Why did I go to Peru? It’s a valid question, especially considering that most everyone on the trip had always wanted to go to Peru, and so many people I talked to about leaving for the trip said that is was someplace that they always wanted to go to. This was not the case for me. Peru was never on the short list of places that I wanted to go visit first. So what changed my mind?
Well since early last year I have been doing sweat lodges on a monthly basis with Bruce and Jerry. They run an amazing lodge in their backyard on a regular basis. I had heard a little about their trips to Peru over the last 4-5 years to visit and work with a native healer down there. Though as above, while it sounded awesome, my interest was never there. Then I heard early this year that in May they were bringing that Peruvian healer up to Salt Lake for a weekend workshop billed as a Peruvian Shamanism Workshop. I had been very hungry to meet more like minded people, more spiritually seeking/active people, and to deepen my own personal spiritual journey for some time; so signing up for this workshop was a no-brainer.
The workshop turned out to be a quite powerful experience.We crammed about 30 people into the basement of Bruce and Jerry’s home for this event. Our “shaman” was Ruben Carlos Orellena, and he preferred to not be called a shaman. Shaman is a term specific used to the healers from Siberia. The word for healer in Quechua (the native language of the people of Peru) was Paco, and is the term he preferred to be referred as. I found Ruben to be quite humble, very intelligent and knowledgeable, playful and funny, easy going, approachable and skilled in his art. I also came to find out that Ruben as well as being a traditionally taught Paco is an archeologist. I found this combination to be quite powerful as he was able to express spiritual beliefs in a common everyday language that I have not heard from many. It made his teachings so much more accessible.
At times we would have us lay down and he would conduct ceremony, encouraging us to let the music, sounds, vibrations, and energies take us wherever they may move us. During these ceremonies Ruben would use one of many things to create sound and vibration; a rattle, songs, drum, whistling, spherical bell/chimes, grouping of dried coca leaves. He would also use florida water, water that has been infused with flower essences. He would blow this into the air, which would ignite the sense of smell, moving energy. As part of his medicine work, Ruben had what was referred to as a Mesa. A cloth that held healing objects he used during his ceremonies. It had about a dozen items, not including drum, rattle, and such.
We did six of these ceremonial journeys during the course of the weekend. I found the ceremonies to be quite awesome, powerful and an opening experience for me. I felt powerful energy moving in my body during a these ceremonies, in different ways for each one of them.
During one of the ceremonies a thunderstorm passed by, contributing beautifully to the ceremonial songs/music that Ruben was making with wonderful peals of thunder that seemed to be just outside the house. Ruben’s whistling was astonishing, as one point when I came to realize he was whistling, I had honestly thought for the last five minutes or more that a song bird had somehow gotten into the room and was flying around.
During these ceremonies I definitely experience some emotional and energetic releasing in my body. Over the years I have come to truly believe and value in releasing emotions and energy that is trapped in the body. I found the means used in these ceremonies to be highly effective and moving in an enjoyable way.
He would variously spend some time talking to us about the native spiritual and healing beliefs, definitely focusing on the beliefs of the indigenous people of Peru. I got quite a lot from this. Though Ruben did not necessarily speak a great deal of new information to me, he reminded me of a great deal of information I had forgotten, or re-framed old teachings into new language that brought it back to life and into my consciousness.
He talked a great deal about the humans need for healing, and how the main aspect of healing comes from releasing. Releasing stuck emotions, stuck energy, whatever is stuffed in the body that has not been previously released. We should not repress our natural release of emotions and energy. The high important of play to help in the release and re-energizing of the body and spirit. Reconnection with the spirit and energy of the earth and the need to spend time out in nature to experience this.
Ultimately I think the whole workshop can be summed up in the biggest line that has stayed with me for the rest of the year.
We need to release the old mistake to make room for the next mistake.
I continue to use this line to focus my energies and share with others. Instilling in me this firm belief that to be human is to make mistakes and the utter importance of releasing the emotions or energy we feel about a previous mistake so we can be present for the next mistake. Thereby continuing to grow and blossom as human beings. Holding onto old mistakes, that either I or someone else has done, will only lock me into a cycle and pattern that will literal cause a sickness and blockage in my life. And this teaching was put into such amusing words. Ah how well humor works with me and healing, I seem to remember those funny teachings the best. I suppose it is the emotional release and positive feelings that come in from laughter.
Well this got more descriptive then I might have otherwise intended. So back to the why Peru? Well it was clear to me by early on Saturday that going anywhere on any trip with a guide like this was a unique opportunity. Jerry at one point also spoke about how well Ruben sets these trips up. In addition to visiting ruins with an extremely knowledgeable guide and doing native ceremonies, we would be staying in very nice places and eat exceptionally well. Only think not covered in the price tag was tips, beverages and the domestic flights once we got into Peru.
I immediately heard my intuition in this environment very load and very clear. My hunger for deeper spiritual learning had kicked in big time during this weekend. My spirit was hungry for more of what I experienced and learned (and released) during this workshop. On Sunday morning I handed Jerry a $100 check as a deposit to hold my spot on the trip, as space was limited to no more than 14-15 people. I am very clear that it was meeting and my interaction with Ruben and experiencing his ceremonies that was largely the sole reason that I found myself signing up to going on a trip to visit a country I never really had a strong pull to visit.
I have included a video that was made from this workshop. View at your leisure to experience just a small taste of the experience I had at the workshop. Also well as a small collection of photos from the workshop.
Stay tuned for my next post on on journey to Peru…
Note: My short list includes Europe (particularly the Celtic lands, Germany, France, Italy, Greece in particular), New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa for starters. Though there are very few places in the world that I would choose to turn down the opportunity to travel to.