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Shamanic Peru

Liisa Korpela

Peru is a magical place filled with biological diversity, awe-striking landscapes, architectural wonders, and a rich spiritual tradition. In a mere 100 years, the Incan civilization accomplished some of the most massive, hand-hewn stone monuments still standing today. These stunning statements are found throughout the countryside, placed on precipices in the high rugged mountains, and are often calibrated to astronomy and the seasons with exacting precision. These inspired architects of Peru embraced the steep mountainsides and created agricultural masterpieces of irrigated, terraced gardens brilliantly designed to feed multitudes of people. The master artisans chiseled the stone with their history, their visions, and the stories of their sacred allies—Serpent, Puma and Condor. When traveling through Peru, we have an opportunity to begin to wonder and dance with the mysteries of these mountains and valleys. We have an opportunity for rebirth, to awaken to our power and to take flight in our path.

The realm of the Serpent reigns both above and below. Above is the Celestial Serpent, the Milky Way, the starry sky river of the night that reminds us of our infinite connection with the ever changing divine. The serpent below corresponds to the river that carries the nourishing waters of life. The great Anaconda of the jungle, a powerful 15-26 feet long snake, lives primarily in the river. The serpent teaches us about transmutation and transformation. The serpent symbolizes the kundalini energy or the primal force that resides within each of us. It is sometimes referred to as Kori Machakway or golden serpent, which represents the sacred marriage between the feminine and masculine, the merging of our dualities to become whole. The snake sheds its skin as it out grows its old one, letting go of what no longer serves it. Through this deeply shamanic process, it is renewed with vitality and gains new luster. This is a reminder of our connection with the infinite and never-ending circle of life, and the regenerative force that awakens out of the void for rebirth and renewal.

The Puma is the guardian who teaches us about self-awareness and self-love. With the power of the Puma we learn to face our fears, and our death. Feline attributes dwell in the center of our being, and characterize our individuality and self-awareness. The puma basks in the warmth of the sun. When stretched out its 4-6 foot long body is agile and quick with a keen sense of its surroundings. The puma hunts in the night, and is rarely granted a view by humans. Pumas feed on the weak and sick, devouring the old to make way for new vitality. From Puma, we learn to feast on our own weaknesses and convert them into fuel for self-reflection and discrimination.

From this place of self-realization, we turn our attention to the higher realms of spirit where the Peruvian Condor dwells. The largest bird on the planet, it has a wingspan of 6-10 feet. It shares with us a lofty perspective as it soars above mountaintops, connecting us with the spirit world above. By cultivating careful balance with Condor, we can glide through the air  with unbridled freedom and power. The condor is the vehicle for our illumination. From this vantage point  there is an opportunity to gaze into a window of our sacred purpose.

As we travel through Peru entwined in its captivating grandeur, we have an opportunity— an occasion to embrace the land and its people, a moment to accept the magnificence of ourselves, and a chance to open our hearts wider to the miracles of nature. We hope that you can join us for this sacred pilgrimage into the magical land of Peru.