Peruvian Shamanic Energy Medicine on the Prairies
by Monté Gagné
The Laika are a group of medicine people whose culture dates back to pre-Incan times in Peru. When their country was invaded by the Spanish, these healers retreated to the high mountains and were not seen for over 500 years. Many believed they had disappeared or been wiped out during the inquisition. In actuality, they had retreated and made themselves invisible, in order to guard their knowledge. The Laika had been waiting for a time when they could share the earth wisdom they keep with the rest of the world. Recently, I sat in ceremony at the Omega Centre in New York State with one of these healers, Don Francisco. In the tradition of his people, I received the Earth Keepers’ Rites. Don Francisco is the head of the Quero nation from Peru and is directly connected to the Laika lineage of years ago.
How did a Peruvian elder and a woman from Saskatchewan come together in this way? It was April, 2008, when I first travelled to begin my studies with the Healing the Light Body School. This school was founded and is led by Alberto Villoldo, well-known author, shaman, and medical anthropologist. He began his travels to Peru over 25 years ago and has been studying and working along with the Laika/Quero elders ever since. Over his many years of travel, Dr. Villoldo experienced and learned to practice techniques from the jungle, coastal, and mountain shamans of Peru. He now teaches these shamanic practices through The Four Winds Society.
The light body school program is based on the medicine wheel and begins in the South. For each direction, students are asked to bring three stones. The first half of each course is personal healing work. The stones are used in energetic clearing exercises and then blessed in ceremony. In this way, they become medicine stones. These stones are kept in an altar of cloth, called a Mesa. Once the medicine wheel portion of the course is complete, students are given one last stone directly from the Laika lineage, to make 13 all together. I now carry six medicine stones.
These teachings spring from a strong feminine tradition, where the deep rich energies of the Earth Mother and the wisdom she holds are highly valued. As in many indigenous cultures, animal archetypes are used to represent the forces of the universe. Every course and healing session begins with opening sacred space and inviting Spirit to be a part of the process. This is done by calling on Serpent from the South, Jaguar from the West, Hummingbird from the North, and Eagle/Condor from the East. Mother Earth and Father Sun are also called on to hold the balance of earth and sky energy.
The animal archetypes not only represent the four spokes of the medicine wheel, they also embody four aspects of self. Serpent represents the physical body and what is perceived by the senses. Through the eyes of Serpent, things are exactly as they appear to be. Jaguar represents the thinking mind, emotions, and the subconscious. Through the eyes of Jaguar, things are not only as they seem. Hummingbird represents each soul’s mythic journey to become its authentic self. Through the eyes of Hummingbird, things appear as they truly are in their very essence. Eagle/Condor is Spirit, pure energy, all that is. Through the eyes of Eagle, everything disappears.
It is within these last two realms that the shamans I am studying with do their work. They work with Spirit at the level of the mythic. Here, great change can and does occur. This work is beyond the body and mind, but includes both. In the teachings I have received so far, we have learned that it is appropriate to address physical needs on a physical level and to address psychological needs at the level of the mind. However, if the presenting issue or experience is stemming from held energetic information, it must be addressed at the level of energy. Hence, energy medicine.
I have learned that each of us has an energy body that informs the mind and the physical form. This energy body is said to hold all the information of our experiences in this lifetime, as well as every previous lifetime. Wounds and traumas that are not cleared between or during lifetimes, continue to inform us in every lifetime until they are healed. As a student of the Healing the Light Body School, I am being taught to work with and perceive energy in many different ways through personal experiential learning.
The techniques I have learned are designed to support others in their own healing. A healing session begins with a brief dialogue to discover the person’s mythic map. I then guide them to use their own breath to increase the flow of energy. As they breathe, I use my medicine stones and techniques I have learned to shift and clear dense energies from the person’s energy body and chakras. This is sometimes done with the help of a rattle, feather, spirit water, or crystal. However, healing comes as a result of each person’s willingness to participate and from the presence of Spirit.
Monté Gagné was born and raised in Saskatoon. She is proud to call the prairies her home and has a great love of this land. After enjoying a career as a performing artist, she was called to work in the healing arts. She is a certified Kripalu YogaDance instructor and has studied Reiki, Cherokee Body Work, and Universal Healing. Based on her training with the Healing the Light Body School, Monté is now offering sessions in shamanic energy medicine. She can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (306) 290-2140.