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Bought and Sold


My adventures of exploration in the realm of spiritual enlightenment has gracefully shown me the shadows that accompany the light.… I have come to see how important it is to ask questions. How is it we decide who holds authority on spiritual wisdom, and why do we give them that role? Is it the soul loss permeating our culture that leads us to believe someone outside of ourselves can define our personal connection with spirit? And with that expectation what then do we assume of those that hold the power?

I had naively believed in a universal consensus amongst healers, that we all honoured that which is sacred in this world.( you know, an etheric gathering over tea, where we all said, “yeah I know this is about oneness.. about healing, I won’t let my ego get in the way!”) I suppose some may argue that sacred is a matter of perspective. However there are some universal truths that hold strong. Honesty and integrity are great examples.. I think they are also called a code of ethics… My naiveté brought me some great teachers, and provided me with opportunities to remove my rose colored glasses and observe what is going on around me. (Thank God!) I saw how important it is to consider, what is being bought, what is being sold…At what cost..

With an ache to understand who I am, and a desire to cast off any fears that stood in my way, I began the process of moving through the Inca Medicine wheel some two years past. It is there that I had the honour of meeting and training with Denise Kinch a medicine woman from MA. She trained personally with Don Manuel Quispe, Holy Man and Altomesayok of the Q’ero Indians of Peru. She teaches very differently from what we expect here in the west. She presents it as an offering. And if we choose all the tools are given to create our own healing. She will not hold your hand, fix it for you, or repeat what she has taught. Absolute presence is required…Though you may pay for the 3day weekend, you cannot pay for the medicine. Choosing to become it means reweaving the fabric of your being, which takes time, and means doing your homework…..This is the Mountain Medicine of the Q’ero.

Don Manuel believed the healing of our world would come from the west. A way for us of the West to take responsibility for the current state of our planet. So he spent his life time training as many ‘westerners’ as possible. Denise was with him in his last conscious moment where he asked her to continue this important work and bequeathed her his lineage. The Q’ero come from the mountain Huaman Reaper and are known as the masters of energy medicine. The beauty of their tradition lies in its simplicity. They recognise that we are not separate from our environment and therefore may communicate with the stone people, plant people, tree people, mountains, stars and ancestors at any given time. We need only observe and listen. When we listen from our heart connected to spirit we see the brilliance of who we are. In that moment we have no need to look for any ‘thing’ to fix us, or fill us, as we ‘are’ everything we need..

This is an Oral tradition. We discipline our selves to be present and ‘become’ what we are learning rather than record it for future reference. Having faith that we will remember what is needed at the right time. Once we insist on writing everything down we attempt to quantify the limitlessness of spirit and in that moment we create limits. How come so many of us are seeking answers in heart based native traditions, only to turn around and make them into quantifiable western traditions that are all from the head? Our spirits are so hungry, yet in our quest to quantify we end up consuming ourselves. Our belief that spiritual enlightenment can be purchased has made room for many false prophets in our world. Our certainty that another will show us the right way to pray, to “be” in this world, has caused us to loose sight of our intuitive place of knowing. This is not for sale. We cannot buy it. We have to slow down, shut up and listen. Without worry, without fear.

As I learned to be still enough to allow who I am to unfold, I started to honestly observe my surroundings. Where I had once assumed that many teachers, and healers with ‘power’ had honed in on a relationship with spirit that I was not privy too; I saw instead that many of them were ‘winging it’! Full of doubt! Yes, I had been the one who had put them on pedestals and made these assumptions. I had thought that books on the best sellers list at chapters was the spiritual doctorate required! Or Shaman on a business card was true. (why would someone lie?!) And though some I knew personally had not demonstrated who they were by HOW they lived their lives, I had made excuses for them. I had not wanted to see them. I also had not been willing to see the Market that spirituality is. Or perhaps my ego dictated that ‘my’ path was sacred and separate from the paths of exploitation.. Hahaha, joke was on me! As I integrated the process of the medicine wheel I saw that there are no excuses. We all have everything we want. We’ve created it, conscious or not. Be it Drama or suffering, peace or bliss. Own it!

Don Manuel asked us to look closely at our teachers, and those who are leaders in this world. How they walk in their personal lives is the only way to observe what is real. What is their relationship with their family, their partners, their communities, their work?…Do they embody who they say they are?.. Talk is cheap.

In Peru there are not many Q’ero learning the mountain medicine anymore. They are hungry for what we have in the west. Funny how that works. Yet we will buy anything, so we are sold variations of their traditions, half invented by western shaman and called whatever they feel like calling it at the time, as we will believe and we will pay. Why do we do that? Q’ero are hired to perform healing ceremonies as real ‘legitimate’ medicine people and we assume that their clothes and their language authenticate the experience. No questions asked. ASK QUESTIONS!!! Use your ability to observe! Ask your self about ceremony, what is it for and what purpose does it serve. Especially if you are participating in it!! To a medicine person, this is a sacred thing not to be taken lightly, not to be done for show… It is an elder who‘s lifetime’s dedication gives him the ability to call the winds, to serve the Ayllu (community). How old are these Q’ero Medicine People…?

In my heart I needed to honour the gifts of this medicine by connecting with it’s country. As an apprenticing teacher, an etheric understanding is not enough for me. If I want to embody it, I have to have breathed it in from the soil of its birth, bathed in the waters of it‘s rivers and walked next to the stars in the mountains of its ancestors. We have chosen a human, physical incarnation for a reason. And this is Mountain Medicine. When I participated in ceremony on the mountain of Ausangate with Don Manuels son, I was able to see a fraction of what it means to be a mountain person. When I walked with him on the mountain and sat with him by our Llama poo fire, again I saw a glimpse of what it truly means.… And this is only a glimpse.

So this brings me to the question, can someone be teaching and offering an indigenous tradition when they have not physically connected with that land. Is it possible? As teachers we need to ask ourselves what our agenda is, and what is it we think we are ‘selling’. As students we need to ask ourselves what we are ’buying’. Are we hooked by a great sales pitch, or by our personal hunger…? Is our need to be healed once again consuming us….Are we allowing ourselves to be bought and sold? What is your price?

About the author:

Sarah Salter-Kelly has always known she is a healer, being taught from a young age that our healing potential lies within and is available at any time. She truly put that to the test when her mother was brutally murdered by a stranger. Her determination to heal showed her that she needed to find peace with the man who had killed her mother. That our teachers take many forms. Through this journey she learned she could only free herself from her deepest wounds with forgiveness and compassion. She saw how to release her fears when she was willing to know them. She has found her power in choosing to liberate her personal victim. Sarah has realised she is responsible for her life journey and that by co-creating with spirit, anything is possible!

Sarah is a healer and teacher. Her quest for knowledge has lead her to study Reiki, Andean Medicine tradition, Alchemical Healing and Aromatherapy. She is in the process of anchoring her work with a healing center on her land near Pigeon lake Alberta.
Sarah teaches us to find our power in choosing to liberate our personal story. To know we are responsible for everything we co-create with spirit, and that our teachers take many forms. She offers us tools to look into ourselves and see with our own senses what we need to heal so we may know from the inside out. In this way we may create the life our spirit hungers for.


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