The Rites of the Munay-Ki: A Q&A with Jim Dewell

Jim Dewell is a graduate of Stanford University, with a degree in human biology, and the George Washington University School of Medicine. He was board certified in family medicine, which he both taught and practiced. But in 1992, Jim left the practice of Western medicine and immersed himself in the study of shamanic healing. Today, he is a senior faculty member of the Four Winds Society and maintains a shamanic healing practice in Southern California.

What are the Rites of the Munay-Ki? Where and who did they come from?

The Munay-Ki is a blessing. It is a transmission of energetic attunements that bring one into right relationship with self, with community, and with spirit.

The rites of the Munay-Ki are based partially on the initiatory and healing practices of the medicine men and woman of the High Andes. These are the healers of the Q’ero nation.

Once received, these rites become the foundation and pillars of a new way of life, a life of peace, of gratitude, a life of integrity, of moderation, and of generosity.

You trained as a doctor in the Western medical model. How do you see Western medicine and shamanic healing practices working together?

While Western medicine and physicians work on curing the symptoms of illness, shamanism seeks to discover and heal the original wounding that predisposes an individual to illness. The difference being, Western medicine seeks to eliminate the discomfort and current cause of an illness, whereas the shaman seeks to heal the origin of an illness. The shaman works outside of time and space, often journeying into the realms of what has been or what might be, to accomplish this task. Shamanic healing is complementary, not a replacement, to Western medicine.

Through the lens of Western medicine, how do you understand or interpret the idea that energetic transmissions can impact our biology and DNA?

First, one must be open to realms beyond what we in Western society and medicine have been comfortable exploring, or perhaps even acknowledging exist. These are the realms of our soul and of the energetic body, and the effect these realms have upon our physical and emotional body.

The study of epigenetics has demonstrated that multiple influences, including stress, environmental factors, and nutrition, may affect our health and the expression of our genes. As we receive the initiations and attunements of the Munay-Ki, we begin to cleanse, to rebalance, and to attune the energetic centers of our body known as chakras. This may release the sludge and blockages that have slowed or blocked the flow of vital energies that support healing and health. Through this process, we may step into awareness and begin to make healthy life choices—choices that begin to change and evolve the expression of our genes within this lifetime, so that we may begin to bring balance to our being and heal our body, mind, and soul.

Find out about Jim Dewell’s program at Kripalu, The Rites of the Munay-Ki.

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