by Kevin Johnson

I first met Herlinda at an intensive shamanic healing. Herlinda is the matriarch of her Shipibo tribe in the Peruvian Amazon Basin. The Shipibos believe that everything was sung into existence by a great, cosmic anaconda. Everything, including all of us, at its most fundamental level is a song pattern. When Shipibo shamans heal they see what is incongruent in our energy patterns and they sing into you to help bring coherency back to your patterns. The physical body follows the energy body like a caboose on a train. Heal the field and the body follows.

I have been the fortunate recipient of song healings from Herlinda that changed my life in powerful ways. I was born with pneumonia and had repeated bouts of strep throat, tonsillitis and several bouts with pneumonia as a child. I also have developed a pre cancerous condition in my esophagus as an adult. To say the least, the various illnesses and traumas in my throat and lungs had made my throat chakra a broken energy center in my body and field. That condition manifested for me as arrested developments in my ability to sing or express my personal power through my throat, through my expression center.

When Herlinda and a younger shaman apprenticing with her first worked on me they focused on the shattered patterning in my throat. As they worked on me they encouraged me to use my voice to sing along and follow the songs they were singing. I was able to align my intuition to them and follow their singing. I fell into the songs like into a fast moving river. As I followed the singing I found that whole landscapes within me began opening, terrains of myself that could only be accessed through the idiosyncratic keys my own voice held to those inner regions. As those chambers opened I felt healing power as the energy stored in those recesses became accessible.

Herlinda took my bottle of Agua Florida, Amazon perfumed water, and sang a multitude of Anaconda healing songs and prayers into the bottle. She then drank the water, leaned close and blew those songs all over my throat. She asked me to put my hands into a prayer position in front of her and she swigged and blew more agua-florida water into my finger-tips- an express delivery of countless songs into my heart. She told me afterwards that those songs were now a part of my blood, that they would percolate up through my blood, growing and healing. She said she put many songs in me, songs she had learned from the plant world that I would come to know as they sang through me.

From that healing on into the rest of my life, music flowed into my throat and through my being as I had never experienced. I picked up a flute and the songs started playing through it. I started playing all kinds of vibrational instruments such as mouth harps, singing bowls, bells and chimes. Whatever I explored I found the songs expressing themselves and healing me ever deeper. I continue to float down this river of singing and playing with these icaros percolating up through my blood, sung into me by a mysterious and powerful curendera named Herlinda. What those songs have done for me goes far beyond description, as does the gratitude in my heart for the beautiful healing song that was and is Herlinda.