I was not going to come to the mountains…during my intense ayahuaska ceremonies..where too much happened to write at this point..as I am still digesting the information..I was told to go..pointed to the mountains..there were three of them mountains..each within the other………….
I am at a loss for any words right now..I wish we were at a level of awareness where I could just tap into your heart, and you could feel all that moves through me. I have no idea what day it is..what time it is…..the sun comes up, the colors change, the temperature changes, shadows move, the sun goes down. Stars emerge in all their glory, it gets cold, and I dream… I had the luxury of two nights with hot water, a cozy warm bed, down fluffy covers, and with what must have been 1000 thread count after 6 freezing nights in the mountains of the mountains.
We make our way to the sacred mountain of Ausengate. We meet up with a few new faces which included two medicine elders Dona Phillipa and her husband Don Sebastien both powerful healers and respected shamans who would guide us through many ceremonies over the next week. We begin our trek by meeting the incredibly honest and hard worked ponies that we would trust with our gear and ourselves. I have to get over some initial heart wrenching emotions with the first sight of them….small, undernourished, sore, scarred, sad, and disrespected..there are so many things here that to me make no sense…so much contradiction. I am able to work on a few of them, though they were afraid and unsure of what i am up to, i get the strangest looks from the guides , i tell them in my best possible spanish what i am doing..they still think i’m crazy. We head up the hillside, i am in the van with our crew, the others are in the station wagon with most of the stuff, and the horses follow. we wait at the top of a pass, on a dirt road so those who wish to mount their horses now can to ride for the next 45 min..the kids want to, i decide to stay in the van…the horses are going to do enough over the next while. We delicately maneuver steep embankments, rocks…. terrain that i would only expect narrow hummers(if they made them) to get through, but some how we manage..without 4×4…another miracle. i can smell the gears, we scrape along the tip of a rock, the car steams..perhaps we should have ridden!!!..we arrive at our destination..little Peruvian women scramble out of nowhere and proudly lay out their delicate weaving..from scarves to tuques, ponchos of the most beautiful colors and designs..i want to help support the community and buy it all!!! we cross a glacial creek, pass some old dirt brick buildings to our perfect camp spot. Dirty faced children run up to greet us and immediately begin asking for candy and chocolate…..The horses arrive, I help un-tack them to the guides surprise, and work on a few more that will let me while our supper gets prepared. Skinny dogs and horses, ripped and worn clothing on the little ones and the desperation of the women ..who have now followed us to camp make me grateful beyond any gratitude i have thus far felt…oh the gifts we are given.. in this case, the gift of gratitude on a deeper level..one more step into higher love. I thank them all quietly for the realization.
Ausengate rises up beside us..enormous, jagged,almost threatening, the receding glacier showing the power of water, of ice..of time. And once again, i feel insignificant..tiny,vulnerable… again humbled..It is cold now, clear skies again show off her ability to grace us with the stars before the full moon will cast her glow onto the mountains taking us yet to another dimension..feeling even smaller…and wiping out the explosion of the stars across the blackness of night. We eat as a group, the guitar comes out , the ones that have songs in their heart and notes on their fingers share melodies, stories and laughter. To all of our delight there are hot springs right here!!!!! I wash my face in our mothers stream of heated liquid straight from her heart…her core..the hot blood from the center of her being. I fall into a dreamless sleep.
The tent is cozy and warm enough thanks to my brilliant idea to bring a hot water bottle, i awaken to a ola at the tent door asking if i want a tea..service at 18000 ft. To help with the altitude, i stuff coca leaves and anis into my cheeks. I have had no problems other than shortness of breath…It feels as though here, in Peru, my exhale is more important, more strong, and concentrated, where as when im in the north, the inhale is more focused. A cleansing is happening is what Papi said(don sebastien)….After a yummy and filling breaky, Nikki and i need some space from everyone, we quietly, in stealth mode ask a guide to accompany us up the mountain where later we are to meet the others. We want to do some solo ceremony before the cleansing, blessing and initiation that some of us are to receive at Ottorongo, a sacred baptismal glacial pool of the jaguar. Again, my heart was prodded and squeezed , my throat closing, and anger rushed through my veins as the horses we were on had not yet eaten or drank all night, after the long haul into camp…our guide..who happen to have the most amazing smile, and kind kind heart…to humans….did not see that the horses were so weak, they could barely walk, and would whip them in the ass to get them to move… so, against his words, we stopped them at a creek, let them have a great big drink, and within ten minutes, their life came back….The land is over grazed by alpacas, however, they do not eat where they drop their waste, and thick fibrous patches of twig like grass grows which we also, to the smiling shock of the guide, let our ponies feast. Again, i tilt my head in disbelief that these people, with huge hearts..literally(to take the altitude) and incredible love, are not able to spread light to the animals..the ones that work so hard for them. We decide to get off and walk, slowly. taking in the beauty that envelopes us. The stone shacks on the steep slopes of the hills, the glacial pools, the eagles flying above, the alpacas…signs of simple lives. Stone fences decorate the landscape..i cannot believe people live here. no heat, no electricity, no running water…just land, stone and alpacas.
There is no one here, we stop, share some snacks with the guide, as our horses eat in the distance and begin to take our “medicine” the san pedro we had prepared individually for this specific mountain, for our own intentions with our powerful prayers that would be physically running through our bodies, into our stomachs, into our cells..into our subconscious..into our hearts..then out to the universe through our own breath. for the next week, we will learn to work with this medicine with the help and guidance of the elders.
As i am finishing my ceremony, my ears welcome the sound of a flute, carried by the wind up the valley to where we wait. The rest of the caravan is arriving, horses, gear and laughter. I am happy to see everyone.
Ottorongo is a small, deep aqua blue pool at the base of the glacier. It is no doubt the one i have seen in my dream, before i even knew i would come here,I had a series of vivid dreams…and this pool i had seen before. It is a very sacred pool, one where cleansing of the spirit body is performed by Paqos the medicine people of this land. a pool where initiations are done, and blessings take place. Where rites are received..rights to commune with the Apu’s (mountains) in the area..the masculine and feminine are balanced, energies cleared, and purification enters into all that you are and leaves you clear to receive wisdom and guidance from the mountains..the very mountains that rose when Atlantis sank..the mountains that will…if honored, will honor back, and share visions of truth, of healing and knowledge as ancient as them…And help lead us to Christ consciousness ….I received my place among the mountains..I received with honor, my initiation into this lineage..into this other consciousness..unaware really what all of this means, i have faith that seeds are planted..and one day i will know what all of this means….I sacrificed myself to the pool, swam naked and vulnerable in freezing glacial waters of the jaguar. All of my bodies cleansed. i swam among masters..past present and future. My path clearer than ever before, as the sun shone, tiny snow flakes that magically appeared seemingly out of nowhere shimmered down blessings touching my goose-bumped skin. Forgetting the cold in bliss.
The ceremony has ended, we pack up and make our decent back to camp.Dona Phillipa senses an entity..i do not understand what she speaks, she speaks in Quechua ,the ancient language of Peru..i make out a few words about the jungle, of the maestro that guided us through ceremony in the amazon and sorcery. I have felt odd for a couple of days, (i do not wish to get into details now). i forget about this feeling here in the mountains..it was very strong in the city. when i awoke the other day, but i seem to forget about it here. She performs a loving ritual ..saying nothing in any language i understand, she prays into the top of my head, and blows kanunga water(powerful entity remover) into my heart and forehead.and kisses and kisses and kisses my cheeks while reciting prayers…..her eyes black and powerful and full of knowing. my eyes begin to roll back and flicker uncontrollably..i go into an instant trance…it feels like a “normal” procedure..as though it happens all the time, almost as though i expected it, it happened so quick i had no time to think..it was over in minuts…….. i alone walk ahead with Don Sebastien..his flute..it seems, playing itself all the way down the mountain, seems as though he did not even need to breathe the breath to make the flute sing..so easily and gracefully he maneuvered up, down, around obstacles..alpacas, trillions of rocks and mossy water ways…not stopping the song once.i feel very very unusual.
Night time is welcomed by a dip in the hot springs, the full moon and southern cross overhead, i feel high. i feel loved. i feel free. Ausengate pears at us through the clear night sky, reminding me of the privilege of being here..of my initiation, of my love for this land. The medicine runs through me. The heat of the water surrounds me..i feel embraced by god itself…….
…Much love, i will write again when i can about the rest of my days here. my unusual dream, my pilgrimage, my touch with the wing of a condor and solace through the sacred valley that leads to now, where i sit in a quiet empty home. Nobody here but Nikki. Two sweet donkeys and a bull in the back yard, electricity, but no hot water. Tomorrow, we awake to drive somewhere..i will tell more when the adventure is to be written in words,