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We'll Always Have Peru: Randy Fuller's book chronicles the author's far-flung pursuit of spiritual adventure.

Tough the Shaman

Randy Fuller's new book proves that the mediums are the messengers

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There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. —Leonard Cohen

SHAMANS are spiritual healers who originated in tribal societies that had no contact with the West and had no spiritual belief imposed on them by someone else. Randy Fuller became interested in the subject in 1971 after lecturing in grad school on Carlos Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, the author's legendary peyote-fueled odyssey with an indigenous Mexican sorcerer. People will argue until the end of time whether Castaneda made it all up or not, but the book influenced Fuller enough to begin his own journey toward spiritual awakening.

Skip forward to 2005, and we see Fuller penning a book that chronicles several trips to Peru. There he hung in the mountains with Don Eduardo Calderon, a world-renown shaman. High Holy Adventure: Spirits, Shamans & Mediums I Know and Love (Authorhouse; $15.50 paper) documents awakenings Fuller received from studying with Don Eduardo and several other folks on a long expedition to connect with the Great Spirit.

Thankfully, the book does not focus on any one belief system. Instead, it gives insight on how shamans and mediums deal with the questions of existence and how consciousness fits into a higher concept. Forget everything you ever understood about normal reality. In these tales you've got firewalking, ice-cold hard-ons, Brazilian mediums exchanging spiritual currents and one ex-military dude as an avatar of the "dark forces."

"I've had this opinion for years that there's nothing like [this book] in the literature," Fuller explained over the phone from his home near Grass Valley. "And I wanted this side told. It seems like there's too much exaggeration and fantasy, or stuff that's so academic that I just yawn." Fuller also claims that he was the only one Carlos Castaneda actually came and visited. "He was interested in what I had to say about immortality, but talking shaman to shaman. But I'll write more about that in book two."

In the last chapter, Fuller goes to Brazil and experiences some scary healing sessions with a famous Brazilian medium named Joao de Deus (John of God). Fuller calls him the "most powerful full-trance medium healer in the world," and his accounts of their sessions are riveting in their detail. He plans to return and study more with John in the future.

"For me, I think our religions have been hijacked by fanatics," he said. "Maybe this [book] is a message for a very a small percentage of people, but maybe it will touch some to look more deeply than the pictures that we normally are asked to see through, but make no sense." Did Fuller make up all these tales, as so many people accused Castaneda of doing? I don't think so. Even if you interpret them allegorically, Fuller may have given us another way to break through the cracks. When our phone conversation came to its conclusion, instead of "It's been nice talking to you," Fuller said, "It's been nice visiting with you."


Randy Fuller appears April 1 at 7:30pm at East West Bookstore, 324 Castro St., Mountain View. (800.909.6161)


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From the March 30-April 5, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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