 10 minute drive from where I live. The Mexican man had left that day and that evenings session was led by a 28 yr old girl with no idea what she was doing, I actually overheard her say that she was very nervous, maybe this was her first time leading? Whatever. Please see second review for the rest of the story
Again I take full responsibility for the fact I ignored my instinct and drank the medicine. There were only completely untrained, unskilled people in charge. The 'Ireland directors' 10 year old son was present the entire time. That poor child, the horrors he has seen and been exposed to. Anyone who has been to an Ayahuasca ceremony knows it ain't pretty! Anyway, for whatever reason I had a really bad time, I know this is the luck of the draw, with Mama Aya you never know what she has lined up for you until you're in it! But dear God! I was left on that mattress alone, no support, no one to help me through. I have done ceremonies before with a shipibo shaman from Peru and that man was a maestro, he was like a conductor, controlling the energies, instantly aware if you were in difficulty or distressed and he was on it immediately! Not so with Inner Mastery. You sank or swam alone..... And the 'Ireland director' walked around the room with this smirk on her face. I think she thought it was serene and Madonna like, but all I saw was a smirk. And her poor son! People purging, crying, laughing, screaming, he saw it all. And madam 'Ireland director' was looking at her 10 years old son witnessing this. Anyway next day finally came and I was still out of it, I kept slipping in and out of the mother's realm. I tried at one stage to leave, I knew by now that this was a really bad setup but I was in no condition to drive. After another few hours I again tried to leave, I got to my car but was unable to to drive. I sat in it for an hour before someone noticed I was still there and came and asked if I was OK. This is when I physically collapsed, I was unable to walk or talk coherently. This poor guy who had come to see if I was OK had to half carry half drag me across the car park to the house. I became hysterical and refused to re-enter the house. I spent about 15 minutes on the ground outside the house before I calmed down enough to go back inside. I knew I was going nowhere that evening. They took me into the room where the sessions are held and lay me on a mattress and wrapped me in blankets. I was a complete mess. When that evenings session started the 'Ireland director' called me to take more Ayahuasca! I was unable to stop crying, I couldn't walk or talk and this narcissistic woman wanted me to drink again? I simply said no thank you, I don't want any. She actually tried to coax me into taking "just a little sip". Again I said no thank you. Even though I hadn't drank that night I went through another night of hell. It was the same as if I'd taken a full dose! Again, I was left alone, not one of the facilitators came near me, though one or two of the other participants did try to comfort and aid me. The next day I was still slipping in and out of it but less so. I was unable to leave yet as I still couldn't drive but I was a little bit more coherent. Madam 'Ireland director' again tried to persuade me to stay another night and drink again. I got myself together enough by about 9pm so that I could leave but I still had trouble driving. I got to the main road and called my friend. I had to leave my car, she came and got me in a taxi and took me to her house. I had a full on mental breakdown and was off work for four months trying to piece myself back together. I've only recently returned to work. As I've said before I accept full responsibility for going there, for drinking when I was feeling ill, then returning and drinking when I was on strong antibiotics. No one held me down and forced me to drink. But these people have no idea what they are doing, they have no experience or training. They have no idea of how to help someone in distress or having a difficult journey. They have zero screening process and actively encourage you to make no changes to diet pre aya session (I refuse to use the word ceremony with these people). They advertise on Facebook and I actually spoke to some people at the retreat that had never heard of Ayahuasca, they thought they were going to a fast track personal development retreat! I am just about back to normal now but I am sure that it is down to 20 years of personal and spiritual work that I have done. Without that I dread to think what may have become of me! Please, please please stay away from this organisation and the people involved with it, they are only in it for money. They are very dangerous and really have no concern for the people attending their retreats. Ayahuasca is not a personal development tool, it's a doorway into other realms and in my opinion and from my experiences you need someone who knows what they are doing to help you navigate the journey. Again, and I can't state this strongly enough, avoid this organisation like you would the plague! They are a catastrophe waiting to happen, don't be the one it happens to