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In this episode I spoke with Jose Harvey of My Normal Gay Life about his experience with an indigenous shamanic ritual cleansing in Ecuador.
Jose is no stranger to the supernatural. He has fascinating stories from his family and travels and I could have chatted with him all day. But this is a story that stood out for him and his husband, who both underwent this ritual.
It all began with a spa services type menu, presented by their hosts at a remote eco lodge in Ecuador.
The stay was an add on to a trip to the Galapagos islands. Jose and his husband were traveling with friends. Everyone in the party looked forward to some rest and relaxation in this special spot, near the town of Ottavalo, nestled between volcanos.
When they arrived they were surprised to find many mirrors placed around the property. This was to reflect the volcano’s energy. Spending time in this type of energizing location is ideal, but apparently the powerful energy there needed some tweaking and re-direction. Energy, both positive and negative, is highly charged, considered and managed in this location.
The hotel’s menu offered the usual gamut of wellness treatments like yoga and massage. But one thing was novel and unique to this location. At the end of the menu Jose spied the opportunity to sign up for a cleansing ritual.
This ritual is designed to rid yourself of accumulated negative energy. Afterwards, they promised, you would feel amazing.
As someone with training and experience in “world of woo” Jose was naturally skeptical about what he might encounter during this ritual experience. He worried that perhaps there were promises that could not be met.
His husband, a very logical scientist, was even more skeptical. Nevertheless, he agreed to go along with Jose. They signed up for the cleansing, along with their friends. One of their friends was there to experience it with them, and the other agreed to film it.
Jose has been known to dive right in to local cultures, traditions and rituals before. If you check out his blog My Normal Gay Life, you can read about his other adventures, including the time he attended a Romanian Wedding in full local costume. Part of his desire to travel and tell stories, is also to have the chance to open his heart and mind to the magic and tradition of other people, in other places.
For this experience, however, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Just what do you wear to a shamanic ritual cleansing? Would he have to get naked? Drink or eat anything? Who else would be present?
He certainly didn’t expect to see a family with teenagers present at the ritual site. This was the family of the shaman and they were there to observe and learn from her. Shamanic knowledge is being lost to migration to large cities. Few children stay to learn the skills to lead these rituals in modern time. The shaman explained that her family had been passing down their knowledge as long as anyone had recorded or could remember, and probably longer. Jose was about to participate in what was genuinely, an ancient ritual.
How the shaman knew what she was able to tell him, is truly a mystery.