Introducing Agape Sanctuary, San Diego’s First Ayahuasca Church
Agape, San Diego’s first public Ayahuasca sanctuary, is now offering Ayahuasca retreats in San Diego for its members. Learn more about Agape’s current legal status, how you can apply for a ceremonial retreat, and if this entheogenic church is right for you.
Ayahuasca, a popular plant medicine within the spiritual community, has been largely accessible via trips to Central and South America. Now domestic entheogen churches are on the rise to bridge the gap for those who are looking for a safe place to try Ayahuasca and other psychedelic plant medicines here in the United States.
About Agape Sanctuary Retreats
Located in San Diego County, Agape Sanctuary is a multi-sacrament church which provides Ayahuasca, mushroom (psilocybin) and Bufo Alvarius (5meo-dmt) ceremonies and retreats. These psychedelic plant medicines, also known as entheogens, have been traditionally used as ceremonial spiritual medicines among South American indigenous communities.
Agape’s (Greek for “unconditional love”) mission is to provide a safe, loving space for those who want to heal and grow with entheogens right here in San Diego. “Everybody deserves the opportunity to have a mystical experience through entheogens like Ayahuasca, if they are called to it and ready,” says Eddie Bartlett, founder of Agape Sanctuary.
Agape’s Legal Status and Safety Protocols
Agape Sanctuary is a registered non-profit, non-denominational church. Since 2006, Ayahuasca churches have been protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the United States Supreme Court. This means that the government cannot interfere with a sincere religious practice even if it conflicts with current drug laws.
Agape takes participant safety very seriously and because of this, not everyone is eligible to attend an Ayahuasca ceremony. Before one can attend an Ayahuasca retreat they must go through a mandatory screening process. The screening process begins with a 30 minute phone call and an initial intake form, during which the trained Agape facilitators will take a look at your psychedelic history; ask about your physical, emotional, and mental state; and check to see if there are any contraindications.
The staff can also answer questions in determining which entheogen is best for you as Agape believes that there are certain entheogens that may resonate more than others. “Each sacrament can show different aspects of yourself and life,” says Bartlett.
Once accepted as a member of the church, you will receive an email with important information and a workbook on how to best prepare for the Ayahuasca retreat, which is held in a private location within 2 hours of San Diego. Agape asks its members to start a journal and eat a clean diet of vegetables, fruits, and healthy starches for at least a week before the ceremony.
What to Expect at an Agape Retreat and Ceremony
“Everyone is uniquely impacted by Ayahuasca,” shares Bartlett. While listening to the experiences of others and researching about it, it’s important for those who are considering trying Ayahuasca for the first time to go into the ceremony without expectation.
The potential effects of Ayahuasca may include:
- Spiritual catharsis
- Physical pain and or pleasure
- Emotional and mental release
- Purging and nausea
Agape’s San Diego retreats begin on Friday afternoons and end on Sunday morning. “After the retreat you’ll be extra sensitive and it’s the perfect opportunity to start integrating,” says Bartlett. After the closing circle on Sunday morning, it is recommended to take it easy the following days.
During the weekend retreat, Agape’s intention is to take you on an inward journey guided by music, journaling, reflection, and the support of their experienced staff. “Our approach is different from the traditional setting,” says Bartlett. “We do not have any Shamans or healers. Our belief is: the only healer is you.”
How to Become an Agape Member
If you have been desiring to participate in an retreat in San Diego, Agape Sanctuary might be the place for you. With experienced facilitators and a supportive community, Agape offers a safe space for those who are ready to heal and grow with plant medicines.
Visit agapeayahuasca.com to learn more and sign up for community events like song circles and potlucks.
Explore More Plant Medicine Resources in San Diego
Learn more about natural herbs, plant psychedelics and other plant medicine retreats around San Diego in our Ultimate Guide to Plant Medicine in San Diego resource article or listen to our Wellness in San Diego podcast episode: “The Power of Plant Medicine.”
DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. Locally Well San Diego is not affiliated with Agape Ayahuasca Sanctuary and we do not offer any plant medicine services.