Temple of the Way of Light
I went to Temple of the Way of the Light because I wanted to know more about their sustainability practices. As the biggest and most successful healing center in Iquitos, I wanted to know what they were doing to give back to the community and to the environment. I contacted them and they accepted my visit. I ended up staying for the night and participating in one of their ceremonies. Oh boy, I was in for a surprise! It was the most mind-blowing, ego-melting, life-changing experience I have ever had. The shipibo shaman who conducted the ceremony was very powerful and knowledgeable. There were other shipibo men and women in the ceremony that night. They helped with the singing and when they all sang together, it pierced right through my soul. Sometimes it was too powerful and I had to leave the maloca. The brew was very powerful as well, I got a lot of cleansing through the purging, and had vivid visions/revelations for hours. It was not an easy experience, I must say, but totally worth it.
The next day I was taken for a tour around the grounds of the Temple. I learned about their beautiful Permaculture Program, developed on . For those who don't know, much about permaculture, it is based on the concept of sustainable agriculture and ecological engineering, but goes a lot beyond that. It is about social awareness and harmony between man and the environment. As Bill Mollison has said, "Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."
In fact, the Temple has founded the Chaikuni Institute, a non-profit organization and educational center working to create the concept of self-sustainable agriculture for the communities in the Peruvian Amazon. They offer classes and hands on practice to the communities around the Temple. Using modern and ancestor concepts, they teach these communites them how to better use their resources in order to revitalize and regenerate the land, avoiding its degradation and the impact on the planet. I was very impressed with their program.
The Temple has also funded another NGO, called Alianza Arkana, where they work with indigenous leaders by providing long-term legal aid, workshops and training, helping in them fight Oil Companies that go to explore the Amazon and pollute its land and rivers, leaving tribes around certain rivers without clean water, killing dozen of indigenous people.
To finish on a more objective note, the Temple has impeccable grounds and a very impressive infra structure in the heart of the jungle. Everything from the permaculture, to their laundry, is thought out very carefully to better utilize natural resources without polluting or harming the environment.
Everything I experienced and saw during my visit, from the super powerful ceremony I participated in, their social-ecological programs and fight for environment and indigenous people, to their superb infra-structure, made me a fan of the Temple Because of all that, they are my choice for the section "Featured Retreat Center" on our site.