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The Apprenticeship Journey

the path of a tobaquero 

The Apprenticeship Program offers a rich journey of self-discovery and connection with plants, fostering personal growth and the art of working alongside nature. It is a heartfelt path of self-mastery, initiation, and dedicated training, paving the way for individuals to embrace the role of a Tabaquera with passion and purpose.

Image by Alex Plesovskich

The Initiation

Initiations, once celebrated across diverse cultures worldwide, have bestowed invaluable lessons on humanity's journey. In our modern era, amidst our wealth of knowledge, the sacred tradition of initiation rites has waned in significance. These rites once marked adolescents' transition into adulthood, symbolizing a profound shedding of the old self and a joyous embrace of newfound maturity. Similarly, select individuals, drawn to special vocations like priesthood, healing, or leadership, underwent rigorous initiation processes, challenging them on every level: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. These transformative journeys often spanned months or even years, embodying the timeless archetype of death and rebirth. The initiates relinquished old beliefs, traumas, and patterns, emerging anew with a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world.


In our initiatory journey, we embark on a sacred odyssey of self-discovery—a journey epitomized by the timeless wisdom inscribed at the Temple of Apollo: "Know Thyself." Rooted in the esteemed Mamancunawa lineage of Don Ernesto Garcia-Torres, this apprenticeship journey with Ché merges ancient traditions with modern insights, guiding the student towards the title of Tabaquero, a healer adept in the ways of tobacco and trees. This transformative process is arduous, encompassing extended periods of isolation, fasting, and intaking potent plant elixirs.


Isolation has been a venerable practice across cultures, serving as a crucible for inner exploration. Removed from external distractions, we confront our innermost thoughts and emotions, embarking on a profound journey of self-inquiry and introspection. Fasting, the next phase of the initiatory rite, not only purifies the body but also heightens our spiritual sensitivity. As we abstain from food and consume only the sacred plants we're dieting, often infused with tobacco, a profound connection blossoms between us and the plant spirits.


These potent plant allies facilitate a profound cleansing, purifying us on physical and energetic levels, restoring balance and vitality to our being. Guided by our revered teachers of the palnts & mentors in this sacred journey, we not only acquire practical skills but also embody a deeper wisdom and presence. From mastering the art of working with tobacco and trees to crafting healing remedies and performing sacred rituals, we are initiated into a holistic tradition of healing and spiritual growth.


Throughout this apprenticeship, the spirit of these trees serve as beacons of wisdom and support, guiding us through each stage of our journey with patience and compassion. Their presence and experience become a source of inspiration, infusing our path with warmth and encouragement. As we journey together, a profound transfer of knowledge, energy, and vision occurs, shaping us into adept healers and guardians of ancient wisdom. Together, we navigate the intricate tapestry of this initiatory process, emerging with newfound insights, tools, and a deep sense of purpose to serve our communities and the world.

How long is the journey?

In this tradition, the journey typically begins with a profound immersion into the world of tobacco. Regarded as one of the master plants, tobacco holds the power to illuminate the depths of the Self and guide one towards the path of becoming a healer (curandero). Initiating with tobacco serves as a comprehensive cleanse, purifying and opening us on all levels, while also fortifying and providing protection. Through this initial dieta, participants emerge cleansed, grounded, insightful, and enveloped in a protective aura.


Following the tobacco dieta, participants transition into dieting trees, revered allies in the practice of curanderismo. Each tree, carefully selected by the Tabaquera, serves as a conduit between earth and sky, imparting unique teachings and support to the initiate. Twelve trees in total are dieted, each chosen to facilitate the student's growth and development along their journey.


The culmination of this initiatory process is the maestria, or master teacher diet, where participants return to tobacco for a final immersion. This dieta marks the official alignment of all the trees previously dieted, allowing the initiate to fully embody their newfound role. Despite its intensity, participants are well-prepared for this final initiation through their prior experiences and training.


Each dieta typically spans seven nights/eight days, a duration that is carefully balanced between depth and intensity. While some diets may extend to two weeks for deeper exploration, the focus remains on the profound inner work facilitated by the plants. During the dieta, participants abstain from solid food, consuming very little twice daily while ingesting the plant medicine regularly. This regimen often triggers a potent physical and mental purge, guiding participants through a profound and transformative process of self-discovery.

Who is the apprenticeship for?

The Apprenticeship Program offers a transformative journey that extends far beyond working with plants alone. It is a profound path of self-discovery and healing, calling individuals from all walks of life who seek to deepen their understanding of themselves and their connection to the world around them. Many participants, initially drawn to the program for personal growth, find themselves immersed in a journey of profound transformation that extends beyond their expectations.


Participants from diverse backgrounds, including psychologists, massage therapists, counselors, teachers, energy workers, plant lovers and coaches, find value in incorporating the program's teachings into their own practices. Whether one's interest lies in deepening personal growth or in potentially working with plants in a therapeutic setting, the Apprenticeship Program provides an ideal foundation.


Through the program, participants learn to work intimately with tobacco and trees, gaining valuable skills and insights that can be applied to various healing modalities. Moreover, for those interested in expanding their plant medicine journey to include other sacred plants like ayahuasca, San Pedro (huachuma), or coca, etc. the program serves as a solid foundation, offering a potent and transformative experience that knows no limits.

What is the time & cost?

In short, each diet is 7 nights/8 days and there are 14 diets in total (one tobacco, twelve trees, and a final tobacco maestria). The Apprenticeship Program pace of the journey will vary person to person. While each diet lasts seven days, some may extend to two weeks for deeper exploration. Participants will often choose to undergo the diets in intervals, allowing ample time for integration and recuperation between each phase, which is considered a much more recommended route. For example, one or three here, then break for a few months, more or less before a return for another window of 1-3, some more or less. This will ultimately depend on one's personal pace and ability in integrating the diet. This flexible approach accommodates diverse schedules and personal preferences. The advise is that the integration of the diets is well rooted in the life of the dietero. The journey of a good curandero is one of patience, determination and trust rather than of speed. It is about the journey, not the destination. It does not matter if it takes 3 years, 5 years, or 10 years (or even more). For me, I was not in a rush to complete my apprenticeship. More importantly, I wanted to learn well and integrate each diet so I could fully understand them and its' unique signature.   


The program's cost aligns with individual diet expenses based on the location of the venue & the current food prices. Participants committing to the entire program, paid in full, can benefit from a significant discount, reflecting their dedication to this transformative path (please inquire further with the tabaquera). At the end of the journey, one will receive a certification. An offering of a 10% discount on following dietas after a person has completed six trees (which is midway through the apprenticeship). It is certainly an investment of time, energy, commitment, and finances, but such is the path of the Western medical doctor as well. To be considered for the program and to be an apprentice, all diets must be completed within this lineage.


Embarking on the Apprenticeship Program is not for the faint-hearted—it's a challenging journey often likened to the Hero's Journey of suffering and transformation. Participants undergo a rigorous process of isolation, deprivation, cleansing, purging, and self-inquiry, culminating in profound inner and outer growth. Despite the challenges, this journey offers the opportunity for profound rebirth and realization of one's true potential. It's a journey into wisdom, power, and self-discovery, where participants shed their old selves and awaken to the magic and beauty of life. It is also weighted with responsibility. Through inner exploration, we become creators of our destinies, liberated from old narratives, and attuned to the richness of our inner world and the possibilities that lie ahead. For those ready to embrace this path, it can be the most rewarding decision of their lives.

Ready to book your dieta?

Contact Ché

Phone: 1-707-536-433


The Spirit Doctors

a few of the master plants & trees we work with..

not all are listed here & will vary from Amazonian to North American/European

Tobaqueros of this lineage

Who offer both Dietas & Tobacco Ceremony


Jason Grechanik

Peru, S.A.


Merav Artzi

Peru, S.A.



Oregon, USA



California, USA

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Colombia, S.A.




Tobaqueros of this lineage

Who offer tobacco ceremony


Andrew Edmonds


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