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Andean shaman, Juan Navarro, was born in the highland village of Somate, department of Piura. He is the descendant of a long line of healers working with san pedro and with the magical powers of the sacred lakes known as Las Huaringas, which have been revered for their healing properties since the earliest Peruvian civilization.

 At the age of eight, Juan made a pilgrimage to Las Huaringas and drank san pedro for the first time. Now in his 50’s, every month or so it is still necessary for him to return there to accumulate the energy he needs to protect and heal his people.  Healing sessions with san pedro involve an intricate sequence of processes, including invocation, diagnosis, divination, and healing with natural ‘power objects’, called artes, which are kept, during the ceremony, in a complicated and precise array on the maestro’s altar or mesa.  Artes may include shells, swords, magnets, quartz crystals, objects resembling sexual organs, rocks which spark when struck together, and stones from animals’ stomachs which they have swallowed to aid digestion. They bring magical qualities to the ceremony where, under the visionary influence of san pedro, their invisible powers may be seen and experienced.  The maestro’s mesa, on which these artes sit, is a representation of the forces of nature and the cosmos. Through the mesa the shaman is able to work with and influence these forces to diagnose and heal disease. Always on these altars are seguros – magical  amulet bottles filled with perfume, plants, and seeds gathered from Las Huaringas. According to Juan Navarro, a seguro is a “friend” or “ally”, someone you can turn to for advice and information, who will listen and share your problems. Less poetically, a seguro is a clear glass bottle which contains perfumes, sacred water and, of course, a selection of plants chosen for their specific healing and spiritual qualities.  These bottles are kept on an altar, in sacred space, and regarded as objects of great power. Whenever the person who has a seguro requires help with any practical or spiritual problem, he will take it from the altar and sit with it against his heart, speaking with it as if to a friend. The seguro will absorb and transform the energy of his problems but, more importantly, if he listens carefully, the person who seeks its advice will hear the answers he needs from the spirit of the plants themselves. A seguro can help you maintain and deepen your link to the sacred because, of course, it contains your plant ally. If there are other plants you have journeyed to or would like to learn from, these can be added to the seguro as well and, when you know the language of your ally, this plant spirit will communicate your desire to the other plants, which will also offer their healing and support. You therefore gain access to the natural world and its powers more widely. To create a seguro, you will need a glass bottle, approximately 5” high, which can be sealed. Fill this 1/3rd full with perfume of your choice and top up with water. In Juan Navarro’s seguros, this is water from the sacred lakes of Las Huaringas, but mineral water (as pure as possible) can also be used. Once this base is prepared, meditate for a while on the qualities you would like in your life and which plants might bring you these things. Be informed in this by your work with the doctrine of signatures – heather for luck, honesty for truth, goldenrod for wealth, and so on.  Add these plants to your bottle, arranging them as attractively as possible (some seguros are so beautiful they are works of art in themselves), then place your plant allies in the bottle so they can act as mediators for all others. Before you seal the bottle, blow your dominio (intention) into it three times, and then put on the lid. Place the bottle on your altar and reflect on its qualities often. Whenever you are in need of advice, sit with your seguro and speak with it. Then notice how things change for you.  Join us for an authentic experience of ayahuasca, San Pedro, and plant spirit shamanism in the beautiful rainforests and mountains of Peru. Email ross@thefourgates.com for a FREE Information Pack or visit the website http://www.thefourgates.com and look under the Sacred Journeys section.

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