The Jungle Journal

go on adventures in the tropics, discover sacred cenotes,

visit the home of a Maya family, and much, much more...

Shaman and Shape-Shifter


Francisco, herbatero/shaman, in his family's central kitchen

It’s called a yui (pronounced “why”). It is a shapeshifter. It was causing trouble, but before I can tell you the story about it, I have to tell you about the story-teller, my friend and herbatero/shaman, Francisco.


You see, there is no way you will believe this tale unless you understand the integrity of its teller.


I have known Francisco for almost three years now. He is the last shaman in his village in Yucatan, Mexico. He is quiet and well spoken (Spanish and Yucatec Mayan). He is very humble and understands the medicinal uses of over 5,000 different plants.

The medicinal garden

He is honored in his village and does not seek outside contact with the tourist world. It was fate that I met him one summer day in Yucatan. I was first introduced to him by a man whose young daughter was cured by Francisco of cancer, herbs only, no drugs, no chemotherapy.


Since my first meeting with him, Francisco has taught me so much about the uses of different plants and about the connection between the physical and spiritual planes. He is studious, intelligent, honest, and humble. He loves his family and lives with them in a small compound that includes extended family members, a central kitchen,

The kitchen from outside

herbs and flowers, and chickens and pigs.


My grandson, Ayden, with the chickens

He is training his 3-year-old grandson to become the next shaman. But, he does not like the use of the word shaman because of the modern connotation linked to tourists looking for something extraordinary. He prefers the term herbatero which could be translated as herbologist.

Angel, shaman/herbatero in training

All that being said, Francisco is the most powerful “shaman” I have ever met. This man is the real deal. I have tremendous respect for him. So, when he tells me a story, no matter how unbelievable it may seem, I believe him.


I wonder if you will too.


I made the 3-hour drive into Yucatan from my beach-side home in Puerto Morelos the other day. I was there with two friends who needed healing. Francisco worked wonders for them both, and then he told this story.


Several days before, Francisco had been in a nearby pueblo to help rid them of a shape-shifting creature called a yui (why). It typically with change into a goat, a dog, or a cat and can be a real nuisance because it will mess up your stuff and pee on your clothes! It can travel up to 50 or 60 kms in one night. Wow!


Well, it was causing trouble and Francisco was called to get rid of it. He told us that the yui loves to play with star anise, so they put some out to lure the creature in and distract it. Then they shot it. I know, right? This raises SO MANY QUESTIONS! What happened to the body? Did it shift back to its original state and what does that look like? How did they know it was a yui and not just a dog, cat, or goat? (Imagine a goat randomly coming into your house peeing on your clothes!)


Francisco told this story after using the stone to see what was going on with Marinanna (more about the shaman stone here) and then just casually starting talking about the incident like you or I might talk about an incident in a parking lot with a runaway shopping cart. You are there one minute watching him asses what’s going on with someone in a very doctorly manner and then you are listening to a story about a shapeshifter without missing a beat.


Its hard to get your brain around it!


We are going back to see Francisco again next week. I hope to get a few more details on the yui. But you never know what might happen when you go see this humble man. Next time he might launch into a story about some other elemental being, or take us to a new cenote he found,

My daughter, Sarah, descending into a newly discovered cenote waaaaay out in the jungle

or sit and share some tamales they cooked in the pib (buried over hot coals and wrapped in banana leaves) . . . and yes, he uses the shaman stone to determine when the tamales are done!


Taking the tamales out of the pib

With much curiosity,

laura


PS. If you are interested in visiting Francisco and his family, email me at connect@lauralabrie.com. We often take small (2 or 3 people) groups to see him. Yes, he does heal people in every way imaginable, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Plus, the family is wonderful to meet in person!

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