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My Shamanic Journey in Peru

In Search of Deeper Meaning

Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1
In Search of Deeper Meaning
Chapter 2
An Introduction to Sergio and the Sacred Plant Huachuma
Chapter 3
A Journal of Days 1-12

Introduction
Since shamanism isnt a well-known subject, I will attempt a general
definition here. I say attempt, because there are several different definitions
depending on whom you ask. My favorite definition is from Lowell John
Bean and Sylvia Brakke Vane, There is no consensus among scholars as to
exactly what shamanism is.i Scholars will always be limited by their
capacity to define shamanism, because shamanic rituals are designed to
bring the practitioner to an experiential state of awareness that is hidden
from the outside observer. I have read countless anthropological studies of
indigenous tribes and plant medicine ceremonies that only observed the
outside appearance of such rituals. For an anthropologist to participate in
such rituals would weaken their credibility, so there is an impenetrable wall
to any true understanding of shamanism without the experiences that define
it.
I can say though that after my recent experience with Huachuma in the
Sacred Valley of Peru, I feel closer to what shamanism means for me
personally. And I still havent read a definition that encompasses my
emotional experience of shamanism. Joan Halifaxs definition is at least a
little more inclusive to what I have observed, Shamans are healers, seers,
and visionaries who have mastered death. They are in communication with
the world of gods and spirits. Their bodies can be left behind while they fly
to unearthly realms. They are poets and singers. They dance and create
works of art. They are not only spiritual leaders but also judges and
politicians, the repositories of the knowledge of the cultures history, both
sacred and secular. They are familiar with cosmic as well as physical
geography. The ways of plants, animals and the elements are known to them.
They are psychologists, entertainers, and food finders. Above all, however,
shamans are technicians of the sacred and masters of ecstasy. This is a
broad definition, and still doesnt cover the heart behind shamanism. The
purpose of a shaman in indigenous tribes is to maintain the harmony and
health of a tribe and the environment they live in. In contemporary times,
they are facilitating the healing of our fears so that we can return to harmony
and heal the damage that we have caused to the earth through our greed.
Much like a Bodhi Satva, they live in devotion and in service to the earth
and her inhabitants.
From a religious perspective, shamans are perceived as evil or working with
Satan. My own family is of Christian faith, so I have seen through their eyes.
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Yet I simply cant see the evil in using sacred plants and spirits to help a
community thrive in health and harmony. My own personal experiential
definition of shamanism is forming into: the capacity and depth of active
emotional love that one has for self, community and the earth. At this point,
I dont even think this deems having a rattle or incantations to shift ones
reality from fear to ecstatic love. With such a broad definition, the path of
shamanism opens to all of us and you might even say that not only is it a
profound opportunity, but it is our responsibility. This sense of responsibility
is what compelled me to find my plant and animal allies. And as I develop
my relationship with them, my strength increases to deepen my path of love
and integrity.

Chapter 1
In Search of Deeper Meaning
I think to speak to the word yearning would be a good place to start the
description of my journey. Everyone can relate to the human emotion of
yearning. As a child, we yearn for connection to our mothers, to be held
constantly and lovingly. As teenagers we yearn for puppy love and romance.
As adults we yearn for our soul mate. Yet, in our culture, a shift occurs in
our 30s. Because we are entrained to yearn accomplishment and progress,
love sometimes takes a back seat. Marriages turn stale, we become
responsible parents, and the main focus of our lives becomes survival and
success. What happened to that deep yearning we had as infants and
children? Is it supposed to just go away? Or does it mature into something
else? We came into this world knowing that our soul purpose of existence is
love. Love is all we ever wanted, and the absence of love will continue to be
our main source of suffering.
Now as adults, if we are sensitive enough to feel it, we seek another level of
love. We yearn for a spiritual connection with our creator: an experiential
emotional connection with the essence of that which created us. The
evidence of this is the numerous religions and spiritual cults that the seekers
try to drink from, only to remain parched and devastated by the emptiness of
the shallow philosophies of what God might be. But if we step a little deeper
into the emotion of our yearning, we begin to taste little morsels of the very
thing we are looking for. This is the very thing I did that started me on this
journey.
My yearning has been with me throughout my whole life really. I could even
say that it has haunted me, stalked me. Something has always been
beckoning me forward to reach for something, but what? Spiritual maturity
is when we still ourselves long enough to feel this longing all the way to its
source. How do we touch this source? How do I relieve myself from this
painful longing? I have always felt nostalgic, homesick even. But then where
is home? If I am not from here, where am I from? Where is home? This is
the essence of my overall emotion that I have lived with my whole life. I
have always wanted to literally go for an extended walk about until I
arrive, wherever that is. But where do I walk? Which direction? Which
spiritual path will take me to myself and offer a loving connection with the
creator within? I tried several different paths, read volumes of spiritual
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books, tried meditation, yoga, and searched for teachers. Shamanism always
drew me closer in. It made me feel like I might be getting a little closer to
what I was thirsty for if I could just get a little deeper into it. I wanted to
understand shamanism, learn its ways, and practice its magic. I learned from
every shamanic teacher I could find whether it be from books or shamans
that were willing to teach. I was a sponge soaking up every drop of wisdom I
could find, and always remaining thirsty, famished even, for deeper
experiences of that unknown thing I was looking for. So have you gotten the
gist of my suffering here? The joke of looking for something so desperately,
without even knowing what it was that I was looking for? Perhaps some of
you can relate? Surely this isnt all that uncommon, but we never speak
about it.
So about 2 months before I left for Peru, I had reached a plateau of sorts
with this search. I had had enough. It was time for a real dive, and I was
willing to do anything, kamikaze style. I had been working with the sacred
teacher healer plant Ayauasca with some sensations of this being the right
direction for me. Five years previous, I had a lovely experience with
Ayauasca in the jungle with a 90 year old Ayauasquero. I had a beautiful
experience with my animal totem and an overall sense of opening. I was
satisfied with one journey even though 3 were offered. Then more recently
working with Ayauasca in the Santo Daime tradition, I experienced another
side of the sacred vine. Death pretty much describes that experience. I dont
know what died exactly, hopefully the stuff that needs to die, right? But this
plant was a bit intense for my style. My overall style is quite a bit more
gentle. I was willing to endure intensity, but wanted more traction so I could
participate more in the experience of healing and expansion.
So it was when I was in the middle of my inner rock bottom that I came
upon an article on San Pedro. The article was about a woman in Cusco, Peru
that was practicing as a huachumera. This amazing sensation rippled through
my body as I read voraciously the contents of this article. I was sure I was
holding gold in my hands. When I finished the article, I went into the
bathroom, and something stopped me dead in my tracks. I heard loud and
clear that this was my medicine. This was my ally and my path. Within this
split second, I saw someone walk by the door and assumed that my partner
came home. But when I came out, there was no one there. I felt permanently
altered though. Something very deep and strong was stirring in me.

How could I explain any of this to anyone? Somehow, what ever it took, I
had to get to Peru and find someone that could teach me the ways of
Huachuma. And this time, I didnt want to learn in groups of 100. I felt that
my heart had earned a real teacher that would believe in me and my potential
to give back to this earth what it gives us. You see, this yearning wasnt just
based out of what I could get, or understand, or receive. My pain really
stemmed from having so much love to give to the Whole, with no outlet to
channel it through. I needed a tool, a partner, a bridge to emulate my passion
and love for humanity. I did thoroughly love every healing session that I was
blessed and honored to facilitate, yet I wanted to give more, and take people
deeper into themselves to a direct experience of the powerful unconditional
love that we are.
In reality, I have always had a secret fantasy of living on a dirt floor
somewhere in the mountains, apprenticing with a shaman: one-on-one
training. I wanted to allow a master to take me to my limits, and to learn the
real magic of the heart. But where are our medicine men? The Native
Americans have fewer medicine men now than they ever had. And even
then, it is only on rare occasions that they are available to the white race. I
never really gave up hope on this dream of mine, even though the possibility
was stark. This search for my teacher came from the depths of my heart. I
prayed through screaming tears for my heart to be heard. I was no longer
willing to take no for an answer. So it was up to me to listen and allow
myself to be guided to my teacher. My search ended in a simple few words
in a classified add in the back of the magazine I had read. The ad read
Powerful, ecstatic, deep healing San Pedro ceremonies at the ancient Inca
ruins and Power Places of the Sacred Valley of Peru. Serious work for
sincere and mature people. Perfect, I thought: a simple modest ad asking
for a sincere heart. No full-page ad for a $5,000 journey to Peru offering a
shamanic journey mostly consisting of sight seeing. This was an honest
integral being. I felt it in my bones. I contacted him immediately via email
and shared with him my interest in working with him. He first asked what
my intentions were and responded as follows:
Hello Kelly,
Thank you for your description. You sound sincere and prepared for the
work I do. But let me tell you just a little more about it so you will have a
better picture of what I do.
I am Huachumero of the Chavin Mesa, dedicated to deep healing and
spiritual enlightenment. I work with Huachuma only as a Master plant, and
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two of Huachuma allies and helper plants.


Huachuma is the original name of this divine cacti, which was in use here
long before it has been called San Pedro.
Huachuma is the medicine of Truth, Clarity and Love and when it is handled
right, with knowledge and respect, it can penetrate as deep as ocean flows,
healing deepest wounds, bringing clarity to your needs to understand the
things you want. With clarity comes understanding, with understanding healing.
The spirit of this plant is noble, kind, loving. It knows what you need, and it
will guide you gently to where you need to go. Huachuma is the medicine of
Here and Now and it begins from understanding our Humanness and our
lives and then, when soul gets healed, the body's healing follows.
Facing your fears is unavoidable and a necessary step to a deep holistic
healing. And ultimately it is a little price we pay for the healing and clarity
we get, learning only later, that we have been paying nothing, since fear it's
only an illusion, which melts under light of understanding like snow melting
under sun.
We doing Mesa in the morning and right after drinking, we going out into
Nature or sacred sites and power places connecting deeply to our hearts and
thru the hearts to energetic fields of sacred sites and Mother Earth. We
merging with the Whole in silence until the sunset and then returning home
to close the Mesa and everyone is free. We spend together 9-10 hours in
every ceremony.
There is a different way to work with different people and usually with the
beginners we do ceremonies every other day, so they can rest between. For
those with whom I've worked before, we going deeper, more intense and
taking medicine two- three-four days in the row, and then few days we rest.
The medicinal work it's not an overnight quick fix. It is a process which
requires time, and the more medicine you take, the deeper it goes..
Each ceremony it is a built up on the top of the previous one and you always
start from the place you left, regardless of the time passed.
I don't make contracts, don't take upfront fees. I base my work on the
integrity and trust.
I can continue describing indescribable, but better if I would try to answer
some of your questions if you have any.
Best wishes from the Sacred Valley..
Sergio

I base my work on integrity and trust. This is all I needed to hear. I didnt
even explore his website. I had a hit that this was the guy. No more research
was needed. I didnt know how old he was, where he was from, or how
many years of experience he had. I just knew that he was the one to work
with. Now mind you, there was plenty of doubt that seeped in now and then.
This is when I noticed the amount of self-doubt I had. I second-guessed
myself several times from the time I bought the ticket to Peru all the way up
to the airplane ride over. Abolishing my self-doubt became my first priority
and point of focus for the trip. I felt that it was a significant source of my
weakness in my personal and professional life. Well, you know what they
say, be careful of what you ask for.
The first 24 hours was the most intense initiation of my life. I literally went
through the ring of fire.
The perfect synchronicities lined themselves up for me. A friend of mine
was bringing a group to Peru the same time I was going to arrive in Cusco. It
was a group of new age healers and psychics that had been traveling together
for about a week and bonded through their experiences at the sacred sites
together. I was joining them just for a day to be present for a ceremony that
was being held by one of the most respected shamans in Peru. From the very
first moment of meeting each other, several members of the group felt
threatened by me. They were taken by surprise that I was joining them. One
woman came right up to me and made it clear that I was trespassing and she
didnt appreciate it. So I thought I would just remain quiet and respectful of
their space by staying in the background (I was also going on this trip to heal
my fear of being seen). One thing led to another and two of the most psychic
and respected women there began to psychically attack me. They projected
their fear on me and spread a flaming rumor that I was so dark that it was
painful to be just a few yards away from me. The group colluded. It seems
that they took a vote, and the majority (7 out of 10) insisted that I was
carrying bad energy. The master trackers concluded that it must be the
huachumero I was coming to visit. They said I was being nave and that the
shaman I flew all the way to Peru to see was a black magician and that he
was going to take advantage of me when I would be vulnerable on the
medicine. They said he already had his hooks in me and that I was in serious
physical danger. The main psychic said it was too painful to be around me.
Her friend was even wiping herself off every time we passed each other.
Boy did I feel ignorant and dirty.

What they were predicting isnt that uncommon really. My friend was truly
concerned about my safety and told me stories of how some shamans dose
the medicine too strong, bring women to sexual orgasm, place their saliva
under her tongue, and they become hooked energetically always coming
back for more. This sounded pretty severe. Here I was traveling alone to a
town I have never been to in a foreign country with no one around to help if
I needed. They thought I was ignorant and nave not to check his references
and gather more information about this guy. That has never been my way. If
I get an intuitive hit on something, I follow it like a shooting arrow. Im
somewhat known for making dramatic, rash decisions, but what if this one
became the end of me? Naturally, I second guessed my own intuition and
explored the possibility that maybe I was in total denial of this path of
danger and possibly even energetically sick or out of balance for these
people to have such a strong response to my heavy energy.
Late that night we arrived at the ceremonial site, high up in the mountains.
This is what I had hoped to be a fulfillment of one of my most sacred
dreams: to be in ceremony with an authentic shaman, pouring our prayers of
love, gratitude and harmony back into the earth. There was just one glitch. If
we ourselves werent in harmony, then how could we vibrate or emote our
prayers authentically in the ceremony? We had to clear this tension before
starting the ceremony. I tried to approach the main woman that was so angry
with me, and she protested, Im not talking to you. That is when I spoke
with my friend who was the guide and he informed me of the consensus. We
decided to come together as a group to discuss what to do.
I stood before the fire, and the group stood in a half circle facing me on the
other side. They demanded to know why I was there and what my intentions
were. So, here are fear numbers 1, 2, and 3 on my list being addressed within
the first 24 hours of my trip: fear of public speaking, being seen, and selfdoubt. Since the group had already made up their mind about me, I guess I
had nothing to lose, so I wasnt all that nervous. I spoke to the courage and
passion that I came to Peru with and why I wanted to be there with the
Shaman that I had worked with in the past. The group concluded that my
dark energy was affecting the crowd too much and that I had to get a healing
(limpia in Spanish for cleanse) from the shaman before I could continue with
the group.
I had always wanted a private session with this particular shaman, but not
under these circumstances! It was the most humiliating moment of my life.
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A few of the local male villagers were there to witness the gringa (white
chick) getting healed. The shaman put his poncho over me and asked me to
pull my pants down and squat over the stone I was standing on. This
addressed fear number 4 being my excruciating modesty. After the limpia,
the group welcomed me and became extra sugary sweet. The psychic said,
its gone now, which meant she could allow me to be in her vicinity. It
turned out that there wasnt a tent or a sleeping bag available for me to use,
so I slept in the van with the driver. The temperature reached below freezing
and I didnt have a winter jacket or a blanket. Needless to say, I didnt sleep
that night. It was brutally cold. Thanks to the kindness of the driver, he gave
me his own blanket at about 5 in the morning so I could defrost enough to
get some skin color back.
The next day, we endured 12 more hours together hiking, ceremony, and a
very long bus ride back to Cusco. The air was so palpably thick you could
have sliced it up with a knife. Happiness became a faintly familiar feeling as
I got closer to my hotel room. Im pretty sure this was the most traumatized
state I had experience, but looming more heavily was facing the decision to
continue to the Sacred Valley to work with this potentially dangerous
shaman. Should I just go back home? Who do I trust, me or the 10 of them?
The more time I spent in my room away from them, the more clarity I
gained. I also called my partner to get some kind of neutral reflection on
what took place. This grounded me and I saw that fear and doubt was my
emotional storm, and the eye of the storm held clarity. I landed in my core
truth. In my religion, light and dark are defined as love and fear. The group
was clearly coming from fear and jealousy, and I knew where my heart was.
If anything it was a little too loving and open with them. The illusion
shattered. The rest of the evening, I emoted deeply felt prayers for the truth
of my heart to be heard by all.
The next morning, I felt alive, vivacious, strong, and clear as a bell as to
where I was going. I was dissolving my self-doubt and choosing self-trust.
My prayers must have been heard, because that morning several people
approached me and apologized for colluding with the collective. They were
heart felt apologies, none of which I needed or expected, but it meant a lot to
me.
It turned out that my friend who led the group had a friend in Coya that
worked with a fabulous huachumero. Out of concern he suggested that I
consider working with him instead. He made a phone call right then and
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there and discovered that it was the same shaman I was going to see. The
illusion was further shattered and the synchronicity of the set up more
obvious.
I called Sergio and he had driven to Cusco to give me a ride to the Sacred
Valley, so I walked to the town square to meet him. That walk is forever
etched in my memory. It was a moment I had waited for my whole life. I had
made it through the first test, and now I was ready to go through anything
and claim my fruit, very trainable indeed.

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Chapter 2
An Introduction to Sergio and the Sacred Plant Huachuma

I waited at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco where Sergio and I agreed to meet. I
hadnt seen a picture of him, so I didnt know what he looked like or if he
even knew what I looked like. I secretly hoped he would have long black
hair with a plumed caballero hat. I assumed we would just know each other
within seconds of eye contact. Come to find out he saw my picture on my
website, so it wasnt difficult to spot the only gringa rubia (white blonde
chick) in the town square. He walked up to me with a big open smile. This
immediately gave me a strong sense of his integrity.
Integrity became the dominant theme of our journey together. I was blown
away by his integrity and even formulated a new definition of integrity for
myself. I will expand on that later. We sat at a caf for an hour to get to
know one another and created an overall intention for our work together. I
shared the experience I had just had with the group, and how my self-doubt
had already begun to deconstruct. I was open about my fears and expressed
that I was there to heal and release my fears that kept me from giving more
to my professional and personal life. He said that, it takes courage to admit
to and face your fears.
On the car ride to the Sacred Valley, his enthusiasm was contagious. He
reminded me of a 6 year old on Christmas Eve. It was evident how much he
loved his work. He asked me to list my fears. The main ones were those
listed in the previous chapter: being seen, public speaking, self-doubt, and
modesty. Then he began to question me on phobias. That had never occurred
to me. I kind of always thought of phobias as an incurable disposition,
definitely last on the list of things to heal. I admitted to my fear of heights
with a queasy apprehension. He explained, Fear is fear. The feeling you
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have when speaking in front of 100 people is the same feeling you have
when you are in a high place. You can work on one fear and it can dissolve
others in the process, because they are all interconnected. That was
somewhat encouraging.
Upon driving into the town where Sergio lived, there was a 20 ft statue of a
mountain lion, a puma baring his teeth. It is the spirit guardian of the Sacred
Valley. Very suspicious, I thought. Puma is my main animal totem. I told
Sergio that the shamans in Peru always call me, Pumita. Thats because
your animal totem is puma, he said. But your inner strength is repressed in
you. We will call for the puma spirit to help you to release your own puma
from within The idea of letting my inner cat run free excited me to no end.
After settling into my room at the hostel, I joined Sergio and his wife for
dinner at their house. His wife and mother- in-law made me a delicious
dinner of soup, salad, and a Peruvian dish of rice, meat and potatoes. To be
so nurtured had me too choked up with emotional gratitude to eat much or
even converse much. It felt like coming home. I dont mean the physical
location, or the people I was with. I mean home within myself. The words of
thanks never did make their way out that night. No words, is all I could
mutter.
That night, I pondered my fears and tried to imagine how I could possibly
conquer my list of fears in just 10 ceremonies. What was to happen between
now and then? And who is this guy?
Sergios own journey was definitely an expedited track. It was only 18
months previous that he received his shamanic initiation. He too had a
yearning his whole life, looking for that something that was true and real.
After being consistently disappointed in other spiritual paths, shamanism
seemed to have the most potential for truth to be revealed to him. His search
brought him to the sacred teacher, healer plants: ayauasca, peyote, and
huachuma.
It was in Mexico with reputable Huichol peyoteros that he received his
initiation. His story is best described in his own words:
In November of 2008, on my sixth visit to Mexico, I was stung twice by a
Bark Scorpion during the Peyote ceremony. I was stung once on each leg,
about three inches below my genitals. For the next 18 hours I lay on the
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ground in burning agony, completely paralyzed. There were just two of us in


the mountains at this time.
The shaman kept his cool and said that panicking would not help my body
fight the venom. My heart was beating rapidly. I felt the venom circulating
through me, gradually moving higher in my body. I tried to relax but felt
very ill and laid down on my sleeping bag. I couldn't open my eyes, I
couldn't swallow my saliva, and I couldn't move even one part of my body.
Waves of self-pity swept through me.
The shaman said that there was nothing he could do to get the venom out of
my body, and that focusing on negative possibilities would only make it
worse. He said that acceptance was my only choice. He put his pipe in my
mouth and said that smoking would help to pass the time.
The condition was getting worse with each passing hour. All that I had left
was praying for relief, making this a long and very difficult night. My entire
life passed before my mind, and things were revealed to me that I didn't
want to see.
I was waiting for the morning sun to warm me. Even though it was a hot and
sunny day, I had my jacket on, and I was wrapped in a sleeping bag only two
feet away from the fire, I felt terribly cold. I wished to disappear, to forget
myself completely, to go unconscious, to wait somewhere in the bushes
while my body got through it, but the medicine kept me awake.
There was a moment when I saw the venom as an invitation to death. But to
follow through the tunnel of deathor to stay alivethat was the choice.
I thought that death is only partly caused by illnesses; the giving up on life
is actually the thing that makes it final. The choice was mine; I could give up
on life and go, or I could fight for it and stay.
My will to live proved stronger. I started to move my fingers, then my head.
A few hours later I was able to roll onto my knees and sit for several
minutes. Hours later, closer to evening, I tried to stand up. That was scary,
because I discovered my body would not obey me. It no longer knew how to
move, how to see or how to speak. In a panic I thought that even if I
survived, I might stay like this forever.

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I tried to open my eyes for a few seconds at a time, but my vision was
distorted and I couldn't focus. I asked for water but my words were garbled.
It was several more hours before I was able to stand up and actually walk a
few feet with the help of a wooden stick. It made me think about the
challenges of old age, and how the life force gradually deserts the body,
leaving it with only a wish to die.
The second night was both difficult and restless. The third night finally gave
me some hope, along with a lot of things to think about.
Shortly after this initiation, Sergio moved to Peru to continue to walk his
spiritual path, serving his main Teacher plant Huachuma. He has concluded
that, A shaman isnt a shaman without a plant ally. A shaman without a
plant ally is like a musician without his instrument. All he can do is talk
about his music. This is something I was quite familiar with and speaks
directly to my quest to go deeper.
Plant medicine isnt necessarily for everyone. It takes some kind of
preparation to be at peace with yourself, so you can trust the medicine. If
you are in resistance to your inner conflicts, you wont be inclined to trust
the medicine. The sacred plant medicines are actually magnified mirrors for
you to see yourself in the reflection of self-honesty. Denial, suspicion, fear
and resistance will clutter the experience and the fruits of your journey will
be stifled. What you see in the medicine, depends on the content of your
heart, if your heart is carrying monsters, then monsters are what you will
see, Sergio explained.
The positive attribute of Huachuma is that it is a very loving and gentle
spirit. Sergio refers to him as a loving Grandfather. If you are in right
relationship with the sacred plant appreciation, respect, and openness, it
will reflect your sincerity by healing your insecurities and fears. Then it will
further show you how to grow strong and fulfill your soul purpose. Suffering
becomes optional. Healing can be gentle, subtle, even pleasant. Even some
of the most painful, deep set wounds can be gently dislodged by Huachuma.
The only foundation required is trust. If you trust Huachuma and your
huachumero, I believe you can accomplish 10 years of psychotherapy worth
of healing in just a few sessions. That is of course if psychotherapy is even
healing at the source of the wounds. There is much debate on this subject.
But I have personally witnessed in my healing practice that changing
someones dysfunctional behavior or dispensing antidepressants doesnt
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actually cure the root cause of an emotional dysfunction. Shamanism and the
teacher, healer plants are designed for this very thing.
I dont have experience with Peyote, and not enough experience with
Ayauasca to speak comparatively about the 3 sacred plants. So this medium
will focus on Huachuma. I chose this plant, because it is more subtle, and
gentle, much like my own nature. I chose Sergio as my huachumero because
he is also gentle and gradual with the way he doses the medicine. He said
that his own teachers were powerful shamans but their ways were tough. He
felt that he could have gone deeper if his process could have been more
gradual. Now one of his specialties is to produce a gradual take off and a
smooth landing day to day and week to week. This helped me feel safe and
trusting to open to the medicine, a very significant component.
It is very important to use discernment when choosing a huachumero/a.
Sergio explained to me that the medicine man is literally infused within his
medicine. You are drinking him as much as you are drinking the spirit of the
plant. This is why the integrity of the intention of the huachumero is
imperative for true progress and opening. A healer that is motivated by
greed, for example, will heed shallow results in contrast to a healer that is
motivated by service, love and compassion.
To get more familiar with the sacred teacher healer plant huachuma, I would
like for Sergios description to be included here. It is thorough as well as
personal:
From ancient times the indigenous people of South America have used a
psychoactive visionary plant for healing and divination; Huachuma, later
known as San Pedro, a Cactus of Four Winds, native to high Andes of Peru.
Archaeological evidence has been found that points to the use of Huachuma
since 1400 b.c.e. This sacred medicine is a portal to a different reality, one
that is invisible in ordinary states of consciousness.
Huachuma like Peyote, also known as Hikuri, and few other very special
Teacher-Healer plants, has its own intelligence and powers beyond belief.
The spirits of these plants are benevolent and kind in their essence, although
they can also teach a lesson to those who approach them with disrespect.

17

A well-prepared Huachuma tea usually produces a ten to twelve hour,


magical, intense and ecstatic journey.
Attempting to further describe the experience in words would be like trying
to describe the smell of a flower, a sensation that can only be realized by
smelling the flower your self.
It is important to come to Grandfather Huachuma with an open heart, respect
and pure intention. Right motives might include a need for healing, a search
for guidance, clarity, and understanding, and strength to put them into
practice.
The medicine can lead you to your Totems - your guiding animals and allies
- and can teach you both to communicate and learn from them.
There are different techniques for preparation of Huachuma. Working with
different shamans can be revealing, since each shaman has his own unique
relationship with the spirit of the plant.
Shamanism is not a religion, but rather a practice based upon use of sacred
plants for spiritual purposes.
If you feel like this is the Path for you, and you are willing to explore and
connect to the land, to the hearts and minds of ancient people.
Now before I share with you my personal experiences with Sergio and his
medicine, I would like to offer my personal definition of Huachuma coming
from a western mind. The western mind finds animism* to be a very abstract
concept to embrace. I can relate to this mindset, because I struggled with it
throughout my entire shamanic training. I accepted that spirits exist, but
never experienced it as directly as what shamans say they experience and
see. Huachuma bridged that gap for me.
Huachuma is literally, not metaphorically, a plant spirit. It is not a drug.
There is a huge misconception that plant medicines are simply
hallucinogens. Teacher healer plant medicines are healing because there is
an intelligent being within the plant that is actively loving and knowing
exactly what and how our blocks can be healed. What an enormous gift we
have growing right out of the ground!

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Huachuma is designed specifically by our creator to connect us to the


unbearable beauty of life so we can realize the enormous gift that it is to live
on this earth. It provides a bridge for us to experience deeply loving
relationships with all of it. This is why we have been given our 6 + senses.
Huachuma simply dissolves the numb blocks around our heart so we can
feel.
Western society in particular has mastered numbness and distraction. It starts
with ignorant parenting, thus childhood wounds. These wounds hurt, and we
have become masters at suppressing feeling the pain of our wounds. Firstly
by building a dense protective wall around our heart, and secondly by
distracting ourselves from presence with television, computers, radio,
phones, etc And through all of this we are missing out on why we are
really here, missing the whole purpose of existence and meaning. The gifts
of life are just lying around wasting. What a sad revelation this is.
The common thread of every single client I have ever worked with is that
they are thirsty for love. Whatever the symptom they came for: addiction,
depression, or illness, the core root cause of every wound is a deep yearning
for the love that they never received, and innately know that they should
have. The American culture has a long list of dysfunctions that reveal where
our wounds come from; hospital births, unwanted pregnancies, inappropriate
discipline, condescending parenting, abusive parenting, broken romances,
rejection from school kids. The list goes on. Our mind turns these
experiences into self-doubt, self-hatred, and fear, all being one in the same.
This fear blocks us from receiving love from each other and our creator;
hence, the thirsty fish syndrome. We thirst for love, while we are swimming
in it.
The single most common block to healing emotional trauma is denial and
unwillingness to feel. The magic of healing is feeling. This is one of the gifts
that Huachuma has to offer.

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20

Chapter 3
A Journal of My Shamanic Journey
Day 1
From the first moment I met Sergio in the Plaza de Armas, our conversations
were immediately lively and deep. It didnt take long for our conversations
to get into the meat of things. Even throughout our moving about, from
hotel, to car, to restaurant, to point of destination, our conversations were
enthralling and passionate. The predominant mood was that of excitement
for life and living fully. Sergio is an all or nothing kind of guy. Half way is
no way, he says. Living fully - means embracing your life, engaging in it,
dealing with difficulties, not running from them or hiding yourself behind
denial, alcohol, drugs or just as toxic - antidepressants, which are not curing
the cause of the illness but rather suppressing the symptoms These are the
consequences of carrying around your fear, he jettisons. I was having flash
backs of some of those little moments of fear that I would have of leaving
my body at my time of transition and regretting the sorrow of leaving my
life behind without its reason for existence being experienced and fulfilled.
Part of my own mission has been to realize meaning in my own life and help
others realize their own personal meaning. Sergio suggested that we give
meaning to our lives in terms of how we decide to live it giving 100% and
doing your best as an offering of gratitude.
His general tone is much like a tirade, which makes every word more
piercing. He shared with me how others who approached him seeking a
shamanic teacher were more interested in past lives, body doubles, astral
travel, or enlightenment through ascent. His general tone is much like a
tirade, which makes every word more piercing. He shared with me how
others who approached him seeking a shamanic teacher were more
interested in past lives, body doubles, astral travel, or enlightenment through
ascent. And even though many things are possible he said, this is not
where the true shamanic path should lead you. Shamanism is all about life,
learning to live your human life like a warrior, fearlessly, courageously,
responsibly, with love, compassion, dignity and honor, with understanding,
appreciation and respect to all Life. And sacred plants are here to help us on
that journey. Our lives were given to us as a gift, and living it half way,
would show disrespect to our Giver. I see a lot of people who are giving
21

more importance to life after death than they give to life before death. They
care about the astral body more than they care about their physical body.
And they think of immortality when in fact, they cant fully live a day.
Up to this point, I thought I was doing pretty good on my spiritual path, but
the truth of the matter was that I have struggled with loving living my whole
life. I have been in agonizing conflict with the injustices in our society and
the inequalities throughout every myth and structure that we are founded on.
I had allowed the sorrow for the Native American genocide, the massive
destruction of our earth, and the widespread child abuse across the globe to
numb my own capacity to enjoy my life. This certainly put my goals for the
upcoming two weeks into perspective.
That night I had a dream of what would be up for healing tomorrow. It was
as if the spirit of Huachuma was already with me and preparing me for my
first lesson. The dream was intense and familiar, because it was the main
reoccurring nightmare that I have consistently had through my adult life. But
this time, it wasnt scary, just informative.
Day 2

One of the most striking memories of my time in Peru is the first time I saw
Sergios mesa. A mesa consists of a shamans power objects and talismans.
My previous exposure to mesas was of the portable small kind that the Incan
Qero carry. The stones in an Incan mesa are used as khuyas, the quechua
word for healing stones. The khuyas are folded into a mastana (cloth), which
forms a mesa the size of a phone book. Sergios mesa took up half of the
room. It was imposing both in appearance and strength. The previous day
when I took a walk in the neighborhood, I played a little game to see if I
could feel where he lived. Sure enough, I was able to locate where he lived
by feeling his mesa. It was palpable even from the street. Still, I hadnt
22

imagined nearly the magnitude of its power, pulse, and beauty. It was
evident that Sergio infused life, power, and meaning into every object, and
they all worked together to support and protect Sergios ceremonies. The
mesa continues to teach me just by its mere existence.
The fist day of ceremony was very gentle and healing. I started out on one
cup of his lightest medicine that he had prepared specifically for my
sensitive tendencies. Ayauasca always puts me out within the first 5 minutes,
but this medicine took a couple of hours to unravel. It was very gradual and
subtle. This did not diminish the clarity.
Our point of destination for the day was at the river about 10 minutes away
from his house. He suggested we take his motorcycle to save on cab faire.
Another one of my hidden fears got a little triggered, so I took him up on his
offer. If you can visualize this image for a moment: me on the back of a
motorcycle with a shaman driving me to meet my limitations. It turned out
to be fun, and I was giggling the whole way at the ludicrousness and humor
of the moment. If my son could only see me now, I thought.
As the medicine began to unfold, I felt a warming in my heart. Then there
was a very gentle sensation of meeting up with an old friend. I felt the
words, the creator created us to work together. Open to me. Allow me to be
your ally. With mutual respect and trust, we will work together peacefully.
This established the foundation of my relationship with the spirit of
Huachuma. Like all relationships, it is to be nurtured with continuous
appreciation and trust. I realized then that feeling safe in the hands of
Huachuma opened my heart to its wisdom. It even felt as if my capacity to
feel gratitude toward this teacher equally enhanced his access to healing my
heart. As Sergio has said, Gratitude cleanses the soul.
The first lesson from Huachuma was an answer to one of the first items that
I had emailed Sergio about wanting assistance with. I wanted to integrate my
overall shamanic perceptual state with physical reality; my human life, here,
now. The gap between the two had always been a source of suffering for me.
The merging came from a gentle guidance for me to allow fully my inner
realms of understanding, and to infuse it into my human body and how I
relate to this place. This may seem very abstract or foreign, but it held a
great deal of meaning to me. It was a confirmation that Huachuma heard me
and understood me.

23

The second lesson is very personal, but I will share what I can. Images of my
children came forth from the background. I gained an emotional
understanding that family is priority and that my children need more time
with me. As guilt immediately set in, Huachuma gently showed me why I
wasnt fully available to my children. He explained that my heart was
protected by wounds that came from my intense childhood. He asked me to
forgive and love my father so I could heal my fear and protective shell. I
almost protested, But how can I possibly do that? His response was to put
my father as a newborn baby into my arms to hold and nurture. In this
instant, the tears began to flow. He was so precious and innocent as a baby,
with only good intentions in his heart. I saw a review of his life that made
him into the hardened man that I grew up with. This gave me understanding
and compassion for him. Love and forgiveness followed. This was a deep
healing, all in a little moment. I was sitting in the rain and shaking from the
cold. Sergio came up to give me warm tea. I felt so nurtured and protected. It
took some effort to receive that much.
When I gained some physical stability, I went to the rivers edge. Then I
received lessons from the feminine belly of mother earth. I never fully
embraced my role as a housewife or full time mother. So here I was learning
from our mother, whom I have always called our greatest teacher of
unconditional giving and unconditional love. My attention was pulled to
the rushing flow of the river. The wisdom impressed me into this translation,
The river bubbles and abundantly flows joyously as a mother must for her
family. This is the hearth of giving and nurturing. It comes from an abundant
flow within that you receive, simply by allowing it. To receive and give fully
is to embrace your female role. That is the natural flow of nature. I received
another precious healing in a simple moment. Any previous resistance I had
to being female dissolved. I cant imagine a psychiatrist even touching the
subject.
Upon our return to the mesa, I could feel it even stronger while on the
medicine. Sergio honored me by taking me to a new member of his mesa. It
was an Andean Eagle that had called upon him for assistance. It had died of
poisoning by farmers. Sergios emotion was deeply touching as he
performed a purifying ritual to assist the spirit of the eagle. Honestly, the
beauty of his love for this creature hit me deep. He said to me with a quiver
in his voice, This eagle lived as a warrior and died as a warrior. He was a
good hunter. He could starve himself to death, but then he wouldnt be an
eagle. He lived and died according to his nature. He was chosen to die to be
24

in service to my mesa, and with great honor I have received him with a
sincere apology for his death. If that isnt unbearable beauty, I dont know
what is.
Later as we closed the mesa of our first ceremony, his black cat Leo curled
up in my lap and purred. Sergio imparted these words, Life is a constant
choice between love and fear, between light and darkness, and if you are not
serving the Light, standing for truth, doing whats right and living according
to your conscience, then you are serving the darkness even unknowingly. It
is a choice between heaven and hell. Heaven and hell is here. You create
either one for yourself and for others.

Day 3

Last night I had another dream to prepare me for the work to come on this
day. It was related to another aspect of healing the feminine. This was
perfectly appropriate as we were going to Urcu, which was a near by huaca
(power place) and fertility site. Sergio dosed me with one and a half cups.
Again it came on very gradual as I sat alone in a hut above the fertility site.
Being enclosed and protected by the rain was reminiscent to a womb. Sergio
was in a hut next to the one I was in. I experienced intense waves of feeling
vulnerable, so feeling his protective strength near by anchored me in safety.
It was this safety that brought on the healing of the day.
A specific hidden wound came up that completely surprised me. It was a
wound that I had swept under the rug and left to die many years ago. The
medicine cared too much to leave it there. The memory was lifted from its
grave to my awareness, and it was reframed into a non-judgmental, matter of
fact, observation of how it has weakened my body and soul. The clarity was
25

hard to accept, but as I did, the pain of it lifted and transformed in to a


mantra that I repeatedly whispered out loud, My body is sacred. My body is
mine. Mine, sacred. I wept through this mantra as I felt for the first time
such reverence for my body and the precious little girl that had been stifled
by her pain. Then a surge of strength came through me as I felt an inner
image of a winged cat. I stood with a conviction to live, express, and protect
our sacred birth rites. This was a brilliant soul retrieval. I was highly
impressed with this sacred teacher healer plant.
Later in the day, there were two Qero holding ceremony with a small group.
I was surprised to see a Peruvian healer there that I had received a private
session from 5 years ago in Cusco. The synchronicity was baffling, because
this site was not usually populated with visitors, and this was the healer that
asked me to take my clothes off during my session with him. He said the
healing would be more effective that way. Of course I refused and later
reported him, but the timing of running into him on a day that I reclaimed
my body was uncanny.
When we returned to the mesa that evening, Sergio closed with, Never take
anything that isnt yours. But when something is given to you that is yours,
grab it like an eagle does with its talons.

Day 4
Sergio increased my dose to two cups. The effect was strong, but the level of
trust that the 3 of us had developed kept me open and willing for anything.
We walked in the rain to spend the day at the river. We ended up spending
most of the day talking. Most of our conversation evolved around relative
truth vs. absolute truth. I concluded for myself that the only absolute truth is
Love. I asked Sergio if he believed in God. He replied after a sincere ponder,
If God is Love, I have it. If it is not, then I dont need it. He added, If you
are not living your life from your heart, what will self-realization or
awakening mean for you? To realize your self or to be awake means first of
all to know and to understand yourself, and live accordingly to that. We are
realizing ourselves by doing what we love, like a musician realizes himself
through playing music. It is a process of self-growth. How can others help
you realize yourself when it is always a realization of the self? At best,
others can only inspire you on your path. This is a big misconception shared
between spiritual seekers. They are looking up to their spiritual teachers with
26

a hope to be given by them that which is found only inside. That is what
sacred Teacher-Healer plants can show you from the start, by showing you
yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses, your bridges and blocks to
your own potential. Then you can go from there, building your life on a solid
foundation. What kind of awakening is there if man is neither sensitive,
receptive, nor spiritually mature? To me it is all-inclusive, from
understanding and connecting to the spiritual nature of all things, to an
awareness of the daily life reality we live in, merging with the whole and yet
remaining sovereign. It's knowing who you are and what you want. It's
knowing how to discern between good and evil. It's carrying for other
human beings, for animals and plants, for our planet. To be awake is seeing
through the lies and acting according to your conscience. It's knowing what
you know and knowing what you don't, and when you don't, you are
remaining open and letting new things come in. It's being adequate and
justice in any situation. It's striving for peace, and yet being ready to die
fighting for your freedom, truth and love. Awakening is many things and the
list continues to expand as we grow.
I continue to learn from the mesa. I see it as a mirror of Sergio. His growth
in authentic power is evident in the progression of his mesa. It has grown
over the years to reflect the meaning that he has applied to his life. His heart
and emotional connection to each object actually gives it life. Most of the
birds, wings and feathers called him to them to heal them and invoke them to
serve. Sergio lamented, I would prefer to see them fly. I can only imagine
the energetic contrast of a mesa built from hunted animals vs. volunteers that
are honored and cared for.
One of the purposes of the mesa and talismans is to protect against black
magic and psychic attacks made out of jealousy or mal intentions. He wears
a large jaguar tooth around his neck for protection during ceremony. During
one of his ceremonies, his tooth shattered. He knew that it took the damage
for him from an energetic dart. His story offers a severe example of how
intention carries a great deal of power:
It was when I just moved to Peru. I went around to drink huachuma with
different shamans and saw that most of them worked at entry level and some
were mainly salesmen selling sacred medicine merely for profit.
During 4 years of my traveling to Peru, prior to moving, my work was
mainly in the Central Andes, where one of my teachers currently lives. But
27

my destiny was in the Sacred Valley, to which I came with my two


Californian cats.
In one ceremony in one of the ancient ruins, I was sitting on one of the
walls, when I suddenly saw a flash of something very fast that flew into my
chest. What followed was the popping of my Jaguar tooth. The very fist
thought I had is that it was a rock thrown at me by someone, but no one was
there to do that. We were on the top of the mountain. For a moment I was
shocked. I was wondering how this could be possible and watched my mind
trying to tell me that this was just a hallucination, but an exploded Jaguar
tooth was too stubborn of a proof for me to deny it. I couldnt believe that a
psychic power could be so influential on physical matter. This was a psychic
arrow shot out at me by a jealous shaman, who saw me as a possible
competitor. This was a malevolent act, as all witchcraft really is. Jealousy is
a powerful negative energy. When it is combined with shamanic knowledge
and evil intention, it is intensified and can be formed into an energetic arrow
or bullet. The shaman then by will can release and aim the arrow towards his
target regardless of the physical distance between them.
I have heard similar stories before but always remained neutral to them,
since I couldn't either prove or disprove the reality behind them. Now, it has
happened to me and it was a very intense sensation when it flew into me (or
towards me). I had a few shamans in mind who were strong and malevolent
enough at that point accomplish this, but haven't reached a conclusion.
When I came back to the shaman I was drinking with, showing him pieces of
my Jaguar tooth hanging on my neck, he only moved his head not knowing
what to say. Leaving the place that day I expressed an intent to mirror this
attack to whoever it was and let the Justice be the judge. As time has passed,
I thought to dig into it further and find out exactly who the culprit was, but
felt already too strong in myself to waste time on that. This accident inspired
me to look deeper into this subject as a whole. It triggered my interest in
learning about shamanic ways of self-defense. It is only later when I realized
that I came to Peru already energetically sealed which was granted by Death
itself during my Initiation in Mexico.
So to put the power of intention to better use, Sergio called in the spirit of
puma so I could connect with my totem. Since we spoke throughout the day,
my inner journey began later in the evening when I returned to my room. I
was exhausted and expected the effects of the medicine to dissipate, but it
28

intensified instead. I found myself behaving quite strangely, yet I couldnt


stop myself. I felt a cat writhing, stirring and strengthening itself into my
body. I felt its physical strength. I smelled every little nuance in the room
and outside. I smelled through its nose and saw through its eyes. I found
myself on all fours in a stalking position right before the pounce. The master
hunter with fierce intention became me, and I was hunting my destiny. I saw
it very clearly as a vision before me and the inside of my body was the shape
of a big cat. Im sure if someone had been there to witness it (and Im so
glad there wasnt) I would have looked and sounded ridiculous.
Something that I noticed as I drifted off to sleep is that I had a different
relationship with fear. I wasnt afraid of fear itself anymore. I heard a quote
once, I know Im on the right track when I can smell my own fear and walk
right through it. Im beginning to appreciate this track.
Day 5
I left my room today sensing that he might increase my dose. As
nervousness creeps in, I connect with the plant and practice right
relationship: trust, reverence, appreciation, and friendship. I also remind
myself that Im not afraid to see myself.
He did increase my dose to one cup of his strongest medicine. We returned
to Urcu, the fertility site. The unique distinction of this day was that I saw
very defined cats in the mountains and in the sky. They werent just images
though. The eyes were filled with presence and intensity. There is a
particular face of a puma on the Urcu mountain which I spent most of the
day communing with. Sergio said that others see it as well and that it was the
protective spirit of the valley. On the other side of the valley is a mountain
range that is in the shape of a condor when viewed from Urcu. At the base in
the center is a stone with a serpent carved on it. Im sure that the stories of
the possible origins of this place are intriguing. However, to sit quietly and
energetically tune in to the spirit of this place, especially while on the
medicine, is quite magical.
He took me for a long walk up the mountain. Any fears of heights are easily
addressed on this hike. The trail is very narrow in some places with a
significant drop inches away from each step. The medicine makes it even
more challenging to focus and direct your feet where you want them to go.
After my solo time with the mountains and the clouds, Sergio began to speak
29

to me intently about a book that I should write. He said I didnt know it yet,
but that it is why I was there. The last words I said to my partner when
leaving California was that I was going to come back and write my second
book, so I wasnt surprised and didnt need much encouragement. This made
no difference to Sergio. He was insistent upon discussing it thoroughly. At
one point it felt like he was a serpent weaving his way into the fabric of my
soul with this book idea being the point of intent.
Later in the afternoon, we sat before the serpent of fertility. I had accepted
this book idea, but still saw it as a small thing, more for my expression than
anything else. Sergio pierced through me, Do you think you are so small?
Only fear is in your way from this book reaching peoples hearts. People are
hungry for the truth and if you speak from your heart, it will be the truth that
people are hungry for. Then he left me alone to allow his words to seep in.
While sitting before the serpent, memories of the times I have sobbed to the
Whole my devotion and love. I have spent hours of devotion like this over
the years, with the most intense one being the night in Cusco. Memories of
my emoted prayers from my heart to be heard and for my life to be used for
the light came surging through me. Then it happened. My heart was heard,
and I felt all that love being received and reflected right back to me. It
literally felt like I was making love with the universe. This of course is
indescribable. The end result was a clear feeling of being impregnated with a
book right before the serpent of fertility.
Upon our return back into town, we took a walk into the city. The medicine
was still very strong as I was over stimulated by the sounds and the people. I
had to use all of my strength to walk straight, appear coherent, and filter the
oncoming energies. I remarked that this was the hardest part so far. Sergio
said that it was necessary integration. It felt harsh. I arrived in my room
weak, exhausted and sad. For the first time in my life I felt the human
emotion of loneliness. This was such a significant shift after such a magical
day. Plus this sensation of loneliness was completely foreign to me. Sergio
later explained that it was because this was the first time I had ever gone that
deep into myself. I prayed to Huachuma that he ask Sergio to go easier on
me tomorrow.
Day 6

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I set my intention for the day to be smooth and gentle. Last nights prayer
was answered and Sergio dosed me just one cup of the strong medicine and
we spent a very pleasant day in Pisac.
Pisac is like a small Machu Pichu. The Inca ruins are beautiful and mind
blowing. Enormous stones are literally melted together. There are no
remnants of the tools that were used to create these structures, so it remains a
mystery today as to who built them and how. The sense of the place isnt
quite humanoid.
Seeing through Huachumas eyes was deeply touching. Every sense is
heightened and the colors of the almost florescent moss and grass seemed to
leap out into me. It felt like I was drinking in the landscape around me. I
pondered, How much beauty can one take in? How truly unfortunate it is
that our standard capacity to see the intricate beauty of our land is so
minimal compared to what it could be. The miracle of existence is generally
overlooked and taken for granted. This day I was not only seeing the
physical beauty, but I was seeing our inner beauty, our inner light. In regular
states of consciousness, that light doesnt even exist. It is heart breaking that
we are missing out on so much.

Day 7
Today I drank 2 cups with a couple of hours in between. The graduated dose
was preparing me to handle stronger medicine. We went to a boulder in a
field and relaxed into the unfoldment. It always begins in my heart as a
melting, warming sensation, and then radiates out through my physical body
and energetic environment. I feel like this plant is changing me to my core.

31

Or rather it is changing what/who I thought I was. I reviewed my list of fears


that I had written at the beginning of my journey, and I dont relate to them
anymore. How could they have disappeared so quickly and without me
knowing it? What kind of intelligence is this?
While on the medicine, animism becomes very real. I can honestly say that I
have witnessed the breath of the earth. I saw it with my own eyes every
single day that I took the medicine. I looked into the eyes of the spirit
guardian of the Sacred Valley. I have seen and felt the soul of the eagle as it
soared above me. Even the lines of individuation became hazy as I felt a
merging with Sergio and our environment. It became easy to listen through
my senses to everything that is alive. And everything is alive.
Day 8

With two cups of medicine in my belly, we traveled to Moray. This is a


special place with spectacular circular ruins where eagles, condors, and
hawks fly abundantly. Again there is more mystery around these structures
than explanations. Sergio asked me to tune into the energy of the place. The
overall sense that I got was that it was a place of origin and departure or
return. The circular structures were football field size impressions imprinted
into the recesses of the miniature valleys. You could reach the center circle
at the bottom by climbing down built-in steps that protrude out from the
stone walls. It was a struggle for me to manage the steps, but I couldnt tell
if it was because they were designed for a larger body, or if I was fatigued
from medicine and altitude.
There is another puma guardian spirit overlooking one of the circular pads. It
had the deepest and most intense eyes. We locked eyes together deeply. I felt
an exchange, but it was wordless, thoughtless. No translation was available.
I hope to understand more as I continue on this path. I am learning more
about totems. Each animal has a special strength and skill set. When
32

observing them under the medicine, you not only observe their behavior, but
you experience being them as an emotional sensation. For me personally, I
breathe in their essence through my puma nose and it pulls me into their
experience. The flight of an eagle, for example: they are not just emotionless
creatures solely hunting on instinctual behavior. When we observe them
only from our visual sense, our observation is limited to their physical
actions. When we use our senses beyond the physical, much more
connection is available to us. I felt the eagles experience tremendous
freedom and joy in their flight. There was a sense of power and adventure in
their quest. Sergio said that they weigh only about 2 kilos and yet can hunt
small cattle and wolves by plucking them up with their talons and dropping
them. This gave me a clue as to why his mesa was so powerful.
I remember shaman and author Sandra Ingerman addressing animal
medicine. She suggested that referring to dictionaries of animal totems
distracts us from connecting directly with the animals that come to us. We
stay in the mind rather than the heart. She encourages us to speak with them
directly to receive what their gift or message is that is unique to the timing of
the connection. I always struggled with this, because I didnt trust that I
could hear or interpret their messages. It was left to a fantasy that I might
receive a shamanic teacher at some point that would interpret everything for
me. These patterns of self-disempowerment are thankfully dissolving in the
hands of Huachuma. Huachuma seems to heighten our 6th plus senses and
thins the illusory veil of separation, so that we can connect more
authentically with our relations. Telepathic communication is not only
enhanced while on the medicine, but it permanently strengthens all of our
senses.
On this day I metaphorically stretched these lessons into my life. Birds of
prey are totally in tune with the natural ebb and flow of the wind currents.
They allow themselves to be carried as they hover over the fields to hunt
their next meal. Then, they know when to dive and claim what is theirs
without hesitation or trepidation. They are fearless. If they miss their mark,
they dont get defeated or sulk around for the rest of the day. They just catch
the next current and surf the skies for their next hunt with the same amount
of enthusiasm as the previous one. They give 100% of their stretched
capacity to each mission, strengthening their skills over time. Imagine
learning this way of living. We would ride the natural currents of life by
tuning into the natural flow of nature and life circumstances, and discern
from there when to take action. This discernment would be based from first
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seeing the big picture, from an eagle perspective. For this we would have to
dissolve our narrow limited views, opinions, judgments, unconscious fears,
false beliefs, and denial. To have clear vision of the honest reality with no
illusions is a foundation for wisdom. It is then that we can see through our
heart and live and take action from our hearts. This is living wisdom, not
intellect. Intellect can be used with wisdom after developing an emotional
connection with all of life. This is the language of shamanism, and so very
few engage in this way.
Day 9
This day was set aside for rest and reflection. I thought I would go for a long
hike to the river and go shopping in the plaza. It turned out that my
exhaustion had caught up with me and I stayed in bed writing the entire day.
The integration was very helpful.
Day 10

This was by far the most intense day of my journey. He dosed me with 2
cups of his strongest medicine. I protested that my body weight was too
small to handle that much medicine. He calmly replied, It is not so much in
the body weight, but in the purity of your intention and strength of your
heart. This day took me to my knees.
We went to a huaca, a power place. The entrance is a tall stone vagina. You
crawl through the narrow walls and then step out onto a cropping of
charging seats overlooking the valley. The seat that I chose to charge upon
had a puma carved on it. There was a serpent carved across from me. There
was horribly abrasive music playing from a structure across from us. I used
all my might to keep it from distracting me and extracting my peace. I
thought surely he could use some hocus pocus to get the music turned off. I
worked with letting the music in and making it part of the tapestry. Then it
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turned off. I immediately went into some kind of nirvana state. All I
remember is my eyes rolling into the back of my head and I melted into
liquid light. I dont know for how long. Sergio snapped me out of it and
asked me to leave the spot. I struggled with making my legs maneuver over
the rocks and hesitated. He firmly stated that we had to leave immediately. I
was surprised to make it out of there.
I only had a moments rest before he sent me into another huaca. This vagina
structure was tall and tighter to squeeze through. At the end of the tunnel
there was a drop down to a small flat terrace designed for just two small feet
to stand on. I pressed my back firmly against the stone as I gazed in awe at
the uterus like cavern. It was open to the sky and the wind whipped around
my face. The medicine sensitized me to the vibrational charge I was
receiving, strongly convincing me of the true power of a huaca. I stood there
for about 5 minutes until I heard his rattle beckoning me to return. Upon my
exit, my legs were weak and shaking. We opened an orange and he glanced
over at me and said, Youre a tough cookie.
Right across from one of the huaca entrances, was an owl nest. Sergio saw
owl feathers hanging from the nest. It was a gift to him from one of his
totems. He spent the next hour throwing pebbles to set it free. I was grateful
for the moment of rest. I had been so disoriented from the huaca downloads
that I couldnt even remember where I lived, who my family was, or what
year it was. It took me the rest of the afternoon to re-remember who and
what I was. My remark to Sergio was, Well now I know what it feels like to
be deconstructed.
A thunderstorm was approaching and I tried my best not to resist it. The
previous week had been so cold and rainy and today was the first morsel of
warmth I had received since leaving California. I sarcastically glanced at the
sky, Cant you just give me one good hair day? That split second of vanity
instantly became an embarrassing lesson in humility. Sergio, with beautiful
owl feathers in hand said, This storm is for you. Lets drive to the lake.
Thats why I couldnt drink medicine this morning, so I could drive you to
the lake.
It was an intense drive on a bumpy dirt road with very low visibility. When
we arrived at the lake, the thunder was around us, and the clouds created a
tapestry of colors I had never seen before. I stood by the water and felt the
power in the sky reflecting my new power within. A seagull hung in the sky
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right in front of me and looked right over at me and darted a matter-of-fact


stare. The entire scene was surreal. Sergio certainly earned a big tip that day.
I didnt have it with me, but he will get it someday in the form of bird
binoculars.

Day 11

Huachuma once again answered my prayers and Sergio reduced my dose to


a cup and a half. We had a peaceful day of discussion in the ruins of
Ollantaytambo. We spoke of free expression in all areas of life. I reflected
back upon how I usually hold back from speaking my truth in avoidance of
ruffling others feathers. In public speaking, I have been restricted by my
fear of forgetting important information and spoke from my minds list of
information. My heart was always a little sad it didnt get to participate as
much.
Now with my heart melted wide open, I realized that there was no back
door. Sergio pointed out that, Huachuma journeys offer permanent
growth. Permanent growth is a serious offering. I remember attending
countless workshops and seminars where I would become inspired and
motivated only to return home to my old ways. I was eminently curious to
see myself in my new life.
Another thing he said that day that changed my life:
I believe in you.

Day 12

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Our plan was to do 11 ceremonies. This day was our 10th ceremony and after
drinking two cups of his strongest medicine, I felt like I was hanging on by a
thread. We endured a very bumpy ride to the river, so I struggled with severe
nausea the whole day. A couple of hours into the ceremony, Sergio came up
to me with tea, and told me that this was our last ceremony and that I had
already received what I came for, and more. I asked how he concluded this,
and he said it came from a knowing. I was relieved, but I hoped that he
hadnt given up on me. The truth is that I needed a day of rest before
attempting my 40-hour journey home.
I had very little traction on the medicine today. It completely took over me. I
pulled out my own little bag of tools that I have used as an emergency kit in
past situations: surrender, non-attachment, full engagement, and awareness. I
will speak further to these powerful 4 intentions, but for now I would like to
speak to how they assisted me on this precious day with Huachuma.
As threatening sensations of the unknown overwhelmed me, I surrendered to
my love and trust of Huachuma. As I worried about not succeeding or
reaching states of ecstasy as others had, I let go of attachment to an outcome.
As unpleasant emotions or discomfort arose, I allowed myself to engage
with and feel them fully. As self-doubt crept in that I wouldnt be able to
hear Huachumas last words to me I actively practiced sharp awareness. I
sunk into a deep inner peace and listened as sharply as I could.
Gradually memories of my entire life played before me. I began to weep
over the beauty and love that I had brought to my life through the decisions
that I had made and the relationships that I nourished. What happened next
will be hard to describe, but I will do my best.
I experienced me, my heart, what my soul wanted, when it entered my
physical body. It came here to love and be loved. A million circumstances
influenced this person; some of which allowed the soul to live through and
some of which incarcerated it. But the soul was never altered. It remained
pure, hopeful, and patient. I experienced this soul as Love itself. Just pure
Love always seeking ways to express itself whether it be through parenting,
romantic love, grief, self-love, or creativity. Do you know what it felt like
emotionally? It felt like sincere yearning. Love isnt static. It is an action that
wants to move and live, and sincere emotion is the canoe for this motion.

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This beautiful paradise we call earth is Love creating itself, and we are its
orgasms. We were given bodies and 6 + senses to experience Love
expressing itself through us and between us.
I finally met myself and this is what I was yearning. My search was over.
Towards the end of the day, we walked back to the mesa. Throughout the
rest of the evening, cat faces were protruding from stones, hillsides, even
sidewalks. I didnt fully understand how or why I was seeing them. Im still
allowing that to unravel within me.
Sergio lit a fire upon our return, and I soaked up warmth replacing 2 weeks
of inner cold. It was food for my soul and heart. While gazing into the fire, a
feeling of failure crept in as I was hoping that I gave my best and released
the most I possibly could. Remnants of my doubtful mind wondered if I
showed up enough. Others that have worked with Sergio have reached
ecstatic states from the start, and on every ceremony. Ecstatic wouldnt be
my choice of words for what I was experiencing. I felt pushed to my limits,
strengthened, deeply peaceful and centered, just not quite ecstatic. Sergio
said that these thoughts were just the last pieces of doubt for me to throw
into the fire.

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My Return and Integration


I returned home with a deeply gratifying sense of peace and wholeness. I
was truly inspired and grateful to have this new relationship with such a
loving and wise ally as Grandfather Huachuma. In many ways, I had taken
him home with me and invited him to remain with me and continue to
cultivate our relationship. The permanent growth that Sergio talked about
certainly played out in my life. My heart had broken open and healed, so I
had so much more to give, just as our Mother and the river taught me that
day. My friends and family saw the difference in me and it was contagious!
As far as my fears are concerned, there has been a shift in my relationship to
fear. I continue to take on my fears and walk through them. My fear of
being seen has allayed to the degree that I have exposed my story and my
ways with the spirit world to more actively facilitate our global awakening,
and to fully engage with my souls purpose. I remember Sergio telling me
that my journeys will continue to unfold over time and they have. Even my
fondness for Peru has grown, and the beauty I saw there is now the beauty I
can see here. I have practiced how to see things through the eyes of
Grandfather Huachuma, which is much like seeing through the lens of grace,
compassion, wisdom, reverence and strength. I feel truly blessed to have this
gift in my heart, for it has changed the way I live and engage with life. I
cant think of a more valuable gift!
For any of you who are considering visiting Peru or are seeking an
opportunity to journey with a huachumero, I highly recommend working
with Sergio. It is a rare and unique opportunity to work one on one with a
shaman who is as committed, integral, and vivacious as he is. To this day, I
can visit the memories of each of the sacred sites that he took me to, and
relish in the moments when I felt held in safety enough to let go, sink in, and
take in the healing and the beauty.
Sergios website is: http://www.shamansworld.org/contact.html
To view my story and view my latest book Surfing the Transformational
Waves of 2012, Supportive Tools for Your Journey Home to the 5th
Dimension, my website is: http://liquidmirror.org/wp1/

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