Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day 7, Machu Picchu

We rode the Vistadome to Aguas Calientes where we were met by our hotel representative and also the shaman's wife. It wasn't even 11AM, yet! Getting up early pays!

Within an hour of arriving at our hotel in Aguas Calientes, we met our shaman guide, Cucho, whose favorite phrase was "mui beee---ennnnn."
We quickly became very grateful for his presence as we slowly climbed higher and higher....well above the crowds. It was so beautiful! So peaceful!

Kucho (Juan de Dios Garcia)
Kucho is the principal shaman of Machu Picchu. As a young man he came to Machu Picchu to work as part of the rescue team. While working in the Sanctuary he was called by the spirit of Machu Picchu to train and work as a shaman. His calling took the form of a seven-day period of experiences that completely changed his life. Shortly after his calling, he worked with a Maestro and was later given the great responsibility as the principal shaman of Machu Picchu. Kucho is a powerful shaman, healer and expert in the mysteries of Machu Picchu.

It was Cucho's idea to set up this shot. I felt a little uncomfortable. Cucho was completely disconnected from us the entire time. His eyes were soft, always slightly out of focus. Looking for spirits? Or, stoned?.....not that it mattered.
Paying my respects to Wayna Picchu and to Macchu Picchu. I became a condor and felt I could fly off at any moment a gust of wind lifted me. This felt so real it scared me.

We sat in the shade, high up over Machu Picchu and performed a ceremonial cleansing. I had laid out my stones in on the bare earth, asking that they absorb the healing energy of the son. Cucho performed a long ritual which involved humming, soft singing, whistling, "cleansing" us first with the "whisk" and, blowing tobacco smoke on us.
We held the healing stones, we blew on coca leaves after placing them into a bouquet of four, two in the back, and two in the front. We, then released them into the breeze as an offering to Pachamama. I felt at peace, and very happy.

Here is Cucho's mesa spread out before him. Included are healing rocks, a bell, a rattle, a conch shell, a puma paw, and a well worn down "whisk"made from large dried leaves.

Getting up close with our shaman-guide, Cucho.

We saw Machu Picchu from much higher ground, and from a different angle we had seen it last year. Still, as magnificent as the site itself is, it is the energy here which makes it so extraordinary.
Here, I feel the presence of God more strongly than anywhere else I have ever been.

I rather like this picture of myself, hat-hair and all. This is how I would look were I athletic. :-) It had been a glorious day at Machu Picchu, and even better than last year's visit.

This was my favorite day of our trip!

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