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TERRITORIOS sagrados, COMUNIDADES despiertas y TRADICIONES místicas

About AWE

AWE is a calling to investigate, recover, and defend the mystical experience.


Through its calling, the black jaguar has taught us that the mystical experience and the noesis of direct knowledge and transpersonal connection to mystery is an essential element to transcend our main collective and individual challenges.


Currently Awe is divided into two main areas of activism: 1. Experiential education into life-pathways in ecstatic mysticism, 2. Conservation of traditional knowledge.

2. Conservation of Traditional Knowledge



Through our ongoing process of collaboration and solidarity with shamanic indigenous communities, we have found that protecting and supporting our mystical paths is essential in the conservation of our indigenous traditions in general as usually it is the mystical elements that act like big pillars of the rest of our traditions, cosmologies, and worldview. In these shamanic indigenous communities we have also seen that ceremonies are essential in community building and problem solving. We believe that strengthening and supporting this part of our lives will strengthen the whole system in general and help conserve and defend identities and diversity. We believe that if we help conserve the traditions and mystical connection of indigenous communities, this will aid the ecological balance of the planet and support the mental health of our species.



Our organization's efforts are strategically distributed across three distinct territories, each uniquely associated with a specific medicinal practice. To ensure the effective allocation and management of our resources, we have established three dedicated funding pockets. Leadership, administration, and operational support within these territories and funding areas are meticulously structured to optimize our impact.





Tsikiri Miguel and

Otakame Rogelio

Medicine Focus:




Ecuador &





Kahansi Arleys and

Theci Leo

Medicine Focus:


Yagé (Ayahuasca)






Koundi Ermine and

Mayombo Moukambi

Medicine Focus:




The directors of these areas are all local leaders who are intrinsically connected to their cultural heritage and environmental context enabling authentic representation and integration of each territory's unique perspectives and wisdom in the decision-making processes. 

To bolster our activities across these territories, we have dedicated teams providing essential operative support. These teams work directly with the project leaders of each territory and may change depending on the project and the activities.

They are also supported by the admin team of AWE in Colombia:

Paula, Mar, Lila, Michael, Liseth

This team plays an important role in crowdfunding and working with donors, and supports in the operation of our projects, handling accounting, logistics, coordination, communication and support tasks that enable our directors and field teams to focus on their critical work.

Sometimes we also receive support from volunteers, mainly students from our educational projects.

Logistics & admin support











Throughout the process of learning and working alongside these communities, we have identified four general ways to fulfill our mission:


1. Building or reconstructing temples: Known as Malocas in the Amazon, Tukis for the Wixaritari, Tede and Banja in Gabon. These places are generally not only used for ceremonies but are also used as the communal hall to discuss political and social issues as a community. They are also used as traditional schools where the elders bring the younger ones to receive instruction. Usually these temple complexes also include a secondary structure to house guest shamans or patients and/or hold other healing rites.


2. Acquiring tools and supplies necessary to perform ceremonies: This includes elements such as musical instruments, sustainable source of herbs and psychedelic plants used in the ceremonies and healings, clothes and traditional dresses, costumes and masks, etc.


3. Generating scholarships and educational opportunities for apprentices: Training as a traditional healer is very expensive. Expensive travel for pilgrimage to sacred sites, and for initiations the apprentice needs to be able to finance festivals, food for the community and animal sacrifices which are all expensive too. In some communities the scholarship fund is aimed rather at funding transportation, food, and teaching of elders that have to come from far away communities to teach the students of a community who are at risk of forgetting the tradition. This also includes lobbying with schools to include traditional knowledge in their programs and paying teachers for classes.


4. Hosting councils of elders: Apart from helping the young begin their educational journey, we find it important to support the elders to get together in councils of thought. Usually elders from distant villages are invited into a central place to share for 3 to 5 days. The councils are a combination of group conversations around specific themes and also group ceremonies. These events strengthen not only the individual communities, but the whole tribe/nation. This is usually where the elders try to find solutions to common problems and also where they share their dreams for the future to align into a common direction as a tribe.

Current Projects 2024:


We are currently seeking support to fund these projects in particular (all costs are in USD):


1. Building or reconstructing temples


In Gabon we would like to help finance the building of a temple for women and a temple for men in each village.


The temples in the Maboga traditions are the center of the communities. Every afternoon as they return from their plantations, all the men gather in the masculine temple and the women in the feminine temple. Here they share their everyday lives, but also their ceremonial live, as the temple is the central place for initiations, death and mourning rites, healings, and also where community members gather to discuss social issues.


Having a good temple with a roof that is not leaking water, that is sealed so that the animals don’t enter, and that is spacious enough to hold the community, helps to empower them socially and spiritually.


Building these temples not only requires buying materials and putting them together into a structure but also it must include important ritual and ceremonial elements that are part of building and blessing it.

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2. Acquiring tools and supplies necessary to perform ceremonies


It’s important for the Iboga communities to acquire a stock of these elements in order to support and invigorate their ceremonies and their cultural strength.


Some elements are organic and can be found in the rainforest, but these are getting more difficult to find and the communities need to find sustainable ways to farm them. For example, the plants that are needed to build their traditional instruments. The kinds of squash that they need for their rattles are getting more difficult to find and must begin to be farmed sustainably in addition to specific plants and palms for string instruments (Ngombi and Mougongo) as well as the drums. Also, it is important for communities to have sustainable sources of Iboga by creating small community plantations for them to use.


The inorganic elements are perhaps the most needed as it is very hard for a community that doesn’t have financial resources to acquire them. These are clothes for their ceremonial dresses, costumes for the dissoumba healers, metal bells and jingles, cooking equipment for ceremonies, ceremonial chairs, etc.

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3. Generating scholarships and educational opportunities for apprentices


For Gabon the scholarships could be divided in three:


1. Financial support for ceremonial rites of passage of girls and boys into young adulthood: Ñembe for girls and Muiri for boys. These ceremonies not only initiate them into young adulthood but are also initiations into the protectors of the village. By passing through this initiation a very strong spiritual bond is created between the initiate, the spirits of the village, and the community. This is essential in the conservation of the cohesion of the village and tribe.


2. Scholarships for new apprentices of initiatory rites: The initiatory rites include Missoku, Mabanji, Dissoumba, Elombe, and more. Initiation into these rites usually requires a big financial contribution and thus is extremely difficult for people interested to be able to be initiated because of this factor. The knowledge of these societies is secret and only revealed to those who have been initiated. For this reason, helping people to attain this first essential initiation is important in supporting the spread of knowledge. If there aren’t initiates (for financial reasons or otherwise), then the knowledge will be lost due to its secret sectarian nature.


3. Advanced initiations for initiation masters: After years of being an apprentice, there are stages of development within the initiatory rites that require another level of initiations. These initiations are for a smaller portion of initiates that are to become the next generation of initiation masters or neemas.


In general all three kinds of scholarships require money to buy ritual elements that will be used, to pay for food and drinks that will be offered to the community because these initiations are also like a festival, similar to a wedding. Also the musicians, dancers, singers, and elders must be paid for their work. Initiations go for approximately 5 days.

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4. Hosting the councils of elders:


Apart from helping the young begin their educational journey, we find it important to support the elders get together in councils of thought. Usually elders from distant villages are invited into a central place to share for 3 to 5 days. The councils are a combination of group conversations around specific themes and also group ceremony. These events strengthen not only the individual communities, but the whole tribe/nation. This is usually where the elders try to find solutions to common problems and also where they share their dreams for the future to align into a common direction as a tribe.


In Gabon in particular we have done a regional conference in Mouila which felt very successful and the community is looking forward to meet more. Financially it requires funding for transportation of the elders from far away villages, for food during the event, and for lodging (hotel).

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Budget for Gabon


General costs:

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Budget for Phase 1: Year 1

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Budget for 10 villages and one conference (over 4 years):

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Ecuador & Colombia


1. Building and reconstructing temples: 


We wish to help some of the main Taitas of the Ai ethnicity to be able to maintain their Malokas. Some also need to build bathrooms or bridges in the pathway to reach their malokas. Currently we need to support seven Taitas of four different A’i communities in Ecuador and Colombia. Rebuilding these sacred spaces gives the communities that follow and apprentice with these taitas enthusiasm and helps keep their tradition alive.

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Also the women of Tsatsapai wish to build a temple to drink yage, in that community the women drink separately from the men, and therefore wish to build a temple to teach herbal remedies and create crafts together. These two spaces must be separate and cannot be the same space due to sacred reasons. They also wish to build a botanical garden. They have also begun writing a book about herbs, and have begun to recollect and plant herbal medicines from different areas of the jungle but with to expand these efforts into a botanical garden to host more herbs from different climates. Later on they wish to prepare and sell or trade creams, soaps, shampoos, and herbal remedies.

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2. Acquiring tools and supplies necessary to perform ceremonies:


In the case of this territory, Yage Curacas have expressed the wish to acquire musical instruments used for ceremonial music, that is the music that is played after 4am in their ceremonies. Some of the instruments, like the guitars and requinto are better quality because they wish to use them to participate in musical competitions.

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3. Generating scholarships and educational opportunities for apprentices:


The A’i community of Tsatsapai have shared an experience that we see very valuable in the education field related to making sure that the younger generations preserve the traditions of the elders. In this community, once a month the teachers bring the students of the school (100 students from preschool to middle school) to the Maloka with the elders of the community for Yage Ceremonies. 


These are not only valuable in helping the young understand the value of Yage, but the teacher also feel that the medicine helps  the students to learn more, concentrate better, understand difficult concepts, and solve problems. Also, the kids learn to respect the tribal authorities (the elders). The elders share stories about their tribe and history, the children learn to play ceremonial music, they learn from traditional healing modalities, and they receive direct individual advice from the Taitas. 


We wish to try to replicate this valuable process in other communities that do not have it. Because some of the teachers of the other communities have never drank Yage and may need some inspiration, and those who are Yage drinkers need to experience this first hand in order to learn how to replicate it in their schools; representatives of the Dureno, Dovuno, and Chanda Na’en communities believe that the first phase of this project should be to create an retreat of teachers and healers in the Tsatsapai community during one of these days that the children of the schools meet go to ceremony. This means gathering all the teachers of these communities during a weekend retreat, paying for their transportation, housing, and food, and giving a recognition/gift to the Tsatsapai teachers and healers.

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4. Hosting the council of elders: 


Our first council of elders in this territory was a success. We gathered 80 Curacas, traditional healers and sages, from 6 different A’i communities from Colombia and Ecuador in a four day council that was focused on sharing their needs and dreams. The two yage ceremonies held during the council were particularly important. Having family members living in different communities and finally seeing each other again and sharing experiences and spiritual power felt important as well. We believe that hosting another council would be helpful in strengthening the community, their spiritual power, solving inner and outer conflicts, and clarifying shared tribal intentions.

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1. Building or reconstructing temples: 


In Mexico, for the sake of Peyote conservation and the conservation of the sacred site Wirikuta and Kauyumari (Bernalejo), we have been working with the ejido Las Margaritas in habilitating a water well. 

Although Wirikuta is a pilgrimage site of the Wixaritari communities, the land and the desert, is owned by the ejidatarios of Estacion Catorce, Wadley, Las Animas, and especially Margaritas. The communities of the desert around Margaritas cannot be compared to the “ranchers” neighboring the peyote gardens of texas. Although some of the residents of the desert, like settlers in Estacion Catorce and Wadley did arrive there because of the train, others, such as those from Margaritas, used to be Huachichiles and although they have lost their indigenous language, they have always lived there since time immemorial. People from settlements like Estacion Catorce have been selling the desert (Wirikuta) to american tomato plantations, american chicken factories, and really anyone willing to buy it. From their perspective, they are finally getting something out of that barren land. Margaritas had resisted, but as some of the people see their neighbors finding prosperity through these negotiations, the community has been divided and half of them want to sell their land. Since they are community lands, if the vote is more in favor, then the land is divided by families and each family could begin selling their part. If it is not in favor, then they will continue to have the land, but not sell it. The community needs ways of sustaining themselves. Building this water well would help them find more prosperity by being able to use a small portion of the desert to grow crops with water from the well and they have expressed that they wouldn’t need to find other solutions, such as selling the land they have guarded for generations. This well would also help to water peyote nurseries which are part of a future phase of the project.


During phase one, we fixed an existing well that was not working, phase two, we drilled and tested a second well, and now in phase three we must buy the motor, which is very big, and metal tubes that would bring the water up into the surface. In phase four we would distribute the water for family plantations and begin building the nurseries. 

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In Cohamiata and San Andres, the Tukis, which are the ceremonial spaces of the Wixaritari, are in good shape for now, but the Jicareros have asked for support in building adjacent structures to be able to house the visiting Jicareros when they arrive from far away. These would be very simple rooms where they and their families could sleep and eat in ceremonial gatherings. Each Tuki would have a series of these small houses around it.

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2. Acquiring tools and supplies necessary to perform ceremonies: 


The Wixaritari are known for their pilgrimage to Wirikuta, but it is less known that this pilgrimage is just a small portion of a more complex ceremonial process which usually extends between March and June/July. This process begins in the Tuki of the village, then proceeds with the pilgrimage to Wirikuta going and returning, afterwards it continues with the hunt of the deer, and finally with the peyote dance (Hikuri Neixa).


As things have evolved and the lands have changed, the lands are private and fenced, and the Wixaritari have no longer been able to walk to Wirikuta. Similarly, they are also having difficulties finding wild deer to hunt and because the lands have changed and the ecological balance has been affected, there are not enough wild deer and it would not be correct to hunt them. For this reason the Jicareros have expressed their wish to adequate a portion of their land to grow deer for ceremonial use. The traditional authorities as well as the agrarian authorities have already given their approval, and the Wixaritari have a piece of land of 197,000 square meters which on its longer sides does not require fencing due to natural riffs. We would only need to fence the two shorter sides of the rectangle.


At the moment we are seeking support to buy the materials for the fence:

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3. Generating scholarships and educational opportunities for apprentices: 


We like to always have a small fund to support Jicareros without resources and who must fulfill their duty of pilgrimage to Wirikuta and also to support new initiates into the pilgrimage. Performing this pilgrimage is extremely important and essential for the Wixaritari worldview and helping new initiates arrive, really helps to keep the spark alive as well as bring healing to the whole community that stays in the villages.

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4. To help host councils of elders: 


This year we do not plan to perform a council or reunion in this territory, but will begin to work on it for next year.

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