My family left Chile when I was 5, because of the political unrest. I had visited Italy, my dad’s home land, and found where I fitted in there. But my longing to return to South America had a much stronger pull. So 35 years later I was able to go back. Meeting my Chilean relatives was fantastic, and I was welcomed with open arms. I always wanted and felt a desperate need to visit Peru as well. So my South American trip was very emotional, and intense. So this extract is from part of my Peru experience.

I had flown in from Santiago, Chile and arrived in Lima the capital of Peru. I asked that morning to be guided and protected by my angels. I met my tour guide Elvis that evening. Over the next week I visited many pre- Inca constructions, the early gods, the symbolism of the Inca cross and their belief in the 3 worlds (under, middle and upper worlds). From the Spanish influence we visited the Presidents palace, Basilica, Monastery and catacombs. Listened to many traditional folk lore groups, and sampled beautiful foods, including Qui (guinea pig), and many corn dishes and drinks (I especially loved the purple ones)….

Landing at Cusco airport the vast barren mountains surrounded me. I could see from the plane the angular walking trails. They feel like they connect the land to the people. The thick dirt under my feet gave me immense joy. How long have I waited for this moment, it feels like a lifetime. Here I am, finally!! My breathing feels a bit laboured, and my head hurts and I feel spacey.

Is this the altitude sickness they warned me about? (3000m above sea level). I could see so many animal spirits; this land was so alive and uncluttered.

Well I am more connected here, so my visions are heightened. Chewing the coca leaves helped to reduce my symptoms.

Having retrieved my luggage, I’m greeted by colourfully dressed Peruvian musicians energetically playing their traditional music. I’m here…. So many years of waiting. The pain deep in my chest wants to be released but I push it back down. Not here, not yet…

So 8 days into my trip I waited early in the morning to be picked up by Zulema, Carlos and Guillermo, a Shaman. The high altitude contributing to the icy mid winter breeze. Despite my black merino singlet, skivvy, two thermal jackets, trousers, gloves and boots, I was still frozen. Chewing the coca leaves helped to reduce my altitude symptoms. They arrived in an old truck.

All Guillermo wore was a blue shirt, a light grey poncho, brown trousers and his gnarled bare feet exposed through leather sandals. We drove to Q’enqo (the Temple of the Sun), which I had already visited. Carlos explained in Spanish the mystical significance of the many sacred Atlantean sites. Legend has it that many Atlantean people left before the disaster and established new cities in Mexico (Maya) and Peru (Inka), bringing with them their knowledge and treasures.

At sunrise they pointed out the images the shadows depicted. Many of the ancient sites are very powerful, because they are built on positive geopathic earth grids. It connects the physical to the spiritual world. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the black shadows kept changing against the stone structure. The silhouette transformed into different Peruvian sacred animals from a frog, to a puma and finally to an eagle. The frog represents abundantly cleansed, the puma brings insights to break free of negative feelings, and the eagle opens up to signs and intuition.

Walking down to the underground sacrificial altar (Wacca), that was used to sacrifice llamas to the Gods. I place my hands on the huge flat dark grey granite. The visions flood in. First the Inca cross, Christ on the cross fly out of my heart, a cascade of water and then more symbols appear in a totem column…Then shuddering within me, as a huge wave of grief surges out of my body. Now…it’s OK, let it go…I feel tears of sadness stream down my cheeks. The energy allowed my pain to be released, so that joy can return into my heart.

Sitting on the top of the ruins at mid morning the sun rays give no warmth. Carlos directs me meditate by connecting to the earth’s core. “Breathe deep into the centre, again” he says.

“The connection to Father God and the Mother Earth (Pachamama) has to be strong and equal. Your cord to the mother is weak, breathe”.
“Connect to the grid, breathe in, connect to the grid, and breathe out; in and out from the Earth”.

I feel a strong pull. My body is dragged forward towards the rocks. After a few minutes of this breathing technique, my body rebalances, and I am able to sit upright again.
“Your aura looks beautiful; it’s green and violet, with lots of golden rays”.
I open my eyes and smile, noticing his green eyes for the first time.

“Did you say you worked with angels?”
“Yes” feeling peaceful.
“Well, there is a huge Andean angel standing behind you”.

My eyes welled up. I have asked them to work with me, and it was great to receive confirmation from Carlos.

“I can see your spirit connection, and the gift you have in helping others” said Carlos warmly.

“When are you going to write your book?” How did he know that I have been writing?

“I’m in the middle of it, it’s a big job”, sighing. He pulled out the book he had written about these sacred sites, and their spiritual significance. “Read my book it will help you understand more. I’m sure you will finish your book, as it will help others”.

Returning to Saccsayhuaman, a sacred archaeological site, I’m still impressed by the imposing smooth stone blocks that are interlocked intricate weave with no mortar. There were many groups of white people sitting in circles, and holding crystals, meditating with the winter solstice energies. A condor circles above.

“Wow, they are rarely seen here anymore”, Carlos looks astonished.
It lands a few metres away from us. I am so excited, what a great gift to see this huge bird so close, a beautiful sign and blessing. It has a 3.5 m wing span and it’s not fully grown. I have my photo taken close to it, I’m cautious of its powerful beak. The condor/eagle is the symbol of the upper world into the land of the spirits. Guillermo and Carlos eyes sparkle as they exchange words in Quechua, their native Peruvian language. The condor represents the spirit, the closer we can get to this higher state, we are less affected by change, and able to see things from a higher level of perception. I am being guided to move towards the next level.

There was a group of colourfully dressed women by the side of the road, selling woollen llama products, shawls, scarves, hats and other souvenirs. Two year old David comes over to me, the cold altitude leaving a ruddy complexion stained on his cheeks. He is selling springs of Andean mint, scented like gardenias; I pay him 1 ‘Sole’. I bought a golden plaque of Tumi the pre- Inca God; he was the first universal angel. The spade connects the light of the earth and the universe together at the heart. With its open wings, it lightens the heart and allows the spirit to radiate up into the crown. Carlos felt it was important for me to have this totem. It helps me to anchor deeply into the earth.

Carlos said “we have been talking about you joining our organised mystical group. I realise your higher level of consciousness. Normally we ask the group to fast for the two weeks as we visit all the sacred sites. Tonight the group will be experiencing the Ayahuasca ceremony”.

My mind started to race… do I want to do that? Part of me has always been curious about the combination hallucinogenic herbal brew. But the side effects of purging from both ends didn’t entice me. I want to be part of the whole experience and to truly prepare myself, mentally, physically and spiritually. I was honoured to be asked, but I turned them down. The books I have read on the subject have been insightful. Many times the person’s fears are highlighted with the visions, releasing the serpent of the lower world. Once you have faced your inner demons, you are awakened to further your spiritual development. Perhaps I don’t need to progress that way. I may still find it another way. My sensitivity to one hash cookie ten years ago, was enough for me to know the physical retching would be too much for me. I decide not to experience the Ayahuasca.

We drove into bush land close to the Saccsayhuaman. Guillermo began to prepare for my spiritual blessing ceremony; Guillermo spoke in Quechua, so Carlos translated. The ceremony was an offering for gratitude and releasing any obstacles into my future.

As he marked out the area, placing his ceremonial colourful woven and beaded, tasselled cap. He places different cloths on the ground; that his wife had naturally dyed, spun and woven. He honours all the four directions, south, west, north and east; above and below, and all connecting to the heart centre. He spreads the coco leaves out on the cloths, and groups them into three’s. He lifts them and blows on them, and asks for blessings from Pachamama (mother), Pachapapa (father) and the Upu (mountains). He thanked them for everything. Offering prayers to the serpent, the puma and the condor, he asks the mountain spirits, Mother Earth, the wind and the water elements to come together. He then asked them to bless me, my family, and my work. He begins placing the offerings on the white piece of butcher’s paper: layered green cocoa leaves, open cotton seed pods, red and white carnations, cocoa seeds, pink dyed llama wool, yellow and purple corn grains and little sweets wrapped in purple paper.

I close my eyes remembering last night’s vivid meditation. I had been here before 300 years earlier. Guillermo was there, dressed in a beautiful feathered headdress, golden jewelled wide necklace and an animal loin skin. My hair was long like his, and we both had dark coloured skin. He was performing the same blessing ceremony.

The thick lush rainforest loud with exotic birds singing, this was my home. Connected to this land, I was able to read the signs from nature, we all could. My people always honoured the land, the gifts this earth gave us, needed to be recognised. The sun had returned, and the cycle had begun again. We will no longer be in the darkness.

It was complete, so he wrapped up all the ingredients, and tied the parcel with wool. He makes a toast with red wine, plays the flute and the big white Concha shell (Cochamama – Sea mother). Offering the parcel up, once again asking for more blessings. He asked me to stand up, and then he wiped the parcel over my head and down my body, front, back and sides, infusing my energy into the parcel. With each motion, emotions surging, rising to the surface.

He proceeds to dig a small hole in the earth (manta), fills it with twigs and dry leaves, and sets it alight. When the flames were high enough, he places the parcel in the fire. Placing the offerings back into the earth in gratitude for all the Pachamama has given me. The fire engulfs the bundle quickly. As the flames and smoke rise, they bind together, twirling and expanding. Through the blaze animal shapes begin to emerge.

The twisting smoke transform into cascading snakes. The flames pushing the next animal to surface, the puma, and through blaze, wing tips emerge becoming a flock of eagles. Carlos excitedly says “can you see that?”

“YES!!” clicking my camera repeatedly; not knowing whether the lens can capture the essence of this moment. I was truly in awe, this is real! Guillermo has called forth the presence of these spirits, and there they were

In celebration of the offering, he threw confetti over me, bringing joy to the amazing experience. Well I don’t have to drink the drugs to see the visions. I am so grateful to have met these people. The shaman does not accept payment, but he was happy to receive a donation for his work. I was given the opportunity to purchase the llama wool cloths, his small coca bag, a beaded head band and beaded bracelets. His face lit up when Zulema converted the $US into Peruvian Soles. He was delighted.

Excerpt From Alkymia’s Child: Mariangela Parodi

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