For the record, this is not trance shamanism, as both the shaman and the client are fully aware and present in all processes. There is another state of consciousness, but it does not stand in the way of full presence.
In the Andes the shaman is called: Paqo. I use this term further in this piece.
After my training in this form of shamanism at Four Winds Society of Alberto Villoldo Ph.D. in the years 2006 to 2008, in the past 6 years, from 2008 to 2014, I went to Peru 6 times for several weeks to work with original paqos on the spot, to continue to learn and to gain experience. In addition, I have followed a number of courses from Peruvian paqos who regularly visit the Netherlands.
During the training, the emphasis was primarily on my own processes of change. It starts with that: without healing yourself you cannot do anything for others. Now the focus has shifted a bit and I now also focus on helping others.
My experience of this process has been that I had questions about aspects of the experience that I had of myself that were not pleasant. I was fed up with some aspects of myself, knew about them, but found myself unable to bring about a change in myself. The quest that I started then ended up with the shamanic tradition that not only promises, but in my experience also fulfills this promise of change. Am I a different person? No, but have I changed? Yes. This distinction must be made: By working on yourself you do not change, aspects of yourself and your perception of it change. Your ego will not disappear if you would like to, but it can add gentleness, compassion, patience, love. Or, in other cases with problems with situations in life and life questions, the perception can change and with it the world.
In addition to the shamanic processes for the fundamental changes, I also use cognitive processes such as autopoiesis theory, conflict theory and Enneagram to approach the problem present from 2 sides, namely the cognitive side and the physical emotional side. My experience is that not knowing and feeling is just as annoying as knowing and not being able to feel. Only in the cooperation of mind and heart do the big changes take place!
In the shamanic world everything is animated, the earth, the sun, the mountains, the rivers. Everything has its own energy that reflects its life force.
The shamanic worldview looks at man on 4 levels:
The lowest level, the physical, the material is the only thing that is visible. Here is the manifestation in reality realized through the higher levels. The next level, that of the mind (in English the mind), is the level of the psychic. Then follows the level of the archetypal. At this level the major religions play a role.
The highest level, the energetic, is without becoming, without thoughts, as a metaphor, only light. The lower levels, including our mind, cannot reach it. At this highest level, there is nothing that can be explained or understood. It can only be experienced.
In the shamanic tradition, the only change that has a permanent downward effect is the change at the energetic level. From there the lower levels are, as it were, permanently informed about the change. Change from a lower level, for example, the mind (psychotherapy) is therefore not permanent because from the higher level the “wrong” information continues to inform the mind and body in a way that is no longer desired.
In the shamanic tradition from the high Andes mainly 6 energetic processes are used.
- fire ceremony
- Soul retrieval
- Divination with leaves
I will briefly describe each of these processes.
Ad 1: fire ceremony
Fire has always been seen in all cultures as the ultimate transformational element.
In a fire ceremony, the “problem”, the blockage or whatever is bothering is blown into a piece of wood and then ritually burned. Writing a letter with a description and burning it has the same effect. A fire ceremony can be performed very simply with a candle and a match. It doesn’t depend on having a big fire.
Ad 2: illumination
Under the guidance of a paqo, it is examined with which chakra the problem has most affinity. Then the problem is lived through energetically and solved partly with breathing technique, partly with intentional localization. This process is often short but also very intense.
Ad 3: despacho
The paqo makes an offering with natural ingredients with the client. This offering is an abstract representation of the reality (including the problem) of the client and of the desired change. This despacho is burned or buried afterwards, depending on how the consequences are to become visible, quickly and with one stone, or slowly but surely. A despacho is an alternative to illumination. The choice of application depends on the resonance that the paqo and the client have with both. My preference is for the despacho over illumination.
Ad 4: extraction
Sometimes “foreign (external)” energies can settle in the body in various forms, flowing or fixed as a fixed object or also as an entity. These are removed by the paqo in the process of extraction. This is often a very quick method to solve an old persistent problem. If you want to understand something about this, read the book De Paardenjongen, or watch the film / documentary of the same name.
Ad 5: soul retrieval
Under great pressure, eg abuse, serious accident, very great sudden stress or war situation, a part of the soul can no longer cope and splinters. It mainly works for people with an acute problem e.g. as a result of an accident, abuse or PTS.
The paqo can retrieve this lost soul part and return it to the client. This is often accompanied by a wish list from the soul part about how the client should organize his life differently. A soul retrieval is always preceded by a despacho. Preparation is needed in that before, before the soul can or dares to return.
ad 6: divination with leaves
When a client comes to him, each paqo will investigate the causes and the resources that are needed. In Peru, the paqos do that with coca leaves. In the Netherlands I use leaves that look very similar. I have had extensive lessons in this method of research in recent years and since 2011 I have been allowed to use this method of my Peruvian teacher in the Netherlands. The idea behind it is that all information is already present in the “Field”, but you cannot access it with normal cognitive resources. In the right condition, a reading of the leaves answers the question that has been asked. It has something of a grammar. If you know the grammar of a language, you can read the book. It is the same here. This divination is a form of diagnostic that I use to validate outcomes or answer questions whose answers lie outside the normal areas of knowledge. For this, sometimes making an astrological radix, possibly as a check, is a good means.
These ceremonies can help with personal problems or as support for personal change processes, i.e. to solve personal problems, to oversee existential questions, to promote integration of the person, to transform misunderstood thoughts or actions, to change perspective on situations and persons and a bit more positive, to set intentions and resolutions in motion and keep focus on them.
All of these ceremonies do not replace medical assistance, including psychological or psychiatric assistance. These ceremonies as forms of aid are by nature experimental and cannot be duplicated. Therefore, no guarantee can be given for desired outcomes. Hence, voluntariness and understanding of one’s own situation are absolute conditions for me to guide these ceremonies on behalf of people who ask for it.
What I do is always look at what is the greatest common multiple of the question asked to create a field that is as broad as possible, but not so broad that the means is diluted in the question asked. I do this by briefly asking a number of specific questions and checking the answers through the aforementioned coca leaf reading.
I currently also offer these processes to clients. If you want to know more about this or want to make an appointment, you can email me: email@example.com or call 0620621000.
The costs are E 100 per ceremony, (excl. VAT) regardless of the duration. A despacho usually takes 2 to 3 hours, a soul retrieval 2 hours.
In these processes the shamanic tradition has knowledge that is difficult to accept in our Western worldview. Is doing a fire ceremony still understandable and can you imagine that someone under heavy pressure, for example abuse or maltreatment, loses a part of his soul, this is different with the idea of black magic and that of doing divination.
Divination is done by reading the coca leaves. called in Quechua: Coca Qaway. In the Andean tradition, special qualities are attributed to coca leaves. Coca is sacred in the sense that it is treated reverently by the paqos. In the high Andes this form of divination is very much used, in fact at all important ones.