I am in some sort of a current now; be it a rushing river or a slow, strong, ocean tidal pull. It takes me where it will. Surely, the ebb and flow has been responsible for my two complete circumnavigations of the planet. I then, rode a wave of impulse down the length of South America, for a fourth time; spending almost half a year in Uruguay before returning to the Sacred Valley, close to Machu Picchu, and Cusco, Peru. Here, I knew to stay awhile…. letting my soul catch up with my body, as the saying goes.
And, sure enough! Something important was waiting here for my discovery. Something that you and I have never heard of; and could never have known that we needed. Through a fortunate accident of timing, I came to Paz y Luz Guest, Healing and Conference Center, before its founder, Diane Dunn, left for her speaking tour of Europe.
Thus, I am able to receive from her, the nine special Initiation Rites of a type of shamanic training, known as the Munay-Ki. In the Andean Quechua language, Munay means Love. Therefore, Munay-Ki means “I love you!”
Anciently, such traditions were protected in the highest Andean mountain reaches, where Q’ero shamans fled to escape Spanish Conquistadors, and knowledge was passed down only to long-serving apprentices within their own culture. However, this millennium was seen as a turning point in human history; as it is in societies all over the globe. Suddenly, old prophecies applied!
It was time to share these sacred ceremonies with awakened others, no matter what their background. The Munay-Ki Rites are the codes for the new human, delivered in the form of energetic transmissions and they help develop a new architecture in the body’s luminous energy field. In less than a decade, through a form of “each one, teach one,” the nine steps of this Rite have been performed on more than 500,000 people, worldwide; enabling them to become co-creators of a world they are dreaming into being. A world connected by the Power of Love.
In three different, half-hour sessions, Diane is introducing my body to layers of Shamanic Rites: the Foundation; the Lineage and the Rites to Come. If I should wish to pass on this ability to others; I’ll return someday and go through another three-day training, just as simple as these introductory rites have been. Let me describe them to you.
Yesterday, at 10:00 a.m., I took a seat in Diane’s upstairs, ceremonial room; closed my eyes, while Peruvian Pipe music created goosebumps within me and she alerted my consciousness with the shaking of a special rattle. Then, she put her hands on my shoulders and moved a doughnut-shaped, Pi stone to strategic places on my body, while I breathed deeply. First in the Foundation Rites, came the Healer Rite. I will quote from Diane Dunn’s book: “Cusco, The Munay-Ki Rites; Tradition, Magic and Andean Spirituality in Peru.”
1. HEALER RITE– (seated) Connects you to a lineage of shamans from the past who come and assist in your personal healing, offering tremendous spiritual assistance. These luminous beings work during your meditation and sleep time to heal the wounds of the past and of your ancestors.
2. BANDS OF POWER RITE – (which I stood to receive) These consist of five energetic bands representing earth, water, fire, air and pure light. These bands are activated in the luminous energy field and act as filters, breaking down into one of the five elements any heavy energy that comes your way; so that this energy can feed your body instead of making you toxic or ill. Once activated, the Bands of Power are always “on.” In a world filled with fear, the bands provide essential protection.
3. HARMONY RITE – (for which I lay on my back) plants seven archetypes into your chakras:
- The first,root chakra, at the base of the spine, The Serpent.
- The second,sacral chakra, the lower abdomen, The Jaguar/Puma
- The third, solar plexus chakra, the upper abdomen, The Hummingbird
- The fourth, heart chakra, just above the heart, The Eagle/Condor
- The fifth, throat chakra, at the throat, The Keeper of the Lower World, the unconscious
- The sixth, third eye chakra, forehead, The Feathered Serpent, our waking world
- The seventh crown chakra, top of the head, The Protector of the Upper World, our super-conscious
After this simple ceremony, I walked along the river into the small, nearby town of Pisac, just ten minutes from Paz y Luz. Pondering my new helpers in life, I welcomed them all into my body. Interestingly, during two different periods of long airline flights, I had already designated myself as a hummingbird and an American Eagle. Somewhere up ahead, I’d vowed to become The Condor.
Now, they had all “come home to roost,” so to speak! That felt very natural.
My next blog post will describe the Seer Rite; The Daykeeper Rite and the Wisdomkeeper Rite, which I experienced this morning. For more information about Paz y Luz, see www.pazyluz.com
I had company last week and haven’t blogged for awhile. Now, I’m back to typing up my travel journals covering my four month backpacking/hosteling journey down the Andean Cordillera, the spine of South America…nay, the spine of the whole planet….and just now, I’m working on my notes for Peru, written last March, 2009. I spent a week in Pisac, Peru, in the Sacred Valley, just an hour north of Cusco, as a guest at Paz y Luz Healing Center where I took part in several wonderful ancient shamanic ceremonies. This entry describes a Despacho Blessing Ceremony:
“About a dozen of us gathered in the circular glass house often used for meals at Paz y Luz, but designed also for classes and ceremonies. We sat on blankets on the floor and from within our glass house we could see the low afternoon sun, golden on the green encircling Andes heights. This was a special time of the year because recent rains had given a lush green covering to otherwise brown mountains and fields.
The Despacho is a ceremony in which wishes and intentions of everyone present are placed artistically into a bundle and burned so that the smoke carries our prayers up to Heaven. I understand that the bundle is sometimes buried as an offering to Pachamama or Mother Earth, but a large fire was being built to receive our offerings this day. The shaman and his wife came down from their village very, very high in the Andes to perform this ceremony. Their tribe still speaks an old version of the Quechua language and customs have not changed for many centuries, as their people had taken refuge on the heights when the Spanish Conquistadors ravaged the Incan civilization in the sixteenth century.
This couple was colorfully dressed in jackets and hats of lime green, pinks, reds, and yellows, over black felt knee-length pants for him and a black full skirt for her. They were short of stature, with strong sturdy bare legs and feet, well-muscled from climbing these mountain heights. What sort of shoes must they wear to do that, I wondered? Surely not barefoot, as they were now. They appeared to be naturally joyful and perfectly tuned to each other as she assisted him throughout the hour-long ceremony. It was a quiet, worshipful tribute to the Earth and all of her gifts, offering thanksgiving for prayers not yet answered. I was thinking to myself that there was no way to do justice to this event in words. “Indescribable” was all that I could think of when faced with the question of how I could capture this in a blog.
Each of us were given a small pile of fresh coca leaves and were told to select fifteen and then place them in sets of three. Each set was to represent our prayers and wishes for a certain outcome. I made sets for my family members’ health and happiness and then some for the success of my current plan: the healing of this planet using the spinal column analogy comparing the backbone of the human body to the Andean mountain cordillera throughout South America. Our blown breath carried our conscious intention into the leaves.
Upon a square of clean white paper before him, the shaman arranged a beautiful design of seeds, sugar, llama fat and coca leaves, as well as small candies, flower petals and chunks of animal crackers representing all of the kingdoms of creation. Our own human hearts were placed there within our little sets of coca leaves holding our prayers for the well-being of those we loved.
This beautiful despacho design reminded me of Native American sand paintings, or Buddhist sand mandalas offered to a watchful Deity, both of which are always destroyed after the ceremony. In fact, all ancient cultures living close to the earth … whether in these sacred mountains; deep in the Amazon jungle; throughout the vast plains of the world, or the unexploited regions of North America before the conquering, smothering influx of European culture… all must worship in a similar fashion. This quiet native thanksgiving to God and their humble way of offering prayers is in such contrast to the religions which replaced their tribal way.
There’s a strong matriarchal acknowledgment to Mother Earth, Pachamama, here. She is the source of all life and the people hold a deep appreciation of women as a whole, considering them the basis and foundation of life. Therefore, their whole approach might represent the feminine, in contrast to the masculine emphasis so strongly found in Western religions. It’s true that men are the shamans here, but they have a wide-awake awareness of each participant in the ceremony and a gentle concern to include every one. They seem to see themselves as facilitators for the inclusion of every individual present, and yet the women in attendance are singled out for special praise.
Gee, this is sounding like some psychological seminar or anthropological analysis which is nowhere within my small range of skills. Rather, it represents some of the small thoughts drifting through my mind as I was realizing that I couldn’t describe what I was seeing. Throughout the three ceremonies of this day, I was aware that I was taking part in something very, very ancient, which might have looked just this way many hundreds of years ago. Those ceremonies, however, wouldn’t have required translation to Spanish and English, but would have been understood in the Incan Quechua which the shaman and his wife were speaking.
There was no formality except in the quiet reverence with which the objects were handled and the uttering of soft prayers throughout the ceremoney. We were comfortable, quiet witnesses who took complete part at the same time. When the paper bundle was filled, it was folded within a square of reddish woven cloth. Each one of us stood, in turn, while the shaman moved this packet up and down our bodies, drawing off all negative energies to go into the fire with the offering. Then the shaman’s mesa, a cloth bundle containing objects of spiritual significance to him, was passed over those same parts of our bodies to infuse us with fresh strength and energy.
We were then invited to bring our own mesa, if we had one, for prayers and blessings. Most of the participants had already been to other such ceremonies and had accumulated their own objects, wrapped with cloth into a bound bundle. I did not have one, though I did have several Peruvian things bought in the Pisac market, including a necklace and a ceramic bull given to me by merchants who were grateful that I didn’t haggle. The shaman held our precious objects, prayed over them, blew his breath upon them and gave them back to us.
Soon, we all moved outside to the fire pit where the special packet was placed upon the flames, creating a moment when The Goddess would enjoy the gifts; during which we all respectfully turned our backs to the fire. A few minutes later, we were laughing and talking and warming our hands over the ceremonial fire, preparing to walk to our next event a mile or two across the village. It was to be my second Ayahuasca Ceremony of the week. I’ll cover that in the next blog.