Posts Tagged ‘shamans’

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

Conference, Cutimbo, and the Miracle of the Pantyhose

September 1, 2010

Earth, air, fire, and water. These are the “elements” around which the ceremonies leading up to the Solar Disc activation will be based. This is ancient practice. Shamans from around the world understand ceremony based on earth, air, fire, and water. These elements give us life and we cannot live without them. Our lungs fill with air when we enter this life, and when we die, it is said that air leaves first, then fire, then water, and finally, earth.

We are to do air ceremony the day following the fire ceremony. But first, we have conference in the morning. As the elders and shamans arrive, I am struck by the miracle of our all being here, in this place, at this time. So many have been called to join together for these events and while I had a sense of it the previous night, it is not until we gather for the morning conference that I feel the full impact of it. I am humbled to be a participant and, as I look around me, I feel the collective power of those gathered. I have no doubt that we will activate the Solar Disc. I have no doubt, in fact, that we could, collectively, shift the tectonic plates if we chose to. But shifting collective consciousness is more what we are about.

Jorge Luis opens the conference and then turns it over to others to share seeds of wisdom, as he puts it. The Amazon shaman, don Jesus (who blessed me the previous night), seems thrilled that we have all come to take part in this important event. He says that he thought the Amazon River was big—and then he came to Lake Titicaca. We laugh, appreciating his innocence. He carries that mingling of wisdom and innocence I’ve seen in those who have seriously gotten over themselves—like His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Arikara/Hidatsa elder, Marilyn Youngbird.  Don Jesus’ wife, Juliana (also known as The Bird of the Amazon), sings for us. HeatherAsh Amara, a longtime student of don Miguel Ruiz, speaks of the elements and learning to lean into them as we give up our identification with self and our resistance to acknowledging that we are, indeed, magnificent beings. Nestor Caceres Escalante talks about sacred geometry. Don Isidro urges us to take that which is within us and express it in the world. Meg Blackburn paints mental pictures of light organizing into geometric shapes that remember all they have experienced. Local shamans—don Raul and don Jose Ramos—tell us how pleased and honored they are that we are there.

The Conference

And so it goes. All morning. As HeatherAsh would have us lean into the elements, I lean into the teachings, as a tree leans towards the sun. It is the extraordinary ordinary people of the world who impress me—not rock stars or athletes or heads of state—and these are extraordinary ordinary people. It is clear to me that each of them is contributing to the evolution of consciousness in their own way and I’m glad to be sharing this experience with them.

We travel to Cutimbo for the afternoon air ceremony. Not far from Puno, in the altiplano—the high plateau—Cutimbo rests on a large, flat plain more than two miles above sea level. Dominating the site are both a square and a round chullpa. 

Cutimbo Chullpas

We are asked to remove our shoes and socks, then form a large circle. Most of those present do so, though a small group seems to separate from the larger group and conduct their own small ceremony nearby. The circle is huge. There are more than a hundred present for the ceremony. Peruvian shamans gather in the middle to orchestrate the ceremony. Those of us comprising the circle are asked to move as the wind moves. One of the shamans talks and gives offering as we dance our wind dance over moss and rocks, delicate flowers and weedy growth. Overhead, the wind conspires with the cloud people. It looks, for a time, as if it might rain, but it does not. The air is crisp and we are all washed clean by the wind.

I had dressed for the day in hiking pants and shirt, hiking boots and thick socks. But beneath it all, I am wearing pantyhose, as I do most days. Having removed my shoes and socks—but unable to remove the hose—I have been dancing over the rough terrain in stocking feet. This is a sacrificial pair of hose and I am happy for them to be so. They will be shredded by the time we are done. I am, admittedly, a throwback to another time, a laughable anachronism of a woman. And I expect my due for being one. I would have been better served barefoot, but I am not. And I couldn’t care less about the hose.

But when we have completed the ceremony and I sit down to put my socks and boots on, my mouth drops open as I see my feet. Not only are my hose not shredded, there are no runs, no snags—nothing. The hose are in perfect shape. It is completely ridiculous. It is impossible. It is wildly amusing. I am on the receiving end of a minor miracle. I have been shown that when one throws herself completely and joyously into work on behalf of something larger than herself, the ordinary rules of life, physics, and pantyhose are suspended. That Spirit would use something as mundane as pantyhose for this lesson amuses me to no end. At the same time, I am a little in awe. And I keep what has happened to myself, at least for the time being.

Feeling the Energy

After the ceremony, we spend time at the chullpas, praying, some of us crawling on hands and knees through an opening to sit in the womb of pachamama within one of them, feeling their energy. I do all of this. But I do it as the silent witness to the miracle of the pantyhose.

Cutimbo, Post-Ceremony

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall

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 

Meeting the Lake, the Land, the People, and Myself

June 16, 2010
Once I had arrived in Peru, my first priority was to introduce myself to the land and to Lake Titicaca. The morning after our arrival, I breathed in the sweet smell of Peru and took my time, as one would do with a new lover. I took coca leaves with me down to a grandfather tree at the edge of the gardens, made a k’intu, a little fan-shaped arrangement of three coca leaves, and entered a prayerful state of consciousness. In that state, I introduced myself to the land and to the lake, spoke of my purpose for being in Peru, and offered my respect. Then I gently breathed blessing into the coca leaves, raised them to the sun, and let the wind take them.

Afterwards, I walked down to the lake and began to get a feel for her. Lake Titicaca is considered to be the epicenter of feminine energy on planet Earth and I immediately felt her tug at my quosqo (the energy center around the navel). I felt connected to her—even felt that I was at her service.

Later I walked the labyrinth on the property, enjoyed the gardens, and helped some groundskeepers clean the stones in one of the pools. I had come to Peru on a service trip, to help Jorge Luis and the shamans and elders gathering at the lake activate the Solar Disc. It seemed to me that anything I could do on behalf of this important cause was a worthy thing to do. The hotel belonged to Jorge, the pool was a part of the hotel, and everyone involved in the Solar Disc activation was gathering at the hotel. If stones needed to be washed, then I would wash stones.

I climbed into the empty pool, looked at the rather startled men scrubbing away at the stones, picked up a brush, and joined in. They seemed amused by the crazy lady scrubbing slime off the stones and made an attempt to communicate. Even though I knew almost no words in the local language and they knew no English, before long, we were laughing and interacting as we meticulously washed the stones. I had made some friends.

Melanie the Rock Scrubber

And Her New Friends

But it wasn’t quite all bliss.

Because of the nature of the trip and the work to be done, I knew that my time in Peru could, and probably would, surface my “stuff”—my internal detritus. Lisa (my longtime friend and the ringleader of the Denver contingent) and I had discussed it numerous times and had done plenty of internal clearing in preparation for the trip. Still, I knew that whatever needed to come up for review was likely to. And it did, my second morning there.

No warning. Like a sniper attack in the well-intentioned jihad for my spiritual sanity, ordered by kindly helping spirits—but painful, just the same—I found myself knocked off center and feeling vulnerable during a conversation with Jorge Luis, himself. I saw it for what it was: my stuff coming up. Once the conversation was over, I felt my feelings, explored my thoughts, meditated, and shed a few tears. And I breathed a few prayers of gratitude for all the hucha clearing I’d done before coming to Peru. Then I did a little more hucha clearing.

And then I went exploring again. I’d heard that there was a temple in Chucuito and I set off on foot to find it. It had been referred to both as a sun temple and as a fertility temple by some fellow travelers, but a merchant in town frowned at the notion that it might be considered a sun temple and insisted that it was only a fertility temple. The merchant pointed me in a direction.

Still, I wasn’t quite sure where it was and stopped, past the plaza and church, at an area that was walled off. An old Peruvian man stood at the locked gate awaiting entrance and a young man—very blonde and very white—came to let him in.

I approached and said, “What is this place.”

The young man, clearly an American, told me that it was a retirement home for the very elderly and that the people staying there were very poor. I asked what had brought him to this small retirement home in this small town in Peru and he told me that he had just completed college and was there doing service work—repairing, building, and fixing things up. He would be leaving in a few days to work elsewhere. We chatted about his work, our homes in America, and the fact that many shamans from around Peru and around the world would be congregating very close to where he was in just a couple of days. He was startled by the news . . . but no more startled than I had been to find him in Chucuito.

He pointed to the temple (Inca Uyo), which I had just passed. I backtracked, paid my two dollars to get in, and was promptly taken in hand by a young girl who looked no more than seven or eight. She was quickly joined by a slightly older boy and the two of them chaperoned me. The phallic looking statues peppering the grounds suggested that it was, indeed, a fertility temple.

Fertility Temple

The tour was quick. Within a couple of minutes, the girl began calling out what sounded like, “Finis! Finis!” and kept repeating a word I did not understand. (Of course, “finis” is Latin for “finished.” She certainly was not speaking Spanish and I had no sense of whether she could have been speaking in Aymara, the local language.) But I wasn’t finished experiencing the site and the boy was more accommodating. He pointed out several things of interest, the girl continuing to call out quite insistently and becoming more and more agitated the longer the tour took.

When she rubbed her thumb against her index and middle fingers and looked at me with disdain, I finally understood that she was not only insisting that the tour was over, but that she wanted money for the quick spin around the grounds. I had been at the temple but a few minutes. The two had chastised me when I suggested I just wander the grounds on my own. My head was spinning from the brush-off. I gave her a dollar. The boy demanded one too, but I’d had enough of the merchant urchins by then and simply turned and walked away.

The fellow travelers who had been to the temple before me had been enchanted by the delightful, loving children who had given them a tour. Their guides were clearly quite poor and equally sweet. But the boy and girl who ushered me were wearing designer duds and seemed to have affection only for making a buck. The boy at least had basic manners, but the girl was both disrespectful and pushy.

Yes, it can be said that the majority of Peruvians are not particularly well off, a condition that has spawned many little entrepreneurs. And, no doubt, some tourists are less than respectful of the Peruvian culture, people, and land. But the chasm between my friends’ experience and mine was a vivid and pointed message that Peruvian children, like people everywhere, are not generalizable.

Days unfold and reveal themselves to us regardless of where we are, but sometimes we are more cognizant of it, on alert for what might transpire. This day had more to reveal. We were taking a side trip to Sillustani—a place known for its UFO activity. The day was already revealing itself as being just a little disconcerting and odd. I wondered what was next. 

Sillustani

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall