Darrin Davis

Darrin Davis grew up in the Mormon church, but now he carves his own path and helps others do the same

CAROLINE SAVOIE | Contributing Writer

Multicolored cushions, candles, statues and figurines are strewn about the floor of the living room where Darrin Davis sits criss-crossed on a pillow in the middle of the floor in his plaid shirt, jeans and bedazzled belt. The smell of incense and sound of tranquil ceremonial music fills the air as seven people sit on cushions and couches, ready to begin Medicine Monday, Davis’ weekly offering.


Davis, a Dallas gay man, might not have stuck to his Mormon roots, but that doesn’t make him any less spiritual. And, he said, he thrives on sharing his spirituality with others.

Davis, who shares shamanic Peruvian tours and plant medicines with Dallas residents, said he grew up in a strict Mormon family and struggled with embracing his sexuality. This led him on a spiritual quest to find meaning and connection, which ultimately brought him to Peru and the world of plant medicine and shamanism.

He said his journey of becoming more open and unapologetic about his multifaceted identity, including his spiritual work and role as a leader in the LGBTQ community, has opened him up.

“I’ve always known I would be a leader; I just thought it would be through the church,” Davis said. “Now, I see that I’ve always been meant to inspire and guide others on their own paths of self-discovery and empowerment.”

Medicine Mondays
“Medicine Mondays” is a community gathering focused on spiritual practices, meditation and integration of transformative experiences. It is intended to provide “a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals to explore their spirituality and support one another,” Davis explained.

The night starts with a rapéh ceremony in which Davis blows a tobacco powder into participants’ noses. Attendees first connect with the plant, setting an intention for their meditation. Then, they sit with the plant for 10 minutes in meditation before blowing the tobacco out.

Darrin Davis and friends at Macchu Picchu

Next, Davis facilitates a “check-in,” in which attendees can share their experiences with plant medicine and demonstrate vulnerability. On May 20, one father shared how his experience with plant medicine allowed him to get closer to his son and helped him stop abusing alcohol.

Another attendee said he’s experienced “healing and relief through plant medicine.”

“Having a community and a place to share has been life changing,” the man said. “I’ve rarely missed a Medicine Monday in years.”

One man, who’s been on two Peru tours with Davis, said he’s attended Medicine Mondays for five years, and he likened the experience to group therapy. He said it is a wonderful place to start the journey of self-discovery.

The next portion of the evening consists of singing medicine songs, tunes that are sung during plant ceremonies. The sound of music, instrumentation and voices of attendees fills the room. Some, who know the songs better than others, sing with their eyes closed. Newbies sing lyrics from a piece of paper Davis hands out.

Then, Davis speaks about a topic that’s piqued his curiosity that week. On May 20, he spoke about engaging in a curious approach to self discovery.

“It’s important not to conform to what anyone expects of us, even ourselves” he said. “We must look within and find our own song to sing. We’re always in the process of becoming, so there’s no need to put ourselves in boxes.”

He described growing up in his Mormon community as a gay boy, knowing that his family would not accept him if he were to show them his true self. He said he counted down the days until he could leave home and begin his self-expression journey.

In the last year, he said, he “cleared the energy” with several of his family members, showing them his authentic self and explaining why he was so ready to leave home. Even if the conversation wasn’t received as well as he’d hoped, he said it was important to express himself in a genuine and vulnerable way. And he encourages other LGBTQ folk to do the same.

The night ended with a movement meditation and snacks while attendees talked and shared their experiences. Davis answered questions about his favorite offering, leading tours in Peru.

Darrin Davis with a recent group he took to Peru

Quest Peru
Davis described his extensive experience leading immersive retreats in Peru, including a stint at Machu Picchu where participants engage in a variety of plant ceremonies, like ayahuasca and practices to promote healing and personal growth.

Davis has been to Peru 30 times. He said he first started taking friends and family there before leading more formal retreats with up to 14 participants. His next offering is in July 2024.

“I call it a ‘buffet of shamans,’” he said. “I found the best shamans I’ve experienced and put them all in an 11-day trip to get a well-rounded experience. It’s truly transformational.”

He emphasized the importance of integration and community support in his work, which is where Medicine Mondays come into play.

“I feel like in the States, we aspire to sedate through alcohol or pills,” Davis said. “We have this need to push down bad feelings, but it’s really life-changing when we can turn our minds on, integrate our pain and share it with other people without the desire to numb out. That’s when we gain clarity and make better decisions.”

He said his offerings are especially apt for the LGBTQ community.

“A lot of us have experienced negative self-talk and negative talk from the world,” he said. “We need places that are safe and can build us up.”

Josie Salas, a transgender woman who went to Peru with Davis in 2022, said the trip was transformational.

“I had made peace with who and what I am, but it was in ceremony that any confusion about what that would look like in my life was cleared up,” she said. “I am grateful to Darrin for making it easy to visit so much in a short period of time and with the timing of those things as well.”

Tiffany Fitzgerald, another transgender woman who went to Peru with Davis in 2023, said Peru changed her life in several ways.

“It grounded me deep within myself allowing me to sit with the good, bad and all in between, which wasn’t easy,” she said. “It allowed me to strengthen my bond with my new-found friends as well.

“Darrin holds space allowing for a community of openness, closeness and over all oneness, which is understanding, being seen and heard! This is very important especially for one like myself.”

She said being a trans woman comes with judgment and hardships, but Davis’ influence on her community allows her light to shine through acceptance from others.

Davis said his goal is to bring an all-queer group of participants to Peru. “The healing that can happen there is out of this world,” he said. “And if I can help my LGBTQ brothers and sisters on their journeys, I know I will have fulfilled my purpose.”

For more information visit QuestPeru.com.