Posts Tagged ‘Inca’

Don’t Leave the Old Road for a New One, Part 3

April 8, 2013

By the time we’re in midlife, if we’re lucky, we’re so exhausted with maintaining the persona that we want to find our way back home. And back home is to that body we thought was dead, but isn’t.

I’m not simply speaking about all of this from the standpoint of observer. This is not just intellectualization. I have experience with it from the inside out. I had my own version of a dysfunctional childhood. I was a good student because, at least in part, “being smart” was a very helpful persona component. I created such a good persona that my own family didn’t know just how bad my first marriage was until I left it—ten and a half years into it. My persona attracted friends and male companions. My personal defenses against abuse, abandonment, poverty, fear of incompetence, and the suspicion that I would be found seriously lacking if I wasn’t perfect contributed to my achieving some useful things, like a couple of swell degrees and some business success. But they also made me a little brittle and a little less than consistently fun to be with for friends, lovers, and those supervised by me. Among other things, I could be moody, insecure, and a demanding boss.

I began my journey home—my journey back to myself—at an age when some people are still running down the road away from the dead body. Still, it took years to get as far away from myself as I was, and it has taken years to make my way back to myself. I’ve often speculated that we spend the first half of our lives becoming dysfunctional and, if we’re paying attention, we spend the second half of our lives undoing that dysfunction.

The admonition to not leave the old road for a new one is, as I have come to understand it, a wise bit of guidance to find your way back to yourself by facing, clearing, and healing everything within that is dysfunctional and inauthentic. That means stripping the persona down, dismantling the inappropriate boundaries, and rediscovering who you are at your core.

But what would leaving the old road for a new one be like? It would be an attempt to recreate yourself (often at midlife) by dismissing the ways in which you have made yourself up to this point—more or less trying to sail right over them—and simply trying to walk a more functional path without a backward glance at the path you spent all those years traveling down.

It’s temping, to be sure, and it’s what we think about when we speak of “starting fresh” or “starting over.” But according to my friend Jorge Luis Delgado, Peruvian chacaruna (“bridge person”—essentially, shaman), the Inca view the future as behind them, not in front of them. Why? For at least a couple of reasons, actually. First, we humans have eyes that face forward. We can see what is in front of us, but not what is behind us. And since we cannot see the future, it can be considered behind us. But perhaps more important, the future will be our past if we become enmeshed in our past, disdain our past, or otherwise refuse to accept and deal with it. And that is why we should not leave the old road for a new one.

Copyright 2013 by Melanie Mulhall

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Sillustani

July 10, 2010

Personal experience is just that: personal. Of course, any one personal experience is colored by all of our experiences that have gone before it and our worldview. Because of that, an archeologist might view Sillustani differently than a casual tourist, who might view it differently than a shaman.

Chullpa at Sillustani

I am told that archeologists view Sillustani as an ancient burial site and view the chullpas there as simply tombs. From my personal experience, that point of view is like saying that homo sapiens is simply a species of mammal and this species tends to live in small groups. It isn’t wrong, but it is so incomplete that most of what is important is left out.

Sillustani, which sits at about 13, 500 feet, is a peninsula on the shores of Lake Umayo, not far from Puno, Peru. On this peninsula can be found chullpas, ancient towers—some circular and others rectangular in shape—that do seem to have been used as tombs, but were also used as temples. Just as the remains of popes and saints are buried at the Vatican, the remains of what can only be assumed were important people were buried at Sillustani. It is believed that the site was used by both Incan and pre-Incan peoples.

Whatever the site was once used for, a few things are certain to me from an experiential standpoint: Sillustani is a power place; time and space seem to waver there, neither holding firm nor completely being lost; there is the feel of the sacred to the chullpas and to the land around them, and; the place feels as if it has been used to connect with the divine—and the star brothers—for eons.

It may have been that my group had not been long in Peru and this was our first site visited as a group, but I’m inclined to think that it was the place itself that caused the group to move through the site in a hushed, reverent way. I believe that most people can tell, energetically, when they are in sacred space—even if they have little conscious access to the energy they are feeling. And when we are in sacred space, something in us gets very quiet, as if we instinctively know that we might hear the whisperings of God (Wiracocha). Sillustani is such a place.

Island in Lake Umayo

Island in Lake Umayo

There is an island in the middle of Lake Umayo that is flat on the top and looks, for all the world, like a UFO landing site. In fact, many people have reported UFO sightings there. Jorge Luis had camped out on this island with others and assured us that there was magic to the place. Were the chullpas built on Sillustani because of Sillustani’s proximity to the island? Was the island a UFO magnet because of its proximity to Sillustani? Who knows? But I am certain that the relationship between island and chullpas is not simply coincidence.

Sillustani set a certain tone for the work to come. We were on sacred ground and about to do sacred work. I could feel the support of the grandmothers and grandfathers. And I could feel that angels were lining up to help us.

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall