Igor Tsarenko

Yann Riviére.

28 years. Frenchman. Shaman.

25 Nov 2016

Despite all expectations

As I’ve read Carlos Castaneda, I always imagined a Shaman to be a white-haired wrinkly racy old man with feathers, tambourine, totem and with ecstatic look of the semi-closed eyes that behold the Universe. Especially in the jungle. Especially in Peru. Especially…

There’s nothing worse than ignorance.

Ignorance leads us along the path of fears that are always separated from the actual course of actions and always tend to fill the gaps as they want to. But then it’s more pleasing to discover the truth, demolishing your imaginary ideas. The people who have played strategy video games will understand the analogy with a “darkened” undiscovered space on the map, which conceals the powerful army of the enemy with new sources of fuels, mines and other resources.

The same thing happened the day I met Yann Riviére.

By the time I finished writing this article, Yann had already conducted 4 ceremonies, and each of them gave me more and more opportunities to understand and feel his work, his personality, draw some conclusions and come up with truly important questions to me. One week had passed after our staying in the center, when the spirits found out the sincerity of my motivation and whispered “O.K” to Yann. He agreed to participate in the project named “At First Hands: Tools of Happiness”and let me interview him. As I was interviewing him, I analyzed what was going on and ironically concluded: I am a director from Ukraine, interviewing a French-born shaman of my age in Peru in English language, and the topic of our conversation was “the depth of the rabbit hole”.

How did all these words end up in one sentence?

The questions about the personality of such an extraordinary person should obviously have been asked, so that’s what our almost 60-minutes-long conversation started from, spanning deeper into the consciousness, down the DNA helix. One helix was his 10 year transpersonal experience of travelling between worlds, spaces and harnessing the energy. The second helix was my genuine desire for knowledge. The conversation with such person is a direct encounter with a big mystery and an opportunity to lift up the veil concealing it.

- Yann, are you happy?

- Of course I’m happy, Igor, - my new friend was smiling.

At the age of 13 Yann had a profound mystical experience that was caused by incautious eating of an unknown herb that provoked expanding of consciousness and powerful hallucinations. He experienced birth and death outside his body. A teenager’s inability to comprehend what he had seen and lack of understanding from his peers drew him into a 5 year long depression. Throughout these 5 years he was trying to fill this emptiness inside him with drugs and searching. At the age of 18 the answer came to him as he was watching Jan Kounen’s “Other worlds” film, telling about his experience of ayahuasca, where a shaman of the Shipibo tribe, the one that conducted the ceremony, precisely described the experience that Yann had had in his childhood. Yann asked his parents to help him find the shaman, and he succeeded. After meeting him Yann decided to move to Peru and embark on a path of the shaman adherent of Amazonia. After 7 years of practicing and studying the ayahuasca ceremony he opened the “Oka Wasi” center, which is situated on a picturesque hill of a mountain in the jungle not far from a small town Tarapoto. Among the workers of the center are two local shamans, service people from a nearby town, Yann’s girlfriend Susy and his friend Mark. The guys put in a lot of effort and time in order to give comfort to the guests, because the center becomes a popular place and attending it requires scheduling for months in advance. According to my partner Konstantin Rusov, who has a lot of experience visiting such centers, Oka Wasi is one of the best and most affordable retreat centers in Peru. You’ll find more details about living there in the vlog episode we’re going to issue and publish on our site in the beginning of December.

It’s marvelous how many things on his path were familiar to what I’ve gone through. I understand Yann perfectly. He was supported by his family, though they didn’t believe what was going on with him, and his peers hesitated to accept his choice, but now many of them admit that they envy his boldness to follow his goal of self-realization. It’s a unique case, confirming that a person can become happy through a difficult process of finding him/herself, disbelief of relatives and family, and trials that harden and empower the soul. And the soul of this man is beautiful. Wisdom, kindness, attention, the ability to see things through, unity with his inner world and the nature surely attract and cause you to trust, which helps you tune into the healing process during the ceremony. Yann is a true shaman-healer. And now this mysterious space on the map is open to me and all its ins and outs are known. There were no enemies on the “black zones” of the map, but allies, sharing my goals to fight for personal happiness of everyone, for faith, for changing the world through changing yourself and searching for the answers to the eternal questions.

Once I finished the interview I realized that I’d been waiting to hear these words for a long time, but only then was I ready to hear them. I saw myself in a mirror. Moments like this inspire, giving an ability to feel how right is the path I’ve chosen and how expedient it is to put in my energy and faith in it.

The full version of the interview will be available on the project’s YouTube channel after the film is released. You can find out more about the services and available dates of the retreats at the site of the center:
It’s more convenient to keep up with the updates from my site and associated thoughts here:


Igor Tsarenko
Film director