What I Learned From the Yaqui Medicine

I once met a Yaqui Indian medicine man of the same race and ethnicity as Don Juan from the Carlos Castaneda books. He was a robust man who radiated an extraordinary vitality, grace, and simple gusto for life. I believe he was 82 years young when I met him. But his age was unguessable to anyone who did not know. He looked in some ways as if he were 10 years old; he had many of the features of a young boy. I looked at his hands closely and noticed no wrinkles and no liver spots.

He has followed a vegan diet since birth, as taught to him by his mother (overturning the false idea that indigenous peoples are not vegetarians or vegans). Only 3 times in his life has he eaten animal foods (raw rattlesnake twice as a ceremonial experience and turtle soup once). He can identify thousands of herbs.

He told me the story of how he crossed the Desert of Silence in the State of Sonora Mexico. He crossed without food or water for 8 days all the while sucking on a small pebble.

He described that fasting was the key to spiritual awakening. He fasts 2 days a week, taking in very little water. He also fasts 3 days every full moon.

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