Posts Tagged ‘Machu Picchu’

We Begin

August 1, 2010

As Frank Herbert pointed out, beginnings are important. They are delicate time, times that must be approached with respect. I had been in Peru for a few days, long enough to allow what I believed would be an important experience to begin delicately. People were arriving on a daily basis, from around the world and around Peru. Jorge arrived at the hotel one morning with a small, wizened lady, an Inca elder. If character could be likened to ocean depth, this woman’s face reflected a depth of several thousand feet. Wisdom, humor, joy, and sorrow were all wrapped up in her eyes and her face was like a helicopter view of the Texas arroyos. In short, she was gorgeous. 

Not everyone was handling the altitude well. Some people reported headaches, deep fatigue, queasiness, shortness of breath, and an overall feeling of having been pummeled by an Inca warrior. A person or two needed oxygen fixes and I entered the hotel lobby one day to find a woman lying on a couch with an oxygen mask over her face and the tank next to her. I was incredulous at the sight of a few people puffing cigarettes in the courtyard and I was unable to fathom how one could manage the demands of the altitude with lungs caked in soot. Still, most people were cheerful, expectant, and hearty. 

As for expectations, I’d come with few. I knew I was meant to be there. My only expectation was to participate in and lend my personal energy to the solar disc activation in whatever way that would be of service to Jorge Luis, the Grand Mother of all lakes, Titicaca, and to humanity at large in whatever form it took right there in the moment. Having few expectations can be a beautiful thing. I’d already been thoroughly delighted by the beauty of the hotel and grounds, the sacred quality of the like, and the enchanting nature of things in general. I was about to be delighted further, but not just delighted—awe struck. 

The ceremonies began on Thursday, February 11, 2010. We gathered in a large hall. I had arrived with my friends and colleagues early enough to have a nice seat, close enough to feel a part of things but not so close that I risked falling into some shaman’s lap. 

And there were plenty of shamans’ laps one could fall into. Jorge Luis introduced the shaman who would kick things off with a sound invocation. He was from the Machu Picchu area, which had just suffered the worst flooding in many years, and had walked ten days to connect with others so he could make his way to Lake Titicaca and participate in the ceremonies. What a blessing that he was there! 

Using chant, drum, flute, music, and words he thrust from his mouth like arrows of intent, he invoked the divine with sound that vibrated walls, windows . . . and our hearts. Two colleagues in my group wore hearing aids and reported having very interesting (one would guess almost psychedelic) experiences. We were asked to close our eyes at some point and the sound was an earthy, heavenly chorus—no mamby pamby sweet angelic sounds, but the kind of powerful summoning that said, through music and deep, throaty voicings, the equivalent of, “Pachamama, Virachoca, Mother/Father God, we have heard you calling to us, the Children of the Sun, and we are here to answer that call.” It was transcendent, moving us from whatever dimension we thought we were in to having at least one foot in some parallel dimension that was primal and in which our hearts were cracked open. I was a different person when I opened my eyes and as I looked around, I could tell that others were too. 

It was good preparation for what was to come. We were all given three coca leaves, with which we were to make k’intus, little fan shaped arrangements of the leaves to use in ceremony. When the invocation was over, we filed outside to begin the fire ceremony. Young Peruvian women, dressed as Inca maidens or priestesses formed lines to the right and left of the path, and we stepped along as if passing through an energetic portal that blurred any sense of time. We might as easily have been those who came to Lake Titicaca five hundred years earlier, bearing the solar disc. My sense of it was that at least some of us actually were those people, returning now, as planned. 

 

Women Lining Path at Fire Ceremony

A local shaman instructed us to breathe into our k’intus the intent to release whatever we felt we needed to release to the fire. We did so and tossed our k’intus into the fire. There were many of us and it was done prayerfully. It probably took a long time, but it’s hard to say. We were in a state outside of time. 

Then much hugging and singing and dancing. Shamans passed through the crowd offering personal blessings. I turned to find a shaman with a powerful, sweet force field right in front of me. He blessed me and I found myself dizzy for a moment. I heard someone refer to him as don Jesus and soon discovered that he was a shaman of the Amazon. He blessed my friend Lisa, too, and I joked that we had just been blessed by Jesus.

Amazon Shamans (don Jesus in the Middle)

One by one, those of us who desired it smudged ourselves in the smoke from the burning wood. I felt as if the best part of me had surfaced and that part of me was being hermetically sealed, right there on the top of the skin, not hidden deeply within where one would have to dig to find it.  

Back inside, we feasted. I had surrendered to sound and fire, had been purified by both, and was drifting between dimensions. I felt ready for whatever would come next. 

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall 

Liftoff

April 28, 2010

Sometimes things change in an instant. My trip to Peru didn’t exactly change in an instant, but it changed almost overnight. In late January, 2010, flooding and mudslides in Peru made Machu Picchu inaccessible. People lost their homes. Some died. Tourists had to be rescued by helicopter. Fortunately, Machu Picchu itself was not lost, but it would be lost to tourism for weeks or months to come. In fact, the entire Sacred Valley had endured flooding and some areas near Lake Titicaca had been flooded, too

My side trip to Machu Picchu was washed away in the floods. Visiting the Sacred Valley was in question. For a few days I was not sure that the trip would happen at all. Fortunately, while the trip schedule had to morph a bit, the trip was still on. Instead of visiting Machu Picchu, we would be going to what many believed to be the most important archeological site in the Americas: Tiwanaku, in Bolivia.

Now this was truly interesting. A couple of years earlier, I had been sitting meditation one morning when I received the very clear message that I would be going to Bolivia one day. I wasn’t even quite sure where in South America Bolivia was. I was skeptical. (Yes, I admit it. I sometimes question what comes in meditation, even though it is right on, more often than not.) Bolivia? What in the world would bring me to Bolivia? And now, two years later, it seemed I would be going to Bolivia on a side trip.

Part of the Denver contingent gathered at DIA on February 7. The first leg of the trip for us was Denver to Miami. Then Miami to Lima and Lima to Juliaca. From Juliaca, we would take a bus to Puno and on to Jorge’s hotel, the Taypikala Hotel, which was on the shores of Lake Titicaca, in the little village of Chucuito.

I suspected that my flight from Denver to Miami was going to be a good one when the man already seated next to my assigned seat on the airplane greeted me even before I sat down and offered to help me stash my carryon. He had a huge smile and emanated peace. I quickly learned that his name was Shane Senevirante, he had been born in Sri Lanka, and he was the owner of an open wheel (Indie style) race car team called Team Stargate Worlds. Yep, the same folks connected with the television series and movie sponsored his team. He was heading to Miami to meet up with one of his drivers, Simone De Silvestro.

Shane and I chatted the entire flight. We talked about open wheel car racing, shamanism, family, Peru, Sri Lanka, and leadership. That conversation with Shane gave me hope. Here was a young team owner in the highly competitive field of car racing speaking about the importance of maintaining harmony within his team. He genuinely cared about his team members and their overall well being. He had a firm grasp on business necessity, but he also had a firm understanding of the importance of maintaining internal peace. And he cared deeply about his family.

If someone had suggested that enlightened leadership could be found in the race car industry, I would have seriously doubted the veracity of the comment and the sanity of the speaker. Yet there I was, impressed by the wisdom and commitment to principles coming from a young race team owner. I had dropped out of corporate America more than a decade earlier because of unenlightened leadership and greed. This young man was making me rethink my position on business. I planned to keep an eye on him and his team.

The layover in Miami was many hours. It might have been exhausting, but wasn’t because our group bonded during those hours. We had come together for a purpose: to join with others to activate the Solar Disc. It was a service trip for all of us and joining together in service, in and of itself, helped forge that bond. But we also had so much time to wait at the less than inspiring Miami International Airport that we were able to share stories about ourselves and our lives, buy a group gift for Jorge and another for one of his guides, and otherwise gel as team. The layover was enlivening instead of exhausting.

The layover in Lima was also long and we were just a little rumpled around the edges at that point. But the flight to Juliaca was awe inspiring. The Peruvian Andes were blanketed in green—and not just any shade of green, but a vibrant mixture of forest green, Kelly green, and spring green that was surely the essence of what God meant by the word “life,” and could easily be the pictorial stand-in for the word.

The Juliaca airport was a diminutive tarmac break among all that green, like a nest tucked into the terraced hills. I found myself grateful for the pilot who had managed the landing. At the luggage carousel—and there was only one, so it was easy to find—a smiling little band of locals greeted us with pan flutes and guitars. Their cheerful traditional Peruvian music created an immediate sense of celebration, but my reaction was that of having all the wind sucked right out of me. Tears sprang to my eyes.

I felt as if I had come home . . . after a long absence.  

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall

Meeting Jorge

November 29, 2009

If you ask Jorge Luis Delgado what is life is about, he will likely answer, without hesitation, “Love, service, and wisdom,” or munay, llancay, and yachay in the Quechua language. 

In North America, Jorge would be called a shaman. But Jorge is Peruvian of Incan ancestry, born and raised near Lake Titicaca.  He refers to himself a chacaruna, a “bridge person.” A bridge person is one who helps others navigate from one state of consciousness to another (an apt description of what shamans around the world do). The bridge that Jorge provides has been forged by years of service, a loving and humble heart, and wisdom that comes from communion and respect for both Mother Earth and Father Sun. And those journeying across that bridge come to a state of consciousness in which they recognize that they are, and always have been, enlightened—they just have been resistant to embrace it. 

I first heard of Jorge when a close friend of mine met him while on a tour of Machu Picchu. There seem to be shamans behind every bush in South America and I am always a bit skeptical when Americans return from trips to the southern hemisphere with stories about the power people they have met there. It isn’t that I doubt that there are powerful shamans in South America. There are. My skepticism is of the same variety as that I have when people tell me they have crowded into a sweat lodge with forty other people to participate in ceremony led by someone whose background they have only sketchy information about. It’s the same skepticism I have of those who call themselves shamans but cannot quite explain their path to the work, apart from a couple of classes in shamanism and a interior pull. There are many seekers of mystical experience and, it seems, just as many purveyors of that experience who are selling mysticism as if the experience could be pasteurized and bottled for easy consumption. Motor oil passed off as snake oil passed off as enlightenment. Altered states for those who want to be able to TiVo it. 

So I didn’t really give the fact that my friend had spent time with a Peruvian shaman much thought—until she called one day to tell me that the same shaman was hosting a gathering of elders at Lake Titicaca to activate the Solar Disc in the lake, and that those who wanted to lend their energy to the process were being invited to join in. I knew at once that I was supposed to be there. 

It was the same kind of knowing I’d had many years ago when I asked a shaman if I could work one-on-one with him and he replied with a question, “Journey work, or do you want to be an apprentice?” At the time, I had no conscious thought of becoming apprenticed to a shaman, but my brain was bypassed by the part of me that knew it was time to step into my destiny and I answered, without thought, “Apprentice.”

Now I had the same kind of visceral knowing about Lake Titicaca and the activation of the Solar Disc. It was as if I’d finally received an invitation sent out before I’d ever stepped into this body in this life—and I’d sent myself that invitation, as part of an agreement made between many souls to be at an appointed place at an appointed time. Somehow, the fact that I have a husband with cancer and limited income were irrelevant. I’d agreed to be there long ago and I was going to fulfill that promise.           

The name Jorge Luis Delgado came into focus the instant I answered that invitation saying, “I’ll be there.” 

As luck would have it, Jorge was going to be in the United States some months after I made that commitment and I set about to help my friend (and others) publicize this first visit to and workshop in Denver. I wanted to meet the man whose interior ley lines seemed to be intersecting and activating my own. 

What I encountered in that meeting was a man of humility and humor, of wisdom and wit. A practical man, Jorge seems to see love as a verb and practices the active side of love without stress or pressure . . . but also with the unsettling ability to see right into the core of a person. The man is no tourist shaman. He’s the real deal.

There is a great deal to say about Jorge, the Incan cosmology, and the new Pachacuti—the return of the light—and it cannot all be said in one blog post. But Mother Earth and Father Sun have been waiting patiently for the end of the age of darkness, so I’m hoping my readers can apply just a bit of patience, too, for the next post.

 Copyright 2009 by Melanie Mulhall