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August 10, 2023

Retreat center that uses hallucinogen relocates from New Hampshire to Casco

Courtesy / Pachamama Sanctuary Pachamama Sanctuary is now sited on 40 acres of land in Casco and serves as a retreat center and church.

A retreat that uses a hallucinogen during its services has relocated from New Hampshire to Casco. 

Pachamama Sanctuary, which hosts spiritual retreats using the mostly plant-derived substance ayahuasca, has relocated to a new 40-acre facility in Casco. The church discloses its exact address only to retreat participants "due to the private and reverent nature of our sanctuary," according to its website.

Founder Derek Januszewski told Mainebiz he left Canterbury, N.H., last year because the church outgrew the space and zoning issues could not be resolved properly. Januszewski said there were also parking limitations and some constraints with the facility and the town. 

"Moving to Casco was a spirit lead," said Januszewski. "We have been looking for a facility for some time now and were struggling to find the right property until this one came available." 

The Casco space will have plenty of privacy, a comfortable and roomy sanctuary and ceremony room and the ability to host larger events like festivals and concerts. There will also be a lot of space for people to gather outside for events. 

Ceremonies are hosted every weekend. The suggested donation for its guided hallucinogenic journey is $888 per trip. 

The background

Ayahuasca is a plant-based psychedelic. Usually brewed as a tea, it has been used for centuries by some Indigenous tribes in South America for religious rituals and therapeutic purposes. Ayahuasca is classified as controlled substance under federal law, and is illegal to possess or consume — except for religious reasons, according to some sources. 

Januszewski first used ayahuasca in 2017 while battling addiction, according to a press release. He then founded the sanctuary in 2019. The sanctuary's mission is to raise collective consciousness through the use of ayahuasca. The sanctuary helps those who are battling addiction, PTSD and other problems. 

"All of us at Pachamama are looking forward to becoming really positive members of the local community as well as the plant medicine community at large," said Januszewski. "We are dedicated to doing our part to support the movement as well as being an example of what a safe, loving and respectful plant medicine church looks like."

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