The Harvard Business School is hardly the first place you expect to encounter an Incan, much less a shaman.
During graduation week 10 years ago, I was visiting the ivy-covered campus to spend time with a dear friend of mine who was about to receive her MBA. My friend hails from the Andean highlands of Peru, and at a luncheon, she introduced me to her fraternal twin sister, Elena Radford. The single mom and former Mormon teaches the ancient wisdom path of her people to groups throughout the country, particularly in Utah, where she and her family reside.
This upcoming weekend (Oct. 11-13, 2013), Elena will make her first trek to New York City in order to lead a series of classes at the Edgar Cayce Center in midtown Manhattan. I recently interviewed this beautiful soul about her life as a teacher and healer.
Stroud: What is a shaman?
Radford: A shaman is the community wise man... not a religious leader. I see him more as a problem solver, somebody who carries the wisdom of the community.
Stroud: I've noticed that there are a lot of self-identified shamans.
Radford: You're right, there are different concepts of a shaman in different countries and different cultures. To me, an Incan shaman is somebody who is a crossover to different realities.
Stroud: A crossover to... different realities?
Radford: That's what a shaman does -- tune into the energy of the environment: mountains, animals, plants, people in the past, and energies from other worlds. These skills that come through the heart allow a shaman to communicate with these different realities.
Stroud: When you say you talk to the mountains, rocks, etc., there will be people reading this interview that will find that strange.
Radford: Animals, plants, rocks -- everything that surrounds us -- were created for us so we might enjoy a fulfilled life. We call them records of light.
Stroud: Can you explain what you mean by "records of light"?
Radford: The source of everything that you see is the energy of love. When you begin to understand what you see as love -- not in a romantic way, but as the foundation of life, then it becomes a record of light, a center of information. It's like a book of love that can teach you to be the person that you want to be - -to have a fulfilled life, to have abundance in every level, not only with money.
Stroud: How did you become a shaman?
Radford: When I was getting divorced, I left the house to my ex-husband because I was afraid of him. I drove away with my two boys. They couldn't understand what was happening and they were crying. I too tried to make sense of what was going on. I went into my heart and I asked, "I did not get married to get divorced. What happened? This is different from my plan for my life."
That's when I felt this really strong energy, this strong light come into my heart. When I went back to Peru to see my mother, she couldn't understand what I was going through: My reality was not her reality. So I went in to see a shaman. That was my moment of initiation.
Stroud: Was there any indication earlier that you would become a shaman?
Radford: Yes. Yes. Since I was 3 years old, I could hear the laugh of the energy, the frequency. Everything has frequency. Everything is life. Everything is movement. I understood this since I was very young. I understood why people do what they do -- through my heart. It was the frequency of the mountains that taught me.
By the time I was 6 years old, I already knew this was a special gift. I also know there would be a moment where I would need to be a teacher, but that was a choice I would have to make.
Stroud: From the age of 6 you knew you could, but at what age did you become a shaman?
Radford: You can become a shaman if you are called to be a shaman. In my situation, I talked to someone in Peru that I hadn't met before. He said he was a shaman and that he had been having dreams for six months in which the mountain, the frequency of the mountain, told him, "She's going to come from a foreign country and you're going to train her to be a shaman." The mountains understood the level of my choices and the level of what they were looking for.
Stroud: What was the training like?
Radford: Life becomes your case study. How can you teach abundance if you don't have abundance?
In my situation, I needed to learn how to empower women because that's who I am. I needed to have the experience of how it is to be taken advantage of by male energy and not have a male's support -- how it felt to be a single mom -- and to understand the single moms that I'd be teaching.
Stroud: How long did the training last?
Radford: I started seven years ago, and it's a lifetime of training.
Stroud: Are you the first shaman in your family?
Radford: I am the first shaman and I'm maybe one of the first female shamans in Peru because most are male energies.
Stroud: You're the first female shaman?
Radford: Other women are healers, but there are not many women who are shamans.
Stroud: What kind of healing work do you perform?
Radford: Yesterday I led a workshop where I invited parents to bring their children. This woman came to me and said, "My son is 3 years old. He's not talking yet and I'm really worried." While his mother was tall, I saw he was a fragile, underweight little boy. These were indications that something was not well. Then, when I looked into his frequencies, I saw a fear of his father's strong temper. I told her there were some lower frequencies in the child's body due to fear of someone with a strong temper.
She started shaking, "That's my husband." I explained that was the reason for the child's lack of development, that she should tell her husband he could choose to change, and that if he didn't, the frequencies of his temper would interfere with the frequencies of his son's development. She started crying. She was being emotionally abused too, so she couldn't be the mother that she wanted to be for fear of the husband.
This is the power of the shamans -- to see the stories people carry and why things are not working.
Stroud: What can attendees expect from your workshops in New York City?
Radford: Tools to be able to create a life of fulfillment. To understand why things are not happening in their lives. That's a really beautiful gift: Many people want something in their lives but they don't understand why it's not happening.
Stroud: What would you say to somebody who doesn't understand why life's not unfolding the way she or he wants?
Radford: That the world we live in is a mirror of how we relate to ourselves. There is always a way to make things happen. We have that power within, and can learn to use it to create change.
New York City Workshops With Elena Radford
Where: Edgar Cayce Center, 241 W. 30th St #102 (West of 7th Ave.), New York, NY 10001, (212) 691-7690
When: Free Introduction to Inca Shamanism: Friday, October 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Power of the Inca Cross for Personal Development: Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Removing Blocks to Manifest Abundance: Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 6:00 PM
Costs: Friday (10/11/13) event is free and open to all. There is a $75 entrance fee each, or $150 total, for the Saturday (10/12/13) and Sunday (10/13/13) workshops. (Scholarships are available. Please contact Marcy DePina at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.)
Tickets: Go to http://www.theincaway.com/LIVE-EVENTS_c_30.html