AYAHUASCA RETREAT & HEALING CENTER
Ron Wheelock & the Staff of El Purguero
El Purguero is an Ayahuasca Camp situated 23 km from the jungle city of Iquitos, Peru. It is owned and operated by Ayahuasquero Ronald Joe Wheelock, affectionally known as The Gringo Shaman of the Amazon. Don Ron has been serving the community as an ayahuasquero for over 25 years. As his reputation as a strong healer and expert brewer led Don Ron to buy land at km 23 Iquitos and build El Purguero. The camp has been opened since November 2012 and hosted it’s first private group of 30 people in December 2012. El Purguero is dedicated to healing. El Purguero serves the most mature ayahuasca, prepared and cooked by Don Ron. El Purguero’s ayahuasca is considered the purest and strongest in Iquitos and Don Ron provides his ayahuasca to many of the retreats in the area. The camp is set in lush jungle with natural streams and an abundance of fruit and medicinal plants.
Accommodation is provided in a communal bunkhouse or jungle huts that sleep one or two. El Purguero serves fresh local produce and clean drinking water. Don Ron supports the community by employing local people and buying local produce. The camp is maintained by Don Alberto, his wife Isabela and their two daughters. Ceremonies are performed solely by Don Ron. Ron’s partner, Karina Maria Diaz Parades, has a small shop at the camp that provides local artisans a place to display their crafts. Don Ron sole goal in establishing El Purguero was his desire to offer a safe, supportive environment in which to heal the physical, emotional or spiritual needs of its guests. El Purguero is a retreat devoted to learning and appreciating plant medicines and a place to experience the true nature of reality and explore all our potential to live a meaningful life.
If you are interested in attending a retreat at El Purguero, please contact us for dates and availability.
Don Ron Wheelock – Ayahuasquero / Curandero / Shaman
Don Ron Wheelock is widely known in Peru as The Gringo Shaman of the Amazon. A shaman is a person who, in tribal cultures, communicates with the spirit world. As intermediaries, shamans ask spirits to intercede in the lives of humans, healing them of illnesses, or granting favors. Since traditional cultures believe that spirits play important roles in peoples lives, the shaman must learn how to cooperate with the spirits for the benefit of his or her community. Ron Wheelock was born in Independence, Kansas. In 1996 he went to Peru looking for a spiritual teacher. Ron first drank ayahuasca in Tamshiyacu with famed shaman Don Agustin Rivas Vasquez. While with Don Agustin, he made arrangements to return to begin the intensive training to become a shamanic healer himself using the South American plant medicine, ayahuasca. Ron stayed with Don Agustin for 5 months doing many plant diets. Ron then began working with Don Jose Coral Mori, the teacher of Pablo Amaringo and Eduardo Luna, the authors of Ayahuasca Visions. After studying with both ayahuasqueros (a shaman who works exclusively with ayahuasca), he began working on his own.
Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and is known as the ayahuasca capital of the world. Ayahuasca tourism is now a vital part of the Iquitos economy with Westerners seeking traditional shamanic experiences and healings using the visionary Amazonian plant-medicines. Besides bringing spiritual tourism to Iquitos, ayahuasca is being used by three new ayahuasca religious movements in Brazil: Santo Daime, Barquinha and União do Vegetal. It has been credited with curing thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts and is being studied by pharmacologists around the world.
Like indigenous shamans have been doing for centuries, Don Ron prepares his ayahuasca by harvesting the vine Banisteriopsis caapi and then boiling it with other plants and herbs for several days. After continuously praying over the mixture, Don Ron’s ayahuasca is ready to be used in a ceremony. Ayahuasca is said to give users the power to travel beyond their bodies, to see the future, and confront the demonic forces that cause physical and emotional illnesses.
Don Ron is also on the forefront of the work being done using ayahuasca to treat PTSD. Ayahuasca’s active ingredient, the naturally occurring psychedelic compound DMT, causes users to revisit and process issues associated with personal traumas and suppressed memories in a safe, controlled setting. Many compare the experience to doing ten years of therapy in one night. A number of scientific studies have found ayahuasca to be effective in helping PTSD patients formerly considered untreatable, and there is a tremendous amount of anecdotal evidence that the cathartic effects of ayahuasca are real and long-lasting. Typically only a few ceremonies, and often just one, are needed to create profound and positive changes.
Although classified as a schedule one controlled substance by the U.S. government, ayahuasca has no proven addictive or neurotoxic properties. It has in fact been used to treat various drug, nicotine and alcohol addictions. Anyone who has used it will attest that ayahuasca is a challenging experience, and certainly, cannot be used as a party drug or casually brewed “at home”. Users should know that it is dangerous to do ayahuasca while taking prescription anti-anxiety or anti-depression medication.
Ayahuasquero Don Ron (62 years old) lives with his partner Karina Maria Diaz Paredes and conducts ayahuasca retreats at his compound, El Purguero. He has a 43 year old daughter, Christina, living in the U.S., and a 14 year old son, Quetzalcoatal Luis Wheelock Angulo. Sebastian, 13, and John, 19, complete Don Ron’s family.
Don Alberto, his wife Isabela and their 2 daughters, Luz and Judy, are the family that are the El Purguero Guardians. They perform the duties of site maintenance, cooking, cleaning and the other general chores that help El Purguero function smoothly and efficiently. The Guardians are a valuable, integral part of El Purguero.
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