Ain't That a Shaman

Durek Verrett was only three when he started displaying the traits that his grandmother, one in a long line of oracles and mystical sensitives, had predicted: he could see and talk to spirits, predict future events and sense inner pain. Once in elementary school he was sent to the principal's office, not for fighting in the schoolyard, but because a little girl started screaming when he told her that her hair was going to fall out. Neither of them knew then about her cancer.

Voodoo has been practiced in Haiti for centuries, and when Durek's family moved to New Orleans, they found it there too. His great grandma worked with Marie Laveau, a powerful voodoo priestess, but did not practice "left-handed," or dark voodoo. That's the kind that sticks pins in voodoo dolls.

Durek is a doll of another kind. His voice is soft, and his easy-on-the-eyes looks explain how he was able to support himself as a model. He traveled around the world working with whirling dervishes and shamans, studying the paranormal, out of body, and transpersonal experience until he was able to step into what he perceives to be his destiny. He'd always been called a freak, a weirdo and a witch in school. It was time to own it.

If voodoo is about connection to the earth, LA's bling culture could be tough, but "LA needs me right now," Durek said. "People are disconnected from their primal core. They have forgotten we came to earth to transform the primate species into an enlightened species, to bring animal form into higher consciousness." It's not about just staying in higher mental levels, he says, but "integrating into a oneness." He teaches people how to create a circle of light and empower themselves, especially women.

So aren't we all born with this special gift? "Absolutely," confirms Durek. "I see people as myself and acknowledge everyone has the capacity to be a shaman." He hastens to add that he's not a guru. "Gurus disempower," he explains, "whereas true shamans believe we each have our own spiritual design. The task is to find our inner blueprint, our primal core, and transform through everyday living."

In this world of false advertising and 99-cent prophecies, what should someone who consults Durek expect? It's different for each person, and some of it you won't see. He'll talk to your spirit guides and help you figure out how far you're willing to go. He may "look into your toxins" and commune with your unconscious mind to find "patterns of false beliefs" that cause you to repeat nonproductive actions. 

And then he'll bring on the troops, calling in angels, masters, animal spirits, possibly even inviting a spirit to enter your body. He might shake rattles, talk to spirits or family members, or speak in sacred languages. You might vibrate, puke, or explode with rage.

So, then, how do we know he's for real? "You should walk out feeling like shifts are happening, things are changing. And a shaman will always insist you develop your own skills," he adds. In other words, he won't let you come once a week for the next 10 years. You'll have to take on your own healing.

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