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Lessons of the Inca Shamans Piercing the Veil

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Interview with Deborah Bryon

1. What was your prime motivation and inspiration for creating your book, “Lessons of the Inca Shamans Piercing the Veil”?

I felt called by the Apus [spirits of the Andes] and Andean cosmos and that became a strong motivational force inside of me. Upon my return after my first major initiatory experience in the sacred mountains of Peru, I needed to find a way to organize and assimilate the intense energetic experience that had taken place in my body. My life had changed and the way that I related to the world had been altered. Writing helped me to integrate the experience and offer a way for me to share what the medicine people had given me. In exchange for being given the practices and ancient traditions of the Andean medicine people, I committed to bringing the teachings I received to the West so that others could learn them.  
2. What lead you to take the shamanic path and could you share what part of your life you awakened to these teachings?

When I started having dreams and visions in my teens, I began searching for deeper spiritual connection. Living in Western culture, this led me down the path of first becoming a psychologist, and then a Jungian analyst. In modern society, in order to understand our world we have a need to consciously create meaning. Yet, in reality, our minds play only a small part in understanding the totality of our experience. The paqos [men and women who practice Inca Shamanism] say we have three bodies – physical, energy, and spiritual. The energetic and spiritual bodies are where the deepest levels of healing and transformation occur – in spiritual connection. I believe that ultimately this is what we are searching for. What I learned from the mountains and the Andean medicine people (shamans) brought the experience of connection to a much deeper level, because I could feel and experience it in my belly and heart.

3. I got into a shamanism after a shamanic death of sorts consisting of being healed from testicular cancer and my father’s death. What are your thoughts on shamanic deaths?

When we commit to following a spiritual path, usually some form of a dismemberment process of death and rebirth is necessary. In the Andean world death is understood in different ways – apart from physical death, it has infinite purposes in the reality of the cosmos. We die to our old way being in the physical world and spiritual connection becomes a primary focus. This death is necessary to free ourselves from the limitations of the belief systems we adopt living in the modern world. Some say being born into a physical body is death because it requires separation, and dying is a rebirth because, through this process, movement is made into an energetic state of connection. For example, the Andean teachers describe a spiritual death known as rune Paqariy musuq, in which there is birth into a new, transformed being. This is like a newborn child, who continues to learn spirituality to reach full and mature understanding. In this death process, we leave behind our hoocha, which means the aspects we are carrying that we hurt ourselves and those around us.
4. What made you choose the Inca way of shamanism and what is the difference between that and other forms of shamanism from across the world?

There are many similarities between the different forms of shamanism – respect for all living things through service connection to nature. Shamanism is based on ritual and ceremony with specific practices based on clear intention. I am not familiar with all of the other forms of shamanism, but I believe that shamanism is about working for the greater good.
As often seems to happen in life, the opportunity to learn from the Andean medicine people found me and introduced itself. Before coming to Peru I started having dreams about mythical beings in the Inca cosmology, Amaru, the serpent, the jaguar Chocahinchi, and Apucheen, the condor. I developed relationships with the powerful mountain spirits of the Andes as these collective forces became woven into my interior landscape and energy body. This connection was strengthened by working with a mesa (medicine body of sacred stones) as I learned Incan technology.
5. How are you living in both worlds of shamanism and a Jungian analyst, which is mentioned in the blurb by Robin Robertson?

Shamanism and Jungian psychology lie on a continuum with Jungian psychology providing a spiritual method of relating with the powerful collective unconscious within the context of our modern world, and shamanism offering a practice of deep connection with the natural world beyond time and space in ordinary reality. Jungian psychology – and psychoanalysis for that matter – can be very helpful in preparing the ego for a path of shamanism in the context of the Western world. Sturdy egos are necessary to hold the intensity of energetic experience that develops, moving deeper into the spiritual realms. Jungian psychology can prepare us for a shamanic path by helping us to work through wounds and complexes so that we are more present in the experience.
Shamanism differs from Jungian psychology in that the focus is not on bringing greater ego consciousness – shamanism is about expanding and developing the spiritual and energetic body that exists beyond the ego through heart and belly connection. For shamans, the expression of love is much more important than understanding in ego consciousness.

6. What do you mean by the energetic collective?

In the Andes, the principle of nuna pacha, pacha kallpa, etc. organize and govern the energy world, through energetic activity. In the context of our world, this translates to levels of the perception – as movement is made from spirit to matter. Energetic collective energy refers to the state in which everything is connected beyond time and space – where there is no longer form and image.

7. What teaching or exercise from your book would you like to share with our readers to help them at this time in our world?

The Q’ero shamans believe humans and all other living things have a luminous body, or energetic field, surrounding them. The energy held in the luminous body is the creative force existing in the universe. This energetic expression separately defines and holds all aspects of the psyche, and the totality of psychic energy. It is the blueprint — the underlying mechanism in the way we perceive the world and find meaning in our experiences. The luminous body is the urn that contains the collective experience of one’s ancestors and the imprint that will be passed on to the generations of children to come. It is composed of lived and unlived individual and collective experiences. For the shaman, the luminous body is the vessel that contains their power. In humans, the luminous body can be seen as an energetic web of light consisting of three chakras or important energy centers located in the Belly, the Heart, and the Mind.

As we become more familiar with the shamanic realm, our ability to sense a vibrational frequency through feeling a pulse or seeing the surrounding energy field of the luminous body grows stronger. Some people see the particles of luminous energy as light. Others feel it more as a touch. In any case practice improves our ability to sense the fields. Over time, what we may have initially accepted on faith becomes real and tangible in our experience of a shared reality.

Exercise 1: Becoming acquainted with the luminous body
Close your eyes. Imagine being wrapped in a glowing and pulsating bubble of iridescent light made up of thin threads and fibers that surround you. The density of these strands has some slight variation, with the greatest concentration being in your belly. Next, imagine some of the filaments of light energy that make up your luminous body reaching out into the world, touching the ground, while others attach to whatever else is around you. These threads are part of the energetic field that connects you to everything surrounding you. Fully focus your attention on what you are perceiving and feeling, noticing any subtle changes occurring in your body. This is how perception on the energetic level is experienced. Working with this imagery repeatedly over time will strengthen your ability to experience the world differently, as an energetic expression of life. When we are feeling healthy and alive, the light of our surrounding bubble expands and grows stronger and brighter.

8. What are you up to next book wise or projects wise and do you have any links you would like to share?

The next book, Lessons of the Inca Shamans Part 2: Beyond the Veil is on the actual teachings of the Andean medicine people, and the voices of the Apus. Currently, I am working on a couple of writing projects with the medicine people of Ayllu K’anchaq Qoyllur, and the altomesayoq, Adolfo Tito Condori and Rodolfo Tito Condori. I have begun working on a book about my experience and training with Adolfo. We are also compiling a book on the individual stories of walking the spiritual path of Andean medicine.

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