Few are the life paths that take one deep into the study of the world’s greatest wisdom, immersing in the practice of a vast number of teachings and cultural practices that have endured for centuries around the globe. From tribes that carry on the wisdom of the forest to gurus and leaders, there is much traveling that can be done among the native traditions and ancient cultures. For years Kai Karrel has been traveling this path, and through patience and purpose he has cultivated a true talent in teaching and sharing this wisdom with others as a spiritual teacher, writer, mystic, and a practicing medium. In recent years, Kai has narrowed his focus and dedicated his attention to the Afro-Brazilian Shamanic teachings and the wisdom of the forest. He is a mystical traveler devoted to the exploration of consciousness, traveling amongst native traditions and ancient cultures.
Most recently, Kai has been devoting his time to the shamanic modalities of healing and awakening, studying with master teachers in Peru and Brazil to hone his skills as a medium and healer. He has been facilitating hundreds of worldwide workshops and retreats, including the Goddess Puja, a classic white tantra event which has been his staple offering for many years. Today, Kai’s main focus is writing and guiding others through the mystical journey of awakening.
An apprentice of Kai’s who has embarked on a similar path of study and teaching, Parashakti sparked this insightful and wisdom-filled connection, and like circling around a summer campfire together they sat for hours to learn more about Kai’s unique path and purpose. In this interview for Face the Current, Kai apprises on how we can all live our lightest, most enlightened spiritual lives, while having an amazingly fulfilling relationship with ourselves.
Sasha Frate: Can you tell us about the variety of training and studies you have been doing over the past several years and what this path has looked like for you?
Kai Karrel: For the past ten years I’ve been studying the mysteries of plant medicine and the esoteric teachings of the shamanic traditions of South America. Training with the indigenous tribes, with the different healing modalities and the different plants that lead to entheogenic growth and expansion of consciousness. In my twenties and early thirties I devoted most of my time to living in an ashram and studying the philosophies of the east. Those years lead to a journey of facilitation of workshops and events which support others in their own journey of self-love and empowerment. For years, I’ve facilitated a white Tantra event called the Art of Adoration, or the Goddess Puja, which helped bridge the gap between the masculine and feminine and bring participants closer to their hearts and understanding each other.
Throughout these studies, I’ve become involved in understanding and studying spiritism, Kardecism and mediumship. Leading to a process of receiving prayers, and working with people in a more integral, holistic way. My focus is and always has been – helping us fall in love with ourselves. I’m learning to fall in love with myself in the process of standing in my weakness with radical honesty for myself and others, with integrity, with a deep understanding of the emotional, social, and mental process of what it means to be a human spirit in a human body—with all the limitations and challenges that might bring. Helping others to understand the influence within their perispirit and its effect on our personal journey of evolution.
Essentially, I train extra-ordinary people (I use the hyphen intentionally). Extra-ordinary in the sense of realizing that in our reality today, everyone is trying to be special. But to be yourself, just yourself, is the most challenging thing there is. So, for you to just be you is the most justified thing that you can do for yourself. To just be yourself is probably not special, but it’s the most unique thing that you have left.
Parashakti: Can you tell us more about the perispirit?
KK: The term perispirit comes from spiritism which was discovered by Allan Kardec in the 1830s. Kardec is the person who discovered the phenomenon of seances, mediumship and what’s called “table turning”. Kardec started noticing these phenomena and as a scientist begun to investigate. He explains to us that in the center of your being – is your soul, described with the element of Fire. The soul, is all spirit – there’s nothing material about it. Encompassing your soul is your physical body, which is all matter, described with the element of Earth. Since the physical body is all matter, and the soul is all spirit, the way these two bodies communicate is with a third layer which is called the peri-spirit – half-spirit. The perispirit is half matter, half spirit. The element here is Water.
The body is like a vehicle, your soul, is the driver. Your soul keeps the imprint of all of your life’s experiences, your karmic blueprint is found within your perispirit. Thoughts, feelings, and sensations all operate within your perispirit.
Understanding the perispirit and its influence on our body, mind and spirit allows us to understand, deeply, how more often than not we are affected by external sources, whether other spirits, other people and our own negative patterns. This structure leads to a deeper understanding of our internal dialog, and with different tools we learn how to shift our moods, our physical illnesses and so on.
Parashakti: What does this influence from external sources looks like?
KK: Imagine an inkblot in water. Spirit influence isn’t a straight line, it’s like a spreading tentacle. The affect is subtle at first, moods, negative thinking, depression. With time these grow into a deeper layer of patterning and shift your behaviour towards yourself and others. In this moment, if you want to or not, you have in your gut positive and negative bacteria. They are not aware there is a Sasha around them… in a way, you are their universe. They struggle for their lives. Craving that precious sugar you enjoy providing them with. Their influence on you, when the “bad guys” win, is a stomach ache. When we observe the spirit world, it’s exactly the same phenomena just acting from an energetical point of view. Meaning, that you won’t have a stomach ache but their influence will lead to impatience, sadness, anger, jealousy – spiritual “pain”. It’s not that any of our negative patterns are a result of spirits, but more often than not they definitely play a role.
Spirits might act without permission; those are like viruses in the air. Let’s say you go to a restaurant, eat something spoiled and come back with a parasite. In the exact same way, you ride the subway in New York and come out depleted or agitated. What just happened? You picked up an unintelligent spirit. They don’t know you or look for a specific person. It’s like bacteria needing sugar—they seek it out. With these spirits, they see “light,” they need it and begin their abusive relationship with you.
SF: So how do you protect from that? For example, I walked into a crystal shop in Arizona and a man from Columbia saw my daughter. He said she was reacting to the incense and he told me that I need to watch her because she has so much light. He said I really needed to protect her because spirits will easily come after her, even though she’s seven.
KK: In the same way we understand that we protect ourselves from disease by keeping hygiene and living a healthy life style. Similarly, we learn how to observe our minds and act carefully with what we choose to expose ourselves to. What kind of movies, materials, people and situations. Understanding that some environments are more “dangerous” and will require a good cleaning and proper “spiritual nutrition” to follow. Whether that would be meditation, prayer or other centering practices. To understand the types of spirits and this overall process, I invite you to watch a movie called Astral City by Chico Xavier—it will change your life.
Ground yourself – literally… have your bare feet on the earth. In other words – begin a journey of self-exploration. This hyper-sensitivity is a blessing and not a curse, you just need to learn how to drive in high speeds.
SF: When you have challenging ceremonies, how do you not absorb the darkness? How is it that everyone else in the room does not absorb it?
KK: You ask because you understand the gravity of holding the type of space that I do. When we open to shamanic practices and invite spirit to walk beside us, though we might call angels and light beings, we know and experience that their counterpart of “un-friendlies” are soon to follow as well. There are so many protection and cleaning techniques, when I travel to South America, the study of these methodologies is my main focus and field of exploration. This is another reason why I focus so much on prayer and utilize powerful instruments which are charged for this process.
Parashakti: How do you prevent yourself from becoming the darkness?
KK: By turning on the light. To prevent darkness from enveloping us, all we have to do is remain centered in our innocence and prayerful hearts. You do that by continuous study of the spirit realms and with the endless journey of developing ourselves. Understanding our hidden motives, questioning our patterns and pains. Standing in our weakness and embracing our light.
SF: What about highly empathetic people? Some people don’t even realize that they are so empathetic and they’re just going around absorbing so much.
KK: Start by being aware of this taking place. Understanding that your moods, your energy levels and your process of thinking might be, more often than not, affected by external sources. Take your time to respond and not react. Ask yourself, is this mine?! Ground yourself – literally… have your bare feet on the earth. In other words – begin a journey of self-exploration. This hyper-sensitivity is a blessing and not a curse, you just need to learn how to drive in high speeds.
SF: How would you describe people who are kind of in a constant state of elevated energy?
KK: Usually these people are those who have chosen to face their darkness and embrace their light. They stand in their weakness and stopped wasting energy on defensiveness and comparison. Their energy keeps moving, keeps flowing. In other words, they are in service to others.
They live their lives as co-creators, they co-pilot their own journey, they are not victims of it. They are pro-active, choosing with awareness whom they interact with, what they consume and how they utilize their time and resources. They are aware of the constant battle going on within and without. They are open to the relationship between self and other, between the me and the we.
“To call Kai Karrel a rare and unique individual would be an understatement. Besides easily being the most generous human being I have ever met, he is also the most gifted teacher I have ever had the joy to learn from. His seemingly unquenchable thirst for knowledge is only matched by his gigantic celestial heart. He is more than a Shaman, he is a gift, a blessing…” ~ Roody Bonnaig
Parashakti: Speaking of relationships, you also do a lot of work that focuses on relating. What are the most common reasons that you see relationships fail?
KK: One of the main reasons is compromise which is a result of our fear of remaining single… because single implies being singled-out, left out, alone… We are taught to aspire for the prince or princess to rescue us from our tower of solitude. This pattern of seeking love from an external source is so deeply rooted in our social conditioning and it leads us to often relate with an undercurrent of codependency. We lose our sovereign center and do anything in our power or in other words, compromise, to remain coupled or better yet – not single. Any form of relationship that is based on lack, fear or codependency is more likely to fail than to inspire growth and connection.
SF: Compromise is common in relationships, with business, with career, with kids, with space.
KK: Yes, for the exact same reason. Compromise follows a conditioning around lack and the fear of I’m better off with than without. Any form of relationship, whether to a romantic partner, your kids or your job will ultimately fail without a sense of centered, sovereign self. The energy of attraction follows the interaction between two separate, polar beings. Two entities full of themselves, perhaps complimenting, but centered and defined. Dependency leads to the dissipation of attraction. That’s why learning to relate, is first and foremost a personal journey of healing.
SF: There are expectations and then once you start creating scripts, you have these recipes for disappointment if it doesn’t fit the script just right.
KK: These expectations come, again, as a result of codependency and lack. We expect the other person to fulfill our needs and make us happy. We come to them as our “solution” — I am lonely, that’s why I came into this relationship – it’s your job to fix it! — sounds funny when we say it out loud doesn’t it?
Relating is an ongoing process, you have to be alert, invest energy and treat it as a spiritual path. Without a joint interest of growing together, our relationships will only be a reflection of dependency and attachment.
SF: One of the things that I love that you say in the opening of all your workshops is that we’re here to fall in love with ourselves. You awaken people to that. For our readers, what can you give as a recipe for this?
KK: There is no recipe… It’s actually an “un-methodic” method. Love is craziness. Love is not scripted, especially self-love. It does not have a set of rules. However, it is methodic in the sense that it requires certain attention and a certain approach. The approach for self-love starts with radical honesty, radical self-acceptance. Most of the energy that causes you not to love yourself comes from trying to portray someone you are not. To start to shift the gears toward self-love, you need to practice being vulnerable with your truth.
Parashakti: What’s real to you now in your life that makes you vulnerable? Can you give an example?
KK: I’m a workaholic… I miss having a social life. I can’t experience more in my personal life if all I do is work. I also want to teach, I want to travel, I want to do other things. This year, I’m going to Thailand at Christmas and it’s the first time I’ve taken a vacation in seven years. And… my impatience… lots to shift there.
Parashakti: What would you say is your biggest weakness?
KK: My biggest weakness is setting healthy boundaries. I’ve been really studying codependency in the last few years. Pleasing my family, people-pleasing, wanting people to like me…it took me many, many years to get to a place where I now really love myself. I can’t say I’m free from codependency, but I’m not so focused on needing other people’s approval or appreciation. I love myself. I believe in myself. I live my message. I’m centered in that, but I would still definitely say that one of my challenges all of these years has been healthy boundaries. Remembering that if it’s a maybe… it’s a no.
SF: One of the things that you teach is the masculine-feminine dynamic. You do a ceremony for women to have the opportunity to experience being adored as a queen or goddess. When you teach that, what do you witness?
KK: A gradual understanding of needing to learn how to receive and how to remain sovereign. We are taught receiving as a conditioned response. If a man compliments on a woman’s eyes, the conditioned response is that he wants her phone number. We’re conditioned to receive cautiously, with lots of barriers. I see it as the difference between the princess and the queen, the prince and the king.
“Kai’s approach to teaching is one of empowerment, kindness and joy. His love for sharing this knowledge is so apparent in everything he does. He also has a hunger and drive to continuing his own learning and he is consistently bringing new information and teachings to our work.” ~ Kyle Wilensky
Parashakti: How do you describe this difference?
KK: A princess needs to prove her royalty in order to ensure that she will one day sit on the throne. The queen already sits there. She needs nothing; she sets the tone. She creates the rules by her mere presence. The princess will ask if she’s enough and the queen already knows that she is plenty. The queen is not guarded because she is her own emotional safety. She doesn’t have resentments because she is safe within her defined boundaries.
The prince is on his journey of conquest – he has to prove his worth. The king has already arrived. The king has nothing to prove and lives in his fullness. The prince is in a state of constantly seeking, attempting to fight the dragons and win his bride. The king fights no more, he is situated in the knowing of who he is.
SF: Another really big aspect of your teaching is all the prayers that you’ve written and received. So many people use positive affirmations and don’t really subconsciously believe that they will work. And so, they don’t. Can you speak to that?
KK: You cannot empower yourself if you aren’t willing to look at where you are at this moment. You’ll never know how to get to the next step.
Talking about the law of attraction,
it’s the same thing. If you have a vision board with a Porsche and a big house,
and you imagine yourself with those things, why doesn’t it happen? Because you
don’t understand that everything happening to you is happening according to
plan and is already perfect. Invest in “why” you want something, not “how”
you’re going to get there. That “why” will give you a sense of purpose.
My prayers are a map, from here… to here. Acknowledging the dark as bridge to embracing the light. They help us center in a strong why. This empowered why leads to magic.
“Kai has one of the purest hearts I’ve ever encountered in a human being. He speaks directly to your soul, sees your potential. His vision is not only to support people seeking their own individual healing, he also has a profound way of empowering you to believe in your own greatness, so you can be best of service to this planet and all of humanity. A rare quality of selflessness…” ~ Natascha Berg
Parashakti: Can you share and explain the importance of facing our darkness?
KK: If you don’t face the dark, the healing will never start. When you face your darkness you stand for your light. When you choose to see yourself as you are you stop leaking energy in self defense and start the journey back to your heart.
SF: Our bodies are just naturally, inherently trained to avoid pain. Pain brings suffering into our lives in many ways, so it’s common to want to avoid it, suppress it, and not face it. Many people become trapped by it or they just cope and/or avoid it forever.
KK: I believe that self-love is based on standing in your weakness and facing your truth. At first, it can be a rush of very uncomfortable emotions. It might scare us just because we’re not used to doing so, however that confidence to stand in your truth will develop and strengthen. The first step is to understand the mechanism of pain and what it means, and how it signals different things. As a society, we’ve been trained that any expression of anguish equals pain and avoidance. That is the foundation of codependency. Come with me to the jungle and you’ll see the exact opposite approach. Parents and children are like autonomous roommates. Kids there are taught to walk alone in the jungle from age two. They are completely self-sufficient; they know they will be taken care of by the forest, they are taught to face fear and not escape it.
Parashakti: Their connection to nature has got to be so much stronger if they’re just able to rely on intuition.
KK: When I ask tribes about that and about why we’re so messed up in the west, they always say that we don’t have our feet on the ground. Ninety percent of the time we’re in shoes, on asphalt. Their explanation is that we’re simply disconnected from nature. I’ll go further and say we’re disconnected from discharging the electrical magnetic static in our perispirits. We’re just collecting pain.
SF: You stated that for our present to take place, our past has to come to completion. Can you speak to that as it relates to facing the darkness?
KK: Not completion; it needs to come to a place of understanding. But when I said that I was talking about karmic debts. This also relates to the perispirit because those store impressions and impact from your past lives. For instance, if three lifetimes ago you were choked to death, perhaps in this life time your liberation will come in choosing to be a reporter or a singer, using your voice as your divine mission. You’re looking for completion, for liberation. Everything is happening according to the divine plan.
Think about this in terms of the people you’re close to, the people you work with, and your soul family. It’s a calculated timeline if you look at the bigger picture. When we understand the causality, we can relax into understanding the effect.
In order for past issues to stop repeating themselves, you have to close the door and bring it to completion. The lesson will continue to haunt you until you stop and question why something keeps on happening to you. Growth only happens when you confront those limiting beliefs that always come from your past.
Parashakti: Why do you think that some people just continue the pattern and other people have that desire to seek and connect with spirit?
KK: There are two factors. One is the evolutionary process of illumination and liberation. Every person is walking to a different pace. Some souls might be 8,000 years old, others are much younger—there is a lot more that they need to go through. Secondly, there is an element of randomness that’s called providence and grace. God works in mysterious ways; she is doing something in her calculations that is unknown to us. We can’t understand; it is beyond our comprehension.
SF: Why would you say that the work is never done? There’s no shortcut or quick fix to having an unending, blissful happiness—there’s always work to be done.
KK: You are in a constant, ever-flowing process of evolution that is never ending because you’re an infinite being. There will always be more levels of growth, and more levels of bliss. I believe that’s the nature of life, constant evolution. That’s how the expansion of the universe is—it’s never ending. So, in that sense, our work is never done, and if you’re smart, you’ll always ask for more. If you’re not smart, you’ll just settle for a compromise. But it really is a positive thing that the work is never done. It’s about constantly processing and evolving.
Parashakti: Can you share about the role of music and movement in healing and shamanic work?
KK: Oh, happily. Music is the fabric of the universe and it’s not just about the notes. Music is also silence, music is a poem, music is a painting, and music is an expression of unity. Music teaches us togetherness, harmony, silence, and appreciation. Music is metaphysical because music is energy; it’s not matter. Music is the universal language. We may all speak different languages, but if we sit together at a concert, we’ll feel united, experiencing the same kind of emotions. Music is a tool to go beyond the barriers of the frontal cortex. It’s a place of primal connection. It’s a place of primal understanding. Music moves us, inspires us and helps us heal.
Dancing can do the same thing. Though it is a little different in the sense of being the experience of togetherness in singularity. One dancer can be the whole symphony, but when we add another dancer, the symphony becomes intensified. If I have one candle, it lights a room. If I add another candle, does it disturb the first one? No, it just adds more light. In that way, dancing is the togetherness and also the singularity. Your light and your dance does not take from my light and my dance, and of course, I don’t take away from yours. It teaches us harmony and connection. Metaphysically, dance is the language of the unspoken. When there’s nothing left to say, sing, or pray, just a single gesture will express all there is to say.
When words fail to act as a bridge between people, a gesture will. In terms of medicine and somatic experiences in the body—because we are energy bodies moving energy through movement—dance lubricates our joints and connective tissues, allowing the body to expand or contract. It always helps to drop the script of what you think dance should look or feel like in a situation, and just let your body flow. Dancing is life—it’s random and uncalculated. Let yourself be taken by the divine dancer—you will no longer be a dancer, you will be danced. You will find yourself as the dance itself.
SF: How do you envision the collective transformation shifting from a lot of focus on segregation towards more of a sense of unity that recognizes and values diversity, while connecting us in more of a centered, unified space?
KK: There are two things that could happen: inspiration or desperation. We might get to a critical mass of desperation—no more water, no more food, high unemployment, exploding governments, corruption, etc. It’ll be so bad that people will have to fight the governments and the governments will have to change. Another different option is extra-terrestrial influence; something external to us that will either be a threat or a positive influence that will unify everyone. Though, In terms of inspiration I would say that we will rise deeper into the understanding of spiritism. Why? Because we’ll see things from a higher perspective. When we start to raise our vibration a little bit to understand that we’re all just vessels for spirit, we’ll be less identified with form, less identified with shape, and less identified with color. It’s not about tolerating differences, it’s about valuing them. We need to empower each other and encourage our uniqueness. Our current state of reality is not quite there but hopefully each and every day we’re getting closer.
SF: Can you speak to one of the greatest lessons that you’ve learned from your time in Brazil that’s really impacted your teaching?
KK: Hmm… so hard to narrow it down to a single moment. But one day, in the jungle, seeing a two year old walking by herself to the river to take a bath, singing, with no fear of snakes or harm. Her parents are not there to protect her, because she needs no protection. Life is her guardian, the river is her ally, the forest is her friend. I was reminded to trust in life and its mysteries, to seek my original innocence and the place within me that is always childlike and always trusting.
Parashakti: What brings you the most joy?
KK: The circles I lead and the work I do; I have nothing that compares to this. What brings me the most joy in doing this work is seeing the depth of transformation, and the happiness that people experience. Knowing that perhaps my life and my own journey had something to do in helping someone else fall in love with themselves.
Parashakti & SF: So powerful. Thank you so much for this.
KK: My pleasure – thank you!