The Process of Healing The spiritual cosmology of the Andean healer is one where invisible forces are born from unseen worlds that exist both within and without us. These forces, although immaterial, can affect us not only emotionally but physically and bring us good fortune or ill health depending on our alignment to and relationship with them. The work of the curandero is to restore the patient to balance so he is in harmonious standing to these powers and not acting against them or allowing them to overwhelm him. To create this necessary balance three things are important:
1. Faith. Convincing the patient that a cure is possible and enlisting his help to find it in the diagnosis and treatment that follows. This may require a confessional or psychotherapeutic approach on the part of the healer to discover what the patient has done to contribute to his own ill health, a process that in curanderismo is known as placitas, “a heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul discussion” in the words of curandera Elena Avila.8 Once the patient’s role is understood, part of the cure may then be for him to make amends in a practical way to those he has offended — even if they have also done him harm. In this way balance is at least restored between the patient and the cosmic forces that act upon him, and he can also let go of the event itself and the energy of it within him. He can know that he has “done his part” and is not resisting or holding on to things from the past but allowing the energy of God to flow more freely into the present. 2. Hope. Persuading the patient that his mind, spirit, and other resources are powerful and, with the help of the curandero, his greatest assets for dealing effectively with his problems, that “one frightens oneself” or “the mind makes one fly,” as Eduardo Calderon put it.9 Knowing this, the patient is empowered and has a new and vital hope that things can change for the better, and, as psychotherapists like Viktor Frankl have found, hope is the most powerful medicine of all.10 3. Love. Enabling the patient to become more aware of the forces around him, his relationship and responsibility toward them, to others, and to himself so that continuing good health is assured. And through it all, to understand that he is loved by God and never beyond redemption or well-being.
San Pedro is of help in all of these areas but it has special significance in the latter for, as David Luke says in chapter 6, there is research to suggest that the mescaline cactus gives us access to areas of our brains that we do not ordinarily use, but that when activated allow us to perceive the entire cosmic order and experience ourselves within it.
More than this, however, as La Gringa continually makes clear, San Pedro is “the medicine of love,” so what better means could there be for us to realize how loved we are and, no matter what we have done or what has been done to us, how precious we remain in the eyes of God? (via Shamanism and Curanderismo: The Approach to Healing in Peru | Reality Sandwich)
As La Gringa puts it: Every “bad” thing that happens to us is a gift from God because it is an opportunity for learning and growth. If we accept it as that we transmute it and it becomes a force for good; it is only if we cling to what we have lost or what can never be that we begin to engage with misfortune. The answer is often a case of simple gratitude. In situations of loss for example be thankful for what you had, be thankful for what was lost and be thankful for what remains. In this way we do not stand in God’s way and His work for us can be done. (via Shamanism and Curanderismo: The Approach to Healing in Peru | Reality Sandwich)
"A lot of art is about art or cleverness or ego. Not that my art is pure; you can’t get to pure. But shamanism is about delving into the mystery of things and seeing things from different angles. A shaman should do something amazing for society. Who is that in contemporary society? It should be the artists, but you need people to be willing to participate in the mysterious process. Historically, shamans aren’t useful to society in a typical way. For instance, if you’re crippled, you can’t go hunting, so you sit around and watch the seasons and you create these cycles of thought and narratives to help people cope. They help people understand that it’s okay for people to die, because someone is born. It’s okay to kill because things re-grow. The keep it centered. But now, science has obliterated the need to work with the mystery. I do think artists should embrace the “weird” more, rather than trying to get a show or a gallery, or worrying about their career. I fall prey to these things, too, but if artists had more time, maybe they could bring some of the ideas, like, say, energy transference, which is something that belongs to the new age, into art."