Left hand on solar plexus for Villacocha (Father Sun and Sky). Right hand on the heart for
Pachamama (Mother Earth).
In May, 2004, Tom and I went to Peru with a shamanic group lead by Nicki Scully from Eugene and a young Peruvian shaman named Mallku. Watching people get on the plane in Cuzco for our flight to the jungle at Puerto Maldenado there was suddenly a beautiful man with long black hair pulled back into a pony tail. Tom said later the sight made him start to cry. It was Mallku.
We were a powerful group. Starting on an eclipse, we did ceremony and more ceremony to heal the earth and our deepest selves. Two of the ceremonies were with vision medicines: Ayahausca and San Pedro (or Wachuma, as they call it there). At the Ayahausca ceremony on the bank of the Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon, one of the people who had not taken the medicine saw white spirit animals come out of the jungle and take up places behind the rest of us in the circle.
For me the visions in my own head were disappointing, whirling by so fast I could never focus on them. But the healings, both given and received, were profound. The shamans pulled great clumps and strings of invisible guck out of my back.
And during a long freezing and starry night in the Sacred Valley under the Andes, I was one of several who “midwifed” Nicki as she brought forth painful old stories about herself and with great groans shamanicly “birthed” four “babies” named Faith, Hope, Courage and Strength, who asked to be taken out into the world. In Machu Picchu we did ceremony in a cave under the ancient residential area – looking out over a 1500 foot drop to the Urubamba River below. I often had to wrestle with my terror of heights.
The feel of those ceremonies will stay with me forever. The smell of copal burning as smudge. Rose water sprinkled on our hands. Mallku’s huge condor feathers whooshing and his little pipes and whistles taking us on visionary flights. I even got my longed for dawn at Machu Picchu in honor of my mother’s still remembered dawn there many years ago. I watched the sun slip slowly up over the mountains as I leaned on what turned out to be an important altar stone. I felt not only her, but my father and my siblings and partners as well the grandchildren all around me as I prayed for our combined life’s journey and the next generation of children yet to come.
Written for Living Out Loud Show, Bay City Arts Center, November 2004.