"Her powers, when she uses them on me, sometimes I start crying," Shaman Durek tells PEOPLE of his royal girlfriend

By Sam Gillette
November 14, 2019 12:00 PM
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The shaman and the princess
Shaman Durek/Instagram

In May, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway announced that she was dating a shaman from California. All eyes immediately focused on Shaman Durek, who has a celebrity following that includes Gwyneth Paltrow and Nina Dobrev. But he isn’t the only one who claims to have mystical powers — the princess has also said she has spiritual abilities.

In an exclusive interview featured in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Durek discusses the premise behind his new book Spirit Hacking, addresses skeptics, and explains how their individual powers express themselves.

“Her powers are intense,” Durek, 45, says of Märtha, who is fourth in line to the Norwegian throne. “Her powers, when she uses them on me, sometimes I start crying. I see things; she sees the blind spot of what I see. So when I see something in someone, she comes in and completes the picture from the other side.”

He adds: “It becomes this complete circle, so everyone’s like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ “

Shaman Durek and Princess Martha
Shaman Durek/Instagram

Both Durek and Märtha, 48, are used to critics. After the announcement of their romance in May, skeptics were quick to fire at the couple, deriding Durek’s claims of shamanic abilities and their connection.

“I’m not here to tell [critics] that something’s wrong with them,” Durek says. “When people say things like, ‘That’s not real,’ to me you’re basically narrowing down your consciousness and your ability to be aware of what’s possible. You’re only seeing one angle.”

Anticipating naysayers, Märtha made her opinions clear when announcing her love for her “twin flame” on Instagram this spring.

“To those of you who feel the need to criticize: Hold your horses,” wrote the royal mom, who has three daughters with ex-husband Ari Behn. “It is not up to you to choose for me or to judge me. I don’t choose my man to satisfy any of you or the norms or boxes you have chosen in your mind for me to be in. I don’t thrive there, nor do I exist in your illusion about me. I choose from love.”

In 2007, Märtha opened a now-closed school in Norway “to help people get in touch with their angels.” Like Durek, she says she had a vision of them from a past life when they were set up by a mutual friend.

“I came in the door, and I recognized him straight away,” Märtha tells PEOPLE. “I was like, ‘I know you.’ That’s the first thing I said to him.”

“When we’re together and I look at [Märtha], sometimes I see another face,” Durek explains. “And she sees it in me, too. I have memories of us in Egypt, and she was my queen and I was a pharaoh.”

Princess Martha Louise, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Shaman Durek
Princess Martha Louise/Instagram
Peter Zambouros

Born Derek Verrett in Sacramento, Durek describes himself as a “sixth-generation shaman” and details his ability to commune with spirits in his book. The self-help tips he explains in Spirit Hacking are also part of his routine when meeting with clients. (Paltrow has previously called Durek her “light in shining armor” and has featured him on the wellness section of Goop.)

“When [clients] first come in, I usually don’t sit and say, ‘This is how it’s going to go.'” Durek explains. “I ask the spirits first, I go through their levels. I look at all the different things, if it’s their health, if it’s their emotions, if it’s what their thinking process is like. What is their evolution, what’s getting in the way, how do we shift it quickly, what’s the problem? And we go from there.”

He says that the spirits then give him instructions on how to help the client (which can involve speaking out loud to the spirits and speaking in tongues).

According to Durek, one client expressed gratitude as they were starting a session — and he was quick to check her.

“The woman said ‘Oh, I’ve been looking forward to seeing you. All I kept thinking about was that I’m so excited to have a session with you.’ ” he recalls. “And I said, ‘Darling, I appreciate your enthusiasm and I am so happy you’re here. But you didn’t come here to see me. You came here to see yourself.'”

He adds: “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?’ “

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