If practiced seriously, said Ms. Mokelke, shamanism is a strict discipline that involves years of study. There is no official licensing or certification process to become a shaman, partly because shamanic powers have been passed down through lineage, she said; It is not a substitute for medical treatment, although it could be a supplement.
"When we train people, let's say, look, if someone is seriously ill, see a doctor or a therapist, but you don't neglect the spiritual aspect of the disease," said Ms. Mokelke. "Shamanism focuses on the spiritual."
Yet there is also an element of fate, suggests Mr Verrett.
"You won't become a shaman because you went to Peru, bought a poncho, sang some sacred songs, and learned how to do a booming amount of ayahuasca," he writes in his book. "You become a shaman because the spirits choose you as a shaman."
& # 39; The other side & # 39;
Born Derek Verrett (he changed the spelling of his first name to “Durek” in 2013, “because I felt like a new person,” he said) grew up in an affluent, mostly white neighborhood in Foster City. California, in a strict Seventh-day Adventist house.
His father, who had trained as a shaman but ran a construction business, was Afro-Creole and came from New Orleans. and his mother, a psychic medium, is West Indian-Norwegian and from New York. She returned there after they divorced, and his father wavered between encouraging his son's shamanic gifts and asking them to "be normal," Verrett said.
In his book, Mr. Verrett writes that his father, who died in 2017, was physically abusive, taught him that homosexuality is wrong (Mr. Verrett has dated women and men) and that “the only way to get ahead in life was with a white woman on your arm. "