It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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As Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm, John Perkins advised the World Bank, United Nations, IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and leaders of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2016), a follow-up to John’s classic New York Times...

As Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm, John Perkins advised the World Bank, United Nations, IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and leaders of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2016), a follow-up to John’s classic New York Times bestseller, brings the story of economic hit men and jackal assassins up to date and chillingly home to the U.S. It goes on to provide practical strategies to transform the failing global death economy into a regenerative life economy.

The first edition of Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man spent 73 weeks on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list and has been translated into 32 languages. It, along with his other books, The Secret History of the American Empire (also a New York Times bestseller) and Hoodwinked, were ground-breaking exposés of the clandestine operations that created the current global crises; they set the stage for the revelations and strategies detailed in The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

John is a founder and board member of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance, non-profit organizations devoted to establishing a world future generations will want to inherit, has lectured at Harvard, Oxford, and more than 50 other universities around the world, and is the author of books on indigenous cultures and transformation, including Shapeshifting, The World Is As You Dream It, Psychonavigation, Spirit Of The Shuar, and The Stress-Free Habit.

He has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, CNBC, NPR, A&E, the History Channel, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Der Spiegel, and many other publications, as well as in numerous documentaries including The End Of Poverty, Zeitgeist Addendum, and Apology Of An Economic Hit Man. He was awarded the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace in 2012, and the Rainforest Action Network Challenging Business As Usual Award in 2006.

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The Jaguar Leaps Into Action!

black-jaguar-picture-id1214458772 The Jaguar Leaps Into Action!

An inherently fascinating and deeply personal story that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, Touching the Jaguar: Transforming Fear into Action to Change Your Life and the World is an extraordinary contribution to our on-going national dialogue and an especially recommended addition to community and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, environmentalists, social/political activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers.
– Midwest Book Review

June 16, 2020 was the official publication day of Touching the Jaguar. Therefore, it seemed fitting to open this newsletter with that quote from a publication that is very influential among libraries, colleges, academics, and in other literary circles. I know I am boasting a bit – and yet I hope it is appropriate since today is a day to celebrate a book that includes the ideas and lives of many people and organizations. Although it is partly my story, it is far bigger than that. 

During this time of a virus pandemic, climatic cataclysms, racial tensions, species extinctions, terrorism, political upheavals, and countless other crises we ask ourselves: 

What can we do? What can I – each one of us – do?

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Riots, Wars, Viruses, And Failed Economies

Riots, Wars, Viruses, And Failed Economies Riots, Wars, Viruses, And Failed Economies

A few facts about riots, wars, viruses, and economies:

  • The recent riots around police brutality, racial inequities and injustice are the worst riots in the US since the 1960’s rebellion against the Vietnam war and racial discrimination.
  • Black American COVID-19 mortality is more than 3 ½ times the white mortality rate.
  • Real median Black household income is less than $40,000 while for Whites it is 50% higher, at about $60,000 (1);
  • More Americans have been killed by the coronavirus in the past few months then were killed during the 15 plus years we fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars;
  • The US spends as much money on the military as the next 10 countries combined;
  • With just over 4% of the world’s population, the US has recorded nearly one-third of all coronavirus cases, averaging more than 1,100 deaths per day since March; 
  • The US economy is by far the richest in the world – its gross domestic product is more than that of the next two countries combined; 
  • Three Americans have as much wealth as half the rest of the US population.
  • The US has been the leading proponent of a form of predatory corporate capitalism that has resulted in a failed global governmental-social-economic system that economists refer to as a Death Economy. It is the cause of many of our current problems, including the riots, the emergence and spread of the coronavirus, climate change, income inequality, species extinctions and so many others – all are symptoms of this failed system; 


As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” 

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Where is the Virus taking us?

Where is the Virus taking us? Where is the Virus taking us?

Wouldn’t ya know! The enemy isn’t Russian, Chinese, or even North Korean. It’s not an enemy that the Pentagon can shoot down with a missile. Not one the NRA can aim an AK-47 at, shouting “Make my day!” 
 

It’s just a tiny invisible thing that under the microscope resembles my grandmother’s pin cushion. 
 

But, it’s got us – Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Americans, everyone – asking:
 

When will the Coronavirus crisis end and we return to normal? 
 

The simple and obvious answer, yet one that may seem difficult to accept, is: “Never.” 
 

Never?
 

Yup. The old normal is gone. Global catastrophes like wars and the Great Depression change the world forever and this pandemic will have similar impacts to those of a major war or depression. Except the enemy is invisible. We won’t be breaking any bent-knees-general’s sword or demanding surrender conditions from a bomb-vested terrorist.

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The Eagle And Condor Prophecy And The Virus

eagle-and-condor-1 The Eagle And Condor Prophecy And The Virus
The Prophecy of the Eagle and Condor probably began more than two thousand years ago. It says: “Back in the mists of history, human societies took two routes. The Eagle peoples flew the path of the mind, of science, technology, and industry. The Condor peoples flew the path of the heart, of passion, intuition, and spiritual connections with nature.” It goes on to explain that for centuries they would never meet. Then in the Fourth Pachacuti (in Quichua, the language of the Andes, a five hundred– year interval), which began in about 1500 AD on our calendar, their paths would cross; the Eagle would nearly drive the Condor into extinction. But not quite. The prophecy says that five hundred years later, at the beginning of the Fifth Pachacuti—now—the opportunity arises for the Eagle and the Condor to fly together, to mate, and to produce a new offspring, higher consciousness

History confirms the first prophecy. Columbus, 1492. The Eagle swept into Condor territory and almost wiped out the Indigenous peoples. But not quite. 

Now, five hundred years later the prophecy is being fulfilled again. The Eagle and Condor are coming together to create higher consciousness. It is happening! Indigenous teachers have invited us to learn their ways. There is a deep interest in traditional nature-based wisdom and shamanism among industrialized people around the world.

– Touching the Jaguar, John Perkins, p.99
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Coronavirus Speaks – Loudly And Clearly

shaman Coronavirus Speaks – Loudly And Clearly

“Virus epidemics are Mother Earth’s way of teaching us lessons that have lasting impacts,” an Andean Shaman told me. “When we contract a disease – or worry over it – we learn about ourselves and the world around us.”

I’ve thought about the historical implication of those words during this time of the coronavirus. A couple of perspectives:

  • The Black Plague that swept through Asia, Africa, and Europe in the 14th century killed an estimated 50 million people, as much as 60% of the population. It ended up impacting ideas about contamination, the economy, environment, and the importance of science. Although the role of viruses would not be discovered until much later, people realized that removing garbage and sewage from the streets and quarantining infected patients prevented it from spreading. Because of the many deaths, labor was in short supply and gained the bargaining power to increase wages significantly. As populations shrank, so did communities and farm lands; forests were rejuvenated. Perhaps most important for the long-term, the Plague generated an interest in scientific approaches to medicine and understanding the universe. (1)
  • The most notorious virus in modern times is the one that causes HIV/AIDS, a virus that since it was first identified in the early 1980s has caused an estimated 32 million deaths. (2) The HIV/AIDs virus has had huge social, cultural, economic, and educational impacts. It has taught us about the importance of safe sex, clean needles, properly-administered blood transfusions, and timely medical treatment. It has kept many people out of labor forces, especially in parts of Africa, and thus has decreased their purchasing power and GDP growth. (3) It has resulted in many attitudinal changes previously held toward different races and sexual beliefs; these resulted in new perceptions and established new laws and cultural norms. 
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Molding A New Reality

Painting by Rob Gonsalves Molding A New Reality

“If you can dream it, you can do it,” is a famous quote attributed to Walt Disney or one of his staff. 
 

As I wrote in my book The World Is As You Dream It, this concept is also expressed by Indigenous shamans around the world. 

One of the themes in my new book Touching the Jaguar: Transforming Fear into Action to Change Your Life and the World is that our perceptions mold reality. There are no religions, cultures, countries, corporations etc. until people perceive the idea of these, accept certain values that define behavior supporting that idea, and then take actions to manifest it. When enough of us accept a perception or codify it into law, it changes reality. 

An audience member at one of my talks objected to this, saying, “the dream of a prisoner for early release does not necessarily come true.”

“That’s where actions come in,” I replied. “The prisoner starts with the dream, but then has to set in motion actions that will facilitate his early release (for example, perceiving ways to convince authorities that he should be freed ‘for good behavior’ or perceiving methods to obtain new evidence of his innocence). But you raise an important point,” I continued. “The dream does not change reality; rather, it inspires the dreamer to do things that will change reality. When we ‘touch the jaguar,’ we confront our fears – the obstacles that have convinced us that we can’t change – and use them to energize and empower us to take actions that will alter reality.” 

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Take The Streets! The Success Of Global Protests

protest Take The Streets! The Success Of Global Protests

I’m in Colombia on my annual trip to the Kogi and will be in Guatemala in January with a group to visit the Mayan shamans and their sacred sites. I’m struck by the magnitude of popular demonstrations in Latin America. I’m also impressed by the millions of people around the planet who are taking their grievances into the streets. 

Half of the Latin American countries have experienced large-scale demonstrations – mostly peaceful – during the last few months. Protest movements also are sweeping nations as diverse as France and Iraq, Sweden and Lebanon, Iran and Hong Kong. 

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Touching the Jaguar

jaguarswimming Touching the Jaguar

 In August 2017 I was back in the Amazon rain forest on a Pachamama Alliance trip,  I was paddling a two-person kayak up the Capahuari River near the Kapawi Lodge with a woman who went simply by the name “Z”.  

She broke the silence. “There’s something swimming in the river.”

“Probably that tapir some of the Achuar saw near here yesterday.”

 Z turned to me. “No,” she whispered. “It’s a jaguar!”  

I froze, my paddle suspended above the kayak. My heart raced.  Slowly, cautiously, I lowered the paddle to rest on the kayak and leaned forward to peer around her.

A band of white water cut across the river, the wake of something swimming. I raised a hand to shade my eyes and followed the white water. Then I saw it: the black-spotted tawny-colored  head and shoulders of a full-grown jaguar, just yards ahead of us, swimming to the river bank. Our momentum was taking us rapidly toward it. I grabbed the paddle and stopped the canoe’s forward motion.

Speechless, we sat there, still, quiet, watching.

Without breaking its rhythm, the jaguar turned and looked at us; then it continued to the shore, climbed out of the water, shook itself, gave us another glance, bounded up the embankment, and disappeared into the tangle of foliage.

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An Empire in Collapse

amazonfire An Empire in Collapse

In the Amazon, vast areas of rain forest are burning. Globally, millions of species of plants, animals, birds, insects, and reptiles have gone or are going extinct. Glaciers are melting. The Barrier Reef and corals around the world are dying. Children displaced by the climate crisis and brutal governments are starving, being imprisoned, and murdered. Fascism is on the rise. On and on. . . 

“We Mayans know that it sometimes takes catastrophes of apocalyptic proportions to convince humans to change,” the shaman told our group as we sat beneath the Great Jaguar Pyramid in Tikal, Guatemala. “We experienced this a thousand years ago. Our leaders continued with policies that cut forests, drained swamps, destroyed the environment and changed the climate. Crises followed crises. The once great Mayan empire collapsed.”

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A Warning From The Past

mayan A Warning From The Past

“Anthropologists and archeologists have confirmed what Mayan legends and prophecies have long told us.” The Mayan shaman stands near the Great Jaguar Pyramid in Tikal, Guatemala, and speaks to our group. 

“The Maya had lived on these lands for nearly three millennia,” the shaman continues. “They excelled in agriculture, pottery-making, hieroglyph writing, and mathematics, and devised calendars that are considered more accurate than our modern-day ones. As you can see. . .” He spreads his arms to the pyramids and temples surrounding us, “they had amazing architects, artists, and engineers. And also, extremely hierarchical male societies, with kings who controlled about 50 huge city-states. The farmers and artisans who lived outside the cities were expected to provide large portions of their produce and products to the royal and priest classes inside the cities, while the latter, through their rituals and prayers, would bring rain and abundant crops. This type of colonialism reigned for hundreds of years. However, in the end, the proliferation of the cities created crises that now seem harbingers of what we today are experiencing globally. The draining of the swamps and the deforestation required to build the great plazas, pyramids, and temples caused a radical loss in rainfall. The climate change that resulted could no longer support the agriculture required to feed the large populations. Around 900 AD that once-great civilization ended. The people abandoned their homes and migrated to the highlands.  Since the royalty and priests could no longer survive in their cities, they too fled. The cities eventually were taken over by nature. They lay hidden as tree-covered hills for centuries.”  

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Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll And … Shapeshifting With Plants

shaman Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll And … Shapeshifting With Plants

A Special Note from John Perkins

I just finished speaking at the Colours of Ostrava music festival in the Czech Republic, am now headed into the Amazon rain forest, and then in September to Omega in Upstate New York to facilitate an experiential workshop: “Soaring with the Jaguar: Shapeshifting with Plants into a Better World.”
 

Question: What do these three seemingly different venues share in common?
 

Answer: They empower us to raise our consciousness, to steer our space station Earth to the future we want. 
 

When I was a Peace Corps volunteer deep in the Amazon in the late 1960s, Ayahuasca saved my life – and forever changed it. Today, shamans, plants, musicians and speakers at many different forums inspire us to change our lives. A large part of the message involves honoring our connections with nature and to being good Earth stewards. 

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Breaking with History

ancientrome Breaking with History

We are fortunate to live at a time when we have access to information that shakes us awake to the absolute need – and the fabulous opportunities – to change the course of human history. We can look back, analyze the mistakes we’ve made, and blaze trails into new approaches for surviving on this magnificent, yet fragile, planet.

For at least 3,000 of the 200,000 years that humans, as we know ourselves, have existed (1), we’ve developed civilizations based on the exploitation of other people and nature. We’ve moved from hunters-gathers, through the agrarian and industrial revolutions, and into the current technology/information age. Yet, for these past three millennia we’ve continued to build our socio-economic-political structures around hierarchies.

What we have today is the direct descendant of the classical empires (e.g. China, Persia, Greece, Rome), medieval fiefdoms, European colonizers of Africa, America, Asia, and the Middle East, slave-owning plantation systems, and 19th century factories where women and children worked under horrible conditions. People employed today by short-term profit-driven corporations may live less squalid lives than the slaves, serfs, and indentured workers of former times, but they too are subject to the greed-driven, often brutal policies, of their corporate masters. They are bought and sold in labor markets, sent off to fight wars that profit Big Business, and paid wages that are hundreds of times lower than those of their bosses. (2) Billions of people around the world labor long, hard hours, often under insufferable conditions, for wages that are insufficient to support their families and their own retirements. Meanwhile, fortunes that boggle the imagination are piled into the treasure chests of a handful of billionaires, the latest edition of global potentates.

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Stop Facebook? And Other Questions For The New Year

stopfacebook Stop Facebook? And Other Questions For The New Year

Questions you might ask yourself as you contemplate 2019:


1) Should I stop using Facebook, given all the controversy around the sharing of information with other companies and possible collaboration with the Russians?

2)Should I stop shopping at Amazon because its founder makes so much money, appears to exploit his employees, and pits cities against each other for lower tax rates and fewer employment benefits?

3)Should I stop drinking water in plastic bottles because of the horrendous damage the petroleum and plastics industries are causing?


Those questions and others like them remind me of one asked of the Dalai Lama by a member a group I led to India a number of years ago when we met in the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamshala. The questioner referenced a call for everyone around the globe to pray for peace on a certain day.

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How to Trigger Change

capitalism How to Trigger Change

When Dr. David Dao was dragged off a United Express Flight by police officers from Chicago’s O’Hare airport on April 9, 2017, the ensuing outcry resulted in policy changes at major airlines. When Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, the highly split US Senate came together and voted for the first time in U.S. history to advance a bill to withdraw military forces from an unauthorized war (in Yemen) using the War Powers Resolution Act. The November 27, 2018 Senate vote, a stunning 63 to 37 bi-partisan action, delivered an historic rebuke to Saudi Arabia and President Trump.  
 

These two stories are among the many examples of actions that trigger demands for change.

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This is The Moment: GAME ON!

whatwhat This is The Moment: GAME ON!

Anyone who has ever played on or followed a sports team knows THE MOMENT. That crucial moment when the team is down, the clock is running out, and it looks like the game is over. At that moment, a team with character rallies. The players tell themselves: “Its game on, not game over!” They cheer each other on. They gather energy. They inspire themselves to win.

We are facing such a moment in national and international crises. It’s easy to convince ourselves, “there are just too many problems; they’re way too big.” We can persuade ourselves to give up by citing the many physical crises – the fires, floods, wars, famines, hurricanes. We can see people divided by attitudes toward race, religion, politics, climate change, immigration . . . and throw up our hands. In the US, we can cite the horrifically vitriolic mid-term elections. Every country has scapegoats to offer.

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In Times Of Crisis

house-with-white-picket-fence-picture-id147749872 In Times Of Crisis

I just returned from lecturing at Tilton School, the NH school I attended as a student during my high school years and where my dad taught for nearly four decades. Being there now, talking with students and teachers, gave me a new perspective on the problems we face: climate change, US politics, international relations, gender issues, global poverty, and many more. I also was reminded that at Tilton I received an education that opened me to critical thinking, and I saw that the school continues to do that for students today.

Among the most important lessons I learned at Tilton that forever shaped my life: We humans have survived many crises; culture and history are changed by the written word – perception – more than by the gun and sword; and it is imperative for us always to explore the truths behind the “facts.”

As I wandered around campus this past week, I came upon a photograph of my dad outside his old classroom. The accompanying acknowledgement of his contributions to the school reminded me of his long view of history. I sat down in a nearby chair, opened my computer and wrote:

During troubled times, like the ones our country – our world – is experiencing, we may take comfort in the knowledge that we’ve staggered close to the brink before, and pulled back.



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Ayahuasca And Tobacco: Rebooting Our Systems

woman-shaman-with-drum-in-mountain-sea-ethnic-fashion-photoshoot-picture-id511738586 Ayahuasca And Tobacco: Rebooting Our Systems

I’m recently back from another trip to indigenous shamans in the rainforests of Latin America and from teaching a “Sacred Plant” workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY. Now I am full of wonderful anticipation around my upcoming trips to the Kogi of Colombia in December 2018, the Maya of Guatemala in January 2019 and ayahuasca shamans in Costa Rica in January 2019.

The plants have been on my mind and in my heart for a great deal of my life; and they are speaking louder and more forcefully than ever, right now. As readers of this blog well know, I believe we humans are experiencing a global Consciousness Revolution and the plants are reaching out to push us deeper into this revolution.



Michael Pollan, in his ground-breaking book How to Change Your Mind, as well as many other scientists and researchers, discuss the newly emerging science around the intelligence and communications skills of plants. Just a couple of examples:

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Daily Practices for a Happier Life and Better World

Daily Practices for a Happier Life and Better World Daily Practices for a Happier Life and Better World

The dangers of the corporatocracy and the Death Economy – a world created by economic hit men and now manipulated by many of our “leaders” – and the powers of the rising Consciousness Revolution: These were the topics of the three speeches and numerous media interviews I gave at the Melting Pot conference help within the Colours of Ostrava in the Czech Republic. It was attended by more than 50,000 people in late July 2018.

It was an amazing event, a happening of world-class musicians, quantum physicists, media giants, philosophers, economists, and thinkers from many walks of life. To me, the venue itself represented the transition from a Death to a Life Economy, our evolution into a new consciousness. A huge and once highly successful coal mine/steel mill that went bankrupt because it used up all its coal has now been converted into a magnificent series of stages and auditoriums. This symbol of the Death Economy now conveys inspiration, hope, joy, and – above all – ideas for catapulting humankind into the new era, a Life Economy.

I can’t begin to express the extent of my joy at how the teachings and prophecies of the indigenous people I’ve so often written about are being manifest in places like Ostrava. As the groups I take to the Achuar of the Amazon, Kogi of Colombia, and Maya of Guatemala learn, we all come from indigenous ancestors who are part of (versus “apart from”) nature. They know that a Life Economy that is itself a renewable resource is essential to the future survival of our species and many other species. They live in a present that supports the long-term, unlike the Death Economy that advocates a materialist, greedy and selfish present and insists on maximizing short-term profits.

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Message from Immigrants and Plants

prehispanic-mexican-healer-called-curandero-picture-id667584228 Message from Immigrants and Plants

As I prepare for my August Omega workshop Sacred Plants: Touching the Jaguar and trips that I guide where participants learn from indigenous shamans in Latin America, I think about the messages that nature and the immigrants attempting to enter the US and Europe offer.

Our first reaction to environmental problems and those associated with immigrants often is to cast blame:

  • Fossil fuels, mining, food production, etc. are destroying the environment;

  • Corruption and brutality in other countries, climate change, gangs, cartels, etc. trigger immigration.

 

We tend to avoid the tough questions:

  • Who uses fossil fuels, aluminum, plastics, sweat-shop made clothes, and food?

  • Who does the corrupting, supports brutality, causes climate change and drug use?

 

We look for band-aides to stop the bleeding; we turn a blind eye on the virus that opens the lesions.

The fact is that most environmental degradation is the result of predatory capitalism. Most immigrants are people who are miserable, desperate, and fearful for their lives.

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Why Do I Shapeshift And Use Sacred Plants?

cebus-monkey-picture-id842647104 Why Do I Shapeshift And Use Sacred Plants?

The question has been asked: Why does a guy who writes books on global economics also give workshops on shapeshifting and sacred plants and guide people on trips to experience such things with indigenous shamans in Latin America?

 

The answer is one that is best experienced for yourself – although I offer a short version below. For the real answer, I invite you to join me at an experiential workshop or trip – limited to 15 participants. A few spaces are still available:

 

August 22-24, 2018 
Sacred Plants: Touching the Jaguar, Omega Institute, NY
Learn more. 

December 4-15, 2018
A Journey To The Land Of Transformation: The Mountains, Jungles, Kogi, & Caribbean Coast Of Colombia
Learn more.

January 2-19, 2019
A Journey To The Lands Of The Maya: Guatemala – Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness
Learn more.

January 10-18, 2019
Raising Consciousness – Magical Plants In The Costa Rican Jungle

Learn more.

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