Plant Spirit Shamanism The seguro

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 50s, 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 maestros 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 Navarros seguros, this is water from the sacred lakes of Las Huaringas, but mineral water (as pure as possible) can also be used.