Spiritual Travel in Peru. First 7 days.
Updated: Jul 6
I arrived in Cusco, Peru around 5am, Wednesday October 23 after an overnight at Jorge Chavez Airport (I was told not to venture out of this airport at night) drinking Americanos on my moon pushing large suitcases in a cart. I was tired and ready for a hot shower and nap. Male drivers jumped all over me asking if I wanted a taxi but instead, I called the hotel and requested a car. (Gotta be careful who you get in a car with.)
The Boutique Spa Hotel Encantada said they had some people around the airport and just wait a few minutes and someone would appear with a sign, which happened, and I was glad. After waiting another 10 minutes in the hot morning sun for the car to show (the lady had a sign but no car), I paid the guy 10 soles who waited with me fending wolfish taxi drivers off with his presence.
Heavy traffic in Cusco at 5am and it took about 25 minutes to get to the hotel which was only 4.5 miles away. Taxi cost 20 soles (6USD).
Hotel Encantada is located on a tall, narrow side street overlooking the Plaza de Arms and the Cathedral. The guy at the front desk spoke English and quickly checked me in, had my bags taken to my room, and booked 2 massages for me, one for today and one for tomorrow. I won’t bore you with the details here I stayed at the hotel for 2 days and rested, hydrated, ate lightly and enjoyed massage (but they used baby oil!-eeewwwww!).
My friend Daniel Guitierrez picked me up around noon and we drove the windy eucalyptus lined road curving around the mountains, to his new retreat center, Catalina, in Pisac. The center is absolutely gorgeous, flowers in bloom everywhere and amazing Spanish architecture reminding me of a cross between a church and hotel (perfect place for a spiritual retreat center).
I settled in the next day or so, joined by Daniel (when he wasn’t busy and his two pups Luna and Rio, who became my fast friends.
Saturday, day 4, however, I woke up feeling weak and nauseas. Still, I pushed myself to go into town, eat breakfast at Ulrikes Café, run by a German expat, and look at an air BB I was considering renting for a month. I made it through the meal and the tuk-tuk to the Air BB but then the sick overtook me and I had to go back to Catalina, get into bed, and rest. I am glad I did.
The sick lasted about 24 hours. Nausea, fever, skin ache (I didn’t know whether to sit or stand). All I could do was sleep which worked because I woke up day 5 feeling much better.
I took a tuk-tuk into town later that morning, Scorpio New Moon, and met a lady from Denmark in the same café. It is her second time here. She told me her first trip to Peru, she was sick with parasite for 2 weeks before she took meds and recovered. She said altitude gets her the fourth day usually …and it affects everyone different.
I researched “sick in Peru” and found many people get sick from water and contaminated fruits and vegetables and meats, sanitation is not the same is it is in the north obviously.
Have to be careful not to drink fruit shakes or take anything with ice that might be made with tap water and be wary of raw vegetables in dishes like salads.
Day 7, Tuesday, I am scheduled to do a Wachuma master plant ceremony with two women from the United States led by Daniel and his favorite Shaman. It is best to cleanse a week or so in advance for this in order to get the most of it and I think spirit wanted me to begin my cleanse early.
Daniel said its only necessary to cleanse 24 h before ceremony but my guides want me to cleanse longer which makes sense because I have been indulging in wine and cheese (visiting family last week) and before that, saying goodbyes my last week in Vancouver.
So, Scorpio/Libra New Moon, I am cleansing at Catalina Retreat Center, Pisac, Peru. Two friendly dogs outside wishing they could come in, but I walked and pet them and gave them treats today already so diving inside no guilt just because I feel their doggy desire for “mama” spirit.
A yellow beeswax candle alight on my alter with vases full of roses and snap dragons, fruits, my book, dog/wolf totem, bird feathers (left for me over time), crystals, my mala, and broken reading glasses symbolizing I am ready to let go of broken vision.
Tomorrow, first crescent, I begin a new prayer.
“Divine Purpose Shines Through me in Work, Money, and Relationship.”
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Next day, day 6, backside of Scorpio/Libra New Moon which for me is snuggled tight next to sun directly on Uranus in my tenth house of career sextile Venus in 6th house of service and self-improvement. (is knowledge over analyzing?!)
I woke early to a vivid super symbolic dream of letting go of baggage. Spirit definitely has humor! The karmic twin flame I met in Asia last year, as denoted by first eye contact and comparison of natal charts, pulled a large suitcase out of the back of a vehicle and threw it on the ground demanding I answer something in an accusatory tone. The suitcase opened as it hit the ground spilling its contents in a messy array. I flew to a different area contained in the scene by invisible cords. I was still attached and couldn’t leave.
I woke up to a tick (I hiked in the brush yesterday) just beginning to bite my right breast (parasite!!!) and pulled it off quickly, instinctively, flushing it down the toilet. I took a hot shower moisturizing with some high vibe product I reviewed before and another one came off my leg, alive thank god and with it’s head. Eeewww.
Half an hour later, I find a red-tailed hawk feather just outside my door at Catalina Ranch. Red tailed hawks have been leaving me feathers for years now and I’ve appreciated and noticed but wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility this spirit animal asks of its “people.”
Red tailed hawks ask the people they continue to leave feathers for to:
Realign with soul purpose. Give up everything not in alignment with the integrity of all of life. Develop the intuition you were blessed with messenger between worlds. When the intuition is not developed to it’s fullest potential, the gifted over analyze! (Astral Cartography and astrology for me!) You can run but you can’t hide from destiny, life moves fast, stop trying to be normal and run from prophetic gifts! There is no normal and I don’t wanna come back!
But even as I sit here typing this with gorgeous nature surrounding me, I feel a little afraid and sad (ish). Can I still go to the spa and get facials??!!! Can I still have nice things?? Whimper!
Surely I’m emotional after being sick but never ignore the signs especially when there are so many at once and so loud. One thing I know for sure is I need to find other red-tailed hawk people and here in the sacred valley of Peru, and next month in Iquitos, I know I am in the right place.
ON WACHUMA: DAY 7 HIGH IN THE ANDES @ 14,400 FEET
7:45 the van and shaman arrived at Catalina. Two ladies, Daniel, and I jumped in and headed out. First stop was market for fresh fruit and bread for lunch on the mountain. Oranges, banana, avocado, grapes, the hollow fruit with slimy seeds I like called granadilla, promising to be a welcome feast after our pre-medicine fast.
Colorful clothing of the people and amazing architecture of the tribal villages of Q’ero (the last of the Incas) and other tribes I don’t know the names of, made the hour drive up to 14,400 of feet in the Andes fly by. The people we passed were busy building, weaving, and tending animals; llamas, horses, pigs, sheep, dogs. The dusty, dry, sacred mountains hum with life along the windy Urubamba River.
Architecture here is amazing, earthy, beautiful, artistic and simple at once. Straw and earth construction with trapezoid windows and hand painted animals gracing the walls; owl, puma, deer, hummingbird and father sun. All the homes have ceramic tile roofs and are surrounded by stone walls.
We park by the highest lake well past Kinsa Cocha where they farm trout and walk the rest of the way. One of the ladies doing medicine is not feeling well (everyone gets sick their first time in Peru) she’s also older and weak from sick so the climb is difficult for her. We walk slow dividing her bags between us so she can concentrate on one step at a time.
Gosh, I can’t begin to describe how beautiful 14,400 feet in the Andes is, especially this area. This is ancient Inka land and all these stone circles cover the mountain which is teeming with wildlife.
So, finally we’re starting our sacred circle. The shaman begins the medicine prayer and prepares a gift of many wrapped items symbolic of a protected, connected, mindful, happy life one with nature.
After the prayer, we are each blessed and say “Shull-pah-kee!” (thanks). Then we drink the medicine, Wachuma, grandfather master plant. It’s bitter and thick but I have drunk Vedic Medicinal powders mixed with water before (triphala) which have a similar taste. We drink two full cups.
The effects begin for me in 20 minutes. I am called to walk and sit by a large rock. I close my eyes and see watery tentacle pulse-y veiny things like sea anemone. Then I puke. Daniel comes to check on me and I go drink water to get the bitter taste out of my mouth. I want to walk around now. I feel good. I am strong and there are birds and flowers. The first flower I see is a sweet little yellow face flittering in the wind nestle in a rock. I sit by her for a while and caress her yellow petals. Then birds call to me to walk over to the first stone circle maybe 1,000 feet away.
Ooh, the earth springy and spongy under my feet covered in yellow mosses and tiny blue flowers, I am like a mountain goat, agile and strong gliding over the land not hindered by altitude. The stone circle, certainly sacred and ancient(!) welcomes me. I ask it where I should enter and find the door, stepping inside I see some plastic and then another piece which I put into a pile (3 total) to take away leaving it cleaner than I found it, a tiny offering, I want to make.
I see a different flower, yellow with stingy filaments on it like nettle, I touch it and it stings me like nettle. That to me means it’s good for circulation and I kind of like the way a nettle sting feels, good medicine from time to time.
At the other end of the same stone circle is a large bush, thorny and beautiful (like a woman! Hehe!) with pink tubular flowers. I sit by it and am visited by Hummingbird! Hummingbird medicine! I have Hummingbird Medicine that as well as Wolf so I am not surprised but very grateful and …blissful. She sits near me on a swaying thorny branch, curious and watching and I say, “Hi friend” (what I say to all animals) and then she swoops close to my head to suckle from the pink flower.
A flock of little birds similar in shape and size to swallows, fly near me and rest together on a huge rock another 1000 feet away; they want me to go there next. I sit here awhile though deciding I need water and lip SPF before heading over that way to see what the birds want to show me. The sun is so hot here and we’re so close to it at this height.
Back in the circle, the two ladies are laying on the ground not moving. I do what I have to do here and quietly slip away again. The shaman is off somewhere else I hear him playing the drum but don’t see him.
Springy, spongy, joyous steps to the big rock. The birds are everywhere over there. When I get there I see a hole in the rock just big enough for me to climb through to the other side. Ohmygosh and when I do (it’s like a birth canal) remember I have medicine in me, the vista on the other side is sooo gorgeous.
Three (or four) huge lines or stripes run horizontally along the side of the mountain and there are many, many, stone walls, like ancient homes or villages I guess. Inka land. I am beyond moved by the view, I exclaim, “So beautiful!” in my high pitch animal communicator voice exciting two horses in the distance. There must be a human with them (I can’t see her) because I hear a hush and the horses settle.
Climbing through up and over the rock (reborn!) I jump down and the wind picks up making me take my hat off. A beautiful wood duck looking bird (?) flies over and perches on a neighboring rock, I greet him and he stays put. Many, many birds here and in the distance by the mouth of an upside-down v shaped cave I see movement and then there’s the shaman. He looks at me and I wave to him. He comes over to sit near me and we talk a bit. He thinks they are “many, many foxes/zorros there.” But it turns out they are chinchilas, a rodent that looks like a cross between a rabbit and squirrel.
Soon, the shaman and Daniel laid out our midday feast on a colorful woven blanket. Avocado, grapes, bread, citrus, and the other things I mentioned. I ate a little and kept walking around exploring the mountain this time accompanied by Daniel. I have never been this high in the Andes!
We visited several stone circles and plan on hosting a ceremony in one of them in the next few months. It was an absolutely gorgeous day with many laughs and the birds, flowers, animals, and spirits of the land and sky were glad we came.
Finally, we wrapped up and headed back down the mountain stopping at a small hotel where we sat and visited with a young woman and her ten-month old baby, happy in a bonnet, playing in the grass.
Our ride was late so we walked further down the mountain looking for him and the wind picked up, howling; temperature dropping ...fast. I did end up getting a major sun and windburn on my face and arms because the natural sunscreen I applied isn’t fit for many hours in the highest of altitude. A small price to pay for such a day.
Wachuma was long lasting for me, even back at Catalina, I was still on the medicine. It settled in my cervical spine and was achy at the end. Stretches like forward fold helped free it. I had a hot shower and was in bed at 8pm, grateful to not have to anything or be anywhere until tomorrow.