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Excerpt from "A Healer of Souls"

by Dawn Paul

How It All Began…

I had been drawn to Machu Picchu for years but, for some reason, had never managed to get there. Machu Picchu is cited as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, and is often referred to as ‘The Lost City of the Inca.’ A mountain rising to just under 8,000 feet above sea level, covered in 15th-century Inca ruins, it surely is a sight to behold, and breathtaking in more ways than one.

As so often happens when one is on a spiritual path, as soon as I admitted defeat and stopped trying to find my path, it found me. For during my visit to Machu Picchu, quite unexpectedly, I received a powerful and mystical vision which was to change my life forever. I had climbed to the highest point at Machu Picchu to see the Intihuatana stone – also known as the ‘hitching post of the Sun.’ I was feeling frustrated as I had only caught the last two minutes of a talk about the stone, and the crowd was being shown out of the area down some steep and crumbling steps. I was the last to leave the enclosure, and as I cautiously made my way down the ancient steps, something red caught my eye.

Startled, I looked up and saw that I was surrounded by about twenty Inca, all staring intently at me, red cloaks blowing in the strong valley winds, with feathered helmets on their heads and what appeared to be spears in their hands. Having previously enjoyed a trip to Rome that same year, and seen locals dressed up as gladiators and centurions posing for photos outside the Coliseum, I assumed that the Inca before me were a similar sort of tourist attraction, which to be honest I was a little upset about.

But as I was able to focus my attention more fully onto them, I noticed that they were fading in and out, as if they were being tuned out on an old-fashioned television. I stopped dead in my tracks right there on the steps. I looked around to see if anyone else was close by, and amazingly, given the 400 visitors a day who visit Machu Picchu, no one was around. I could just make out a friend sitting against a rock in the distance but that was it.

Fearing my knees would fail me, I wobbled my way to the bottom of the stairs. An Inca was standing a short distance away from me, but he was dressed differently to the rest. Apart from a slit in his helmet exposing his deep black eyes, he was completely covered in golden armor. And he was immensely powerful, so powerful that I could barely stand in front of him. I kept subtly pinching myself to make sure I was not dreaming, but there was no doubt he was there, right in front of me, and I was wide awake.

I will admit it, I was pretty terrified, but something in me knew that I must maintain eye contact with him. The charge from his eyes was so strong that when his gaze met mine, a blue ball of electricity formed equidistant between us which crackled and sparked in mid-air. Tears flowed from my eyes and my knees shook, but I maintained my stance at what I hoped was a respectful distance. I had no idea what I was supposed to do – or who he was – so I just stood there, bravely fronting up to him, holding my own.

Suddenly his armored arm shot out and he pointed directly at me. His voice boomed, ‘You must follow this path – and we will help you!’ He then pointed to another Inca on the plateau below us, and indicated I was to go to him. Again, this Inca was powerful but dressed more traditionally. I stood in front of him, again having no idea what to do, and was pretty alarmed when he made a grab for my throat! He wrestled something out of me, threw it into the wind, and then indicated I could leave down some uneven steps down the side of the mountain. A sharp stone dug into the underside of my foot and when I looked down at it,

I saw that instead of my sturdy walking boots, I had a pair of black leather Inca boots wrapped around my feet. This stunned me and I realized it was a sign I had been here before. The winds rushed up from the river valley below and plastered me against the side of the mountain. I could barely catch my breath. But then suddenly the wind died down and I heard a voice saying I could go now, and that was it! I was completely dazed, but it was a truly amazing experience and I will never forget it as long as I live.

On returning to the UK, however, I soon found that I had a very hard choice to make. I had spent many years praying and searching in order to find my path – now, it had found me, in no uncertain terms. But I needed to take time off work to start my training. I had no idea what had happened to me at Machu Picchu, but I knew one thing for sure: whoever that shiny golden Inca man was, I did not want to disobey his command and deep down I knew it was very important that I followed his direction. I asked my boss for unpaid leave so I could begin my studies, but this request was refused, leaving me with no option but to resign and leave a six-figure job and all the security it brought. Of course everyone at the bank, my friends and my family thought I was crazy, but now I had a direction, a very clear indication of the path I should take, and I could not ignore it.

Two years after resigning from the bank I read a wonderful book about the Q’ero – the medicine people of the Andes – entitled Masters of the Living Energy, by Joan Parisi Wilcox. My mouth gaped open as I read the following paragraph, which Joan has kindly allowed me to reproduce for you. (Note: the word apu refers to the ‘Lord’ of a holy mountain and a paqo denotes a person on the Andean medicine path.)

When an apu determines that a paqo has acquired personal power commensurate with the apu’s own power, then it may call that paqo into service. The call most often comes in the form of a dream or vision during which the apu talks to the paqo, offering to be his or her master and teacher. For a paqo, to receive the call of an apu is to receive an estrella, which is the Spanish word for ‘star’ … To be called by an estrella means that a paqo has found his luck, his guiding spirit. Since the spirit of an apu cannot be seen directly, it often appears in the guise of an animal or person. Its most common animal appearance is as a hummingbird, bull, condor or puma. It most frequently appears in human form as a man in white or shining clothing that comes to a paqo in a dream, or, less frequently, in a vision … But each call does not have to be answered. Paqos are free to refuse to accept an estrella, although to do so can imperil not only that paqo’s health and even his life, but also may adversely affect his family.

I realized that what I had seen at Machu Picchu in my vision was not an Inca chief or king after all, but the holy mountain Machu Picchu itself, in human form, calling me into service as a shaman! And after reading the last paragraph, I was very glad I had followed my instincts and left the bank. Having said that, it has not been an easy journey at all and I have been deeply challenged at every step – in every aspect of my life. Someone once told me that of all the spiritual paths to take, the shamanic path is the hardest, and I know now that they certainly were not joking! But I wouldn’t change anything; this is who I am.

Following a mystical experience at Machu Picchu, a citadel of the Inca in Peru, Dawn Paul was instructed to become a Master Shaman of the Inca Tradition. She works worldwide as a shamanic healer, a life coach, EFT Practitioner, Theta Healer and Spiritual Teacher and have clients from all races, religions and backgrounds ranging from seven months to ninety years of age. Her book, A Healer of Souls, is about her journey, it is about the journeys of her clients, and it is about your journey, and how you can make the best of it.

A Healer of Souls, Dawn Paul - published in December 2012 by O Books  ISBN: 978-1-78099-355-3, £9.99 / $18.95, paperback, 288pp

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