Ayahuasca Healings’ Trinity de Guzman calls coronavirus “a necessary purge”

By Russell Hausfeld|March 25, 2020

“The Corona Virus is a necessary purge of what is no longer in resonance,” Trinity de Guzman wrote in a recent email to his followers.

Psymposia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and media organization that offers critical perspectives on drugs, politics, and culture. We rely on contributions from our readers and listeners. Your support is vital to sustaining Psymposia.

Support us on Patreon

Support Psymposia’s independent journalism on Patreon and help us drive the Mystery Machine! We’re a bunch of meddling kids who are unmasking the latest shenanigans on the psychedelics beat.

Become a member on Patreon

According to Ayahuasca Healings’ pseudo-messaianic figurehead, Trinity de Guzman, there is a deep cleanse happening right now to karmically pay for the pain and suffering we humans have caused and brought upon the planet. 

“The Corona Virus is a necessary purge of what is no longer in resonance,” Trinity wrote in a recent email to his followers. “As these souls return back to the Source, those who are left have the choice to continue in our old ways, or to create a DRASTIC re-evaluation of all that is important to us and all that drives and motivates us.” 

This purge, Trinity wrote, will identify those who are willing to be part of “birthing a New Era” and shows the “NEED for us to do the work we are doing.” While it’s not entirely clear what type of “work” he’s referencing, in particular, Trinity has spent more than a few years working to craft an image of himself as some type of “plant medicine” guru.

Trinity’s COVID-19 tip #3: “Stay tuned to what I have to share with you, because I have been shown so clearly that now more than ever I need to create a way to support you as people and our planet to do this work.”


Trinity has a vested interest in convincing people that his work with ayahuasca has been “necessary,” as Ayahuasca Healings has repeatedly been accused of being, at best, a scam (you can read Trinity’s murky apology for taking “donations” and not providing ayahuasca or refunds to people who thought they were paying for retreats, here) and, at worst, a cult

Ayahuasca Healings made headlines a few years back when they claimed to be the first legal ayahuasca church in the United States, conducting ayahuasca retreats in Elbe, Washington. This claim was incorrect on multiple levels, the first being that two other churches—the União do Vegetal (UDV) and Santo Daime—had already established the rights to use their ayahuasca brews for religious purposes in the US. And the second: Ayahuasca Healings’ operations were never legal. 

Trinity claimed that his group’s actions were legal because Ayahuasca Healings is a branch of the Oklevueha Native American Church (ONAC)—an organization which is explicitly not recognized as a chapter of the Native American Church and which claims that their members have the legal right to use any plant-based sacrament they want. The organization advertises that anyone who buys a membership card—for $200—from ONAC gains that legal right. ONAC also gives individuals the right to start an ONAC chapter and serve psychedelic sacraments for somewhere between $2,500 and $7,000, according to reporting by Ayahuasca forums moderator Gayle Highpine.

If you’re wondering why being associated with ONAC makes Trinity’s ayahuasca church legal, let me clarify things. It does not and never has. 

ONAC’s claim of legal protection for psychedelic sacrament use stems from a court case involving ONAC leader, James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney, after he was arrested in Utah with 12,000 peyote buttons in 2000. (These types of issues recently inspired Native American Churches in the US to ask that peyote not be included in decriminalization efforts, due to unscrupulous individuals depleting the US peyote population). Mooney argued that only allowing some members of the Native American Church to use peyote and not others was racial discrimination. The Utah Supreme Court unanimously agreed with him on the simple grounds that the Native American Church, in plain reading of Utah’s law, doesn’t specify race. 

Federally, however, it was a different story. Mooney and his wife were indicted on peyote-related charges in 2005, but those charges were dropped in 2006, on the same day that the UDV was granted legal right by the Supreme Court to use their ayahuasca sacrament. 

“The potential precedent set by Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente União do Vegetal for the religious rights of non-Indian religious peyote users was big enough to drive a truck through,” Highpine wrote. “Had the case been pursued (either by the federal prosecutors or by Mooney taking the initiative to sue the government under RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]) Mooney, using the UDV case as a precedent, would have had an excellent chance of winning a religious freedom exemption for the use of peyote.”

But, he didn’t do that. ONAC just started citing this case—along with misreadings of the RFRA, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, and United States vs Boyll—as a blanket for legality of all plant-based sacraments use by religious groups. However, ONAC chapters have been shut down for illegally using drugs other than peyote.

So, after a weird game of legal document telephone, Ayahuasca Healings asserted its right to serve ayahuasca in the US. Thankfully, ayahuasca supporters including Gayle Highpine, Bia Labate, Rick Doblin, and Richard Grossman—along with some defectors from Ayahuasca Healings—offered public critiques of the organization’s practices. This criticism, alongside a letter from the DEA, eventually led to Ayahuasca Healings leaving the United States and limiting their ayahuasca retreat business to Peru. However, Trinity’s lawyer encouraged him not to refund people who paid for retreats in the US, because that would make Ayahuasca Healings look like a transactional business, and not like a church simply receiving donations. The organization refunded a few people, apparently, calling the repayments “gifts of good faith,” not “refunds.”

Others wanting their money back were told by an Ayahuasca Healings representative that the organization did not have the money on hand to give back, but the organization “can offer our members to attend an amazing retreat in Peru, or all of their money (including lost to airfare) fully returned, once our funds are stable,” (emphasis added) according to a post on the Cult Education Institute forums. The Ayahuasca Healings representative added that, “respectfully, I do not think we’re in legal trouble and I do not fear the old energies of law, authority, government. The world is waking up and energetically transforming faster than ever before. I know what’s coming, the spirits have shown me – it’ll be chaotic at first (just look at the US political drama unfolding) yet incredibly beautiful when the truth is revealed. All forms of pain and suffering shall be healed.” 

But, Trinity raises serious red flags beyond operating Ayahuasca Healings on incredibly shaky legal ground. Before founding Ayahuasca Healings, Trinity “mentored” under the likes of millionaire financial guru, Harv Eker; Trinity participated in something called a “live-in mentorship” (?) with multi-millionaire network marketer Raven Starre; and Trinity was the head coach and director of internet marketing for Ted McGrath’s Rize Global, a company that coaches coaches (making Trinity the head coach of the coaches who coach coaches). Essentially, before he was marketing himself as a prophet for Mother Ayahuasca, he was a “digital nomad,” preaching get-rich-quick schemes and curating a travel blog of expensive, FOMO-inducing destinations he had visited.

Banner from meettrinity.com circa 2013

Many ayahuasca supporters have also called out Ayahuasca Healings’ seeming lack of on-site medical professionals at the organization’s former US location and their high-altitude El Camino Sagrado location in Peru—where all of their retreats take place now that they have left the US. This is important because ayahuasca can induce negative reactions in people with certain medical conditions and is contraindicated for a number of medications. Additionally, people can experience health issues at high altitudes. 

“I don’t believe in a reality of planning for something that I do not want. I believe that everything is created and that our external world is a reflection of our internal world and so I don’t put energy into, ‘If someone dies, what am I going to do?’” Trinity said on the Entheonation podcast. “The fact is, we do have liability waivers that do surrender these people’s liability, like if anything were to happen liability-wise, that they are surrendering that right to sue, for example. Or that we are not held accountable and really everything that we do is to—of course, for the safety of our guests from the moment that they apply, to the interview, to when they get to the land. So, everything is designed in a way where that is the last of our worries.”

Ayahuasca Healings—although they are preaching that COVID-19 is a “necessary purge” for the human race—claims to be complying with the safety regulations of the Peruvian government. 

“On March 16th the Peruvian government declared the country to be in a preventative state of emergency due to the corona virus and no one is allowed to fly into or out of the country. We’re therefore postponing the March 27th retreat and possibly the May one as well – it all depends on when the situation changes,” an Ayahuasca Healings representative told me in an email. I also asked what their spiritual take on the virus was and if they could elaborate on Trinity’s email, but have yet to hear back on that point. 

It appears that Ayahuasca Healings’ retreats may be at a stand-still right now, due to the worldwide lockdown caused by COVID-19. But, there is hope, all ye faithful. Trinity concluded his COVID-19 email rant—in true internet marketer fashion—with exciting news for what is to come if you stick around. 

“As more of us experience darker days and more challenging times than ever, I am being shown so clearly HOW to support, and be of the greatest service that I can to you and our humanity,” Trinity wrote. “Stay tuned, for what I’ll be sharing this month is paving the path for something that will truly aid you more than anything else I’ve created in my entire life.”

Hey! Before you go… Psymposia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media organization that offers critical perspectives on drugs, politics, and culture. We strive to ask challenging questions, and we’re committed to independent reporting, critical analysis, and holding those who wield power accountable.

Our perspectives are informed by critical analysis of the systemic crises of capitalism that have directly contributed to the unmitigated growth of addiction, depression, suicide, and the unraveling of our social relations. The same economic elite and powerful corporate interests who have profited from causing these problems are now proposing “solutions”—solutions which both line their pockets and mask the necessity of structural change.   

In order for us to keep unpacking these issues and informing our audience, we need your continuing support. You can sustain Psymposia by becoming a supporter for as little as $2 a month.

Become a supporter on Patreon today

Russell Hausfeld


Russell Hausfeld is an investigative journalist and illustrator living in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Religious Studies from the University of Cincinnati. His work with Psymposia has been cited in Vice, The Nation, Frontiers in Psychology, New York Magazine’s “Cover Story: Power Trip” podcast, the Daily Beast, the Outlaw Report, Harm Reduction Journal, and more.