We are so HAPPY to announce there was an increase in Sonora Desert Toad populations at our ranch and the surrounding area this summer!
In celebration, I have created a timeline to show the conservation we have done on our ranch in Northern Sonora.
Conservation Timeline & Notes:
-2018, Gerry purchased a piece of land in Northern Sonora. Construction of toad pools began immediately.
-2019, July 19- The toad pools were completed and filled with water. Gerry visited the ranch and harvested medicine for the upcoming year.
-2019, August 10 - Gerry received a call from a neighbor by the ranch. A pickup truck came through and kidnapped 2 trash bags full of adult toads.
-2020 No conservation work or collecting was done due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
-2021, July 22 - Gerry, Kate and Chris arrived in Sonora to collect medicine but there were very few toads. Yeri was hired to live and work on the ranch. The day after Gery, Kate, and Chris left, there was a shift in power in the town. The whole town shut down for 3 days because of gunfire. After the change in power, people in the town asked Yeri to leave.
-2022, May - Construction of a 9ft wall around the ranch begins. The toad pools were filled at the end of June and were utilized by the toads. There were so many tadpoles in the pools! Garter snakes, frogs, and other types of toads were removed from the property because they kept eating the tadpoles.
-2022, July 15- Kate arrived first. She spent one week documenting the toads before the medicine was collected for the year. Both toad pools were filled with tadpoles. One pool had significantly less algae than the other because it received more fresh water. Adding freshwater to the pools is critical to make sure they do not get too hot for the tadpoles. More tadpoles were noted in the pool with less algae.
-July 20 - Gerry, Paul, and Rene arrived at the ranch. Medicine is collected at the ranch and surrounding areas. There was an increase in toad populations from the previous year. Many juvenile toads were seen.
-2022, September - Unreported World and Strg_F both come to the ranch to film documentaries on psychedelic toads.
Construction on the wall stopped due to disagreements with the workers and lack of $ to complete it. Unfortunately, the remaining bricks to complete the wall were left out and stolen from the property.
-2023, April - Kate arrived at the ranch to meet with new workers. Construction continued for two weeks and then stopped again due to disagreements with the workers.
-2023, May - Gerry and Kate arrived at the ranch to serve medicine at an event.
The ranch was completely overrun with Datura weeds. The land is cleared and the datura plants are burned.
-2023, July 5 - Kate arrived at the ranch and filled the toad pools. Kate and the neighborhood kids took 4 toads from the neighbor's house and put them in the full pools. Two toads immediately started mating. The monsoon season began later that night and it rained.
-2023, July 18 - Kate visited the ranch again to find an explosion in toad populations. On the twenty-minute drive from the town to the ranch, large populations of toads were seen and documented (see videos 1-3). These large numbers were unexpected. We believe the toad has made a rebound in population size in the area of our ranch. Gerry was not there to confirm but after looking at videos he stated that he had never seen so many toads in the area.
Sadly, only two tadpoles were found in both toad pools. In 2022, it was estimated that over 50,000 tadpoles were hatched in our pools (see video 4). We don't know why the pools did not produce tadpoles this year. It is predicted that the neighborhood kids put in too much freshwater or killed the tadpoles by playing in the pools. It is also possible that the tadpoles were eaten by a predator.
Kate collected medicine on the ranch and in the surrounding neighborhood. Toads with bleeding glands were observed, as well as toads without any venom in their glands (which means they just used their venom on a predator or were just milked). A toad with a popped pupil was found (this most likely was caused by someone trying to milk the toads with extreme cruelty). Another toad is found with a venom gland completely ripped off.
- 2023, July 19 - Kate visited the ranch around 1:00 pm and saw two white men with sleeping bags walking towards the entrance of the ranch. When they saw her, they immediately started walking the other way. There are no hotels in this area and the nearest town is 20 minutes away.
- 2023, August 8 - Kate visited the ranch and saw very few toads on the drive from town under the light posts. The toads are more active some nights than others. (We don't think they were stolen again).
Once at the ranch, Kate is informed that people have been trespassing and milking toads on the on the property and in the surrounding area. The people trespassing were so loud and disruptive the community began locking the gates to the nearby parks and basketball courts.
- 2023, September 20 - Gerry and Kate return to the ranch to celebrate the Fall Equinox. All but a few toads are still awake. The majority are already in estivation. The end of a beautiful season.
The good news is that we have successfully contributed to increasing the population. Sadly it will not last if people continue to milk this animal without ethics.
If you use this medicine and/or are a provider of it, please do real research about where your medicine comes from. This is not a substance to price shop for on the internet. These are living breathing beings who have emotions and can feel pain. If you are going to participate in a sacred ceremony with this medicine please ask your provider where their medicine comes from and what they are doing to support these amazing creatures.
We only collect medicine for personal use and to use in our ceremonies. We do not sell medicine. I am more than happy to donate my time and expertise to assist anyone who wants to set up a bufo ranch in Sonora.
What is the current status of the Sonoran Desert Toad, Incilius Alvarius?
The Sonoran Desert Toad is currently listed as endangered in New Mexico. This toad was once prevalent in a small area of New Mexico and Southeastern California but now there are very small populations found in these areas. It is not known if the areas are part of the toad’s natural habitat or if agricultural irrigation and weather patterns drove the toads there. The Sonoran Desert Toad’s geographic range also includes the Mexican state of Sinaloa.
In Arizona and Sonora, there are no conservation restrictions on incilius alvarius. There are multiple efforts happening to get a population count in these states. It is estimated that there are currently millions of toads with the majority located in Sonora. There is a threat with the growing popularity of 5-MeO-DMT that if enough adult toads get taken (or die) it will cause populations to collapse. This can be avoided by setting up sanctuaries (like ours) and people using synthetic 5-MeO-DMT
There is also the risk of the Sonoran Desert Toad populations diminishing from chytrid fungus. Chytrid fungus is an infectious disease that affects amphibians worldwide. In some amphibians it has a 100% mortality rate. 90 species of amphibians have gone extinct because of chytrid fungus and it has been termed “the frog apocolpyse”. There is a microbial anti-fungal wash that is being researched and used in Colorado to treat chytrid fungus. Luckily Chytrid fungus ceases growth in water temperatures 82.4 F. Researchers in Arizona studying lowland leopard frogs found a correlation between CF rates and water temperature. The higher the temperature the lower CF rate. This is good news for the Sonoran Desert Toad that breeds aquatically at the hottest time of year.
As psychedelics grow in popularity, more people are eager to try and capitalize on business opportunities. These people are opportunists and mix their qualifications to work with sacred medicines boasting entrepreneurial and business skills. These individuals either target psychedelic providers promising to grow their business or target people interested in trying psychedelics mixing pseudo-science, astrology, and tarot. Many of these people label themselves as integration specialists and lack the proper awareness and qualifications in psychology. They can cause more harm than good because they are not properly trained in counseling and mental health.
Opportunists have targeted Dr. Gerado Sandoval Isaac with the website www.workwithdrgerry.com . That website is a replica of Sacred Heart Sonora and was stolen without permission. The website promises ceremonies with Dr. Gerardo Sandoval Isaac but is in no way related to him. We are in the process of taking legal action against the individual behind the website but also wanted to warn our clientele.
Sadly, this is not the only scam out there. Other individuals who used to work with Dr. Gerardo Sandoval Isaac have made a lucrative business stealing deposits for illegal ceremonies in the United States that are fake. These individuals do this through Facebook and Reddit.
If you are interested in attending a ceremony with Dr. Gerardo Sandoval Isaac please book directly with us at email@example.com or through our listings on Retreat Guru.
Why Do I Drink Ayahuasca?
The more I take ayahuasca the more I learn about this scared union of plant medicines. Ayahuasca is revered as the grandmother of plant medicine and like a grandmother she is here to make you feel safe and to remind you of the beauty and magic of life.
Synchronistically my journey with ayahuasca and has been coexisting with my journey in motherhood. Many people have asked me, "Why do you drink ayahuasca?" My answer is simply, "Ayahuasca makes me a better person". Encapsulated into being a better person, I am a better mother and better partner. Ayahuasca gives me the empathy and the patience I need to be a great and caring mom.
Prior to visiting Peru, I had sat with ayahuasca over 15 times. I had attended my first ceremonies in Arizona and then in Mexico. In Mexico the ceremonies I went to extended to over 40 people and were filled live music and guided by young Mexican ayahausceros. The excitement in those ceremonies was palpable and I think fondly about all the friends I made attending them. There was a feeling that anything could happen and I was always intrigued when the spiritual possessions would occur and people would freak out. Attending those ceremonies I saw three spiritual possessions occur. I do not know why they occurred other than the idea that some people have very unique psyches and when a plant medicine is taken it can unlock things that seem to be affecting the psyche in a negative manner. In a way it also breathes life into the negative fear and spiritual delusion that being attacked by a demonic entity or spiritually possessed.
In December, I traveled to Peru and I had the honor of working with Mesa Meni Rodriguez privately in his home. With the exception of some of his family members and his wife joining us the ceremonies were private. Each night I was offered one large glass of ayahuasca and he drank 2-3 times the amount I took from the bottle. I thought the medicine was very relaxing and not as strong as I was used to. I learned that he exclusively worked with yellow vine and that yellow vine is for beginners. I also learned that ayahuasca is a cumulative psychedelic. That means if you drink ayahuasca each night for a few nights in a row, by your fourth or fifth ceremony you will arrive in very deep space.
The place I arrived in on my fifth ceremony was equal to the feelings of the onset of 5-MeO-DMT. My ego and everything I am as a person was slipping away. I also felt like something was trying to harm me and possess me. The infatuation with spiritual possession I held was manifesting in my experience with ayahuasca and I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. My rational brain trying to explain to myself that I had just taken the medicine and there was no way I could be feeling this effect so quickly. My ego caving into panic because I know I have taken an incredibly psychoactive substance to which I am imprisoned in for the next 4-6 hours.
At this time I guess I was moving around in a chaotic manner or possibly I vocalized outloud to myself to calm down. My shaman and guide asked me with concern "todo bien Hermana?", to which I replied "no hermano". He came over to me and sat with me and proceeded to do shamanistic things over me like blow aqua Florida on my third eye and crown chakras. His wife came over to me, put me in a bear hug and massaged different areas of my stomach. With her massages I vomited what we all recognized as a demon. A demon that had been living inside of me. I felt very scared but during these moments it is important to trust your guides and trust the medicine.
It is hard for a rational brain to accept that all of your problems stem from a demon and that at some point in life you allowed this demon to crawl inside of you. Five days of drinking ayahuasca made this idea seem plausible. The things that happen during ayahuasca do not always make sense in the world you return to after the ceremonies. I do feel better though. I am still left with major questions of what exactly did I experience and why did my logical brain come up with a projection of spiritual possession. What does that say about me as a person? And what is the relationship between my own projection and the spiritual possessions I had seen in other ayahuasca ceremonies.
I had a lot of questions for the shaman after the ceremony in which I felt I was becoming posessed. First I wanted to know what happened. He told me that I had a demon living inside of me and now it was gone. I asked why the demon took five ceremonies to come out and he told me sometimes that is the way it is. Things can hide very deeply in you and it takes a lot of medicine. I asked if he knew I had the demon in me and he confirmed he did upon meeting me. He told me that many people have demons and the devil lives in the mind. I was trying to make sense of this information and translate in terms of psychology which I feel I more easily relate to. I asked how he was able to help me so quickly and he told me he has complete control over everything that happens in a ceremony. I asked how and he simply said he could teach me but its something he learned very young.
Each ceremony the shaman invited me to follow him into the secret garden. He told me I have an open invitation from the plants and that they have welcomed me but told me I must focus to enter the garden. Although I don't dare try to explain this is words I have a vague understanding of how to get to the garden. I have not fully entered the garden but I have glimpsed it and I see it in the shaman's eyes and artwork he painted that covered his home.
Another common theme for my ayahuasca experiences is to be cleaned by my spirit animal the white owl. Many experiences I go into a trance like state and just whisper white owl over and over. After repeating the words my spirit animal arrives a begins eating things from different parts of my body. Sometimes it a grotesque worm and other times it's just decay. I recognize what is being consumed as behaviors or energies that no longer serve me. At first my spirit animal was a barn owl completely white with a long needle like beak almost looking more alien than an owl. Over time my coven of owls has grown and now includes a a family of Great Horned Owls and a skilled barn owl surgeon. I feel an incredible bond with owls and believe in the deep symbology they hold that is found in every culture. In Jungian psychology the meaning of the owl is to see what is hidden or to see in the dark. Owls are also thought to be spiritual messengers that communicate between our physical world and the spiritual world.
The ceremonies in Peru were very different from the other ceremonies I had attended. In Peru the ceremonies were held in total darkness. The only light during the ceremony came from a flicker of burning mapacho. There was no music during these ceremonies. The shaman would sing one or two icaros each night but other than that there was silence and only the noise of the night in Pucallpa. As a psychedelic guide, I understand how light and music can be somewhat of a distraction but also make the journey easier. When they are taken away the person is left with themself. From complete darkness beautiful visuals can be born.
I left Peru and returned to Mexico satisfied and with my own supply of ayahuasca. I was told to microdose and explore the medicine in my own way. I write this in March as the supply I brought with me is dwindling some lost to the inevitable fermentation of the medicine. It has been two and half months since my journey to Peru and I have drank approximately 4 liters of ayahuasca since my return. Despite my best attempts of getting my friends and husband to join me, most of the medicine has been consumed solely by me.
What have I learned during my own exploration into the medicine and microdosing ayahuasca? Here is a compilation of thoughts and tips: Do not fear the medicine. Ayahuasca is probably the most pliable of all psychedelics. What you think about is important going into the experience so try to embrace concepts of universal love. You have complete control. If you fall asleep after taking ayahuasca you will have blessed dreams. The dieta is a suggestion but do not stress about it - just stay away from fermented products, processed foods, and don't eat pork or red meat. After so many ceremonies you will rarely purge unless the dieta is neglected. Ayahuasca is very different when you are by yourself. I now see that every group ceremony that I have attended - I became vessel for stuck energy that needed to be purged by other participants. I see that I fully accepted that role and that so much of what I felt in those ceremonies was not my own energy. If things get too intense in an ayahuasca journey play authentic icaros for love, wisdom, and healing. Although some will disagree with this, I suggest trying a microdose of ayahuasca in replacement for anxiety medication like benzodiazepines. It has a wonderful way of relaxing a person and making them feel grounded and held as if your grandmother is holding you. With a microdose of ayahuasca you are connecting more with the vine versus the DMT element. The Baniststeriopsis Caapi Vine contains powerful monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) which already have a place in traditional Western pharmacology.
The shaman I stayed with in Peru does not benefit financially from ayahuasca the way that many retreat centers do. He is 100% Shipibo-Konibo from Pucallpa and one of the best and most caring human beings I know. If anyone is interested in a ceremony with him please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . It is also our dream and plan to bring him to Mexico so he can share medicine with our past participants.
And if you are considering ayahuasca you should do it. (Assuming there are no medical or psychological problems preventing you from doing it). Don't fear the medicine
Wishing endless love upon everyone
Dictyonema huaorani is a rare lichen found in Ecuador. It is believed to contain trypatamines including psilocybin and 5-MeO-DMT. With the help of some local guides on a recent trip to Ecuador we believe we have found the legendary psychedelic lichen. We collected samples to bring back and have tested in Sonora. We are excited for the results.