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When I first qualified as an Osteopath my goal was to build a bustling clinic, where patients could come to get their musculoskeletal issues sorted out – a clinic where they felt safe and listened to.

To an extent, I feel I have achieved this. In our line of work we see so many patients, all of whom are totally individual and all of whom have very different stories to tell. Although we often tend to get on top of the physical symptoms, I have often been left feeling that there is another depth to their problems…a more emotional and energetic component to their pain. As a practitioner I have wanted, for so long, to be able to address this aspect to create a greater sense of completion to my work. Osteopaths and other musculoskeletal practitioners are not psychotherapists or counsellors, but we often come close to the sun. The space that we create for our patients is one of safety and one of confidentiality – it is only natural that our patients want to talk and open up in such circumstances.

It was around 4 years ago that I stumbled upon something that would change my life forever.

Machu Picchu

I’d been through a particularly rough few years prior to this and in a attempt to reconnect with the outside world, I began to attend talks and workshops linked with a local Crystal shop called AristiA. One particular day I saw an advert for a workshop called ‘Connecting to the Elements’. For some reason this really leapt out at me, so I attended with a very open mind, unsure of what to expect.

The teacher’s name was Wendy Davison, a woman of such gentle stature, grace and openness that I felt immediately centred and calmed. Her workshop was an introduction into the Peruvian Medicine Wheel and its cosmology. Having always been fascinated by ancient and tribal cultures, I was only too happy to sit back and drink in what she had to say.

A picture of the Four Directions began to come into focus – each of them connected to an element and an animal guardian, or representative. In the South – Serpent and water, the West – Jaguar and Earth, the North – Hummingbird and Air and in the East – Eagle and Fire. The opening of Sacred Space, honouring each of these and, in turn, honouring the Earth (Pachamama), all our fellow humans, our Ancestors, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. Then a session of deep and personal inner work, leading to me discovering something about myself that I didn’t know – or had at least forgotten.

The Mesa – or travelling Altar, representing the Shaman’s heart and holding their personal medicine

By the end of that initial introduction, I was hooked – desperate to know more about the subject and anxious to uncover more of my true self. For the first time in years after having felt so enraged, lost and hopeless, I had caught a glimpse of my own personal light – and it felt incredible.

Within a few weeks I had heard the call and approached Wendy to begin my official Four Winds training. Four years on and I am changed – absolutely for the better…and this is only after scratching the surface!

So what does this practice entail? I hear you ask.

That entirely depends on how far we want to journey with it. That’s the beauty of the Medicine Wheel – the journey is never ending.

This incredible Medicine is of the Q’ero, descendants of the Incas. With the invasion of the Conquistadors in Peru, the survivors fled into the Mountains and remained there for several hundred years. In the 1940’s the descendants of these survivors made their way back down to lower ground. It has been prophesised by these people that with the oppressive nature of our Western World their knowledge would be lost and that it would have to be entrusted to white man – to hold it until the time came that we could pass it back, unscathed and unadulterated. It was a man called Alberto Villoldo who brought the knowledge of this ancient civilisation to the West, and translated it to a language that we, in the West, could comprehend. This was the founding of the Four Winds.

A group of Q’ero Shaman, blessing and cleansing Mesas

For those seeking help to clear and find a deeper understanding of unwanted feelings or situations, or even to simply embark on a journey of self discovery, the Shaman stands by, ready to be of service. This work can be done in a face to face, personal session. The various tools employed by the Shaman are numerous and powerful. For those seeking a life altering experience, the Four Winds training will offer clarity beyond anything I have previously experienced. The Shaman works through their Mesa – a bundle of 13 stones and sacred items, wrapped in sacred cloth. Throughout our initial journey around the Wheel the Shaman passes through and undergoes various rites. Once our work is completed in each direction we attain 3 personal gifts, the energy of which is recorded in our sacred stones, or Khuyas. In the North, we are also gifted with a lineage stone, which serves to connect us directly to the Q’ero in Peru. This is the Shaman’s personal gift and light, totally unique to them.

Where counselling helped to outline the issues, I had always found that the job never really reached a true resolution – the issue was outlined, but the true root of it was never really exposed and resolved. Talking about the wound over and over again simply served to reinforce its energy in my field.

Q’ero Shaman tending to the Despacho

Yes, it can be daunting leaving all our expectations and preconceived ideas at the door only to take those first brave steps into something new, but the outcome offers far more potential than staying in our safe little box, where we are limited and never really allow our true selves to shine through.

It is my hope to continue to write about my own experiences with this truly breathtaking work and in the coming months I will be collaborating with Wendy to hopefully provide some videos offering more insight into the Four Winds and the work we plan to do in the Mana Sanctuary.

Until then, go well

Louise

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