Shamanism is defined by Don Theo Parades as the essence of spirituality and the most primitive, archaic way of finding out about the unknown; and as a way of living in order to bring about an alchemical transformation in one’s life.

Just as a Chinese medicine practitioner uses the physical body as his point of entry to enable physical, emotional and spiritual healing, the shaman uses the energy body to enact a healing with ayahuasca. And while a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis moves from the present into the future, a shamanic healing is not limited by any context of time or space. The shamanic practice is centered in magical consciousness–an early form of consciousness in which time and space had not yet entered the field of human awareness, and therefore, simply didn't exist. (Magical consciousness is discussed in detail in Chapter 10: Magic.) This is very freeing for the shaman. Thus, his intervention in any present moment becomes a simultaneous healing of the past, present and future. What he sees on the energy body might source from a past trauma, or might possibly be the suggested mirage of what will constellate in the future. He doesn't actually know or care, because he simply sees the abnormality and uses his shamanic tools to clear it. For this reason, healing ceremonies take place in the pitch black of night to reinforce the timeless and space-less nature of the work. The patient is treated in a dark pristine void, not unlike the sterile operating conditions necessitated by a surgeon.

Both the shaman and his healing subject partake of the ayahuasca. Ayahuasca, the mother of all the sacred plants, acts as the shaman's partner and guide in the healing, and enhances his ability to see. For the person being treated, the ayahuasca opens him or her to the timeless intervention offered by the shaman, as well as the opportunity to connect with the possibilities and deep insights imparted by the plant herself. Given ayahuasca's honored position and long inhabitance on earth, she holds the wisdom of all time in her cells. She is wild, untamed and unpredictable.

Working with ayahuasca is always an act of stepping into the unknown. Theo Paredes, Ph.D., my shamanic teacher, describes the experience as entering the world's largest library where stories and information are limitless. It is not possible to know and read every book in this vast library. Every visit, no matter how many times one goes there, will always be a totally new experience because this library of greater consciousness is constantly evolving and expanding. It is not only infinitely huge, but also thriving and alive.

Excerpt from Outside of Time: A Woman’s Exploration Within the Confines of Forever

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(The sister site of Machu Picchu.  Only one-third of it has been excavated.)