Looking out from our lunch spot you can see the mountains of the Sacred Valley – Pitusiray, Chicon, and Veronica – the tops covered in glaciers and snow. I sat in the warmth of the noon sun soaking in the beauty and listening to the laughter of the other journeyers who also had paper plates perched on their laps. My simple but delicious meal consisted of fresh avocado and local cheese on a home-cooked flat-bread roll, picked up in the small village we had driven through earlier in the morning. A large metal pan held dessert – platanos – which looked like baby bananas and peach-colored passion fruit. I still remember Alberto showing me how to whack the hard fruit on the palm of my hand and suck the sweet contents out.
After feeding the remnants of my sandwich to the local dogs, I picked up my pack and wandered to the edge of the site. At last I stood before Moray in the Sacred Valley. As I looked down, the concentric circles appeared as spirals in the ground, resembling crop circles that burrowed deeper and deeper into the ground. I knew this was a sacred site even as I looked down into the bottom of the circles, identifying a miniscule moving speck in a yellow jacket as the woman from Germany who stood behind me in line earlier as I waited for the bano.
Moray is located at about 12,000 feet between the Sacred Valley and the village of Chincheros. Beto, our local certified guide who traveled with us every day to the sacred sites (it took him five years to become a certified guide), explained that the Inka had grown over 2,000 varieties of potatoes and 40 varieties of colorful corn or maize. It is hypothesized that Moray had been an agricultural experimental station where the Inka developed plants that could be acclimated to the environment and then sent to all corners of the empire for planting.
But Moray was more than an agricultural center. It was also a place where the Inka grew their wisdom side by side with their corn. This was the haven where prayers were offered to the mother earth, the Pachamama, for fertility and abundance. We were going to have the same opportunity to grow our wisdom and offer our prayers in a traditional healing ceremony called a despacho, where we would create a mandala of leaves, grains, flowers, herbs and candies using intention and breath.
Beto guided us down a trail that veered off to the side and around a corner where there were more circles descending into the earth. Here we could create sacred ceremony unnoticed by the tourists. I couldn’t wait to have my belly on the earth so I could connect to the heartbeat of the Mother Earth. I wanted to uncover the seeds of my life I needed to let go of and find what I needed to plant deeply in the earth, in seed form, so I could manifest my dreams. I knew this sacred site where ceremony had been done for thousands of years would accelerate their germination and my becoming.
We were doing our North work, the place of invisibility and shape-shifting. I walked deeper into the earth following an ancient trail down to the bottom terrace. With each step I could feel myself not only climbing down terrace walls but venturing back to the feminine, the place of the goddess, held in the bosom of the mother. As I settled on the dry crisp grass to begin the despacho ceremony, I realized that although I was on my personal pilgrimage, coming to germinate those energetic seeds of wisdom and deep exploration of why I am here, it was not just a personal journey only. Rather, I and every other journeyer had come to this sacred site and magical land with a mission to help the earth collectively. With this intention, I knew our seeds for the healing of the earth would germinate and that the roots would grow deep. I felt the warmth of the sun and the peace of the mother.
The sun had dropped below the top of the Moray crest as the last individuals of the group received their Alto Mesayok rites that followed our despacho prayer ceremony. The rites energetically connected us to the holy mountains through the blessing the Laika gave each of us. I shivered and pulled my coat out from my pack and walked around the circle making sure nothing was left of our presence other than the flattened grass. As I turned to follow the last journeyer up the hill and find the trail that would take us back to the warmth of the busses and hotel. I stopped and put my hands on the earth to give one more gesture of gratitude to the Mother for holding those seeds of our becoming and allowing them to germinate.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, sweet mother. Thank you for all my relations – the two-legged, the four-legged, the many-legged. Thank you for the stone people, the plant people and the animals. Thank you for allowing me to be of deepest service to you. Thank for holding us and accelerating our journey in these amazing times of transformation.
As I turned to make my way to the bus, I could almost hear her whisper, “You are welcome….Thank you.”
Readers, the Moray Valley journey is always part of our Via Illuminata expedition in Peru. Click here for details on this phenomenal journey. It is also available to students of the Four Winds in the expedition, Advanced Shamanic Initiations. Click here for details on the Initiations journey.