|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
Bright and early on the third day, Eddie drove us up to the great hill northwest of Cuzco, called Kkenko. Crowning this hill sits the fortress of Saqsaywaman, constructed of massive black boulders all fitted together so meticulously that no one can slide a pin or piece of paper between them. The Inkas considered Saqsaywaman to be the head of a symbolic puma. Some of the walls zig-zag across the hilltop, suggesting massive teeth protruding from the long jaws. Seen from above, via an airplane, the city of Cuzco becomes the neck, body and tail of this puma! The original walls outline the neck, front and back legs, belly, back and tail of this critter which symbolizes the Kay Pacha or middle world.
Some distance removed to the west from the fortress lies a very large circular ruin. At first I thought it must have been a stadium, as the grassy center is level. Several ranks of stone seats arc partway around the center.
Juan led us to the center of this grassy area where we formed a circle and sat down to meditate. As I connected my energies with those of this site, suddenly I felt its water nature. I seemed to be in a pool of clear water and sank down about 20 feet to the bottom. Although I didn't see it clearly, I felt the energies of a central structure which the excavators will uncover someday. The energies of this site felt very peaceful and softly feminine.
After we'd finished meditating, we shared experiences. And then Juan said that this once was a lake! The only reason it doesn't look like that is that the archaeological groups who were excavating this particular ruin ran out of funding. So the rest of the excavation awaits another day.
A small stream divides the Temple of Death into an area representing the world of the living and one representing the world we cross over to upon death of the physical body. Some of us noted the imagery was similar to the River Styx of Greek mythology. Except that we were out in the bright Andean sun looking at a stream much smaller than the underground River Styx was supposed to be. Juan told us this is where the priest initiates overcame their fears of death and dying.
First we climbed 20 or 30 feet up to a wall facing the stream that contained four niches. One by one we each connected with the energies in each of these niches. I felt nothing until I got to the fourth one, which had very peaceful, soft feminine energies.
The priests had carved the 'death chair' from the very edge of the cliff-like rock overlooking the stream. We had to balance carefully along the edge to get to the chair. Sitting in the chair, we discovered we had nothing to place our feet on! The feeling of perhaps going to fall off remained very present in my mind as I settled down to meditate. Following Juan's instructions, I first connected my 'bubble' with that of the temple area across the stream. The physical body, I realized, is very afraid of the pain of dying. After getting a good strong connection, I felt like I had a bridge of golden energy extending from my body to the other side. I was able to 'cross over' very quickly and easily. Juan had told us not to linger over there, so I came back quickly.
After leaving Tambomach'ay, we journeyed to the ruins of Ollantaytambo. Here we explored some small temples and did some rituals to connect with those energies. We also wandered around the ceremonial baths, but I don't recall that we did any ritual involving those particular baths.
This day Juan had invited a very good friend and fellow anthropologist to accompany us. This man's name was Manuel, but I didn't catch the rest of his name. Juan told us that Manuel is the second highest ranking archaeologist/anthropologist who works for the Peruvian government and is in charge of all the digs and restorations in the Cuzco area. He's made several important discoveries, also. After I returned home, I learned that a Dr. Manuel Chávez Ballón, based in Cuzco, is a very famous anthropologist and may be the one person who knows the most about the ruins of Peru! Was this the same man as that gentle, unassuming man we met through Juan? He seemed much too young to have been working on digs back in the 1960s! Perhaps this is a son?
At the temple ruins of Ollantaytambo Juan took us to a huge rock outcropping that had some carvings--of anacondas and a puma, except these were highly symbolic carvings. The anacondas had two square eyes. To the Andeans, the anaconda symbolizes the Ukhu Pacha, the under or lower world of heavy energies. I wonder why this symbolic snake, live specimens of which occur only at much lower elevations in the Amazonian jungle rivers, has a spiritual meaning this high up in the Andes! The puma symbolizes the Kay Pacha, the middle world of mixed energies in which we live. I don't recall whether this site has any representation of the condor, which is the symbol of the upper world, or Hanaq Pacha.
The builders of this temple complex had carved the face of this rock back smoothly to leave five round 'rods' of rock protruding from the carved surface. Juan pointed out that 4 formed the corners of a square, but the 5th was placed to the side somewhat. He said that all over the Andean ruins, he'd seen examples of this four-plus-one, but no one had yet to figure out the significance.
Then Juan pointed up to the top of the terraced mountainside and said we were going up there to work with the wind. Well, I took one look at the height and the stone steps going straight up. I think I counted at least 12 terraces with many steps up to each, and said to count me out. I just wasn't up to making that climb. My knees and ankles were really hurting that day and I knew it would be worse than torture if I tried to climb up there.
So Juan 'opened' my throat center with his mesa and told me to go around the ruins wherever I felt led to go and to connect with the wind's energies in my own fashion. He and the rest of the group started their long climb. I watched them for a while. They reached the top terrace and then took a trail along the mountainside to the left. I lost sight of them after a bit.
As I wandered around, the cold wind was blowing pretty hard, but it felt very refreshing and I didn't feel physically cold. Soon I came upon a large black rock that we'd walked past to go to the baths and the carved surface of the cliff. I walked onto the top of the rock--it's probably as large as 2 large dining tables together. The surface had been carved into several shallow 'pans' that would hold water if it rained. But I couldn't tell what these pans might have been used for. Perhaps the shaman/priests filled them with water and used them as mirrors in which to view celestial phenomena.
One side of this rock slopes at about a 30 degree angle. On its face the Inkans had carved 3 parallel shallow slides wide enough to hold a human body. These slides 'spoke' to me! Irresistably I felt drawn to the center one. The edges of this face of the rock had been left 'raw,' but the rest of the sloping surface had been given special treatment and was very smooth. A stone 'foot rest' lies at the bottom of the central slide.
So I gave in to the urges and lay down on my back in the central slide, placing my feet against the convenient stone foot rest. As I looked up into the intense blue sky, I gasped! I felt totally safe, protected, in some sort of womb! Although that black rock is very hard, I didn't feel any discomfort while lying there. The slope of the slide is straight and isn't at all carved to conform to anyone's spine. But I very comfortable lying on it.
I opened my throat center and invited the wind to enter and mingle with my energies. As I looked up and swiveled my eyes around, I saw a couple of the mountain tops seeming to peer at me, so I invited those apus to share their energies with me. Then I invited the sky and the sun, and the black rock that I was lying on to also share their energies with me.
Having filled up with lots of sami from all these sources, I then was able to dump a huge load of my hoocha into the rock! More and more I felt safer and protected--I felt suddenly that I was in the center of something much, much, much bigger than the big rock. The heart center of something! And then I saw it! The outline, formed by the rock's edges and blended with the mountain tops, seemed to form the outline of the South American continent! A rather fat South America--but I was convinced it represented the continent!
Yes, I had 'traveled' to the 'heart' of the continent! Upon this realization, I felt great waves of joy and bliss welling up and washing through my body. I could have stayed there forever!
But finally, after some 15-20 minutes, I forced myself to sit up and look around. The ruins, the terraces, the mountains--all looked 'normal' again--but I still felt renewed. As I got up and started walking around, I realized that I didn't have a single ache or pain left anywhere in my physical body!
Wow! What a healing! I walked over to the first steps beside the terraces and had no trouble climbing them up to the first level--I didn't even get out of breath! But I could no longer see the group. I debated whether to continue climbing, but not knowing exactly where the group had gone, I decided against doing that. So I climbed down and spent some time wandering through the ruins again--but nothing seemed to strike my fancy like that big black rock!
The rock kept 'calling'--so I gave in and lay down on the central slide again. And again I had the same feelings of safety, protection and of being in the heart center/womb of the continent! The 'magic' was still there. I don't know how long I lay there, but finally felt I had to get up, as a group of rather noisy tourists decided to start climbing on the rock.
I watched as some of them tried lying down on the central slide, but they didn't look up and didn't stay there long enough for anything magical to happen to them. They were in a totally different 'space' from where I was.
(Several times during our journey, other groups would watch us performing our rituals and then after we'd leave, we'd look back and see them trying to position themselves in the niches and on the rocks just as we'd done--no doubt wondering what the heck we'd been doing.)
Finally, I saw two of my group's gals and Manuel coming down the steps on the other side of the ruins. So I ran over to intercept them and started to tell them about what I'd experienced with the rock. The gals weren't too interested, though, as they wanted to inspect the wares for sale in the shops outside the complex. I'd hoped that someone else would want to try lying on the slide.
Manuel, however, was very interested. Apparently he can understand a lot of English, but speaks very little. As I explained what I'd done and felt and that I didn't have any more aches and pains, Manuel's face lit up with delight. He patted me on the arm and grinned from ear to ear.
The rest of our group showed up and it was time to board the bus. During the ride back to Cuzco, I told Juan about my experiences . He was just as delighted as Manuel! Juan said that at one point when the rest of the group had reached the highest point, someone had asked how the anthropologists figure out what uses and rituals the Inkans had performed at the various sites. Juan and Manuel agreed that they knew pretty much what everything in this complex had been used for--except for that big black rock!! It had never occurred to any of them to try lying down on the slides! Juan said that as soon as he and Manuel get a chance, they intend to go lie down on that rock! He thanked me for having made this discovery--for having 'opened' their eyes!
Now that I think back on the trip, I remember before leaving for Peru, I knew that I'd be receiving a good deal of valuable energy and information. But I wondered what of value I could give back--besides my money! So this was my contribution. And it also hadn't 'hit' me that when I was exchanging my energies with the apus, ńust'as, people, etc--I was practicing the sacred art of reciprocity--ayni! Our fellow from Holland, Hendrik, also made a discovery at Machu Pikchu that had excited Juan. But I'd had to sit out that day, too, so don't know exactly what it was that Hendrik had put Juan onto. I love the synergisms that happen between people of various countries and cultures on trips like this. We are all students and teachers of each other.
Here is the best map of the Sacred Valley I've been able to find. I got it from Ladatco's website, so you can print it out and locate at your leisure the sites we visited as you read this journal. Also visit Ladatco's website to see more photos and information about some of the sites in the Sacred Valley.
Click on the numbers to go to that page.
Links 2 ~
19 - Musings ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Florence W. Deems
© February, 1999;
revised May, 2002; November, 2002;
May, 2003; March, 2004; February, 2008;
September, 2008; July, 2010; July, 2012
August, 2016, all rights reserved