This week, my next door neighbour left to finish her training in the rainforest. She will spend 2 months eating a very restricted vegan diet in order to graduate fully into her chosen career. Chosen that is, not by her, but by destiny. For she is a shaman.
The lady speaks an ancient Peruvian language (Lapactu. sp?). How long, I wonder? Since she was 14. So you have heritage in Peru? No, she lived here in another life. She could just tell when she got here - memories, deja vu, etc.
She has been married, but moved out here because a Native american shaman gave her a coca leaf reading that told her this was her destiny. Although she refused to move right away, eventually she felt she could not escape her destiny. Some examples of this: she was once photographed at a wedding. On the photo, one can see clearly white angel's wings behind her, glowing. Unfortunately, her last house was burgled and they took her camera with the photo on it. Also, a friend of hers came to Machu Picchu and took a photo, noticing afterwards that there were spots of light on it; these were spirits.
Her favourite Inca site is Sacsayhuaman, on the hills above Cusco. Above this site, there are 44 laylines. I enquire whether this is a nautical term. No. The earth is criss-crossed with hundreds of laylines - lines of energy. Where they intersect lies the most spiritual power. She has led people to the top of this site and some people simply can't process the energy so they have to come back down.
In one of her former lives, she lived in a world where women ruled. She herself was a Queen of that world. She had a slave who was madly in love with her. Unfortunately, he was too enamoured of her and she had him killed. In this life, they found each other again. They felt a tremendous energy when they were with each other, which is how they knew. Then he told her that he had actually been her greatest warrior, that it was true she had had him killed, and that he wanted his revenge in this life. They are now dating.
So, she is completing her training to be a shaman, with her shaman in the jungle - called Ruben. She is already trained in San Pedro (a hallucinogenic drug only legal in Peru). San Pedro is a cactus and is administered as a drink. It has a very ritualistic role in Andean society. It has been used since pre-Inca times and is documented in ceramics and wall carvings. Hugh Thompson describes certain temples that appear to have been designed purely to enhance the hallucinogenic experience, with confusing maze-like structural architecture as well as wind tunnels that produce whistling noises and running water sound effects.
'She' (San Pedro) works on the three bodies (physical, mental and emotional). It has been known to cure AIDS, cancer, etc. It cured her diabetes and my host, Miguel's stomach ulcer (he told me this independently). If you are pure and you drink San Pedro you will have an amazing experience. You can feel her moving through different parts of your body.
The drug she is completing her training upon is called Ayahuasca. She had a bottle unopened in a cupboard which exploded the other day of its own volition. There has been no conclusion made about the significance of this. Ruben is to be the star of a documentary about the shamanic life. A chap that worked on the photography from Spiderman the Movie has been to shoot footage of him in the rainforest.
My neighbour is no stranger to media attention either. She is currently writing a children's book that she hopes will receive critical acclaim when she can finish it. She was inspired for it during a ceremony and wrote feverishly, completing the beginning and end. She currently has writers' block, but upon hearing the amusing, playful and creative storyline she has concocted for the next generation, I urged her enthusiastically to write more.