By Christine Woodman


The Partners in Transformation Group is dedicated to preserving the traditional knowledge of the Q’ero and to providing a “scientific framework through which we can learn the ancient art of energy and medicine.” The Q’ero tribes are also known as “the children of the Sun” because it is believed that they are the only remaining inheritors of the Incan empire. Spread over five Peruvian provinces, and located very high in the Andes, the Q’ero tribes are thought to be the last living inheritors of the great Inca empire. The tribes’ oral tradition states that they were once the inhabitants of Machu Picchu who evacuated just before the Spanish invasion. The evacuation was based on a prophecy which also foretold Q’ero’s emergence from hiding and their reunion with westerners. The various prophecies were fulfilled, the last one being a ritual performed for the first time in over 500 years by a Q’ero high shaman at St. John the Divine’s cathedral in New York City in November of 1996. The tribes’ population is now less than a thousand and efforts are being made to preserve their culture.

The essence of the Q’ero teaching is:

“Follow your own footsteps

Learn from the rivers,

The trees and the rocks,

Honor the Christ and the Buddha,

Your brothers and sisters,

Honor the Earth Mother and Great Spirit, our Father

Honor yourself and all of creation

Look with the eyes of your soul

And engage the essential”.

The group considers itself an “an ‘earth-based’ spiritual tradition,” indicating their belief that humans are capable of changing how we relate to the earth. The teachings are syncretic, honoring and integrating all faith traditions, and speak of Christ and Buddha as Luminous Beings, spiritual prototypes for the future of humanity. The group honors Mother Nature, Pachamama, and believes that mountain entities, Apu Awsanqati, serve as messengers of the divine. The group believes in the prophecies of the Q’ero, which state that a major turning point in history is imminent. During this “mastay,” love and compassion will rule and humans will evolve from Homo Sapiens into Homo Luminous. The Q’ero believe that their mission is to awaken the people of western cultures to their true potentiality, which can be interpreted as the Second Coming of the Christ. Our world is in a time of transition and must experience a metaphoric death in which our species sets aside its current fear-based methods of acting and of understanding. A new age is beginning, one in which disorder and disease will be replaced by order and harmony and in which humans will become consciously aware of their true potential as homo luminous or Christed beings.

The group believes that all humans are born with a soul that is “clear and ripe with potential” but bound by previous life experiences (karma). Each soul chooses before birth what family, body and life it will have based on the soil the soul needs to realize its full potential. As we progress through life we are wounded; this wounding, which can take the form of emotional illness or physical disease, is the result of failing to pay attention to one’s true calling. This work provides a framework for discovering the place of original wounding and eradicating the emotional trauma of the wound. Each wound is like an etching on the soul’s luminous energy field, causing the person to attract more of the same. For this reason, a person beaten as a child may sever the relationship with the first abuser, but he or she will keep recruiting various actors to play the role of abuser and be a victim of violence throughout life. Hurt becomes the person’s life-story and all that the person knows; in this way, hurt becomes perpetual and essential. For the hurt, unconscious soul, there is no real future as past wounds, combined with the soul continuing to act on those wounds in the present, creates a certain future of pain.

A person’s essential core remains but may be so obscured as to be lost to them. The shamanistic practitioner may conduct a “soul retrieval,” which helps the client recover his or her essential self obscured by trauma. Often the shamanic practitioner does this by journeying to the lower world and learning what soul contracts the client made before birth. The soul contract contains not only information about karmic debts but also gives the soul access to certain treasures and gifts that can be translated into passion and bliss. The soul can choose a new future through the process of “destiny retrieval” in which a person finds their destiny and steps into it through a process of reshaping reality. In addition to helping the client see a different reality, the shamanistic practitioner may use some form of divination or draw a navigational chart.

The Partners in Transformation in Richmond offers shamanic practices rooted in Q’ero beliefs. The practices are dedicated to offering support and guidance for those endeavoring to create more soulful lives or trying to discover their essential, core selves. Ayla Matheson serves as a shamanic practitioner and guide in working with clients. In addition to being a shaman, Ayla Matheson is a Reiki Master and a nationally certified massage therapist. She is available for private consultations and transformational ceremonies on a fee-for-service basis. In addition, she offers a fire ceremony on the full moon of each month that is open to the public. Julia Cajigal provides therapeutic message, aroma therapy, and corporate chair massage.

Partners in Transformation conducts ceremonies for healing, transformation, rites of passage, and peaceful-death experiences. Ceremonies for healing and transformational experiences are held in workshops, private sessions, and in the monthly fire-circles. In order to create a healing experience, the shamanistic practitioner first meets with the client in private sessions, seeking to help the client indentify areas of wounding and the “theme” underlying the wounds. Themes generally appearing in people’s lives include abandonment, betrayal, fear and shame. Once the theme has been identified and processed, the client creates a “fire arrow,” which is a bundle of flammable objects representing the theme. The fire acts to create rapid transformation in the person’s life. During the fire-circle, the participant uses the fire arrow as a form of active meditation, using specific motions and visualizations. Each person in the fire circle engages the fire as the group chants in the language of the Q’ero what is roughly translated as follows:

Oh Great Mother, Mother of the Waters

We call upon you, waters of our birth

Waters of our sustenance

Waters that cleanse us on our earth

Waters of Life.

In both ceremonies, the process begins with the shamanistic practitioner creating sacred space. In sacred space, a person forms a different relationship with time and space; from sacred space the person then sees alternative realities and realizes that he or she can choose the one that enlivens. As a part of creating sacred space, the shaman stabilizes the ecosphere, the forces of nature by saluting each direction:

  • South: the shaman calls upon the Snake to aid participants in shading skins which no longer fit.
  • West: the practitioner calls upon the Jaguar, force of life and death, to bring order out of chaos
  • North: the practitioner calls upon the Ancestors to help participants take human stories and transform them into the mythic experiences of human evolution
  • East: the practitioner calls on the rising sun and the soaring eagle to bring participants opportunities for new beginnings

Partners in Transformation
8710 Chochtaw Road
Richmond , VA 23235

Partners in Transformation website
Partners in Transformation staff

Profile prepared by Christine Woodman
February, 2008

Updated: — 2:33 am

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