Transformational Experiences: What a Peruvian Shaman Taught Me About Life

At AdventureWomen, we know many (probably most) of our guests return from their trips forever changed by the experience – sometimes in small ways, sometimes in larger ways. But what we love hearing about the most is how they shared their new insights with others, helping to spread new perspectives, knowledge, and ideas from one culture to another.

Here is one of those stories from AdventureWomen guest Faye Jacobs who just returned from our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru.

“Before traveling with you fine women at AdventureWomen to Peru, I did not know much about Shamans…

The shaman-led service we shared just last week, high up on a mountaintop, had a huge impact on me. I found it to be spiritually moving and incredibly beautiful. Before meeting Shaman Lorenzo, I had no idea what to expect but immediately upon meeting him, I sensed something entirely genuine about him. He hiked with us up to Humantay Lake amidst the most beautiful Andes scenery before we reached the spot for our traditional ceremony. During this moving experience, Lorenzo looked into my eyes as he recited words I did not understand. He gently encouraged me to move in four different directions while he seemingly blessed me in his indigenous language. I remember being in somewhat of a trance while he spoke, feeling somehow that he heard my innermost wishes without me even having a reciprocal conversation with him. There was a beautiful silence among our group while the ceremony took place, a powerful experience and a special addition to an already awesome adventure.

AdventureWomen guest Faye with Shaman Lorenzo

Since my return from my trip to Peru, I’ve been doing some reading about Peruvian Shamans, and am ever so grateful that I was able to participate in this authentic cultural experience. Recently, a neighbor of mine moved to the city and ‘gifted’ me with the brown metal sculpture you see in the image below.  With the hat worn at our Peruvian ceremony and some other items purchased in Cusco (with the help of fellow guest Phyllis), another neighbor agreed to be my assistant and together, on Halloween, we put together a ‘sweet’ learning experience for a few of the kids on my street and their parents. I wanted to teach them the meaning of the word ’Shaman’. 

I began by asking them the question, ‘Can you guess what I am’?  The kids’ answers ranged from a teacher to a farmer.  I then told them that I was a make believe Shaman and that I had met a real Shaman whose name was Lorenzo while traveling in Peru. I described climbing a mountain that was very high and the Shaman ceremony where we all prayed and wished for things we wanted, just like when the kids blow out their birthday candles. I shared with them that Shamans can be either a man or a woman and that Shamans can sometimes help dreams come true. Truthfully, the parents were even more intrigued than the kids!

A (make believe) Peruvian Shaman, her she-sheep and their mule, Houston.

Each day since returning from Peru, I sit in front of my computer and scroll through the images we all captured and shared with each other. There are so many wonderful memories! Thank you to each and every one of you for being part of this incredible Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.” 

With appreciation, Faye.


  • The Q’ero Shamans live high up in the Central Andes Mountains in Central Peru. Their location is central to their belief that it is only where “the sky kisses the earth, the man walks with the Puma and his mind flies as the Condor” can cosmic knowledge stay alive and continue to inspire the traditions of the shaman.
  • The Q’ero are the most respected Paqos or Shamans in the Andean region, continuing to live, dress, and practice traditions of the Incas. They can be male or female.
  • A shaman is initiated by the Karpays on a specific sacred mountain and their powers are derived from nature and natural sources of light from the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. They invite all to walk in the Qapac Ñan (the Royal road) the spiritual path, toward great consciousness of the living world and have respect for and protect nature, guided by the spirits of the Condor, the Puma, the great Serpent, and the Hummingbird.
  • Shamans are masters of energy-based healing. They draw energy from two prime sources, the cosmos (Kawsay Pacha) and Mother Earth (Pachamama). According to their traditions, everything is connected. Illnesses and traumas, for example, are considered a disruption of balance within a person as well as in relation to other people. Illnesses attach themselves to the energetic field around our bodies. By cleansing this energetic field, recovery can be accomplished and an illness can be healed before it manifests in the body. Restoring balance can result in the recovery of all kinds of ailments.