Darikiking Alejandro Jahuanchi, Amazon Shaman.
The meeting was on a Monday morning in January, in a small room of an old apartment in La Reyna. There he was, on his bare feet, Alejandro Jahuanchi, the Shaman that came from Cusco to work for a moth with a group of people; mostly psychologists interested in learning from his millenary wisdom, that allows him to heal the ailments of the body and soul. A short man, covered in a white cloak, was wearing something that, under the profane conception we all carry in our heads, could be called ornaments: a crown of multi-colored feathers and a necklace made of stones hanging a parrot. “These are the clothes we use to protect ourselves. We have the same category of a priest, and priests always need a special cloak. We use the feathers to close the doors of the patient’s mind, to achieve the psycho-magical trance needed for shamanism; this necklace absorbs negative energies. If the patient’s energy is negative, this necklace will absorb it, it also rids me of the sick. And the parrot is the symbol that protects me.” And so, with such great simplicity, for someone that is not used to the city-life, Alejandro answers all of the questions that, rudely try to reach a grasp of the secrets of his profession. Ignored or underestimated for years by western culture, his art comes back to life in this revival of end of century.
Part of the Wachiperi ethny, Alejandro lives in a small village called Kcosñipata – Pilccopata, “Manu Biosphere” Cusco – Peru. The village receives the name because of the fog produced by the forest, present most of the time. There he used to work as a teacher at a school; meanwhile he prepared himself through studies of the philosophy of his ancestors and serving the community with the Shamanic arts. One day, a group of American anthropologists appeared in the place and noticed his wisdom, from then on he began to change his life and career, limited until that moment to the Paucartabo Province, in Cusco.
Invited by Shamans, healers and Spiritual Groups, he has travelled Miami, Dallas, Oregon and California. His fame reached The White House, where he has given conferences for two years in a row. “I’ve worked mostly with ecological groups, we talk about techniques to protect nature”, he states. He has also travelled part of Spain “for all of the students of the Spiritual Healing learn through books, they don’t have natural teachers”. He has been in Chile twice, the first time in 1995, thanks to the discovery Eduardo Labra made.
What is the goal of this second travel of yours? – I came to have an interview with the people; I want to know what their situation is, as for traditions and goals. There is an enormous amount of people that is under a constant search, everyone needs to escape this dreadful reality and I came here to help them in this search. We are all sick of physical and psychical issues. We might need to establish a Wachiperi colony in Santiago to control the situation.
How did you begin your career, who gave you the title of shaman? – Time and space are our teachers; we acquire experience from the things we have lived. The space we have lived in has taught us valuable things. This kind of knowledge is not learned at school or from other shaman, I have acquired wisdom through my ancestors. That is where my roots are. I am part of the seventh generation of my shaman ancestors, some of them have been great masters.
What is shamanism about? – It consists in acquiring wisdom, relying on the energies of nature: earth, fire, air and water. The shaman is a foreshadower that deals with the spirits of nature, but I don’t understand the word “shaman”, for it is not used in my language.
Then what is the name of a shaman in your language? – We are called Watopakeri, which means prophet or foreshadower. Every village in the Amazon has curanderos or healers. In Peru, we divide healers in three categories: the Paco, that lives in the mountains and has a deep connection with the Andean Spirits, the Shamans that live in the coast of my country and the Kuracas live in the Jungle; they are healers as well. Shaman defines all of these categories because that word is widely used nowadays.
How do you apply wisdom in Shamanism? – We have to take care of ourselves, of our formation as shamans, that implies being disciplined and follow a special diet. Our lifestyle has to be better than the others’. We need to have enough health, freedom and serenity, because without any of those things I can’t be free. It is not the knowledge that makes me shaman, but my being. These tree skills allow a shaman to have the strength required to enter someone’s body and expel their sickness. A certain level of spiritual purity is required to expel that negative spirit.
Are there items of magic or witchery in your activity? – The Shaman is a magician, but he should never harm others, he should save lives instead. I’m sure there are shamans that practice black magic, but we know how to choose between evil and good. I don’t use the evil, I always use the good. The evil is not made by us, it is to be found in the items and the evil Shaman uses them according to his intentions.
So you do use western-medicine elements and witchery? – Yes, for us to heal someone we need to use four elements: earth, water, fire and air, and amongst these elements we find the plants and animals, those have to be taken into the patient’s body as a medicine. The plants are collected from the jungle, and either as a tea or juice, these are ingested by the person. Another technique used to heal is the psycho-magical method of shamanism through the Master Teaching Plants like Ayahuasca, Datura, Coca and Tobacco; which consists in drinking the plant’s vital energy. For that purpose, we have some sort of pharmacy in the Spiritual Growth Center, meant to heal psychically, magically and spiritually.
At this moment in the conversation, the intervention of a friend of his becomes necessary; it is Eduardo Labra, who has seen Alejandro’s Healing sessions in the past. “When he says that the jungle is his pharmacy store he is right, for through that millenary knowledge, and deep states of meditation he achieves, he can identify the type of plant and dosage required to heal a sick person. Beside this there is physical work that involves massages and is similar to a therapist’s job. Alejandro Jahuanchi does not do the same thing twice, he always treats people differently, depending on what it is he feels in their presence. Through prayers and meditation he physically cleanses a person; this is actually helpful for the medicinal treatment”.
What are the energies you talk to in your prayers? – I have to focus on love and truth; those are forces that allow us to create the power of the mystery of the Great Spirit. We believe that there is an enormous power in all of us, that power is not over controlling, but selfless and extremely kind. We have never believed in that power that will judge and punish us all; I judge and punish myself according to my actions. Therefore, we work with the power of mystery, that cannot be seen, and with the force of nature, visible for all of us.
How many sessions do you need to treat a person? – Only one is enough, because the visions that I receive from that person’s mind, allow me know understand the way their spiritual body works and based in that information I know what to do so it can be tuned up with his physical body. This might be hard to understand, but thanks to the deep relaxation state that I provoke in the patients I am able to heal them
Do people come to you because of physical and psychical ailments? – People come to me because of both, and these ailments are not to be taken lightly. People that live in big cities suffer from ulcers and cancer, psychical ailments are usually found in these kind of the patients. They are disoriented, open to anxiety and stress they feel that someone is running after them and that’s when the ghosts emerge. Anxiety haunts them because they do not reach their goals, and it harms them psychically; that is why I balance their life and tell them that their time has not come yet, they are opening the doors before there is someone or something that can enter.
Do you talk to people or act only through that trance? – I talk to them and then make them have a conscience test right away, I ask is they have done bad things to others, I make them realize the difference between good and band and that is because of the worries in their minds. Then, I induce myself into a trance, so this person can receive the energy of the four elements and then, finally, I evoke the levels of space; that is where the spirits from above, timeless and spaceless act for the patient. Then I make the patient see images that sometimes are from animals, rivers, rocks and trees; that is where the connection with the two forces (male and female) lies. The feminine energy belongs to the earth, the male one is an expansive force, and belongs to the stars.
What are the most common ailments currently? – The material belongings are the thing that hurt man the most in a civilized country, their goal is to have a good life, there is competition to have everything, people holds on to material luxury and not to spiritual luxury.
What is your message to mankind? – Let yourself satisfy with what you have, you have to work, of course, but no more than that you are capable of. Mankind needs to stop, our minds are hectic, our physical body is tired and our emotional body runs too much. If we overuse any of the bodies that are part of our existence we will end before intended, before living our three phases in life.
The Shaman Alejandro Jahuanchi died in 1998