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Shamans

and
Healers
My Experiences With
Ayahuasca Shamanism
and true spirituality

Andrew Osta
Copyright © 2010 by Andrew Ostapenko
Written and edited by Andrew Ostapenko
All artwork by Andrew Ostapenko
Front cover image: “Cosmic Kiss”
Back cover image: “Vision of Christ”

Book and design by Johan Fremin and Andrew Ostapenko


Cover design by Johan Fremin
All rights reserved.

Published by Andrew Ostapenko Designs

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic


or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval sys-
tems, without permission in writing from the author. The only excep-
tion is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

Contact info:
www.ShamansAndHealers.com
www.SpreadLove.ca

First Printing: USA, October 2010


ISBN 978-0-9866940-2-8
Contents

To The Reader������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 1
Prologue���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 2

CHAPTERS

1. Iquitos: Ayahuasca Capital of the World�������������������������������������������������������� 9


2. Searching for Knowledge��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 21
3. Easily Fooled������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 36
4. The International Shamanism Conference��������������������������������������������������� 49
5. Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole������������������������������������������������������������������������ 63
6. The Rabbit Hole Has No Bottom�������������������������������������������������������������������� 80
7. Deep Blue���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 102
8. Too Much Too Fast ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 118
9. Great Doubt������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 133
10. Difficult but Exciting������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 146
11. Javier’s Spirit, My Body�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 158
12. In the Jungle���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 172
13. Final Weeks in Peru��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 183
14. Miracles in Mexico����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 198
15. Life on the Road��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 215
16. El Refugio Christian Healing Center��������������������������������������������������������� 227
Epilogue����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 251

APPENDICES

1. Self Liberation Method����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 255


2. Prayer and Fasting�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 259
3. Directions to El Refugio��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 260
4. Websites and Contact Info����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 261
4. About the Paintings����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 262
PHOTOS...............................................................................................................264
to the reader

This book is the truth of my experience and I describe things as they hap-
pened between June 2009 and May 2010. The original manuscript was written in
the form of a daily journal and was over 350 pages long when typed. The present
text is a reduced version. I hope this book will allow you to relive my experiences
without taking a trip half way around the world. Or perhaps it will encourage
such a trip. In any case, as you read, you can step into my shoes and embark on
a spiritual adventure. Then, you can reach your own conclusions, just like I did.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to all who have assisted me during my jour-
ney, to my friends visible and invisible. Above all, thank you God!

Many thanks to all of my family - for your unchanging love and support.

I must thank Javier DaSilva for allowing me to live in his house, where I could
observe his life and work. Javier treated me as family and I will always appreciate
that. I am equally grateful to Juan Chotta, Don Juan Tangoa, Ron, and the other
healers mentioned in this book. Thank you!

A huge heart felt “thank you!” to Jose and Ela from El Refugio, for really chang-
ing my life. I love both of you! Thank you to all of the prophets and healers who
blessed me and prayed for me, and to all of my friends around the world.

Eternal thanks to Ninfa and her family. Ninfa, thank you for your love - I felt it half
the world away. Isaura, thank you for treating me like one of your own children
and for all of your prayers! They worked!
Love, Andrew

Opposite page:
Andrew Osta : “Kissing the Holy Ground” (New York, 2006)

1
Andrew Osta : “Shaman’s Dream” (Acrylic, Canada, 2006)

Prologue

I was born in Kiev, Ukraine and grew up in an atmosphere of love, spending


much of my childhood among nature and family. My father took me travelling
to many places, including Russia and Cuba. These early experiences definitely
influenced my future, making me not only unafraid, but actually eager to travel
on my own.
As a child, I had many accidents, all of which were the result of my own clumsi-
ness. These were perhaps responsible for my later interest in healing.
My mother's family consisted of doctors, clergy, and artists. My father's ances-
tors were engineers and farmers.
My family immigrated to Canada when I was eleven. During the next 7 years,
I got to know racism and discrimination, became shy, and began to seek ways to
gain power and become free. I became interested in magick at the age of 13, and in
various New Age practices after that.
I was an avid reader, especially of fringe literature. By the age of 18, I had done
a lot of research on plant medicines and had my first entheogenic experience. The
awareness of “something more out there” never left me. I continued to research
consciousness-altering plants and spirituality throughout my university years.
2
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

During my four years at the University of Toronto, I read about 200 spiritual
books. I completed each year in the top ten percentile of students, but most of my
time was spent studying books on topics that actually interested me.
I wasn’t particularly interested in my formal studies. I was certain after the first
few months of study that I would not be doing programming for a living, but I had
no idea what my future would be like.

Due to all of my spiritual practices, I experienced kundalini1 awakening when


I was about 20. The first time it happened, I saw my life flash before my eyes in
great detail, like an extremely vivid, quickly moving slideshow. At the same time,
intense heat rose up my spine, accompanied by a buzzing sound. It felt like a bolt
of electricity went up my spine and drilled into my head. The feeling was not
exactly pleasant. While this happened, I stopped breathing and did not feel any
necessity for oxygen.
I experienced the kundalini hundreds of times during the next few years. It was
similar every time and mostly happened during the nights, when I was in bed.
Contrary to what I had read in spiritual books, the experience did not fundamen-
tally change me in any way. At least not to my knowledge.

e
I must have been one of the first Westerners to discover the wonderful salvia
divinorum2 plant in 2001. I began to experiment extensively with VERY small but
frequent doses of this plant. In the process, salvia actually taught me how to make
art. Without any previous experience, I was suddenly able to create beautiful and
intelligent drawings and paintings. In this way, after graduating with majors in in
computer science and philosophy, I became an artist.

Prior to 2007, I almost always chewed salvia leaves while painting, which al-
lowed me to access the depths of my subconscious mind. I created drawings on a
daily basis and sometimes put out several paintings a week.
Consciously, I had no idea what I was drawing or what the finished product
would look like. Without realizing it, I actually practiced art therapy on myself. It
was a wonderful medicine.

In 2007, I moved to South Korea, where I taught English and art in a private
school. There, I painted for a year without salvia's aid. When I returned to Cana-
da, my work with this plant was finished. Around the same time, I began to feel
drawn to experiencing the ayahuasca medicine3.

1  Kundalini: a dormant energy or power, coiled at the base of the spine like a snake. When awakened, this
energy is said to increase creativity, heal diseases, and give supernatural powers.
2  Salvia Divinorum: a psychoactive plant native to Oaxaca, Mexico, which has a long and continuous
tradition of religious use by Mazatec shamans.
3  Ayahuasca: a powerful psychoactive and purgative infusion prepared from the vine of the same name
(containing MAOIs), usually mixed with the leaves of DMT-containing species of shrubs. Ayahuasca has
a long history of use by the native people of Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. Vomiting and diarrhea are com-
mon, but are thought of as important and even essential to the plant’s medicinal function, not as side effects.
3
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

My initial ayahuasca experiences were at home, by myself. I bought raw ingre-


dients and cooked my own brew. In retrospect, I would not recommend drinking
ayahuasca the way I did. First of all, it could be physically dangerous if the dosage
is incorrect. Secondly, ayahuasca opens the body to spiritual entities and can dam-
age the psyche.

One time, I cooked a pot of ayahuasca and after drinking a cup, found it ineffec-
tive. I drank another cup and still felt nothing. Then, I drank half of a cup more.
What resulted was a MAOI overdose. I did not see visions, but there were very real
physical side effects. I was later told that a person with a weak heart could have
easily died from doing what I did.
Another time, snake spirits appeared and entered my body through my mouth
and nose. When I later asked a shaman if this was good or bad, he told me that it
depended on the color of the snake. Of course, I could not remember what color
the snakes were! All I knew was that the snake that entered my mouth was nearly
two inches thick and over 3 feet long.
Another time, a Being dressed in white appeared above my bed and shone heal-
ing white light over me. The light physically and emotionally healed me. It may
have been Jesus, or perhaps an angel.
On another occasion, something told me to go outdoors. I went and sat under a
tree. Huge clouds moved in and covered half of the sky. Then, a glowing disc ap-
peared from behind the clouds, glided silently for some time, and vanished into
thin air. It was my first UFO sighting. I was later surprised to find the frequent
presence of UFOs in the ayahuasca vision paintings of the late ex-shaman, Pablo
Amaringo.

e
I visited Iquitos, Peru for the first time in the summer of 2008.
At that time, the airport in Iquitos consisted of a bathroom and a large main room
where the baggage was eventually brought. There was no security and no check-
ing out. I just took my bags, walked out into the street, and took a three-wheeled
motorcycle driven carriage to the house of the legendary Alan Shoemaker, my
shamanism contact in Iquitos.
“You like ayahuasca?” asked the driver, almost before I got in.
“Yes,” I replied, smiling. Wrong answer. Fifteen minutes later, I was sitting in-
side an ayahuasca tourism agency, flipping through a catalog. A Peruvian lady
just out of the shower was watching me intently.
“Want to go to the jungle? It's only $1200 for ten days!”
It turned out that the driver dropped me off at a completely different location in
hopes of making some extra money in commission.
“I already have my retreat booked,” I told him in broken Spanish. “Get me out
of here!” We drove back towards the airport, and I was soon at Alan's front door.

Alan greeted me warmly. He was talkative and full of stories.


“Shamans are not saints,” he told me.
4
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

“You have probably done more personal work on yourself than any of them will
ever do. And drinking ayahuasca will not make you enlightened.”
I secretly hoped he was wrong.
We continued chatting for several hours. After it got dark, Alan gave me a ride
on the back of his motorcycle.
Next morning, Alan introduced me to shaman Percy Garcia. Percy was only a
few years older than me. His clothes, sneakers and hat were all brand-name. He
did not look at all like a shaman. He was not very talkative and kept his distance,
but I was extremely happy for the chance to have my first authentic experience
with ayahuasca in the jungle.

My first ayahuasca experience in Peru was completely different and very much
more powerful than anything I had experienced on my own. During my first cer-
emony with Percy, I found out why I came to Peru. I thought that I had come to
learn, but found out that I came because I needed healing.
That first night, I realized that I had been depressed for about six months with-
out even knowing it. I saw that I was still extremely attached to my Korean ex-
girlfriend, and that this unhealthy attachment was draining the life out of me. That
first night in Peru, my suppressed feelings came to the surface. They were then
magically converted into matter and vomited out.
It happened as follows.

I was lying in my hammock, still feeling the effects of the ceremony that just
ended. At that moment, I had a vision of my ex-girlfriend and suddenly became
aware of all the darkness that surrounded our relationship. We had been getting
together to do nothing more than drink alcohol and have sex. We told each other
“I love you” infinite times, yet I knew that I would not marry her. She had a boy-
friend, yet she cheated on him with me. Suddenly, the girl shapeshifted into snake.
The feeling of intense disgust overtook me and I barely had time to lift my head
when my stomach churned and a torrent of vomit came out, spilling all over the
floor. I got a bucket of water and started cleaning up. Another vision of my ex-
girlfriend and our immoral relationship came. Again, I had to vomit immediately.
Moments later, I had to run to the toilet.
Sitting in the bathroom, with a notebook in my hand, I renounced the relation-
ship, along with other unhealthy things that were part of my life. I wrote a letter
of renunciation and watched it burn. All around me, night birds and crickets sang
their songs. Once in a while, I seemed to hear the distant roar of a jaguar. The
jungle both exhilarated and frightened me.
Then, I realized that my sadness had disappeared. I was no longer attached, and
it felt GOOD. “Finished, all finished!” I thought. “I got everything I came here for
and more. Now I am ready to go home.”
For the next 10 days, I drank with Percy three times a week. Some of the other
nights, I drank Percy's ayahuasca by myself. As a result of this experiment, I dis-
covered that the effects I experienced from drinking alone were at best a quarter as
strong as when I drank in ceremony.

5
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

Eventually, I realized that drinking ayahuasca alone was largely pointless. The
only thing it did was make me tired.

During my second week of retreat, I decided to take a trip out to town. Percy told
me that it would be better to stay at the center, but I did not take his advice seri-
ously. As a result of my day trip, I lost my emotional balance and was filled with
negative energies.
That night, I struggled with aggression and lust, which had been absorbed into
my body like water into a sponge. I was unable to sleep, and found myself strug-
gling with negative thoughts and feelings. By going out for just one day, I lost
everything and had to start all over.
This negative phase continued for nearly a week, getting increasingly more dif-
ficult. I was totally unprepared to deal with all of the suppressed negative feelings
I had inside. Every remedy I tried was ineffective, and I felt worse with each com-
ing day.
This difficult experience came to a climax one night during a ceremony, when
a sharp pain appeared in my stomach, growing worse as the night progressed. I
thought that the discomfort would pass, but it did not. The pain grew so strong
that I was not only unable to sleep but actually felt frightened for my well being.
Something was seriously wrong. There was no other choice but to get out of bed
and wake up Percy.
“I need help,” I told him in broken Spanish. “There’s something in my stomach.”

Percy led me to the ceremonial hut and had me lie down. He then lifted up my
shirt and placed his lips near my belly button. He started sucking something out
of my stomach and this continued for several long minutes. At first, my stomach
was bloated, but when Percy finished, it was back to normal.
After he finished the extraction, Percy spit something into a bucket, his face re-
vealing both disgust and exhaustion. It must have been difficult work.
“Did everything come out?” I asked.
“Not everything, but I can't do anymore today,” he answered. “I'm very tired. I
will continue tomorrow.”
I thanked him and went back to my hut. Most of the pain was gone and I was
able to sleep.
In the morning, I spoke with Percy's assistant, Carlos.
“Percy says that you have pulsario,” he told me. “It is a buildup of negative ener-
gies that you have collected over a number of years. These energies are old, maybe
between 5 and 10 years old. You must have felt a lot of anger and other negative
emotions when you were younger...
“People in the west don't know anything about pulsario. But from the shamanic
perspective, it is responsible for many illnesses, including cancer. When people
don't take care of their emotions, the negative energy builds up inside the body
and eventually bursts like a balloon, spreading inside the body. While the pulsario
is small, it is relatively easy to deal with, but once it bursts, it is almost impossible
to help the person.”
6
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

Percy was too occupied with other things to do any more work on my pulsario.
Still, after his extraction, I slowly recovered my emotional balance and wellbeing.
In my final ceremony, I saw myself opening a multi faith center where people
from all traditions could come together for spiritual purposes. Then, I saw myself
shaving my head and wearing a crucifix. I could not quite understand this vision.
Soon, it was time to return to Canada, but I knew that I would be going back to
Peru again, for a much longer stay.

In Canada, I had a promising career as a government-sponsored art therapist.


I worked with refugee children and youth, helping them relieve stress and get
through their traumas. As much as I liked the job, I felt that the help I was offering
was very limited. I wanted to be able to do something more than just touch the
surface of the problem. It was a very difficult decision, but I decided to submit my
resignation in order study shamanic healing in Peru.

e
On New Years Eve, while walking outside and smoking Peruvian jungle tobacco,
I received a very clear message.
“You need to study Spanish to be ready for the trip to Peru. You should post an
ad looking for a language exchange partner on the Craigslist website.”
I perceived this not as a voice but as pure knowledge. That week, I posted an ad
and thought nothing more of it.
Ninfa was the first to respond. She called me and just hearing her voice made me
want to meet her. I was very reclusive at the time, preferring to be alone, because
being with people usually drained me of energy.
Ninfa immediately felt different.

That day, we went out for a cup of tea at a cafe where I was showing my paint-
ings. Ninfa talked rapidly and without stopping, mostly in Spanish. She offered
me her cheek for a kiss when we met, in the traditional Mexican way, and told me
that she really liked my paintings.
We met two more times over the following weeks, and immediately felt like old
friends. During our third meeting, we watched a movie together at my apartment.
That night, Ninfa came into my dream. “I am going to sleep over next time,” she
told me. We were communicating psychically.
In the morning, I woke up feeling a combination of fear and exhilaration. “I am
actually beginning to like this girl,” I realized. “But could it be possible that she
will actually spend the night with me?”
We watched another movie several days later, once again having a great time
together. Then, she said it was time for her to go, so I checked the bus schedule.
To my surprise, I discovered that the buses were no longer running because it was
Sunday.
“Oh really, then I will call my aunt to pick me up,” said Ninfa, dialing the num-
ber. She talked for a few minutes in Spanish while I practiced my Spanish com-
prehension skills.

7
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

“My aunt is working... She can't come,” she finally informed me. “I'm going to
have to take a taxi...”
“You can stay over if you like,” I suggested. “I have a big bed.”
“It's no problem for you?” she asked.
“No problem at all!”

We said good night, and lay there separated by an invisible wall. My mind kept
going over this situation. I thought about the dream, then remembered a certain
look she gave me, then a certain thing she said. I imagined how it would feel to
embrace her, how it would feel to kiss her. Lying there in that bed together, it felt
like the most natural thing in the world to reach over and hug her. My heart was
beating fast.
“Ninfa, are you sleeping?” I broke the silence.
“No, I can't sleep,” came the reply.
I described my dream, then the way I was feeling.
“Really? I feel the same way too,” she whispered.
Slowly, I reached over the invisible wall and touched her body. Kissing her felt
much better than I had imagined. Her lips were so soft and full.
“Do you want to do anything more than just kissing?” I asked after a while.
“Not tonight,” she answered. We said good night for the second time, and I
closed my eyes, this time holding her close to me.
“Actually, I do want to,” she suddenly said, taking me by complete surprise.

Soon, our relationship was as comfortable and beautiful as relationships get. The
next time she came over, we laughed and cried together. The beauty continued in-
creasing with every meeting we had. Within a few weeks, we were living together,
and everything was perfect. Ninfa was the first person with whom I could spend
all day and all night without feeling the need to get away and be alone. It felt like
we had been together forever and that we would never separate.

But the time to go to Peru came much too quickly and I had to leave my newly
found love behind. “Don't worry,” I told her. “I will be waiting for you in Peru.
Come join me as soon as you can!”
“I had a dream about us,” she told me. “In the dream, I was a princess and you
were a shaman, and I was told that our love was impossible for that very reason!”
“Don't be silly,” I answered, paying no attention. “Nothing is impossible.”
“It will be hard for me to go,” she confessed. “My dad expects me to get a job
when I come back.”
“Don't worry,” I assured her. “Nothing is going to stand between us. We will be
together!”
She accompanied me to the airport with tears in her eyes.

8
Andrew Osta : “Percy Garcia” (Acrylic, Canada, 2008)

CHAPTER 1
Iquitos: Ayahuasca Capital of the World

I arrived in Iquitos a month prior to Alan Shoemaker's annual shamanism


conference, at which I was scheduled to speak and display my paintings. I was
planning to stay in Iquitos for nearly 7 months. My objective was to find a teacher
and learn the mysteries of Amazonian shamanism.
The heat, humidity, and noise hit me full force as I rode in the open carriage
moto-taxi. There were no glass windows to shield me from the outside. Alan had
invited me to stay at his new house, which turned out to be huge and beautiful.
When I arrived, Alan wasn't home. An aging Australian woman welcomed me
inside. Alan later told me that since coming to Peru to work with ayahuasca, this
woman had lost about 60 pounds.
“Her appearance improved a great deal,” he said.
After putting my things away, I joined the woman in the yard. She was chain
smoking and playing with her two baby monkeys. One of the monkeys was in
a semi-comatose state. It had apparently chewed on a branch of the toxic chiric
sanango tree.
9
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

Chiric sanango is one of the important shamanic plants, and contains the same
active chemical as datura or toe4.
“This poor monkey had been tripping for about 54 hours now. It's going to
evolve into another species,” laughed the woman.
“It's going to become a shaman and start healing other monkeys now!” I joked.

My plan that night was to have a ceremony with Percy Garcia. He always had
ceremonies on Fridays, but this particular Friday the ceremony was canceled. In-
stead, I was invited to a ceremony with a Brazilian medium, Javier DaSilva. “He is
really something else,” I was told.
“Sometimes people are brought to the ceremony in wheelchairs and later walk
out without help. He also sometimes takes out his invisible sword and fights with
spirits! And he takes on other personalities, speaking like a woman or like an old
man. It doesn't happen very often, but you might get the chance to see something
if you're lucky. Javier is quite a showman...” I listened, not being able to process
much of what was being said. Certainly, it would be interesting to go.

e
When I arrived at Javier's house, about 40 people were already there. Everyone
was local, except for myself and a big man from Sweden. Only about 10 people ac-
tually drank ayahuasca. The rest just came for healing. Those drinking sat near Ja-
vier in one room, while the others waited their turn in the hall. Packs of cigarettes
were sold, then collected together and distributed to each of the people drinking
ayahuasca. Javier explained that he and his students always smoke tobacco during
healings and ceremonies to protect the body from negative energies.
After we drank the ayahuasca, Javier opened the ceremony with a prayer. Then,
he started to whistle and sing beautiful and complex songs. Once the ayahuasca
started working, my perception of sound improved and the melodies became
breathtakingly beautiful. Javier's apprentices whistled and sang in harmony.
It was another world. “I have been missing out by drinking only with Percy,” I
thought. “His songs are nothing like this. This is an experience!”

The first visions I had were of traditional Shipibo5 patterns. One that I remember
most vividly had a cross in the middle. I also saw the stars, the cosmos and some-
thing resembling flying saucers. I was immersed in the visions for some time with-
out remembering exactly what I saw. Then, I received a psychic message telling
me that I needed to throw up. I picked up my bucket and about two tablespoons
of something came out. I did not purge more during the ceremony.
Feelings of love came over me and I sent love to all of my family and to Ninfa.
I realized that nothing good can ever come from bad thoughts or feelings.
All evil is created with evil thoughts!

4  Toé: a member of the datura complex of the botanical family solanaceae. It is potentially very dangerous
and excessive use can cause permanent mental impairment or even death.
5  Shipibo: an indigenous ethnic group of Peru. The Shipibo people are famous for their beautiful and
brightly colored tapestries. These designs are often inspired by the visions they see in the initial stages of
ayahuasca inebriation.
10
S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

With this realization, I dropped whatever grudges I held and forgave everyone
against whom I had any kind of sour feelings. I sent them all love. A lot of the time,
I thought about Ninfa, feeling completely united with her. The following day, she
told me that experienced the same feeling of closeness at the same time.
“I was going to go out, but something told me to stay home,” she wrote me. “It
was a beautiful time and I felt so close to you!”

The other foreigner had a very difficult time. He left the ceremonial space and
remained in the bathroom for several hours. Many people went to bring him back,
but nothing came of it. He got up from the toilet and immediately collapsed on
the ground, where he remained for over an hour. From what Javier was saying, I
understood that an evil spirit was preventing him from coming back to the main
room.
People who needed healing came up to Javier one by one. For each person a song
was sung, probably lasting about 5 minutes on average. Before and after the sing-
ing, Javier conversed with the person in front of him, telling them what was wrong
with them, why they were suffering, and how he would help them.
“Go home and sleep,” he said to a young male patient. “I will come to you in
your dream. You're going to see an old man. That's me. Don't be afraid. Go home
and I will come to you tonight. Tomorrow, you will be better.”

One of his first patients was young man who looked very weak and could not
walk without assistance. “You'll be able to walk in two days,” Javier told him. To
others he said other things.
“You have such and such illness. You need to do this and that.”
“Your operation will be on Monday. You must stay Sunday and Tuesday in bed.”
“You must have a liver transplant. Your operation will be on a Thursday.”
“You are an evil person, you are a sorcerer. Go out and clean your heart and your
mind!”
“You drink ayahuasca with sorcerers. Who are you in love with? Leave him.
Forget him. He will only bring you more evil and more harm.”
I later found out that when he spoke of operations and transplants, Javier was
speaking about operations on the astral body. Although these procedures are per-
formed spiritually, they apparently have real physical effects. According to Javier,
the operations are performed at his command by spirit doctors who obey him.
Some of these doctors are spirits of dead human physicians, others are inhabitants
of Atlantis.
Eventually, Javier went outside to check on the other foreigner, who was still on
the floor near the bathroom. I followed and sat beside him, watching.
“Your ex-wife paid 3 or 4 thousand dollars to a very strong sorcerer in India to
kill you and your new wive,” said Javier. “That sorcerer sent two spirits to harm
your body. Be quiet everyone, I want to speak with the spirits!”
Everyone hushed down. “Who are you? Who sent you? Why are you making
this poor man suffer? Leave my house! Why don't you come into the temple? Why
don't you come into the main room? What are you doing hiding here in the back?
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S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

“Leave now or I will kill you myself. Leave now demon serpent! I will kill you
and all of your kind. I stand here before this man, and I am his protector. I will not
let you get to him. Get out of here or I will destroy you completely.”
Javier was having a long conversation with an invisible and inaudible spirit.
Then, suffering from an invisible blow, he moaned in pain and doubled over. His
breathing became labored, and he opened his arms wide. A few moments later, he
came back to his regular self. “What was that, devil serpent? You can't kill me! I am
stronger than you. Now get out of here before I kill you.”
Suddenly, he yelled out and cleared his throat. His voice changed to that of a
woman. “Should I kill these evil spirits?” the female voice asked the foreigner.
“No...” responded the man. Still speaking as a woman, Javier began to reason with
the spirits, asking them to go away. I was amazed at what I was seeing.
“Now you will hear the song of a mermaid,” said the female voice.

With a soft feminine voice full of vibrato, in subtle and beautiful tones, Javier
sang an otherworldly song. That song sounded like it belonged to a woman who
was forever alone. It was filled with sadness and beauty, which were amplified by
the effects of the ayahuasca. When the song was over, Javier declared that one of
the spirits had left. He then pressed his lips against the sick man's head and began
to suck out his illness. Holding his mouth shut with both hands, he continued
sucking, trying hard not to vomit. Suddenly, he produced a sound of great dis-
gust, moved away from the sick man, and projectile vomited a large quantity of
something all over the floor. Then, still gasping, he gulped down about a liter of
water from a huge container which somebody readily handed him.
A few minutes earlier, the sick man was incomprehensible, babbling and mum-
bling to himself. Now, he was actually able to speak. He thanked Javier, saying
that he felt much better, and moved himself into a sitting position. Javier put him
on a mat to rest and we returned to the main room.
People continued to come up for healing for another three hours. Some people
came knocking on the front door and Javier yelled at them. “Who opened the
door? Who is coming late? If you are late, you cannot come in!”
Once all of the sick people were served, Javier gave audience to those who drank
ayahuasca. He sang me a prayer about Christ, during which I clearly saw a vision
of a cross with Jesus on it. “You have something bad in your stomach,” Javier told
me after the song was over. “You are a good person, but this thing is causing you
bad luck. Your life has always been more difficult than it has to be. When you clear
this thing, everything will go better for you.”
“You have a very bright aura, lots of spirituality,” added one of Javer's students.
I told Javier that I was aware of the problem in my stomach.
“I have pulsario,” I said. “I asked Percy Garcia to take it out, but he could not.”
“Percy can't take it out!” laughed Javier. “He doesn't have the power. He is like a
child compared to me. He comes up no higher than my knee!”
Javier told me that it would cost 100 dollars to clean up my stomach, and we
made an appointment to get it done. When I came home that night, a quartz crystal
given to me by Percy fell off my neck, having untied itself. It felt like Percy had
withdrawn his support from me. I decided to not put the necklace back on.
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S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

Next evening, a couple of young people came over to visit Alan - a guy in his late
20’s and a girl in her early 30’s. They had just returned from a trip down the river,
and the girl's legs were all swollen with mosquito bites. The visitors sat around the
table with Alan, drinking rum and cokes and discussing shamanism, ayahuasca,
and personal experiences. I came up and asked Alan if he could recommend me
any healers who were not in shamanism for the money.
“You don't need a shaman, you can cook your own medicine,” he answered. “I
don't say this to everyone, because I make money from them too, but you can do
it. You don't need to keep any diet, and you don't need to follow any rules that
you don't understand. I want to see people drinking ayahuasca all over the world,
becoming their own shamans, and holding their own ceremonies.”
“I intentionally broke every traditional rule just to see what would happen,” he
added. “Nothing ever happened!”

I listened, but did not completely agree. I had come to Peru to learn from the
masters. If I wanted to drink by myself, I could have just as easily stayed home.
“There is so much to learn from the elders,” I thought. “There are traditional ways
of drinking ayahuasca. To dismiss all of the songs, diets and rituals would be to
lose a lot!”
I tried asking Alan about the traditional ways of using ayahuasca, but he dis-
missed it all as “bullshit.” The visitors were nodding their heads in agreement.
“We can all go to Alan's property in the forest and drink there,” they offered. I
agreed and we decided to purchase the ingredients we needed the following day.

It was a hot and humid night and everyone was slightly intoxicated with alcohol.
“Let's go swimming,” the girl suddenly offered. “It's gorgeous out there and to-
night is a full moon night!” Nobody seemed excited enough to get up. “I'm going
by myself then,” she concluded.
Taking off her clothes one by one, she stood in the moonlight, a few feet away
from us. She had no bathing suit and entered the swimming pool nude. I joined
her a few minutes later. We swam under the gorgeous full moon that was only
visible from the pool. The girl danced in the water like some kind of mermaid,
probably trying to seduce me.
When she got out, there were no towels anywhere near, and Alan did not express
the slightest desire of looking for one. We sat and stared at the nude girl. “Isn't
anyone going to bring me a towel?” she asked. I offered her a very thin Indian
cloth - the only makeshift towel I had. In that see-through cloth, she gave everyone
a beautiful sight to see. Alan could not refrain from commenting.
“Que bonita! Que linda! Isn't she beautiful?” In that moonlight she was.

That night, as we were saying goodbye, she came in for a hug and tried to kiss
me on the lips. I turned my head and she only got my cheek. I went to bed restless
and excitement, remembering Ninfa.
Percy Garcia appeared that night in my dreams. I asked him about drinking
ayahuasca alone at Alan's property. “I don't think you need that,” he answered.

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S HAMAN S AND HEALER S

“You can come and stay a week at my center for free, like I promised you last
year. You can come tomorrow.” Then, I heard screaming, and together with Percy,
we went into a house to look. Somebody or something was coming, and Percy took
my hand and hid me under a table, while himself hiding underneath another one.
When I awoke at 9:30 in the morning, I was surprised to see Percy Garcia sit-
ting in Alan's office. We greeted each other warmly and I immediately related my
dream to him. He said that I could come to his center, just like in the dream.

e
Later that day, I went to Javier's house for my appointment. The waiting room
was filled with local people, all of them waiting to see him. I felt the energy of the
place as soon as I stepped in, but something inside me was telling me to leave.
“It's hot here, and I am the only foreigner,” I reasoned. “The locals are paying
him with packs of cigarettes but I have to pay 100 dollars. It's not fair! With that
money I could buy my own ayahuasca and drink it by myself, like Alan said.” I
flipped a coin and it came up tails, so I decided to leave. “If I still have that ener-
getic block in my stomach after I get back from Percy's, I will ask Javier to proceed
with the healing,” I reasoned.

Earlier in the day, I asked around about good curanderos6 and was given the
address of a man named Golbert Grandez. Since I wouldn't be receiving a healing
from Javier, I decided to go and meet Golbert instead. I found him in his office
behind a storefront. Golbert looked like a rather ordinary middle aged Peruvian
and had a picture of Sathya Sai Baba on his altar.
“What did you come to me for?” he asked. I told him that I wanted to help
people in some way. “Good,” he said. He took out a necklace of Indian rudraksha7
beads and put it around his neck. Then, he extracted a pack of tarot cards from a
drawer. “Cut the cards,” he said. Without me asking for it, he was doing a tarot
reading. I turned on my voice recorder.

“The first card says that your psychic powers are dormant and that you need to
awaken them,” he began. “The second card says that you have very green heal-
ing energy in your hands, but that you need to meditate more to connect with the
plants and learn their language. The third card says that you will promptly have
new knowledge. Visions of the spirits of plants will awaken your dormant powers.
You need to drink the plants, to sing to the plants, and to smoke the plants.

“The next card shows that you have a lot of karma that needs to be cleansed and
let go of. The cards say that you represent the face of plants in the world. God has
a plan for you to travel the world spreading a message of hope. But you need to
raise your consciousness, learn ancient knowledge, and work hard. The plants will
clear your old karma and the bad intentions of others that are still affecting you.
There is an old energetic disturbance in your stomach that is the result of the bad
intentions of other people.

6  Curandero: a “good” shaman who uses his powers to heal.


7  Rudraksha: the seed of a large tree sacred to the god Shiva. It is believed to hold magical properties.
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