Riotrist (Sad River)
Hatun Karpay
Initiation in Peru

An account of an initiation into
ancient Andean spiritual traditions
during which we learn to tap into
and work with the natural energies
of the earth and the universe.

Hatun Karpay Initiation in Peru



Linear time got all mixed up for me in Peru - also for some of the others in our group. Our printed schedule had to be changed, too, so that only confused matters even more. So I've grouped the water rituals together in this section, even though they were dispersed throughout our journey.

For the first 5 days of our 10-day initiation trip, Juan had us learning the mystical or right side of the Andean traditions. We learned how to open our 'bubbles' (poq'pos or auras) and our energy centers, to blend with the energies of our surroundings, to exchange our hoocha (heavy energies) for the sami (light energies) of the apus (masculine) and ņust'as (feminine spirits) of the various mountains, rivers, etc.


At almost every site Juan took us to after the first 2 days of the actual initiations into the 4th level priesthood, there were ceremonial baths. Some sites had only a few, others had the baths arranged in definite levels. Some baths still had their water sources intact and flowing, others were dried up--but we could feel their energies anyway.

One, two or sometimes more, priests would sit in these ceremonial baths and intentionally merge their energies with those of the water and sometimes the surroundings, too. A typical bath has one or two channels of water flowing into it from the top. The water flows as freely as from an open faucet into a stone basin set into the stone floor several feet below. On either side of this water flow are two stone seats for the priests to sit on. From the basin in the bath the water is channeled away either into the next bath in the series or to another place for another purpose.

The four walls of the bath are also of stone, with the entrance either directly opposite the water flow or in one of the side walls. When a person is seated in the bath, his head is open to the sky. In some places the walls are low enough for the seated priest to see over them, in others the walls are a little higher. From the basin in the bath the water is channeled away either into the next bath in the series or to another place for another purpose.


At a temple complex that has the full complement of 7 levels of baths, such as at Machu Pikchu, the highest, most advanced priest would sit alone in the top bath. Two priests representing the polarities of masculine and feminine energies would sit in the 6th level, only one in the 5th, then two each in each of the lower levels. For some reason, up through the first 4 levels, two priests were required, usually a man and a woman--or those who represented the masculine and feminine energies--OR left and right energies (not necessarily masculine and feminine!). The 5th level was integrated, but again the 6th level needed two opposites.

The water for all these baths originates high up in the mountains, many from still-existing glaciers. Each mountain has its own apu, so the Andean priests felt that the water's energies come not only from the water itself, but also from the particular apu.

The highest level priest receives these energies and blends them with his/her own. These blended energies containing the sami of the apu, the water and the high priest then flow into the next level bath. Here the two priests blend their energies with each other, the water, the apu and the sami that the first priest put into the water. In this way the water is charged as it flows from the highest to the lowest levels.

The priests may have placed their bare feet into the basin beneath the water flow, but I doubt they actually took a bath in these 'baths.' The basins are too shallow and the water flows too close to the wall and also too low to take a 'real' bath or shower. So the priests worked by intention, using the water to transport sami--and thus may have also put their hands in the flows and their feet in the shallow basins.

The water could be used by the villagers for bathing or for agricultural purposes. So the villagers, the animals and the plants they grew all received this blessing of sami energies blended by the priests from their own as well as from the apus, the water, etc.


We sat in practically every bath we came upon - Juan knows them all and knows in general or in particular what the original purposes had been for each of these bath complexes. When we sat in the complexes at Machu Pikchu, Juan went to the lowest of the baths to start pulling the flow, as no actual water flows through this complex now.

Suddenly I felt like a tube through which energies of water and the apus and all those above me flowed with ease, without restriction. It took me quite by surprise how easy and automatic it was! Then I remembered I was supposed to be intending to blend my own energies with the flow!



During our last night at Machu Pikchu, Juan took us to the hot springs up above the little village of Aguas Calientes nestled in the Willkaņust'a (Urubamba) River valley way below the ruins. This village is named for the hot springs. That's what aguas calientes means in Spanish. Juan arranged for us to go into the hot springs after hours, after the villagers and tourists had left. What a wonderful experience that was, to have the baths all to ourselves! We changed into our bathing suits in the rather primitive cement block facilities provided for this. Gagging on the strong urine odors, we finished this task very quickly!

First we went into the large pool of warm water. It seems that this water, instead of coming down from a glacier, bubbles up from deep within the earth, from a magma center. Long years ago volcanic activity affected parts of the valley. Juan had us relax in this very warm, but not unpleasantly hot, water and connect with the energies of fire (magma) via this water. Then we held our noses and dipped under the water, trying to stay under, floating as long as possible while curled up in the fetal position. In this position we connected with the Cosmic Mother.

It didn't work very well for me. I'd never been in a hot mineral springs before--the water just shoved me right up again. I gave up. Juan was able to stay under quite a while. After we'd made this connection, Juan took us to a smaller, hotter but still comfortably so, pool. In one corner is the tip of a large rock shoving up a few inches from the bottom of this shallower pool. Juan told us each to sit on that rock and connect with Pachamama--the Cosmic and Earth Mother--and give our heavy energies to her.

Again easier said than done. I had to hold my bottom down on that rock! After we'd felt the connection and transferred our heavy energies, Juan told us to run over to the cold pool and jump in!

Yee-OW! Such a contrast! Most of us jumped in, screamed bloody murder and popped right back out, to the delight of the rest of the folks who hadn't done it yet! However, two hardy souls, plus Juan stayed in the cold pool for a while.

Then we went back to the large warm pool and just 'hung out' with the buoyant water, the mountain tops, the velvety indigo night sky, the stars, the thin cloud wisps illuminated by the rising full moon. Entranced, probably in altered states of consciousness, we allowed the mineral water spirits to bouy up our bodies like a soft liquid feather bed as we watched the full moon slowly rising above the midnight black mountain peak. A most tranquill, peaceful, mystical, magical night that I'll always remember.



The next morning after checking out of our hotel, Juan took us climbing and sliding down a rather steep and rocky bank to a large boulder jutting out into the rapidly flowing Willkaņust'a River, whose modern name is Rio Urubamba, or sometimes Rio Vilcanota. The ņust'a (feminine spirit) of this river is the Princess of the Black Light.

Juan had us first connect energetically with the rock, then pull into the rock the energies from every place we'd been to at Machu Pikchu. As we did this we stood in a circle on the rock and passed our energies along to the person on our right while receiving from the one on our left. I felt and 'saw' our individual poq'pos ("bubbles") combine with each other and the other energies we were pulling in, until a large golden dome of energy encompassed us and the rock. This boulder is ample enough to accomodate a group at least twice as large as our group of 12.

Juan gave us each 3 coca leaves to contribute our energies to the despacho he made. We sat on the boulder, connected our energies with it and with the river. One of the gals 'saw' a green river of energy flowing along above the physical river while we were meditating. Juan shared about the first time he'd actually seen this green energy. Once when he was making an offering to this river from this very rock, he opened his eyes and saw the powerful flow of streaming green energies following along and above the course of the physical water! He also said that those who do 'see' subtle energies say that the whole jungle is blanketed with a green, mist-like energy.

Next Juan had each of us climb down off the large boulder and go to him at the water's edge. Using his mesa he laid it rather firmly and heavily upon our heads. I 'saw' red energies as he laid the mesa on my head, but didn't feel anything else.

When I stood up, I looked to the large boulder to see where I was supposed to go next. I didn't see either of the two people who'd gone to Juan before me, so I assumed they'd climbed back up the steep bank. Which is what I proceeded to do. Halfway up, I heard Juan calling me-- "Florence, won't you please join us on the rock?" I turned around and looked down at the rock--and there were the two people who'd gone to Juan before me--just as big as life, sitting on the rock, laughing at me!

Sharing afterwards, I told the group that I hadn't seen either of those two--yet there they were! Juan laughed and said I must have really been "out of it." Sure don't know what was in that red energy 'juice' he put in my head, but it was powerful. Juan also said that the reason I 'saw' red when he held his mesa on my head was that that's how I perceive his energies. Others saw either red, or one of the other colors.

After we'd made the despacho, meditated and connected with the river's energies and those of the rock and the surrounding mountains, Juan tossed in the little despacho as our physical offering to the ņust'a of the river. Earlier I told how we'd burned the first group despacho we'd made as a physical offering to the apus of the Cuzco area. Apparently there are times when it's appropriate to burn the despacho but not when making an offering to a river.


Page Three

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Index ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ Rainbow Rock
7 ~ 8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11 ~ 12 ~ Travel Tips
13 ~ 14 ~ 15 ~ Links 2 ~ 16 ~ 17 ~ 18
19 - Musings


Florence W. Deems
Š February, 1999;
revised May, 2002; November, 2002;
May, 2003; March, 2004; February, 2008;
September, 2008; July, 2010; July, 2012
March, 2014
August, 2016, all rights reserved