In search of the Shaman – Part I : Piura, Peru. December 2008

The room is dark. Scary masks on the wall. Blades. Our shadows flicker faintly. We are in a hidden place somewhere deep inside the market of Piura. Creepy as may be, it feels good. “Did you ever travel to the world of dreams?”. “Yes”. “And what did you see in your dreams?” He’s testing me. The answer comes spontaneously. “I saw how souls connect, heal each other and divide again. Surrounded by infinity”. He asks me a few more questions. I reply them quick and honestly. Then, the curandero stands up and walks back his shop. “El señor es un maestre.” He just called me one of them. He sits down in front of me and explains that there is a war going on between magicians. Black ones poison people to slowly drain their life. White ones enter the bodies of the ill to meet and combat the anchors that the black ones left behind. It becomes a mental battle. The loser gets ill, the winner gets power. Like energetic capitalism. It’s what they believe.

I have been drawn by shamanism. I have walked the woods in search of spirits and now I am actively contacting shamans to learn. But something went to easily here. It feels too normal. If I’m one of them already, what is there left to learn? ”I want to learn to contact spirits.” We chat a little longer with as a result an appointment for an expensive ritual I will never attend, because I’ll lose my bankcard.

I’ll walk out of this little shop, into the colourfull market. People skillfully attract my attention, yet I rely on my constant physical motion to get through without sticking to someone trying to sell me something. I leave the market to walk back home. I always felt as if I had access to a world most people don’t know. This guy acknowledged that, but he did not seem to care. I’m somehow let down .

In the dust of the road, I find five parts of a ripped playing card, all lying there with their red backsides faced upwards. I turn a part around. The Joker. What a fool I was.



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