by Alberto Villoldo: Eduardo Calderon was a fisherman. He lived in the North Coast region of Peru,
near the fabled Shimbe lagoons, and had a natural gift for seeing the luminous nature of life. Eduardo was the descendant of the Moche, a great civilization that thrived a millennium ago.
He developed his gift through years of training, and he could look at you and recite the story of your life, both the public story that you wore on the surface as well as the more intimate, secret stories that each of us carries.
Don Eduardo’s reputation as a seer and healer spread throughout Peru. Even members of the Senate came to see him. My mentor, Don Antonio, had indicated on a number of occasions that I should travel to work with Don Eduardo. The coastal shamans were renowned for their ability to see into the Spirit world.
This was an art that had been lost in the Andes. Most relied, rather unskillfully, on reading coca leaves. I did not respond very enthusiastically to Antonio’s suggestion. I had my hands full training with him, and I already was spending time in the Amazon learning the Death Rites and the journey beyond death.
And then Antonio disappeared. I had flown back to Peru to spend three months traveling the highlands with him. He had taken a sabbatical from the university, and no one knew where he had gone or when he would come back. It was the rainy season in the Amazon, which made traveling there impossible. Reluctantly I packed my bags and went to visit Don Eduardo, whom I had worked with several years earlier.
The day after I arrived, he was scheduled to perform a healing ceremony. There were twenty-five or thirty people, the sick and their families, gathered in a circle at night on the beach. Eduardo had an assistant on either side. After about an hour I felt a need to stretch my legs, so I walked down the beach. When I returned to the circle, I noticed that one of Don Eduardo’s assistants was gone. The man had become ill and lay wrapped in a blanket.
Eduardo motioned for me to come to his side and take the assistant’s place. As soon as I sat next to Don Eduardo I felt I had entered another more lucid and crystalline world. It was as if someone had turned on the lights and I could see. The luminous shapes that I had seen in the Andes with Don Antonio paled in comparison. When I walked a few feet away, the world became filled with the darkness of night once again. Don Eduardo’s Luminous Energy Field was making my seeing crystal clear.
He then turned to me and told me that I had a gift, but that I had to train it, to learn to see with clarity and precision. That night, for the first time, I saw an intrusive entity. This spirit was lodged inside a woman’s Luminous Energy Field. The parasitic entity was sucking her life force.
She had come to Eduardo complaining she was depressed and in despair. The healer stood up, took a sword and crystal from his altar, and proceeded to extract the intrusive entity that was causing this woman’s ailment.
“We have to heal it,” he said as he turned toward me. “This is her brother, who was killed in an automobile accident a few months ago. He doesn’t know that he is dead, and he has come to his sister for assistance.” He then performed a healing for the deceased brother, to help him awaken from the nightmare he was in and complete his journey to the Spirit world.
“A priest would have done an exorcism and tossed this soul back into the dark,” Don Eduardo said. That night my eyes were opened to a world I had previously refused to accept. I had believed naively that only angels and luminous beings inhabited the Spirit world. The last thing I wanted to discover was that physical and emotional conditions can be caused by invasive spirit entities. I wanted nothing to do with the “lowlifes” of the Spirit world. But I did want to learn to see. And Don Eduardo was a master seer.
What I saw taught me that a person does not automatically become holy because he has died. There are as many troubled people on the other side as there are in the physical world. Eduardo taught me the kawak—the seer’s rite of passage that awaken one’s ability to peer into the invisible world.