The Healers Path – Of Gods, Corn, and Butterflies

By Daniel Cox | Instagram 

Daniel Cox continues his series about his healing journey. See his first post here.

Imaginal Cells: The Seeds of the Future

In nature, in order for evolution to occur, there must be imaginal cells. These cells are different from the other cells in that they know what they are supposed to do and act accordingly. Imaginal cells are different; they are the rebels and weirdos, the seeds of future potential. They are the cells that instruct the organic soup within a chrysalis to turn the liquified caterpillar into a butterfly. 

Those of us who walk the crooked paths, those of us doing the work of a healer, those of us pulling wisdom and information out from the ethers, or direct from spirit: We are the imaginal cells in life, in our community. We are the ones who dare to be different, to think different, to question everything. We are the dreamers and storytellers, retelling the past at the place of the mythic and dreaming something new, co-creating the world into being.

The Path of the P’aqo: An Incan Exploration of Healing

After the events in my previous post, I was called to become professionally trained as  a P’aqo, which is something like a medicine man or priest of the Q’ero people, direct descendants of the Inca.

I questioned this at first – it wasn’t my native path, it’s not in my blood. I am not Peruvian or Q’ero, but something called to me to do this work. My training taught me that there is a prophecy amongst the Inca people, the People of the Sun, that says the healers and medicine men and women of the future will come from the west, from those places that have had the most impact on the earth. It is their job, the Rainbow Warriors, to repair the damage done to the earth and rebuild ayni, right relationship with the earth, God and the Universe. 

This is what called me. 


I began my training as a P’aqo at the Ammerdown Christian Center in Radstock, UK. My teacher, Chris Waters of Spirit of the Inca, was my teacher and guide. We call the training the Medicine Wheel, as the teachings are centered around the wheel of the year. The medicine wheel was a year-long course, split up into quarters, with each quarter a very long week of training; the South class, the West class, the North and the East. Even though the teachings come from Peru–the cosmology, the tools, the medicine practises–we used the local natural energies of the land in our work, as the majority of us were from here, after all.

We started out with about thirty of us, but by the end of the year, it was down to just under twenty. It was intense and cathartic work, not for the faint hearted. 

It took me by surprise that a shamanic course could be held at a Christian venue, but it was quite pleasant. I rubbed shoulders with groups of clergy, priests and nuns on silent retreats. I confidently made altars with sticks, feathers and acorns in front of a stone statue of Jesus on the cross. I loved being there, the old dorm rooms, the winding stairs that gave the impression of disappearing on floors that didn’t seem to exist. I felt like Harry Potter at Hogwarts running for class at six in the morning to practise fire breathing in the morning dew. 

Despite the Christain air, the mythic and the hidden were still around.

A part of our work is animistic, meaning we believe that everything has a spirit, an energy that can be communicated with. We work within the mythic realm, and, as we were in England, we quite often spoke of the horned gods and Arthurian legends, as well as Christain stories.

Apukuna, mountain spirit, art by Daniel Cox

The Horned God

One dark night, we participated in a fire ceremony in the woods next to the venue. Towards the end of a fire ceremony, we called upon the hidden ones to be present and add their prayers to the fire, and this time they really did. We heard, felt, something running past us. Whatever it was, it ran fast, on two feet, so much so, it made the earth shake beneath our feet. I felt ice cold prickles run over my skin. In my wildly beating heart, I saw a great and horned being running past us, showing his dominance and his prowess. From that moment on, I knew The Old Horned One was with me. While my teacher is fond of the Horned One, this path doesn’t see Him the way I do, and as far as I am aware, they do not worship or honour him the way I do now.

The main tools we use – and acquired during the Medicine Wheel – is our mesa. It consists of a set of thirteen sacred stones that we have infused with our own personal soul wounds that have been healed, transformed and transcended through our work. These ‘kuya’ are held within a sacred cloth that has been ritually prepared.

Danny’s mesa

One thing I have felt each time I have come back from any of the training classes, is the sense of leaving the safety of sacred space. Being away from home and training in shamanic and otherworldly topics is like being in a secret and magical bubble. Leaving it to go home, back to ‘normal’ life is tough. Leaving the sacred nest of sacred space was palpable, nervous but exciting, too. We have new eyes to see with!

A Continued Path

I completed my training in December of 2012 the same time the Mayan Calendar was said to have ended; it definitely felt like an ending and a new beginning. 

Though I am professionally trained as a British P’aqo of the Inca tradition, my path is ever changing. I am an animist and I am slowly now integrating traditional European witchcraft into my work. 

The path of the healer has led me to some great realisations and psychic gifts, a platform in which to work as I wish. The bare bones of who I am–those imaginal cells– hasare been laid down before me; it is my responsibility to grow the flesh back onto the bones.

The Q’ero are a beautiful people who often come to England to perform ceremonies in our sacred sites. There is a wonderful trade between us too, that brings with it Ayni, right relationship with the world. There is a saying amongst the Q’ero people: “We are here to grow gods the way we grow our corn.” 

This is exactly what we need to do: grow the gods within us, the same way we would grow our corn. 

And do you want to know the secret? 

In Lak’etch – I am another you. You and I are God, masquerading as you and I. 

So embrace your imaginal cellness, grow the Gods and Goddesses in seed form in your bellies. Now is the time to fly, my pretties. 

About the Author: Though he is trained as a P’aqo, a shaman of the Inca tradition, Daniel is more of an animist, with a focus on traditional European witchcraft. Through life-changing events in childhood and near-death experiences, he sees life through a different lens. He is a soon-to-be author, artist of the sacred, bone reader, seer and channel. Daniel lives with his husband Tom and their son Kai.

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