The Cofán People and their Medicine

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A’i Cofán, a Traditional Way of Life

The Cofán people have traditionally occupied what is today southwest Colombia and the northeastern corner of Ecuador. They are descendants from a numerous riverine culture that has lived for centuries in the jungles at the center of the Earth, where the Amazon Basin stretches toward the heavens on the slopes of the Andes mountains. The Cofán Ancestral Territory is among the most biodiverse in the world.

Today, the Cofan keep their traditions alive and continue to live as they have for hundreds of years.
They are hunters, fishers and use the forest for their daily needs.

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The Cofán are Custodians of the Ancient Tradition & Sacred Medicine of Yage, a Sacrament of the rainforest.
They have conserved in a clean and transparent manner the Sacred Design of this Medicine given by Spirit.
This means that they conserve the Ancient and Traditional way of drinking this Medicine, the way their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers have done it for hundreds of years. That plays an important and key role in the Power manifested in their ceremonies, since the force of the Medicine comes in a transparent manner and the Ancestral Lineage of the Taita (Shaman) comes through the ceremony and aids the visions, revelations and healing process.

Ancient Medicine for a Modern World

The Cofán People say the Yage reveals to them the Science of Life.

Traditionally they drink Yage once or twice per week in the community including the children, who part of their education is to drink the Medicine and learn deeper about the spirituality and tradition of their heritage.

The effects of the Medicine are not only seen in the ceremony but can be felt by anyone who visits their community and sees the Cofán in their daily life. The Cofán People are known for their contagious laughter, their respectful children who help their parents, and the recognition and care they have for their elders. Their spirituality is grounded and simple. They have profound respect for all of Life, they are naturally incredibly humble people, who laugh at everything, including themselves and their hardships.
They recognize the presence of Spirit in all things.

In their community, they play volleyball and soccer together, constantly tell jokes, stories and enjoy spending time together.

All of this energy and way of life is transmitted to us at Ancestral Knowledge Retreat as we learn that perhaps we do not need to be so serious all the time, that we can laugh more and simply enjoy life and the different processes (which are truly blessings) that present themselves to all of us. It all becomes part of the medicine that the Cofán healer shares with us.


ensuring the continuity of an ancient tradition

In this modern world, the Cofán continue their efforts to maintain their traditions alive so they can continue to thrive off the wisdom of their elders and the health the jungle has always provided them. This is not an easy task, however, since petroleum companies, the military and armed groups have tried to invade their territory.

What the Cofán seek is ways to empower themselves and their culture through the knowledge and wisdom that is natural to them within their lineage.

At Ancestral Knowledge Retreat, we are well aware of the challenges the indigenous communities face and we value the immense treasure of the wisdom they provide. We recognize that it is something that the world needs right now and we seek to be a bridge for anyone who is willing to learn and gain healing for their life.

By sharing about the Cofán People and giving them the opportunity to bring their medicine to the world, we empower them and their ancestral tradition. The Healers that come to AKR are well compensated for their work and aid the community for the benefit of all. We also contribute to the continuity of the Medicine by supporting the planting and harvesting of the Yage and the different medicinal plants of the jungle.

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Giving back to the community

One of the most important aspects of the community is the children, who will continue the lineage and carry on the Cofán traditions.

The leaders and members of Ancestral Knowledge Retreat have supported the community school through donations of school supplies such as : notebooks, pens and pencils, colored pencils and pouches. We have also donated clothing and shoes.

The school ensures proper education for the children which includes learning about medicinal plants, drinking and learning from the Yage, and speaking their native language.

If you feel called to contribute to this initiative in however way you choose, you can contact the leaders of AKR or bring donations when you come for retreat. Your support is greatly appreciated and has more impact than you imagine!