11 Things I Learned from a Shaman that Changed My Life

A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
A dream you dream together is reality.
― John Lennon

I never really expected shamanism to be my path… let alone transform my relationship to life so powerfully.

When I was little people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would say a Broadway singer or a witch.

Turns out shamanism is a little of both!

I’ll get more into that (as well as the many ways shamanism has truly impacted my worldview), but first let me say it has been a windy path getting here…

So many times, just when I thought I had found my place, found my community — where I belonged — the ground beneath me gave out, and I found myself alone.

I had studied music, yoga, herbology, household shamanism, evolutionary spirituality, and still, no home. They each had gifts to offer me, yet something was always missing….

My initial pursuits all told me to just “be love” as the ultimate expression of life, and that had zero meaning for me in the day-to-day practicalities of life.

What does love look like in action anyway? That was one of those questions where I took the advice of the poet, Rilke, to just “live the question” and trust an answer would appear.

Funny things, answers. Sometimes they are subtle, other times obvious — or even demanding.

I have had the great pleasure of working at The Shift Network with many of the world’s most respected spiritual teachers. But after spending nearly a year facilitating virtual programs with Peruvian curandero don Oscar Miro-Quesada, it became very clear to me that I had to cross the country for his 6-day retreat and journey into the shamanic practices with him in person.

I mean irrational-highschool-girl-desperate-Ani-diFranco-style HAD TO.

don Oscar, master teacher of cross-cultural shamanism, was offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to make an evolutionary leap, and I told him he could use me anyway that would be of service to this event.

First, to set the stage after my arrival….

Shaman altar
The beautiful central altar (mesa) at the retreat

I had the great privilege of helping to create the central altar!

don Oscar, the young-at-heart shaman/surfer in his “traditional” shorts and T-shirt provided a select few of us with basic instructions (including “make it look beautiful”), while preparing to go to his room to “dream into the retreat.”

I did this along with three other women, one of whom was Cindy Miro-Quesada, the athletic, warm-hearted, no-nonsense “hearth-holder” of the Pachakuti Mesa tradition.

I had never felt so trusted in my whole life.

My own aunt wouldn’t let me stay in her house while she was out of town, but here was don Oscar Miro-Quesada — ambassador of the “Great Originating Mystery” — trusting ME and looking at me with more love than I knew was possible outside of ecstatic moments of divine union…

…and we hadn’t even started yet!

It was a great blessing to be able to take a few days and step out of my known world and see what I was made of. The space allowed for all participants to really show up and let the Divine dance through them.

The dream we had been dreaming began to dream us all… and it was like Eden.

I want to share a list with you now (in no particular order) of how my outlook on life has changed, thus changing life itself, since I started my exploration of shamanism with don Oscar.

11 Things I Learned from a Shaman that Changed My Life…

Peruvian curandero don Oscar Miro-Quesada and me

1. What you seek is seeking you.

In Be Here Now by Ram Das, he writes about how you won’t find a Guru if you are seeking one. This became very literal for me. I have sought and learned from many teachers and none of them were long-term. I had given up the search and thought I’d step out on my own a bit, and then BAM! — my teacher. The real deal. I couldn’t have known to ask for the gifts I’ve received. I literally could not have conceived of… wow… words fail me….

Well, let’s just say that my soul was fed at a depth I had forgotten existed. And it feels true to say that what I was seeking must have been seeking me because it was right there when I needed it, and perfectly primed to meet me. Any effort I made to force the “river” just delayed the process. Or perhaps, and more likely, was exactly what needed to take place until I was ready.

2. I understand the relevance and impact of
sacred geometry.

This was a big one. Sacred geometry has been in my awareness for a long time now, but it remained a beautiful intellectual abstract for me rather than an awakened awareness. Sacred geometry is what we call the fundamental patterns that form all life. These building blocks connect us to our cells and the galaxy and everything in between. When we are in spaces that reflect various shapes, our consciousness responds accordingly.

My state of being, from my body to my mindset, reacts to the space around me. I discovered I feel different in a pyramid than I do in a round room than I do in a square room. Once the world unlocked it’s patterning to me, I had a powerful understanding of who I AM — who we all are, as well as why buildings of power are in particular shapes (like the Pentagon) or are covered in geometry (like the Alhambra). This is an ancient science that we are all slowly remembering.

Shaman alter
Setting up to hold magic with two friends

3. The soul IS important.

The soul is important. I have always known this to greater and lesser degrees. It’s what makes me feel alive. It’s what makes me feel miserable and what brings me bliss! I mean all-decked-out, listening to your favorite song that you know every word to and still hits you like brand new every time… BLISS!

There are no thoughts in my head when I’m in a soulful place. I say that the soul is important because the mind gets way too much attention in Western culture. My mind is really good at a lot of important things, but there are some parts of living where it just gets in the way. The soul needs to be fed, loved, expressed and honored. My soul is what guides me on that radically long journey from the head to the heart. It’s what let’s the magic flow.

Crystal on shaman alter
This crystal was CLEAR except for a small ingress at the top, but now it has stardust raining through it.

Here’s a little side story of what can only be described as magic: I brought a perfectly clear quartz crystal to the retreat and it was physically transformed, though never touched. At the end of the event, I was packing up my personal altar (mesa), I discovered that it looked like the milky way was flowing through the top of my stone and stardust was falling through. That was NOT there when I started my retreat. They say that when a crystal shows signs of change in a meditative field that it becomes a record-keeper. Feels like a soul compass. Feels important.

4. Materialism is only a problem if it’s viewed as
an absolute.

There’s great pleasure in STUFF. I’ll admit it. I love me some prisms hangin’ on my windows and tiny statues of alligators, meticulously sculpted. I get great joy out of art and candles and material expressions of life. This is not a problem. Many spiritual teachings have a tenet of renunciation and I think it’s stuck around so long for many good reasons, but one is to combat the limited worldview that’s reinforced by material goods. “What you see is what you get.” Materialism values, above all else, what we can see.

My experience under the helm of don Oscar Miro-Quesada was one of thrashing invisible oceans. It was anchored by a universal pattern of connection and an evolution in love, in the material form of a mesa (altar). The material form of the Pachakuti mesa is like a roadmap to a much larger territory. Materialism is only a problem if it’s viewed as an absolute. A stone is just the tip of an iceberg with its consciousness being what’s under the water. If we can incorporate the reality of more influences than just what we can measure or see, we will recognize that what we are doing to our planet, our home and each other is devastating and ultimately to our own ruin.

5. Beauty is medicinal.

Shaman ritual
What sharing my connections and perspective gave rise to — created by a bride and groom after their wedding celebrations were complete (made at low tide as an ocean offering).

Whenever we experience something that’s too big for the moment — be it joy or trauma — we hold the experience in our bodies. For example, when you walk into a dramatic situation, your body responds before your mind or emotions. There are a lot of therapies that address and resolve this (Somato Emotional Release would be worth Googling if you’re interested in the biology of it). They show that the body stores emotions, and when the energy has a chance to move — whether it’s through art, song, dance or bodywork — we feel a sense of completion. It allows the energy to move instead of getting stuck. Sometimes the medicine we need is not chemically-sourced or external. It’s turned on by the factory of connection that burns in your heart when something touches you and you let go.

Studies also show that a greener environment helps heal the mind. If we take that further and consider what beauty (however you define it) really does to us, we find that in its presence, there is direct access to a sense of awe that catapults us beyond ourselves. That’s good medicine.

6. Real community is radically accepting.

Rumi said it best when he said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” That field is where real communities have their homes. Spiritual teacher Tara Brach has popularized the phrase “Radical Acceptance,” and I was so privileged to have a a few days in this retreat where that was my reality. To be in community for six days where I could trust and be trusted set a new bar for how we can all be as people.

It also changed my expectations for what I want around me and how I want to show up for other people. I see that as soon as I don’t accept something, it becomes a residue that builds up between me and an “other.” If I accept it, then I can act on it and keep my heart wide open. It’s hard work, but SO worth it. I have a craving down in my very bones to live my daily life in a community that will love and be loved, and now I know we can make it happen.

7. Love can be destructive.

It was just after the morning session and don Oscar had sent us on break… and, well, I just broke. I personally often have the unbearable need to make very loud sounds, but this was a peak experience. I exploded. The sound was so intense I could hardly hear it all. I was in a torrent of the universe and while ancestors were returning to restore my soul, I was destroyed by the agony of it all. I felt like I was wailing for GENERATIONS of souls.

And when I returned home after this retreat, I felt very estranged from my life. I didn’t recognize my clothes or my voice in songs I had recorded. I had to meet my family again and rebuild relationships from a new place within myself that I now reside.

8. Love will put you back together. 

Tarot card from shaman altar
“Completion” card from Osho Zen Tarot (by Osho & Ma Deva Padma, St. Martin’s Press, 1995)

While in that whirlwind of experience, I was surrounded by a few soul relatives that held me and made space for me and christened me with aromatic waters and played music for me that provided a container for the current that had seized me. I felt so safe, so loved — and that let me carry this current through.

I have not been the same since that moment. I have been more whole, more myself. I am ever humbled by the many faces of love because I know that the same force that brings me to my knees is the same one that gives me wings. My family has been so supportive of my journey and my “growing a soul.” There is a glue in love that makes life work and I am grateful for its adhesions in mine.

9. Music can contain any and everything you need.

Beyond any expectation of performance, I was asked to sing several times during the retreat. Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite writers, has this to say about music: “Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life, I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.” I have survived being a sensitive and emotional person because of music. It is my cradle, my longing, my hatred, my hope, my anger, my praise, my joy and my truth.

When I say music can contain any and everything you need, I’m not only saying that it expresses a full range of emotional and philosophical needs, I’m also saying that it creates a safe and reliable container into which you can pour your reality. To be given this invitation and permission in such a sacred space, fulfilled a dream in me I thought had lost it’s chance. It wasn’t Broadway, but what better stage to be on than one where the whole universe was listening?

10. We are here to heal our planet collectively.

What shifted for me during my studies with this group, or Allyu (pronounced eye-you), was the awareness of how we impact each other planet-wide. Thich Nhat Hanh has said that the next Buddha will be a Sangha, or spiritual community. I understand why! There is a sorely missing cohesion between people, and between people and the natural world today. What if our beloved planet was included as a member of that Sangha? When she is, we bring in all her relatives as well and it is the most natural thing in the world to take care of her and her family.

The responsibility is all of ours. The world is too big and has too much love for just one person to be responsible. The shamanic path, whichever one you may be on, is first and foremost about relationship. Relationship to nature, culture and self. This awakening is what compels me to share my story with you — even if you have only one glimmer of recognition in what you’ve read, I know there’s a quickening in the part of you that is not separate from me.

11. I’m never alone.

My shaman "mesa" altar
The first time I “worked’ my mesa — bringing life into a gift before giving it.

“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” I will be a perpetual student of this truth, presented mirthfully by the Beatles, for a long time to come. I was a student of it long before the universe unlocked so much of her beauty in me, and I know how far I have to go before it’s my default outlook on life. To know that I am never alone lets me hold any experience I’m having as one that the whole of creation is having. I know that when I breathe deeply into a hurt or don’t resist a laugh, that I am making in-roads for everyone else so that it’s easier for them next time. And the same is true for you. Every time you make a higher choice about how you want to respond or how you want to love, you help me. So thank you.

Walking the shamanic path is ever more inclusive. One of my other teachers (Jeff Carreira) once said, “The only problem with reality is that we don’t include enough of it,” and I find that to be a reliable statement. Weaving relationships with the elements or animal totems or plant allies is an ongoing process because everything is evolving, not just me. I feel grateful to have my very own roadmap to the cosmos and a way to share it with others who feel a similar longing for connection and a pattern to the chaos that is life.

For me, that is LOVE IN ACTION. It can take the form of gratitude, curiosity, beauty making, or doing a favor for a friend before they ask. In fact, I’m sure it takes more forms that I have dared to imagine yet, and I can’t wait to see them all.

The final thing I’d like to add is that if you’ve made it to the end of this article, you probably already have had a shamanic awakening or walk a shamanic path — whether you know it or not.

Thank you for being on this journey with me and may my words be of service to all my relations, for seven generations.

Do you want to know how shamanism could change your life?

If you’re curious to learn shamanic practices from the master himself, check out this free virtual event, Puma Medicine: Transforming Your Awareness with Shamanic Power, where don Oscar shares powerful wisdom for living with greater connection, wholeness and vitality.


Shaman initiate Amy Mermaid Isakov

Amy Mermaid Isakov is a Pachakuti Mesa Carrier as taught by don Oscar Miro-Quesada and is passionate about spirituality, music, art, and how the Divine can manifest in all its forms. Having left the traditional education path, she has studied in-depth with shamans, bodyworkers, thought-leaders, and green builders. She finds herself blessed and grateful to be of service at The Shift Network as a course manager and to the greater Shift in our Collective Consciousness. When not on the computer, she takes her shoes off and lets the Earth sing her songs.


Simple Ritual: Align Yourself to the Rythyms of Nature

What if simply getting up in the morning could connect you with the rhythms of nature, and therefore to a higher guidance that sometimes eludes us in the frenzy of daily life and a technological world?

don Oscar Miro-Quesada, world-renowned Peruvian curandero and teacher of Universal Shamanism, illumines how this basic ritual can align us with the natural world–and awaken us to what evolutionary consciousness pioneer Barbara Marx Hubbard calls “The Essential Self, which is our truest state of being.

Today, I’m inspired to share a brief Q&A between these two extraordinary visionaries. It’s an excerpt from don Oscar’s teaching during last year’s training that Barbara led with her beloved sister Patricia Ellsberg.

Listen to the clip here:

I think what you'll discover from this teaching is that Shamanic rituals do not have to be complex or something you practice outside your "regular life." Just becoming aware of the sun rising and setting can ready our bodies, psyches and souls to receive the healing and wisdom available to us through the natural world.

This begins to connect you with the journey of The Path of the Universal Shaman, in which participants will learn to awaken to your truest nature, engage potent practices and experience the incredible power of plant and animal spirit allies, who serve as guides to your Essential Self.

In taking this journey, we become more ourselves, free of ego and fear and the illusion of separation. We open our hearts to sacred acts of service, because we are part of the abundant, generative rhythms of nature and we can't help but share our love and gifts.

Enjoy the audio teaching!




Stephen Dinan, Founder and CEO,  The Shift Network





A Luminous Re-membering: How Death and Illness Transformed a Shaman’s Life

When we surrender the need to figure it all out and cultivate the ability to let it all in, then our earth walk becomes a sacred dance of healing service on the planet. More than the world needing saving, it needs loving.

I am Oscar Manuel Miro-Quesada and this is my story. It is a story told within the immediacy of the present moment, even as it recalls the past. It is a story about how I came to serve the earth by returning to the origins of a once-forgotten tradition. It is a story about how honoring these ancient wisdoms can awaken us all to the spiritual dimensions of life.

I was born in Lima, Peru, on August 21, 1951.

I was youngest of five half-siblings, a result of my mother’s third and father’s second marriages. My coming back into wholeness as a soul on this good earth began at first breath. This divine ally of both earth and heavens filled me with so much more than oxygen in that first awakening. Spirit itself filled my lungs as life took hold.

Yet what began so easily became a struggle for survival as I grew.

As ever increasing episodes of severe asthmatic hypoxia set in, my breath was simply not available. I felt distant from Spirit, distant from life itself. I was a young soul encased within a dangerously frail physical body. As a seed that has not yet sprouted, my soul remained dormant deep underground. Rather than expansion and growth, my soul sought contraction in order to survive. Rather than movement, it welcomed stillness. Rather than the radiant sunlight of day, it came to anticipate the darkness of my childhood room as an artificial harbor.

In addition, during my first nine years of life,

I learned many ways to appear sane as my family descended into a deep dysfunction where violence and danger had become the norm.

Within all the chaos, my breathing became more and more constricted and the asthma attacks more frequent. I missed day after day of school as I struggled just to breathe. Meanwhile, I found refuge in small spaces, under tables, in corners. I crawled around in the classroom as perplexed children pointed fingers, laughing and mocking me. I was like a scared animal. Hiding.

Viewed from the perspective of a heartfelt shamanic initiation—a veritable ‘rite-de-passage’–I now understand the true miracle of love that was at the root of my illness.

The severe asthma and family dysfunction that was part of my life for so long had been the very path to my redemption. It pointed the way for my return to wholeness. It paved the road from the dark night of my aching soul to the luminous realms of my shamanic ancestors.

I was ten years old, and the finest physicians in Lima had concurred that my very survival depended on leaving this coastal city with its smog, humidity, and pollution, and relocate to the dry central highlands. Even then, I felt a stirring as we rode up the winding roads away from sea level Lima into the central Andes. As we traveled, we followed the river Rimac, called such by Quechua-speaking peoples of the highlands because it is the river of the “one-who-speaks.”

My destiny was calling out to me and I could feel the murmuring voices of my ancestors tumble down the mountainsides into its flow.

Our destination was the town of Chosica, halfway between the coast and the highest peaks of the Andes, where mountain lords are named and honored with ritual offerings to this day. There, high above the village, giant stones and enigmatic citadels are venerated today, just as they were during ancestral times. The entire region is known as a place of visitation, of sightings, and actual contact with star-beings. It was there where I found breath through an encounter with the beyond.

It was a December night in 1961. The air was cold and the sky was full of stars. My mother had put me to bed and then returned to the kitchen to clean up after dinner. From deepest slumber, I awoke with a start. My eyes were wide and round in surprise and growing desperation. My mouth was just a slit, and I felt my chest disappearing. My body was completely numb: There was no breath at all. Panic cannot even describe the sensation. I tried desperately to call for help, yet I could not move or speak. The world began closing in on me as darkness pressed down against my chest. The earth opened to swallow me, and I felt myself pulled down through the mattress of my bed, deeper and deeper into this abyss. My body felt cold. The pounding in my ears that was my heart became faint, then fainter still; then all was silent. I relaxed and fell into total drowning.

I was dead.

From far away, I began hearing someone call my name. It wasn’t my birth name at all, but a nickname my father had given me years before because of my curiosity and my countenance. Eager Beaver, he had called me, or Beaver for short. It felt good to have an animal name. I identified with it. Faintly, I began hearing it in my right ear, then in my left, “Beaver, Beaver, come back. We need you. Beaver, come back, Beeeeaver . . . .” Suddenly, with a gasp of air, I was pulled from the abyss that had swallowed me. I found myself sitting upright in my bed in total darkness.

With open eyes, I gazed around the room. Slowly, as I regained consciousness more fully, I began to feel the presence of extraordinary compassion, and indescribable love, healing, and grace.

As I gazed deeper into the darkness, there appeared a quivering field of luminosity that gradually settled into three human-like forms.

Standing seven feet tall, their heads were almost touching the low ceiling of my room. As they became increasingly more detailed and separate, their appearance became discernible. All three had long white beards and luminous blue eyes. They were ancient, yet ageless; wizened, yet completely unencumbered. They wore long, white robes, and their long hair grew into wispy trails of luminous, spiraling light. They were three angelic beings, three Shining Ones. I now know them to be three expressions of the Divine that have been described in tales and legends since the dawn of time: luminous beings, perfect, harmonious, whole. They were beyond all dichotomy and division.

They were absolute Love.

These three beings communicated in unison a thought that mirrored exactly what I felt. A resounding gift of awakening to my true place of origin reverberated deep within me. The thought-feeling coursed from my head throughout the entire length of my body as they stood before me. It felt pleasant, like the vibrational lingering of sacred words once spoken. In that moment, my entire experience of being in a physical body shifted. I recognized my own essence in the same light that they embodied.

That awareness alone would have been enough for me to embrace the experience of death that had come upon me. In that instant, I could have just let go, returning with a peaceful heart into the hands of our Maker.

Yet somehow I knew it was not my time.

No sooner did I know it than the Shining One to my left bent his tall frame toward me and placed his transparent lips to my chest. He began to breathe the asthma out from my lungs into himself. For what seemed an eternity, he sucked in through his lips, extracting from my frail body all residue of the illness that had so far accompanied the evolution of my soul in this lifetime. Afterward, he raised his head and offered that density in breath up to the heavens. I saw the crack between the worlds in that moment. All my suffering, fear, doubt and insecurities were taken skyward as he blew forth to the heavens. When he finished, the portal between worlds vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

Next, the Shining One to my right placed his right hand, with a luminous open-fingered palm, upon my sternum. He then placed his left palm on top of the right one. As he closed his deep blue eyes, I felt a concentrated willing: a bestowal of his essence into my heart. My entire being was lit from within as I lay motionless on the bed.

Meanwhile, the Shining One who stood between the other two opened his eyes wide, looking straight ahead. His Buddha-like hands danced with flowing light. He touched his luminous fingertips together in various gestures. Once the hand gestures were complete, this Shining One rested his arms by his side and gazed toward me with his infinitely compassionate eyes. It was then that the communication between us began.

I entered a realm between dream and waking where images floated seamlessly along. The first image I was gifted by that luminous being was of returning to Lima. I saw the great turmoil that would ensue as my father and mother separated, yet I saw myself being free of asthma forever more.

The telepathic transmission of the events of my life was extensive:

the jobs I would hold, the relationships I would treasure, the children who would be born and those who would be lost to me in the dance of eros that accompanies the search for self. I saw the teachers I would meet, and I saw the artistry of what I was born to do as my service to the great web of life. As the movie of my life began to fade from view, the last message reverberating through the depths of my soul was this:

“Remember the rituals. Remember the rituals. Remember the rituals.”

For the next several years, my recollection of that transformational moment was clouded. All that changed when in August of 1969 I met the famed maestro huachumero don Celso Rojas Palamino from Salas, Chiclayo, during what was to be the first of many night sanpedrito ceremonies. Yet during that first night, after the tobacco offering was given and after his patients were cleansed with the sacred objects on his altar, out of the center of his banco a light started to circulate. I blinked my eyes in amazement. The light continued to rise from the mesa. As it emerged, it coalesced into a large, oval, pulsing field. As I continued to watch, the same three wizened Shining Ones that visited me and healed me of asthma eight years before appeared before us now. As they began to come closer, I stared in open-mouthed wonder. No one else seemed to see them, not even don Celso’s assistants who were sitting just to his left. Was I dreaming? Was this really happening?

At first I didn’t notice don Celso’s sideways glance. Then, he elbowed me firmly, jarring me from my reverie. “Do you remember them?” he asked me. “Yes, I do,” I stuttered. At that moment, my entire reality shifted. I felt transported back in time to a moment I had all but forgotten. In less than a nanosecond everything that had been shown to me at age ten during that near-death experience came back into my awareness. And I remembered it all. In this second visitation by the three Shining Ones, I tapped into the noosphere—the ineffable yet universal field of information that some call the Akashic record.

In that moment, all contrasts, all polarities, all separation, all interpretation, all need to have a nice comforting orderly world was annihilated. It was all destroyed. And I found myself floating up in space and dissolving as a separate entity, as an individual, as an ego-mind, as a personality. In that moment, the one known to this world by the name Oscar just disappeared.

I was absorbed within the ALL.

I remembered my purpose for being born, and this time, it stayed firmly imprinted in my psyche. All that I had witnessed and forgotten at age ten came cascading back, free of censorship and dimensional filters. I realized how incomplete our sensory experiences are as I peeked behind the veil of the eternal now. As soon as the ritual ended, I asked don Celso if I might apprentice with him, and he agreed.

After that, as I began practicing the rituals of my ancestors, the memory of that moment was released in me again. It was then, when I began to quiet myself, communing with the Mystery from a place of deepest surrender to wholeness, that I came to realize this truth more fully:

Illness equals action without alignment.

It is estrangement from the sacred as we project the causes and consequences of our suffering onto others. It comes from looking outward rather than inward for acceptance, approval, and love.

In all sanctioned lineages of shamanism the world over, the symptoms of illness are symbols of the state of your being. While you may be ill, you may be in pain, you may have experienced deep tragedy or longing, you are not just suffering passively. Instead, you begin to see this particular illness as a call to enter into conversation with powers that beckon you to assume new responsibilities of being human.

Each of us has catalyzing moments that open us to an awareness of Source within ourselves. Like many who recognize the power of the spiritual in their lives, it was the depth of my suffering that primed the pump of my awakening. As I opened to my reality of being born “of spirit” as much as “of matter,” I gained an expanded view of myself. I allowed LOVE to be who I AM. In this awakening, I connected deeply with the Ultimate Ground of my Being. And in so doing, I entered into a true sacred alliance and path of healing service in honor of All Our Relations.

This Great Work is not so much about changing the world as it is about changing oneself in the process.

As we commit to this quest, and the graceful honoring of all life that will naturally flow from our actions, unhindered evolutionary transformation is effortlessly unleashed upon the world—in paraphrasing Joseph Campbell, we have learned to ‘follow our bliss!’

Adapted from Lessons in Courage: Peruvian Shamanic Wisdom for Everyday Life, ©2013 by Bonnie Glass-Coffin & don Oscar Miro-Quesada.
 Reprinted with permission. Publisher: Rainbow Ridge Books.

donoscardon Oscar Miro-Quesada Solevo is a respected Peruvian shaman and beloved faculty with The Shift Network. He has recorded an interactive online course to teach the lessons of shamanism: The Path of the Universal Shaman – Transforming our world through Sacred Living.

don Oscar is a respected kamasqa curandero and altomisayoq adept from Peru, visionary founder of The Heart of the Healer (THOTH), originator of Pachakuti Mesa Tradition cross-cultural shamanism, and co-author of Lessons in Courage: Peruvian Shamanic Wisdom for Everyday Life (Rainbow Ridge, 2013; with Bonnie Glass-Coffin). An internationally-acclaimed shamanic teacher, healer and Earth honoring ritualist, don Oscar is also an OAS Fellow in Ethnopsychology, UN Invited Observer to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and member of the Birth 2012 Welcoming Committee and the Evolutionary Leaders Circle convened, respectively, by Barbara Marx Hubbard and Deepak Chopra. He has been guiding ethnospiritual apprenticeship expeditions to sacred sites of the world since 1986, with special emphasis on Peru and Bolivia. To learn more about don Oscar, click here.

What is Shamanism?

What is Shamanism – (SHAH-men-ism, SHAY-men-ism) Shamanism is the art of seeking and maintaining balance between humans and nature, between the seen and unseen realms. At the heart of shamanism is balance; without balance healing cannot occur. A shamanic practitioner is one who reaches altered states of consciousness by using sound, music, drumming, guided meditations, plant-spirit medicine and/or other techniques, to interact with the spirit world. The shaman or curandero/curandera then channels their connection to the spirit world into this world during a ceremony or ritual to heal, perform divination, and balance energies for personal healing and global transformation.

Why is shamanism important to our modern world? In today’s industrialized world we are living out of balance with Mother Earth and the world around us. Our modern society is out of touch and no longer lives in harmony with nature. We are seeing an increase in companies and governments indiscriminately using up earth’s resources and contributing to deforestation, global warming, extinction of our animal kingdom, poisoning our waters, and so on. This is causing rampant destruction of cultural and biological diversity as well as profound physical and psychological illnesses in all of humanity.

Through the study and practice of shamanic ceremony and ritual, individuals learn to live in harmony with nature and Mother Earth and her children, the animal, plants, minerals and each other. As one becomes more mindful of how to live more in balance with the world around us, we begin to see a healing of individuals, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. As individuals see themselves as whole, spiritual beings, they can then direct those energies of healing to Mother Earth, Pachamama. The ancient cultures and civilizations have much to teach us about how to live respectfully and in harmony with the Cosmic Universe that surrounds us in order for our species and our world to not only survive, but to evolve into a higher consciousness of global awareness.