Posts Tagged ‘Pachatata’

Solar Disc Activation, Part III

February 8, 2011
We streamed down the hillside from both temples in a continuous flow of pilgrims, like a moving rivulet of energy, love surging and pulsing toward its destiny—the joining of the divine masculine and divine feminine.

At the meeting place, the pilgrims from the Pachamama and Pachatata temples merged into one large group of joyful beings who had each reactivated their Inner Sun. We were all shy smiles and unabashed glee. It would have been paradoxical at any other place or at any other time, but it made complete sense in this place, at this time.

Most of us were uncertain about what would happen next and what did happen next left some of us humbled and surprised. We were joined at the meeting site by our Amantani Island host families. They arrived burdened with large packs on their backs containing pots of food, dishes, and eating utensils. They had trudged up the trail with our lunch. Just hiking up the trail was exertion for many of the pilgrims; these natives hiked up the trail with the equivalent of a restaurant meal on their backs. And they weren’t even out of breath.

We each found our host family and surrendered to being treated like visiting royalty instead of the simple pilgrims we were. Perhaps they knew what we were feeling inside but could not articulate—that what we had just done had not only awakened something within ourselves, but had caused a stirring within and across the planet that could not be denied and would not be ignored. It had been our valentine to Mother Earth and Father Sun.

Lunch was followed by performance. It appeared that our host families not only had the stamina to bring pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, and food up the hill, they could follow that up with dancing. The host families grouped themselves according to village and the men and women from each village danced together. I had drifted to the back of the crowd, but matriarch Sebastiani found me and dragged me to the front. She wanted me to have a good view of the performance and over the past twenty-four hours, I had come to understand that she embodied both drill sergeant and goddess of compassion. It did not even occur to me to fight her wishes. There was a hint of competition to the dancing, as if each village was intent on showing up the others. But it was all contained within a composite sense of joy.

Dancers. Photo courtesy of Lisa Niederman

When the performance was over, Jorge Luis came over to me and, with no lead-in and no explanation, told me what was going to happen next and what he wanted me to do. It seemed he wanted my participation during a part of the ceremony to symbolically join the divine masculine and the divine feminine. He was clearly in the thick of orchestrating the final details before the ceremony. He gave me my instructions and was gone. It all happened so quickly, I had no time to question anything he was saying. I just registered it and waited for the ceremony to begin.

Jorge, representing the divine feminine, was dressed in white. A woman, representing the divine masculine, was also dressed in white. They met in the center of the circle, joined hands, and in that moment, became the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine. One of the Peruvian shamans came forward to begin a small circle around the two. Then another Peruvian shaman came forward to take his place. Then another.

It registered in me that this was what Jorge Luis had been instructing me on. I was to be one of those coming forward to create that circle around the Divine Couple. Well . . . was that what he had instructed me to do? Surely he hadn’t meant me to join the Peruvian elders. Had he? Not me. Was that what he had meant?

There are moments in which my shortcomings and frailties as a human being crystallize and become very, very clear to me. This was one of those moments. Every doubt in me surfaced. My sense of unworthiness erupted. My ego was jerking me around like an electrical current making a loose wire dance. Some part of me knew that I was to step forward and join the circle of shamans; another part of me was certain that I would make a fool of myself if I did.

The Amazon shaman who had blessed me in fire ceremony, don Jesus, was in the small circle of shamans. My eyes met his, questioning. He nodded and in one burst of trust, I joined the circle. From that point on, I was in an altered state. I am not sure what happened. Another person joined the circle. The woman representing the Divine Masculine asked us to speak in one voice, “I am the center of the heart of the Solar Disc.” But the only reason I know this happened is that it has been recorded on video. At some point, those of us in the small circle—several Peruvian shamans, one young man of unknown origin, and me—joined hands and danced, first in one direction, then in the opposite direction. At some point after that, the ceremony was over and we were hugging one another saying, “Good times to you.”

My heart was full and its contents spilled out, everywhere, covering everyone.

Even me.

 

Lounging shaman. Photo courtesy of Lisa Niederman

Copyright 2011 by Melanie Mulhall

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Solar Disc Activation, Part II

January 18, 2011

I had never seen anything like it before: a rainbow completely circled the sun. The rain had stopped and the sun was out. Pilgrims were gathering at the Pachamama temple site for the Solar Disc activation ceremony and the very air was charged with love. And now a rainbow circled the sun. Many of us risked cornea damage by staring at it with mouths gaped open.

 

The Rainbow Around the Sun

Scientists can provide a logical, practical explanation for what we were witnessing, but we knew what it meant: Pachamama and Pachatata were sanctioning our activities, showing their approval, and joining us for the ceremony. Jorge Luis Delgado told us that the Father wanted to be present and had sent us a rainbow. He added that like all rainbows, it meant that something very special was happening, or would happen, at the cosmic level. 

But words could not really capture the meaning for most of us. The meaning resided in our hearts, with the Inner Sun. It was a cosmic sign to validate our activities. What we were doing was meaningful and real. What we were doing would have positive impact on planet Earth and her people. And I realized, as I took a deep breath and looked around me, that I was not just at the top of a hill on an island in Lake Titicaca, I was in a church—a grand church made of earth and stones and sweet air. I was in the presence of something numinous. I surrendered to the altered state of consciousness that was sweeping over me. 

We gathered together in a rough circle and Jorge Luis spoke to us about the significance of what we were doing. According to legend, the Solar Disc had been brought from Lemuria to the Incas by Aramu Muru (Lord Muru) and Amara Mara (the feminine aspect of Lord Muru). To protect it from the invading Spaniards, it was brought to Lake Titicaca, where it had resided ever since. Jorge Luis reminded us that when the new pachacuti starts, the Solar Disc begins to be reactivated. How? By activating the Inner Sun. We begin to expand love consciousness and by doing so, we begin to reactivate the Solar Disc. The Solar Disc helps us release resistance to this expansion. 

As Children of the Sun—the cosmic kiss between the Divine Mother and Divine Father—we are, actually, already there. But in this life, we are almost there. Jorge Luis joked that this is why we are always asking if we are almost there when we travel and pointed out that even when we arrive at our destinations, we are still . . . almost there. 

He went on to say that 2012 would be the time when we begin to awaken, to remember who we are. The Sun will rise and everyone will begin to awaken. Some will awaken early, some late, and . . . some will need a cup of coffee to awaken, he joked. But we will all awaken. 

We understood that what we were doing would help to activate that process. And we would continue to help activate it through munay, llankay, and yachtay.

Jorge Luis led us in a chant, the men in the group chanting Pachamama (the feminine aspect) and the women chanting Wiracocha (the masculine aspect). Then he opened up the ceremony to other speakers. Among them, a woman spoke in tongues with power and grace. Then she went around the circle, offering healing to every single person in it.

And throughout all of this, the rainbow held around the sun. 

In Inca time, the local shaman who was keeper of the temple arrived. He was a wizened elder who brought a younger man with him. The younger man—so stunningly beautiful that virtually every woman in the group was taken aback—seemed to be the elder’s apprentice. The elder opened the temple and we filed in, creating a spiral of pilgrims around the center of the temple, where the elder set up an altar with a despacho and led the ceremony. As with the other ceremonies in which we had participated, we were each given a k’intu of coca leaves. At the end of the ceremony, we each added our coca leaves—and, with them, everything we wished to release—to a bonfire that the elder and his helpers started.

 And the rainbow continued to hold around the sun. 

Once the ceremony was over, we filed out of the temple. There was beauty in every face I saw—a softness that echoed the Inner Sun we had just activated,  along with activating the Solar Disc that was somewhere in the lake. This was, indeed, the new pachacuti, the time for returning to the essence, to the Inner Sun. The time for remembering that we are all Children of the Sun. 

We took our time leaving the site, but the ceremonies were not yet over. Where the paths leading to the Pachamama and Pachatata temples meet, we would gather for the marriage of the divine masculine and divine feminine. 

And the rainbow continued to hold around the sun.

 


 

Copyright 2011 by Melanie Mulhall

Solar Disc Activation, Part I

December 27, 2010

Rain, rain, and more rain. Rain in sheets. Rain driving itself along the hillside. Rain flexing its muscles. Rain duking it out with the sun. And it was Solar Disc Activation day.

But it was also February in Peru. It was the rainy season and every travel guide I’d read said that rain could be expected part of almost every day this time of year. We had been fortunate thus far. It had rained during the night a couple of times but we hadn’t really had activities interupted by rain. And now, during the culmination of all our activities and all our ceremonies–the very reason for being in Peru–was this day, February 14, 2010. And it was pouring rain.

Sandy, Tim, and I put on our rain gear and made our way to our guest family’s kitchen hut. We weren’t in any hurry. We couldn’t imagine hiking up the hill to the Pachamama (Cosmic and Earth Mother) and Pachatata (Cosmic and Earth Father) temples with rain this fierce. But it was an important day and I did’t think I was the only one feeling a little unsure. There was nervous anticipation flowing through my veins.

I had made it to the kitchen early enough to watch the women cook. And they were a marvel of cooking expertise. Using nothing but a simple earthenware stove fueled by wood, simple pots and pans, and basic food items, they made wonderful meals. Sometimes less is more and they were chefs masquerading as family cooks who were demonstrating that truth on a daily basis–and demonstrating it with both grace and pride for the visitors from the USA.

We ate and waited for the rain to slacken a bit. We eventually set out to the town square, even though it was still raining llamas and vicunas. We were getting a later start than we’d planned, but we were committed and Juan Carlos led the way. At the gathering place, we found Jorge Luis and a few others. Most, it seemed, were waiting for the rain to ease up. We were on Peru time and Jorge Luis held great stock in flexibility. It would all work out in his model of the world–and, therefore, in mine.

Jorge Luis gave those of us already there permission to go on ahead to the temples. We knew that this was a hike that could take some time (because of grade and altitude) and decided to start out. Sandy, Tim, and I were delighted that Juan Carlos was assigned to lead the way for us up the hill. And Juan Carlos took this responsibility seriously. We hadn’t gotten far when the rain slowed, then stopped. The sun came out and I put my rain jacket hood down and kept on going.

Pilgrims On the Road to Pachamama Temple

We were among the first to arrive at the Pachamama temple. Half of the group would be meeting here; the other half at the Pachatata temple. Both temples were under the care of local chacarunas who would have to come to unlock them and lead the ceremonies. These temples represented sun and moom, male and female–both as separate entities and in marriage to one another.

There was a visual, as well as auditory, hush to the place when we arrived, giving a magical quality to the place. It seemed poised, waiting. It felt grounded and it felt like sacred ground. The view of the lake from the hill on which the temple stood helped place me in the cosmos and on the mother of all lakes, Titicaca. The temple itself was made of stone, standing nine feet tall or so. It had a simple wooden door that was peaked at the top. Above this, connected to the walls on either side, was an arch made of stone with “rays” or “teeth” that served as a kind of crown.

Pachamama Temple

People began to arrive in twos and threes, then in larger numbers. We spread out, getting a feel for the place. Most took photos. Many walked the grounds, got good camera shots, then found seats on boulders and looked out across the lake. Small pockets of people chatted, excitement coming from some groups and a hushed hum coming from others. Some just sat and meditated. I did some combination of these things. One moment I felt anticipatory energy stirring within; the next moment, a reverent calm swept over me.

Overlooking Lake Titicaca

Jorge Luis arrived. We had all been asked to wear something white. He had two sets of clothes, one he’d hiked in, the other for ceremony. Whether he pulled off the first to reveal the second or put on the second to cover the first, I’m not sure. But he managed to become covered in white garb. I’d planned to be dressed in similar matter, but the rain nixed my plan to wear white cotton pants. Instead, I wore black nylon pants, which I knew would dry out quickly once it stopped raining, and a white cotton top, which my rain jacket would keep from getting soaked.

A Shaman's Work Is Never Done! Jorge Luis On Cell Phone, Approaching the Temple

I would have preferred to be all in white. Yet, there was meaning for me in the black and white attire. I had spent the first thirty-five or more years of my life understanding, then managing, then integrating the polar extremes in myself. A family history project in graduate school had revealed to me that I had internalized the kinds of polar extremes that existed externally in both my maternal and paternal lineages. Black and white garb was a good reminder to temper the polar extremes. It was also a reminder of my skill, both idiosyncratic and forged by shamanic training, at integrating the internal masculine and feminine.

As I wandered the grounds, I came upon a key sitting on a boulder near the temple. It looked more like a hotel room key than the key to the padlock securing the temple door, but I was curious. I found Jorge Luis (doing his quick change) and presented the key, telling him I’d found it. I wondered aloud if it could be the key to the temple. Surely not. Still . . .

Jorge Luis looked at the key and said, more teasing than serious, “Maybe you are the keeper of the temple.”

I tried the key in the padlock and, as suspected, it did not fit. I looked at the key and considered putting it back on the rock. What if it actually was the key to a hotel room and someone returned, looking for it? Not very plausible and, besides, the key had a tiny bit of rust on it. I pocketed the key, deciding it was a gift to me from Pachamama.

Still, it felt like a sign and seemed to be saying, “This is the key you always knew awaited you. This is the key to everything that is important to you. In this place, at this time, first activate the Solar Disc within you, your inner Sun. Let that internal activation spread out from you, as rays from the sun, and let those rays touch everything in your world. Lifetimes ago, you came with others to safeguard the Solar Disc. Now you have returned and it is time to join with others to reactivate it. Open your heart. The key to everything is activating the light within.”

copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall

Amantani Island

October 24, 2010
The Aramu Muru Doorway might have wanted us to stay a bit longer. At least that would be one explanation for what happened when we left the site to re-board our bus: the bus got stuck in the mud as the driver swung it around to pick us up. We trudged to the bus and the men in the group gathered to manhandle the bus into submission. They ignored the advice of the female engineer in the group and just resorted to brute force. It didn’t work. Another bus was called to collect us and after a brief delay, we were on our way to
the pier to board a boat for Amantani Island.
 
A Slight Delay

Amantani Island is an island of less than six square miles on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. It is inhabited by less than 4000 Aymara people who speak Quechua and, some of them, a little Spanish. No English speakers here. There are half a dozen villages on its terraced hills and we were all going to be assigned to families to stay with for the night. We were told that the homes were simple adobe structures with no running water and little or no electricity. We would have beds and access to an outhouse. Our host families would feed us and we would have a little time to interact with them.

Approaching Amantani Island

The Solar Disc Activation ceremony would take place on the island, at two temples situated at its highest points. These temples, the Pachatata (Father) and Pachamama (Mother Earth) temples, were ancient places, each cared for by a guardian who kept them under lock and key, usually only opened for a ceremony each January 20, the annual feast day for the island. That they would be opened for the Solar Disc Activation ceremony was an usual and very special honor.

Our bus ride to the pier was long enough for me to observe and even chat with (through a translator) some of the Peruvian shamans who were participating in the ceremonies. To my surprise, I discovered that Q’ero shamans—or some of them—have cell phones these days. One of the men reached below his poncho and pulled out a cell phone to take a call as we bumped along on the road. I couldn’t quite reconcile the simplicity of these shamans with the complexity of having a cell phone. Where did he get it? Could he actually get a signal in the mountains where he lived? Was it even his phone, or one borrowed for the trip? I didn’t ask any of these questions, I just observed in stunned silence. 

A shaman from one of the floating reed islands, Romualdo Coila Coila, sat next to me on the drive. Romualdo handed me a business card that presented him as a Maestro Curandero. Nestor Caceres Escalante (a fellow traveler and a man of interest, himself) told me that Romualdo did ceremony to Pachamama, soul retrieval, coca leaf ceremony, and a variety of other shamanic activities. When I told Romualdo that I, too, do soul retrieval and a variety of other shamanic activities, he smiled and shook my hand. With Nestor’s help as translator, we chatted briefly about our work. Don Romualdo carried himself with a certain nobility and held a tightly packed internal power that could be felt as I sat next to him. He was a rugged looking man whose eyes and being emanated compassion.

And as I talked to him, I felt pulled to gift him with something I’d brought along that was stuffed in my pack—a round piece of malachite with a small hole in the middle that held a cord so it could be worn around the neck. I couldn’t reach get to it while on the bus, but I asked Nestor to tell him I had something for him that I would present later.

At the pier, we piled onto multiple boats for the rather long ride to Amantani Island. We all seemed to still be buzzing internally from our experiences at the Aramu Muru Doorway and that buzz was coupled with anticipation about the island and the ceremonies to come. 

Once on Amantani Island, I was able to retrieve the malachite necklace and as we walked toward the place where we would be doing ceremony, I stopped long enough to present it to Romualdo, who accepted it simply and with dignity. Later, I would see him pull it out from beneath his robe and show it to someone. It made me smile and I was glad to have been drawn to give him that token, small acknowledgment that it was.

Romualdo (in the black hat) Preparing for Ceremony

We gathered on a beach and Romualdo, accompanied by some of the Q’ero shamans, set about preparing his mesa for a despacho ceremony. This was to be a water ceremony and we would be making offerings to Lake Titicaca as a part of that ceremony. As Romulado set out his power objects, Jorge Luis Delgado spoke to us of water and spirit. He pointed out that water is alive and that whatever is alive can be communicated with. He said that water holds memory, listens, teaches, and shows us the way. “But what is the way?” he asked. “Just flow,” he said, answering his own question. 

If water represents the emotional body, then allowing ourselves to flow might be wise advice from Lake Titicaca. Jorge Luis made the provocative statement that the emotional body sometimes “covers the new codes.” The implication seemed to be that allowing ourselves to flow—as water does, effortlessly—might help us wash away resistance and release those new codes, or at least allow them to express themselves within us. 

Jorge Luis Speaks of Water and Spirit

“How do we connect with our own spirit?” Jorge asked. The real magic, he insisted, was our intent. As with other despacho ceremonies, we would be placing our intent into the coca leaves by breathing the intent into them. The ceremony would end with our taking our coca leaves to the lake in offering to her. 

Despacho

As we had done with air ceremony, we removed our shoes. Much to my chagrin, I was again wearing hose. I might have learned from air ceremony, but the hose were just too much a part of my personal ceremony for getting myself together that I hadn’t given it much thought that morning. Once again I was going to challenge a perfectly good pair of hose–this time by tromping over the rocky shore to Lake Titicaca. 

Romualdo conducted beautiful ceremony and, at the end, we each silently took our coca leaves to Lake Titicaca and made offering. It was a tricky scramble over rocks and the occasional broken glass on the beach, but we managed with as much composure as we could muster, teetering along. Once back in the circle, a young woman who had heard the story of the miracle of the pantyhose (which I had shared with a select few), teased me about my hosed feet. Surely, she proposed, I wouldn’t have gotten away without tears and runs this time. I looked at one foot and then the other. Then I lifted me feet so that she (sitting on the opposite side of the circle) could see. No runs. No tears. No holes.

 Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall