At the tender age of 5, Shaman Durek already knew his path in life: He was to be a shaman. His great grandmother, who was a medicine woman and a powerful member of her tribe in Africa, spoke of Durek long before he was born and appointed him as her successor.
As a child, he exhibited special gifts such as the ability to hear thoughts, see people’s energy, talk to spirits and his ancestors, know things that were going to occur prior to them happening, feel people’s pain and heal them. The only problem was, young Durek thought everybody had these abilities.
“One day I was on the playground with this little girl and I grabbed her hand,” Durek recalls. “All of a sudden, I started shaking and I flashed and saw her hair falling out and her throwing up and being really sick in the hospital. I saw her walking into the light. I started screaming at the top of my lungs until the person who watched the playground came and grabbed me. I was like, ‘You have to help her!’ I told the principal what I saw and about two weeks later, they found out the girl had cancer. She ended up passing away. People heard about it and didn’t want me around their kids. They called me a freak. My teachers were scared of me.”
Durek soon learned his role would bring with it many challenges. In his late teens, he rebelled against being a shaman, involving himself in dancing, modeling and acting—but he lacked fulfillment and knew he wasn’t living his truth and decided to devote himself to the practice.
So what exactly is a shaman? The word means “one who knows,” but, simply, Durek says he is a servant of the people and the Earth. Shamans travel, using various techniques and skills to reach different types of dimensions and consciousness so they can bring back information to help others. In the ancient days, chiefs would consult a shaman for guidance on where the tribe should plant its crops. The shaman would talk to the spirits and bring back the information, acting as a bridge to the spirit world. “To be a shaman, it takes a great deal of devotion, humbleness and willingness to surrender the part of the mind that wants to see things in a certain way,” he explains. “It’s about being a vessel.”
One of Durek’s main goals is to let people know about the importance of spiritual health and the effect stress can have on the physical body. “Your body is made up of energy—your cells, your organs, your bones,” he says. “When your mind is not in harmony, then your physical body starts to experience it. Your spiritual body is always the first body that experiences something, then it goes down to your mind. Then your emotions begin to get involved. That then affects the physical. The body is the last state for your spirit to communicate to you that your spirit is not happy. It’s important to have a balanced spiritual self so that when you are spiritually centered, your mind is harmoniously clear and you feel a sense of well-being. Everything in your body is getting complete harmonized energy, therefore you’re drinking water, you’re exercising, you’re taking care of your body temple. This is what houses your soul, and if your soul is unhappy, this is what creates disease in the body.”
Illness is something Durek knows about firsthand. Ten years ago, he experienced a potassium overload, which caused kidney failure, and he died in the hospital. On the seventh try, the medical staff was able to resuscitate him, but because he was gone for so long, he suffered brain damage and couldn’t walk. Durek used his shamanic skills to heal his legs and his ability to talk and walk. The only thing he didn’t repair were his kidneys. Thanks to his sister’s donation, he underwent a kidney transplant a year and a half ago. Durek believes it was an experience he needed to go through as part of his shamanic path.
This path has afforded Durek the ability to cleanse poison out of people’s bodies and communicate with different parts of their spirit. He applies ancient spiritual wisdom to help bring success, happiness and healing into people’s lives. “People intrinsically know who they are,” he says. “They just have so many distractions because they’ve been trying to please the outside world so much, they’ve lost track of their authenticity. What I do is help them get back to their authentic selves.”
When Durek was in Israel, he had an experience at the Wailing Wall in Bethlehem that profoundly affected the way he would interact with others—even those who he may not agree with. “I was always confused about what and who was God,” he says. “I put my hand on the wall and said, ‘Who are you, God?’ All of a sudden, I saw this blast of light. I felt everything. I saw the sea, trees, people, ants, spiders, sky, air, planets, stars—everything—and it kept going faster and faster until it became this glowing, vibrant, intense, almost childlike energy of pure love. And in the center was this unconditional, playful creative being that didn’t have any sex, didn’t have any male or female characteristics. It was just pure energy. I felt it in my heart and started to get a nosebleed. It was so intense that I fell down. That was all I needed to know. That opened up a doorway for me. People are like, ‘You have to wake up the Christians.’ But if people don’t want to wake up, they don’t have to. I’m going to love them, and if they don’t feel my love because they’re closed off to it, then that’s their choice. I’m not here to battle people. I’m here to love them. I don’t need to love people because we have something in common. I can love you just because you’re created.”