Initiated in the healing and spiritual traditions of the Andes and Amazon, Marcela Lobos is no stranger to mythic journeys. As a medicine woman, her passion is guiding others toward wholeness through ceremony, archetype and the sacred energies of nature. As a senior teacher with the Four Winds Society, she has helped usher in a new generation of shamanic practitioners at a time when she believes the world needs them more than ever.
We spoke to Marcela about energy medicine and the Peruvian Q’ero shamans who will join her at Esalen this month for The Heart of the Shaman: The Oracle and the Art of Divination.
Esalen News: What started you on the path of the shaman?
Marcela: Through my own intuition I follow my path in life, and at age 19 that led me from Chile to Peru, straight to the source of our Andean teachings. I went to Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. At that time I recognized my path to becoming a medicine woman. Then I took a karmic detour.
I got married and had kids and I learned the harder lessons of life, the challenges. Going through this difficulty was so important. It gave me more compassion; if you don’t have compassion it’s very difficult to become a healer.
I also have studied intensively with a Machi healer in southern Chile, who is part of a matriarchal lineage that holds the wisdom of the feminine. They are drummers, very fierce. I worked with her for 10 years. Then I got to a point in which I had completed my cycle with this mentor. I realized I am my own unique person born in the Western world, and I have my own way. So I divorced all the traditions to find my own authentic way to become a shaman.
Esalen News: What is shamanic energy work?
Marcela: Shamans create sacred space. They bring any situation into sacredness and give it meaning and the potential to heal and transform. When we enter sacred space, we tap into a non-ordinary region in the brain, moving from the limbic system, which is more dominant in Western culture, to the neocortex and frontal lobe. Operating from this region helps people experience communion, safety and oneness, and tap into the place that can rewire our way of connecting with reality, and bring it to a more authentic place. That’s where we find meaning. And then we can go back to our lives with clearer purpose.
Esalen News: Why is this medicine important today?
Marcela: We have been pulled out from our roots. We have forgotten the wisdom of our ancestors; we have forgotten the medicine of the earth, land, plants, forest and of nature. Because we have forgotten, we Westerners find ourselves drifting in times of upheaval, chaos and uncertainty. It is difficult to find our true north, our true purpose. More than anything I can help people remember their full potential, and that we are all medicine — we are all children of the earth and heavens.
Esalen News: Who are the Q’ero shamans joining you at Esalen?
Marcela: The Q’ero are part of an ancient culture from high in the Peruvian Andes that stayed isolated for 500 years. They hid from the Inquisition, the Industrial Revolution and the Western world. They came down from 16,000 feet elevation only in the 1950s.
The Q’ero are keepers of a prophecy that foretells the coming of a new era. The shamanic processes they share help people envision and dream a new world into being. Working with them illuminates a deep, deep connection with nature and primal tradition. Don Pascual, in particular, is so much of the old ways that he seems to come from another dimension! He is coming to California and crossing a portal to the 21st century. Don Juan is younger, he is of both worlds. During our time together at Esalen, we will experience a sacred leaf ceremony as part of our exploration of oracles and sacred space. Just being with don Pascual and don Juan is such a deep transmission of ancient knowledge. We will learn to work with archetypes and read the energies of the times to come, and support the most auspicious possibilities for the future.
Learn more about The Heart of the Shaman: The Oracle and the Art of Divination with Marcela, don Pascual and don Juan.
Photos courtesy of Marcela Lobos.