Meet Shaman Durek: spiritual guru to stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, author of a new book, Spirit Hacking — and, yes, boyfriend of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway.
His royal romance has generated headlines in recent months, but in Spirit Hacking, which was published on Tuesday, Durek wants readers to understand that his attention-grabbing love life is only one part of his unusual journey.
Born in California to parents who divorced when he was 3, Durek — given name Derek Verrett — is a self-described sixth-generation shaman. In his new book, he writes that his ability to commune with spirits appeared when he was a toddler. He also writes that he experienced physical and sexual abuse as a child, which later led to his abuse of alcohol.
“My defiance is the only reason I’m still here, inside this biological space suit, talking to you right now,” writes Durek, “because my defiance was what kept me true to myself, and what kept me true to everything I stand for, which is love.”
Durek also addresses what he calls the current “blackout” period. He writes that this “sink-or-swim juncture” has led to hate, political tension and an increase in natural disasters. He hopes his book will inspire people to take action.
“I want my legacy to be that I came to Earth to build leaders who left legacy,” he says.
“This isn’t about me,” he continues. “This is about our planet, this is about thriving on planet Earth and being able to use our greater intelligence to create a planet that is not just sustainable, but where life is sustainable. Because the way we operate now, we operate against ourselves as human beings.”
As for his clients, who include Paltrow and actress Nina Dobrev, he says his approach is to encourage self-reflection.
“What we’ve been taught in society is to always look for some savior,” says Durek, 44. “I had a session with a couple, and the woman said, ‘Oh, I’ve been looking forward to seeing you.’ And I said, ‘Darling, I appreciate your enthusiasm and I am so happy you’re here. It means a lot to me, but you didn’t come here to see me. You came here to see yourself.’ All I’m doing is holding a container and throwing a bunch of tools in that container and saying, ‘See yourself, here are the tools, how far do you want to go?’ ”