Shaman Durek, from Northern California, comes from a long line of spiritual practitioners. He began seeing and communication with spirits when he was two and began his spiritual and shamanic studies when he was 12.

Shaman Durek talked to Speak Up about his life as a shaman. He began by describing the strange experiences that he had at the age of two: “I remember seeing things different…I saw spirits. I saw things walking around, talking to me, and I remember these spirits would come and talk to me and tell me about the world and how we got here. And I remember my mom was saying something to me and I was saying something about like how the way we to the world was from some other place. I used to call us “star beings,” so I did all these stars underneath my bed…I drew all these stars and I always used to tell my mom like we were star beings, that we came from another world. And then also, on top of that, I felt like I had part of me that very connected already to life. There were moments where I felt a bit uncomfortable with this world because I would touch the walls and I felt it being solid and I used to scream, I used to cry. It was a feeling of this kind of like being trapped, you know, like why is it solid? Why can’t I change it with my mind?” He also saw angel-like creatures, but with a difference: “And I used to get images of like angels, but not the way that I see people draw them in books. I saw them as more like…they looked like squids and octopuses that are so illuminating bright, with like energy flowing through them, almost very water-aquatic looking, you know, versus like how people draw them like looking like a man and a woman with wings and all that. I didn’t see that as a little boy. So I had this very strong connection already with seeing all of these things. And I had actually thought that my sisters saw them as well, and they didn’t, you know, and my mom started noticing that I had ancestors that were talking to me ‘cause I would call out their names.

Like one of my great grandmothers, who was what made me become a shaman, her name was Mamal. And when I was a kid, I used to say “Mamal, Mamal, Mamal.” And my mother thought I was saying “mom,” and she realized I was calling “Mamal” and I was actually having deep conversations with her. I would hold onto my crib and I would have these conversations where she said my eyes would be rolling in the back of my head and my mouth would moving. And then she’d ask me, “Who are you talking to? And I would say, “I’m talking to Mamal.”” So what does his work as a shaman involve? “So there’s different types of spirits that I’m dealing with. I’m dealing with nature spirits, I’m dealing with spirits who’ve passed on, I’m dealing with ancestors, I’m dealing with earthbound spirits who can’t let go of the earth, attachments that they have to their home or to people, I’m dealing with spirits that are in the underworld who have done things on earth that they can’t forgive, so they won’t go into the light. So, yea, I’m dealing with all of that, and even in all of that, you know, a lot of times people say, “Well, you know, what is God? And what is spirit, what are these things?” And the light itself, or the creation or God doesn’t discriminate or judge or punish or do any of these things. Human beings do this to themselves. The spirits who live these lives, when they die, they get to see everything that they did and they get to see it in its truth; not like everything you did and you’re punished, it’s everything you did and here’s the truth of who you really are, and once they see that, they make a decision where they go in the consciousness. And the consciousness is vast beyond anything you can possibly imagine of space. Think of it like having a computer that has limitless space. And all that space, there are all these different dimensions and worlds and thoughts and ideas. Your spirit can move into all of that. So that’s what we can consider the creation itself, right? So that’s who I’m communicating with, I’m communicating with all of that.”

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