RS Retreat: Rainforest Plant Medicine Council Gathering

Reality Sandwich invites you to the 2012 Council Gatherings on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica being held as fundraisers to preserve rainforest projects spearheaded by the Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity (CCBD).  Join us on an unforgettable adventure of self-discovery, wellness and exploration of rainforest plant medicine traditions with time-honored maestros from the Secoya people's community in the Ecuadorian Amazon— gathering in the heart of the Osa Peninsula also known as "The Little Amazon by the Ocean" endorsed by National Geographic as "the most biological intense place on Earth".

In this retreat you will be guided into deeper realms of healing and spiritual development, growth and understanding, and to the renewing energies of these powerful times tested spiritual traditions. The retreat will be held in the tropical paradise of Guaria de Osa Ecolodge, a stunning sanctuary of primary rainforest and pristine beaches alongside the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica, adjacent to Corcovado National Park.

Two Council Gatherings will be held–each with a limited number of available spaces. Both gatherings are hosted by Jonathon M. Weisberger, ethnobotanist, founder and steward of Guaria de Osa Ecolodge. The first takes place January 15-25 and the second gathering takes place January 29-February 8. Both Council Gatherings are blessed with the participation of Secoya traditional elders, who are time honored graduated plant masters and who will be leading intimate ceremonies directly intended towards wellness and renewal of mind body and soul, according to ancient celestial practices. Both retreats are also blessed with the participation of Sarah Chase a New York based acupuncturist who will help participants overcome obstacles in healing facilitating renewal. More information is available below and by clicking here.

On the evenings between ceremonies, the retreat leaders will lead in-depth discussions about: plant medicine and their role in healing and renewal; sacred techniques for staying connected with the energies of wellness and renewal; time tested methods for spiritual self development; and the growing global shamanic underground. During the days, workshops will include: learning how to deepen our connection to the plant kingdom; the Divine Feminine within contemporary ritual; and understanding water as a messenger and a source of intelligence.

The immediate environment is superb for swimming, bird-watching, canoeing, hiking, kayaking, ocean & river swimming, and star-gazing. There will be guided nature walks, and scuba diving and surfing will be available (for an additional fee).

Mornings will begin with a toning movement session, which combines yoga, Qi Gong and bioenergetics into a healing session that helps you to know your body better, and to integrate the ceremonial work of the week. During off-days, there will be a group bathing ritual at the beach, as well as optional dances that honor the elements inspired by the eastern movement arts. Bodywork is also available (for an additional fee; schedule once you arrive).



Secoya Plant Masters: Sentient Experientials will bring to Guaria de Osa during this Rainforest Plant Medicine Council Gathering "Nature as Teacher and Timeless Wisdom for Self, Community and Planetary Healing" a number of Secoya elders – over 70 years young – who will facilitate boundless healing transformation giving participants a first hand opportunity to meet deep-forest healers and cultural masters. Their songs, profoundly and uniquely cherished, will guide your journey's meditations.

Jonathon Miller-Weisberger (aka Sparrow): Ethnobotanist and student of Traditional Chinese and Indigenous Medicine, a Naturalist, and Rainforest guide, has more than 14 years of ground level experience in the Ecuadorian Amazon. His friendship and work relationship with the Secoyas date back to 1994.

Jonathon has the important task of holding the container at the Council Gatherings – as well as Sentient Experientials Journeys into the Ecuadorian Amazon and all events at Guaria de Osa on the Osa Peninsula.

He is the founder and steward of Guaria de Osa Rainforest Ocean Wilderness Discovery Centre and the director of the Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity – CCBD. Click here for more information.

Born in Berkeley, California, he was raised in Ecuador with his sister Ladna, he has over 18 years of Rainforest Conservation advocacy beginning from his early years at Humboldt State University. Jonathon writes and submits articles in Spanish and English, keeps volumes of excellent journals, and now, 'sandwiched between' rainforest conservation projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes, marine rescue turtle project on the Osa Peninsula, and the creation of Guaria de Osa and its medicinal plant garden, his book is now in progress.

Dahlia and Ladna Miller (mother & daughter) are the ones who will get you to Guaria de Osa effortlessly by arranging all your Costa Rican logistical reservations and transfers. Once you get off your international plane you will be 'escorted' all the way to Guaria de Osa on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.


Additional Healing Modalities

Acupuncturist, Sarah Chase MacOM studied for three years at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, Oregon and one year in Jiangxi, China. Prior to founding the Brooklyn Acupuncture Project, a low cost community Acupuncture clinic in Brooklyn, New York, she worked in a collaborative medical clinic in West Bengal, India, then returned to the states to share this tremendously effective medicine with the east coast. Sarah holds a masters degree in Oriental Medicine and is nationally certified to practice acupuncture, Chinese herbalism, and shiatsu massage, as well as teach a form of medical Qigong.  She is grateful for the opportunity to serve at Guaria and looks forward to meeting you. Sarah will serve Council 2.


Council Fees

Tuition $2,100 / person / Council Gathering
10 nights / 11 days


Fees Include

Note: All activities are optional because we know sometimes to do less is to do more.

Besides having the privilege of being in the company of Secoya Shamans of the Ecuadorian Amazon during this shape-shifting event, there will be:

Day 1, 2, and 3: three Sunrise Renewal Ceremonies at 3 am to balance the body's pH, crucial to any healing or detoxification program and for preventing disease. Most people in today's modern society are acidic because of diet, sedentary lifestyle (or in some cases, over-exercising), stress, pollution, and the accumulation of chemical and heavy metal toxins. When the acid and alkaline properties are of equal strength, we say the pH is balanced. Purging with medicinal plants with the heavenly stars looking at us is a very good thing to do!

Day 5, 7, and 9: three traditional all night healing ceremonies with rainforest plant medicine for the intention of spiritual and physical self-integration, renewal and wellness. Facilitated by traditional masters who come from a direct lineage going back generations within the Secoya People of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Their heavenly shamanic chants are extraordinarily inspiring and healing. Learn forest ecology, tropical nature & indigenous worldview with its Origin mythology from the Amazon.

Throughout the week:

• Ethnobotanical Plant and Talk Walk through Guaria de Osa's Gardens
• Presentations and dialogues with themes to explore throughout the week: Ethnobotany, Wisdom Transmission, Plant Medicine Traditions in the Amazon; Indigenous World View, Cosmology and Mythology; comparative study of Amazonian and Taoist spiritual views; and how these traditions translate into a modern context as lessons from Nature.
• Listen to rare recordings of shamanic healing chants from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon.
• Several Rainforest walks to experience the highlights of the Osa Peninsula – the wondrous and awe-inspiring world of biological diversity of towering gallery of trees, beach and ocean ecosystems.
• Ocean swim and snorkel
• Sit on a wooden turtle or anaconda carved bench
• Climb very tall old trees
• Make Secoya Crowns
• Beading with Secoya designs
• Face Painting Secoya style
• Engage in lots of laughter!

In Addition!

• 11 days / 10 nights lodging
• On non-fasting days: scrumptious, wholesome, meals with vegetarian options
• One Osa Peninsula roundtrip land and water group transfer.
• Note: a non-group Osa Peninsula transfer cost $50 one way.
• Just a 3 min. stroll thru Guaria's gardens – or longer if you stop to smell the flowers and gaze at the birds – is a secluded 1 & 1/4 mile beautiful beach to swim, surf, and snorkel. (Although our beach is secluded, from time to time, locals walk the beach; therefore, for cultural sensitivity, we ask there be no skinny dipping. Thank you! )
• Surfboards and boogie boards
• Solar system lighting
• Clean linens and towels
• Costa Rican Tourist Tax
• A significant donation from your investment goes to The Osa Foundation's Rainforest Projects


How to Pay

To Reserve Your Space:

Write your check payable to: SENTIENT EXPERIENTIALS
Mail your investment to:

Sentient Experientials @ Guaria de Osa EcoLodge
c/o Dahlia Miller
PO Box 1004
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Mailing in the US: please mail your tuition via Priority Mail and purchase a Receipt for Certified Mail (which requires Dahlia Miller to sign for it).

Contact Person

Dahlia Miller
Tel. (510) 235 – 4313 in California

In the spirit of networking,
we thank you for passing the news on to others about
this significant shape-shifting event.

Getting to Guaria de Osa

We pre-arrange the following round-trip reservations to get you to Guaria de Osa effortlessly!

Costa Rican domestic round-trip flight from San José to the Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay & Palmar Sur). You will receive instructions how to pre-pay.
Taxi transfers in San José: from Juan Santamaria International Airport and Tobias Bolaños Domestic Airport; to & from hotel in San Jose. Please pay taxi driver.
Hotel in San José: cozy and affordable, centrally located near museums, shops, and parks with benches to sit on and watch the people go by. Please pay hotel directly.
Included in your investment: One Osa Peninsula roundtrip land and water group transfer.

International Flight Reservations

Please check your passport to make sure it is valid for at least 6 months after you leave Costa Rica.

Costa Rica requires everyone to purchase a round trip ticket.

Before you purchase your international flight ticket, please e-mail us the itinerary to review. Thank you.

Important: We suggest participants arrive into San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, at least one day before your Council Gathering starts.
Outside Santa Maria International there will be a microbus waiting for you with a yellow sign with the name: Hotel Brilla Sol – and your name.
For anyone who needs to leave Costa Rica on the last day of the Council Gathering keep in mind your morning transfer from the Osa Peninsula arrives into San Jose at 11 am. Therefore, it is very important to book your departure international flight back to your home country anytime after 3 pm. or spend the night in San Jose.

Testimonials from January 2011 Council Gathering

(more information is available here)

"I had an wonderful experience and learned a lot being at Guaria de Osa. I was very inspired of the work Jonathan is doing in order to help people in Ecuador. It was quite hard to get back from "paradise" where I only needed a toothbrush, a pair of sandals, bikini, towel and a dress. With love and Light." Cecilie A. naturopathic healer from Norway

"Thank you Dahlia and Ladna! This was a very profound experience. Thanks for your orchestrating and brilliant intentions for getting us all together!" Krista K., Brooklyn, New York bed & breakfast owner

"From start to finish, my experiences at Guaria were amazing. The physical beauty of the Osa Peninsulia is overwhelming and the Guaria de Osa Ecolodge is a beautiful jewel in this lush garden. The Ecolodge is right off the beach and Jonathon and the entire staff are enthusiastic to share their knowledge of the flora and fauna that share the space. The accommodations blend perfectly into the environment and the meals and services are top notch. I look forward to returning soon." Scott M. from Belize

"We had an amazing time. Thank you so so much for everything. Your son Jonathon is an amazing person, thanks so much for having him and bringing him up so well. The planet is truly blessed to have him. We have a very strong connection that will never be broken. Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts, our lives will never be the same again. We have had a major transformation. The Secoyas and Jonathon are so beautiful and powerful." —Karen Passalacqua and Larry Weinberg, New York yoga teachers

"With regards to our experience at Guaria, it was fantastic. The experience at the Council Gathering way exceeded our expectations and we could both say that this was one of the most important and meaningful 10 days of our lives. It was a life changing experience and I know that from now on life could never be the same for the better. The elders are overwhelming with their wisdom and humbleness. It is an honor for us to get to know them and drink the medicina with them. We really miss them and Rodrigo and Jonathon. It was also a great pleasure for us to meet Jonathon. He definitely created a true paradise on earth. This planet just needs more people like him." —Silviya and Daniel Slavova, owners of Italian Restaurants, Bulgaria

"The wind, the sun, the sand, the water, the jungle. Although we can't find these everywhere, here at Guaria the depth of experiencing all of these is awesome. The elders and their ancient wisdom, and songs, as well as their healing powers, is an experience that a few fortunate souls get. When I look at the richness of my life and the great blessing given to me, this point in my life's journey is one that greatly enriches the road it follows. Thank you for bringing me here for the first time. Thank you Jonathon for making possible this experience in healing for me and the many who came to this jewel in Costa Rica. With much gratitude." —Ken Hammerlund, Garden Center Owner in Florida

"A beautiful journey. The elders are such a magical experience of the walking divine in ultimate simplicity. Thank you to my sister Lina for bringing me here and for all of her wisdom and vitality and to our group full of wondrous people celebrating my time. Birthday here was so special – facing the reality that we are dying and being born every moment, every breath, and that life is a choice and that it may be a difficult road at times but that we owe it for ourselves and each other to shine the brightest light that we are all made of. Blessings of love and health to all. Con Cariño" —Krista Kujat, Bed and Breakfast owner in Brooklyn, New York

"'Love' is the word that keeps coming back to me as I reflect on the past 8 glorious days that Martin & I spent at Guaria de Osa. It is so apparent in the intention of this magical place – from the trees Jonathon planted, to the care in the craftsmanship, in the caring staff and in the people who are drawn here from all corners of the world. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel toward Tin Tin, Rogelio, Marcelo, Rodrigo, and Jonathon and the plants, animals, ad spirit that reside here for making this journey a transformational and memorable experience. I will carry the lessons learned here forward. Love and thanks to all!" —Ellen & Martin Barr, massage and occupational therapists from Washington State

"Sacred Love." Sting, English musician