Few places have left a more indelible impression on me than Machu Picchu. But the site itself is only one part of a much larger and more meaningful whole. The mountaintop sanctuary is surrounded by a wealth of mystical places and experiences that make this part of the world a true pilgrimage for those who are spiritually-inclined. One of my personal favorites is the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
A treasure trove of world-renowned archaeological sites, the Sacred Valley is a testament to the original military and religious significance of this region. More importantly, it’s a literal melting pot for early Incan religious customs, including energy healing, sweat lodges and plant medicine, as well as a range of modern practices like yoga and other forms of physical movement.
As someone with a strong interest in holistic healing and naturopathy, this focus on organic diagnosis and healing has provided me with a continuous source of learning and insight over the years – one that’s based on wisdom dating back more than five centuries.
Shamanic practices are still very much alive in the Sacred Valley. Acting as intermediaries between human and spirit realms, these individuals routinely use plant medicine to deepen their connection to the spirit world. In doing so, they’re able to divine specific remedies to ailments and other disorders – a sacred context commonly known as Spiritual Medicine. [click to continue…]
By Gayle Lawrence
Why Go On a Sacred Journey to Peru?
Gayle Lawrence is the agent from Journeys of Discovery Travel who is coordinating the July 2013 tour to Peru. Gayle personally has been to Peru 9 times and will be the first to say that her journeys to Peru have been some of the most powerful and life-changing experiences she has ever had.
I’d like to share one of Gayle’s stories about the lesson she learned from the Magnificent Andean Condor. In her words….
I was in the mystical land of Peru, escorting a wonderful group of women on a tour designed as a spiritual quest of personal self-discovery. We were at the Temple of the Condor high in the Andes Mountains. The Andean Condor, with a wing span of 12 feet, is the largest flying land bird on earth. There are not many of them left in the wild but the Spirit of the Condor dwells in this ancient stone temple at Machu Picchu.
Jorge, our shaman guide, told us that today the Condor would teach us how to fly. Everyone assumed this would be a guided meditation until Jorge led the group to the Flying Rock on the side of the mountain and proclaimed, “Here we will fly with the Condor!” As everyone gazed at an outcropping of rock sticking out into mid-air from the side of the mountain, high above the Sacred Urumbamba River in the valley below, I saw signs of panic on everyone’s face! [click to continue…]
In July 2013 I will be leading a group to Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. Both have a unique history. While I have been to Machu Picchu, this will be my first time to Lake Titicaca – and I am so excited.
I have done some research and this is what I have found, according to www.perutourism.com:
Lake Titicaca is one of world’s most visually and culturally inspiring wonders, sitting 12,500 feet above sea level. Diverse Indian communities have inhabited the reed-clad shores and verdant mountaintops for centuries, preserving their identities with distinctive attire, languages and beliefs. It is astonishing that globalization has, as yet, failed to erase the traditions and customs of these ancient Andean civilizations. Here the past and present join together, around one of the most emblematic places of the Inca culture, this is also the birth place where, according to its worldview, emerged the founder couple of the universe, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo.
The waters of the lake unite 36 islands, one of the most known is Uros. This island is constructed in an artificial form upon totora reeds, a large plant with thin leaves that grows in the lake. This material is also used in the fabrication of all of the handcrafts and the boats that the inhabitants use to go fishing. Uros people conserve the clothing and terraces that are characteristic of an Inca town.
Another must-visit is Taquile island, it is inhabited by around 350 families that strictly follow the Incan customs, and is where the three most important rules of the empire continue to be active in law: do not steal, do not idle, and do not lie. In this island you can appreciate Inca ruins and its inhabitants, very hospitable and happy people organize strolls and special excursions for its visitors.
During our upcoming mystical journey to Peru, we will visit Lake Titicaca, the islands of Uros and Taquile, and get to know the customs and people who continue to live in the ways of the ancient Inca.
For more information about the excursion, please click here.
This is an excerpt from my journal of my 2008 trip to Peru. I am leading a spiritual tour to the sacred sites of Peru in July 2013. See Calendar listing for details.
The highlight of any trip to Peru has to be to the iconic Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. In earlier articles I have described my adventures in the Amazon jungles, Cusco and Ollantaytambo, at the head of the Incan trail. The culmination of that initiation and integration into the Peruvian mysteries is the experience of Machu Picchu.
As our train leaves near dawn, the early morning mist lays thick on the kiosks that line the short stretch of road leading to the train station in Ollantaytambo. Our group plants our gear at the small café, and disperses to purchase sunglasses and mittens, hats and walking sticks. When our train pulls into the station, the sky is bright blue and the sun is warm on our backs. [click to continue…]