In 1988, I was on a South American airline out of Miami and bound for Lima. Not speaking Spanish and being the only Caucasian on the plane was not a problem—until the games began. This was a first and last time for me as the flight attendants handed out bingo cards to every person aboard. No movie, no food…. just bingo.
In consideration of being the lone non-Spanish speaking white guy, the head attendant called out the numbers in English as well as in Spanish. As the number calling progressed, I began to get excited and then, I yelled, “Bingo….” As soon as the word left my mouth everyone froze and looked my way; a few disturbed faces and a few amused. The woman next to me looked at my card then looked at me, smiled and began shaking her head and saying, “No….no.” By this time an attendant had arrived at my elbow and said in perfect English, “Sir, the whole card must be filled out….” Feeling embarrassed I simply shrugged my shoulders, smiled and nodded my head yes. But an interesting thing happened. With me showing my humanness not the arrogant American, I could sense the shift in people’s energy towards me. More than one leaned over and would say a few words in broken English to show friendship—and all because of ‘bingo!’
Since I had left Japan and Kōyasan last October a timelessness of being had permeated my soul. Keikō-san’s scream appeared to me like a memory of only yesterday, but four lunar months had turned. Briefly these thoughts flowed through my mind as I stared at a grand cathedral, a materialistic icon of Christianity and their invasion of these lands so many centuries before.
After a long trek, from the sunbaked sands of the Yucatan through Miami and ultimately to Peru, I had finally arrived in the mountainous city of Cusco in the Land of the Condor. It was here where I was to meet the other adventurers in what was considered the other “navel of the world.” (Delphi, Greece where I celebrated my sixtieth birthday being the other one) At 3350 meters above sea level, my breathing was a little labored, as if with a lover for the first time. But then, why would it not be? I had just traveled from the jungle lowlands where the land meets the seas. Here in this mountainous region far from the blue- tinged ocean, my body was still adjusting to this new and strange, but so familiar, environment.
The indigenous people, known as the “Children of the Sun,” were busily going about their daily activities. Even the ones who still smiled displayed a broken spirit. And why would they not, considering the grievous destruction of their culture and indigenous religion so many centuries before. We were gathered here to walk the Inca trail, the Royal Road, into Machu Picchu and then to the sacred lagoons where we would be initiated. In my mind my initial initiation was last October on the sacred mountain of Kōyasan. It was a heavenly one conducted by the Otherworld. This initiation would be an earthly one conducted by the “Wizard of the Four Winds”—don Eduardo Calderon. Eduardo was a curandero who was a master of the San Pedro, a magical plant that opened a portal to the Otherworld—or so I had been told.
I was as a stranger, an enigma to many in our group; a band of healers and adventurers drawn from the four winds of the earth. Our leader was Dr. Alberto Villoldo. He was also the translator for the two curandero accompanying us—Eduardo and Don Augustine, an ayahuasca (“vine with a soul”) shaman. It is not necessary to go into the mundane, such as the make-up of the various personalities of our group, for my tale needs to be told with a minimum of words. It was only one night that we stayed in an inn before departing for the little traveled mountainous Royal Road—supposedly, the only way to truly enter Machu Picchu—the Lost City of the Sun. I had considered downing a few pints of ale before bed. But then, I thought better of it. As always, there is a time and a place for such; but now was neither the time nor the place.
There are many other more traveled and easier paths to the ruins. But then again, you will only discover the remains of a once-great city. To pass through the veil of linear time, one must travel the Royal Road. It is on this path where the trail’s guardians—the luminous Warriors of the Sun—will test you. If you are deemed worthy, then you may continue on to Machu Picchu—the City of the Sun. If not? Well, the penalty is too awful to mention.
The next day dawned crisp and clear with a sky encased in brilliant blue, dotted with pure white clouds, which seemed to invite us to ascend to heaven. Morning unveiled itself uneventfully and by noon we were at the trail head. My senses were overwhelmed by the beauty of the land and sky. And I wondered why others would not attempt this same passage into the unknown.[i]
In the late afternoon we set up camp on a level stretch of ground only a few hundred yards from the Temple of the Hummingbird. It was here where we would begin our initiatory journey; a quest for spiritual mastery connected with the North Direction of the Inka Medicine Wheel. I had been asked to be a spirit guide for the night ceremony at the temple. It was partly due to this that I discovered my one material intention for this journey—a staff. As I sought for the best path to the temple, I came upon a perfectly formed staff of eucalyptus wood. Why would anyone abandon a perfectly good staff on a mountainous trail such as this?
As the sun disappeared below the mountainous ridges, darkness quickly descended on our group as we made our way to the temple. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Above us the black-clad night sky, splattered with purplish patches throughout, appeared threatening at times. But then again, it seemed, in a certain unearthly way, magical. Within a short period of time, we were seated on the ground within the opened-air ruins of the once-great temple. Eduardo, our wizard, explained the spiritual purpose of our journey in his own tongue. Alberto translated the words.
“Quest for the power of the North—the direction of the ancestors,” explained Alberto as he pointed to the north, emphasizing the wizard’s words.
“This is the land of the masters. Seek your mastery without attachment. Still your mind and call on the spirits of the North—the Dragon, the Horse, the Hummingbird…. Call on the ancestors of the Inkas. And they will come—if your heart and mind are pure. You have all been invited on this journey to be initiated in the sacred lagoons. You will be tested by the spirits of the earth and the heavens. Are you worthy?”
At that moment the sky erupted in a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning that startled one and all, including myself. This was followed by a few drops of rain (known as a blessing) and then there was quiet and stillness. Alberto continued explaining that we must shed our past—the work of the South and face death—the lesson of the West.
Over the next three days our group of initiates traveled through cloud forests and traversed the “pass of the eternal woman,” Warmihuanusca, at 13,800 feet. After having crossed the mountainous pass, we soon arrived at one of our early destinations, the ruins of Runkurakay and the beginning of the Inka Royal Path.
The sun legends tell a tale that only the enlightened ones, the children of light, would be able to pass this point and continue on to Machu Picchu. It was at this guard-post of Runkurakay that the luminous warriors would scan a traveler’s energy-centers. Additionally, these spirit-guardians would observe how the travelers physically moved, if their words matched their actions, and the purity of their heart.
If a person was found worthy, he/she would be able to continue on to the Sun City, but at some point, he/she would have to endure the initiation of “death.” If not found worthy, a seeker would still be able to continue on to the Royal City, but unbeknownst to him/her, without the benefit of awakening to the hidden knowledge of the Children of the Sun.
Of course, the worthy ones who were chosen might not survive the initiation. It was here that I began to get very sick.
“I’m burning up and it’s not from the climb,” I thought. “I don’t know if I can go on; but I have to….”
At that moment don Augustine, a master of the vision-vine, put his hand on my shoulder. Speaking in a broken form of my language, he said, “You do not look so good my friend. Let me help you, if you would like.”
I readily agreed as the curandero, from the jungles of the great river—Amazon, led me to the sun temple’s circular ruins. Once in the ruins, he took me to the northernmost part of the temple and positioned me standing, facing east. He then proceeded to pray while preparing his pipe with mystical Amazonian herbs and sacred tobacco. I realized that he was going to conduct a jungle pipe ceremony on me. It is not necessary to go into the details except to say that he blew the sacred smoke on the various energy-centers of my body. And within a short period of time, I felt much better and was able to continue on to Phuyupatamarca—the next sacred site. At 11,800 feet, it was appropriately named the “town above the clouds.”
As I walked, I marveled at the landscape that we were traveling through. It was almost as if we were stranded on an alien planet whose surface was composed of clouds not of solid earth. With a clear expanse of blue above us and white feathery clouds soaring below us, my soul and senses were in awe of my surroundings.
As beautiful as it was, I suddenly realized that I was feeling lousy again and my fever had returned. Even though I had been chewing coca leaves (a mild plant stimulant), they were not helping. Chewing the leaves was supposed to alleviate conditions such as fatigue, thirst, and most importantly soroche or altitude sickness.
However, as time passed, each step became more of a burden. If I had not had my staff, I realized that I might not have been able to go on. But the staff seemed to have a life of its own and provided an energizing effect on my fever-wrenched body. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally reached our campsite at Phuyupatamarca. And then I surrendered to whatever my destiny had in store for me and collapsed; but not before the realization that I did not want to die in these mountains and never see my family again.
I drifted in and out of consciousness as the various healers of our group entered my tent to administer their various curative remedies. Nothing seemed to be working as each came and left in a somewhat short period of time; none could stay longer as the inside of the tent was as hot as a sauna—and the cause was my fever. Sometime during the evening I was brought a small bowl of soup made by one of our Inka porters. It was supposed to be an old family recipe that was a remedy for fever. I was very hopeful and thankful even though it just tasted like ordinary carrot soup.
I seemed to be in a bizarre altered state as time wore on. And I wondered what was in that soup, as otherworldly images came and went all serenaded by the distant echo of a drum. The others were participating in a fire ceremony in the ruins of the city. Sick as I was, the vibrations of the drum and the chanting seemed to be healing and comforting. And before long I fell asleep.
I awoke to the light of dawn and was thankful that I had indeed awoken, blessed by the fact that I felt so much better after what had seemed to be my last day and night on earth knowing that I was on the doorstep of death—but I had survived the work of the West. But the West is not only about the death of our unhealthy ego but about our willingness to give up our life for something that we believe in. And it was so when the next year my wife and I began our shamanic apprenticeship program and the beginning stages of our message of Divine Humanity.
As I emerged from my tent, I marveled at the beauty of the misty morning and my incredible surroundings. While I breathed in the thin, but invigorating mountain air, I realized how precious life is and how on the other hand, death has such a grip on us as we struggle and deny the truth—that death is a part of living. Intellectually, I knew that our souls were immortal, but still the prospect of dying was terrifying and accepting my death was not an alternative for me. I wanted to live and to be with my family again. Don Augustine was standing nearby and when he saw me, he came over extending a hand that he laid on my shoulder.
“You look so much better. May I perform the ceremony on you that I did on the others last night?”
Of course I agreed. His gentle presence had such a healing effect. And when he was finished he leaned over and lightly kissed my neck.
“You will be well and strong for the rest of the journey. Be open and you will see and then you will know. The ancient ones are waiting for you. But first, my friend, let’s have some food.”
After breakfast, which for me was like manna from heaven, we meditated at the Temple of the Condor before departing on the final leg of our journey into the City of the Sun. After completing the morning meditation and ceremony, Alberto asked us to walk in silence and warned us that we might be tested as we approached Machu Picchu. My first thought was: what could be worse than almost dying?
The trail from Phuyupatamarca consisted of ancient switchbacks that took us down off of the mountain. I was walking with the drummer of the group while don Augustine was a few yards in front of us. The day had dawned misty, but was now bright and clear. After what I had endured, I felt extremely grateful just to be alive. And then….
It was like a scene out of a low-budget B-grade movie. A swarm of killer bees attacked us. My first hint of something out of the ordinary was the erratic actions of don Augustine, who was walking a few yards in front of us. He whipped off his poncho and started running—all the while twirling his poncho over his head. For a split second, I wondered if this was some type of descending ritual. But within a few seconds, it became abundantly clear that it was not ritual, but survival, as we too ripped off our ponchos and followed his lead.
If you run away, most bees will normally not follow you over a great distance—but not killer bees. We must have run at least a mile or more before we felt safe enough and far enough away from these vicious mutated human-haters. Even still, I had at least a dozen welts forming on my neck and various other parts of my body.
“Put this mud on your stings. It will help reduce the swelling and draw out the bee’s toxin,” said don Augustine with a slight smile of comfort. “How are you both doing?”
As he asked us this question, my mind immediately flew back to the past, remembering my 12 year-old daughter’s final words as I departed from our home: “I love you Dad. Watch out for the killer bees!”
“Another set of steps to climb,” I thought, as I glanced at a weather-worn sign—“Beware of snakes.” Killer bees, now snakes…. As I reached the top of the ridge, my jaw dropped open in astonishment. Even though I was unaccustomed to being surprised, the vision that spread out below me was breathtaking. Suspended in the clouds was the sacred city in all of its glory. Its mythic castle and stone terraces reflected the light of mid-morning. And I realized that I was at the end of the Inka trail. I had survived; I had struggled, suffered, and sacrificed; I had learned many lessons and finally, I had arrived. It was all worth it as I gazed on the beauty and the spiritual power of the mysterious “lost city” of Machu Picchu.
Time stood still as I paused and silently prayed at the Intipunku—the Gate of the Sun. The gate overlooked the city now shrouded in mist. As each of my fellow adventurers passed me on their way down to the lost city, they asked how I was doing. The majority called me by the only name that they knew me by—the Inka. And I guess that I looked the part, wearing the same colorful poncho and hat as did our indigenous porters. With a face and body a deep reddish-brown darkened by the intensity of the sun, I could very well have been born in these mountains.
At long last, I was at a place of rest; an inn that was located just outside the entrance to the “lost city.” Calling it an inn was a stretch of the imagination, as it had only a few rooms with showers. But then the creature-comfort that I missed most on the trail was taking a long hot shower. At this moment, an inn with showers for me was a golden palace of delight.
Eagerly, I entered my room desiring and wishing for a long-lasting hot shower. I stripped immediately and could already feel the cleansing warmth on my body. Excited beyond words, I stepped into the shower with great relief and anticipation of an ecstatic moment. But instead, I was greeted with an alien-like fungus occupying the majority of the shower stall.
This was the only inn within many, many, miles, if you will: “the only inn in town.” If I wanted a bed and a shower, I was stuck with sharing the shower with this alien form, seemingly alive and moving. Now mind you, there are of course worse things and I had just been through some of them, but in the moment, I would have liked a clean shower, minus the alien scum, with plenty of hot water. And of course, with the ancestors laughing at my humanness, there was little water and what there was, it was lukewarm.
After my lukewarm cleansing, which still felt awesome, I decided to explore the city before our ceremonial and transformational work later that night. The drummer of our group and a few others joined me.
Machu Picchu is a sanctuary of power. Even though it was in ruins and seemingly deserted, the city was still alive with a powerful force. I could feel that the veil was thinly threaded on this sacred mountain top. The veil, as I call it, separates the Otherworld from our world, past from the present. Time is not linear as most people think. The past, the present and the future are all happening now from a perspective of a timeless impermanent pattern of vibrational frequencies. Thus, it is possible to pierce this veil of dualistic consciousness and experience the past and the Otherworld.
There are certain sacred places on earth, such as this, where the veil is at its thinnest. There are times such as dawn and dusk, the transitional periods from dark to light and light to dark. These provide a window of opportunity for a person of power to access knowledge and to experience the mysterious energetic cosmic blood that I call “the force.”
As we entered the ruins, I offered a silent prayer asking permission to enter the sacred city and to conduct spiritual work. As part of my ritual, I pulled off a few of my chest hairs and scattered them to the four winds as a small sacrifice and gifting to the serpent, the puma and the condor of the “three worlds” as well as the “unseen ones.”
Traditionally, you would use three coca leaves held in your palm while praying. Even though I did not have any leaves, it was still necessary to ask permission, to pray and to give a gifting to the ancestors, the “three worlds,” the spirits of the land and Pachamama (Earth Mother). Substitute items such as my hairs instead of the coca leaves were perfectly acceptable as long as I honored and remembered the purpose behind the ritual. A pure, strong heart and mind and an impeccable intent are always the most important aspects of spiritual work.
Two thousand feet below me rumbled the Urubamba River and above me was a cloudless blue sky—surely one would consider this sliver of mountain top a paradise on earth. The whole of the valley below was considered sacred to the Inkas.
Machu Picchu means “Ancient Mountain” and was considered a huaca—a sacred place where the sacred power of the Earth Mother was concentrated. I definitely could feel her power, but I had a feeling that Machu Picchu’s true name and purpose had long been lost and forgotten during the passage of time. I had an intuitive sense that the original name would have translated as the “Mountain where the Sun stands still”—indicating a sacred sanctuary of equality, balance and harmony. Metaphysically, this was a place of initiation where one’s soul cast no shadow. Additionally for me, this mountain was a place of wonder and knowledge and an expression of Pachamama’s power and love.
If our mind is still and not “chattering” (mind talk), our senses, including our sixth sense, awaken and strengthen. To listen and to look is to learn. But many people have a problem being in the moment and not talking. And that is one of the reasons I like to explore alone. True to form, the others with me were talking about the past few days and were missing the present moment and the power of this place of cosmic light—the light that is the Sun behind the sun.
Machu Picchu was an engineering and architectural wonder. Gigantic stone blocks were fitted so tightly together without the use of mortar so that even a thin knife blade could not slip between the stones. Initially, we spent our time exploring the Sacred Plaza’s Principle Temple and the Temple of the Three Windows. The three windows in the open-air temple were unique due to their trapezoidal shape.
The afternoon was slipping away as we made our way up the stairs connecting the sacred plaza to the Intihuatana stone. This sacred carved stone’s name could be translated as the “hitching post of the sun.” We were now at the highest point in Machu Picchu. And the stone, with a little imagination, looked like the upper body of a dolphin with its fin being the actual hitching post. [ii]
There are many different explanations for the purpose of this ceremonial stone. But conjecture to its purpose was not necessary as I felt the power that was emanating from it. As a moth drawn to flame, I went and put my hands and forehead on it, and then sat cross-legged on the stone with my hands in the mudra (hand position) of the Cosmic Sun.
As I closed my eyes, time seemed to stop. I was not aware of the stone seat beneath me or the others by me as surreal images briefly came and then disappeared. I quickly opened my eyes as I felt the immovable sun-stone still firmly lodged underneath me. As a picture was taken of me and the others, I had a knowing that I had been here before. But it was a time before the Inkas. Was that possible?
It was early evening as the group was led into the sacred city by don Eduardo. The gate into the city was normally closed and locked to visitors during the night. The gate’s guard, however, was willing to accept a “gift” and let us enter. Our ceremonial destination was the Pachamama Stone, a bastion of earthly feminine energy. It was here that Eduardo would conduct the “sacred plant” ceremony using the medicine of the “magical cactus.”
What an appropriate night it was, as lightning lit up the sky above the Pachamama Stone. As with all excellent tales of wizards and ruined cities, the heavens provided a backdrop that even one’s imagination could never conjure up. Rain was falling, thunder was booming as if the Inka’s war drums were sounding a call to action. All lit up as if the lightning bolts of the Inka’s creator/hero—Viracocha—were being flung through the night sky. Every flash of lightning provided an eerie view of Huayna Picchu, the sister peak next to Machu Picchu.
Viracocha was considered the creator and destroyer of worlds. Supposedly, we were at the ending cycle of the Fifth Sun or the fifth world. The last world or the Fourth Sun had been destroyed by water. However, the ending of our world would come about through big movement—earthquakes. Before I had learned this knowledge, I had a knowing that we were in the end times; a time critical to the survival of the human race—a race that was destroying itself and the biosphere of the earth. New thoughts and a new view of reality from what was already accepted were urgently needed. A message… but what message…? I seemed to know, but not know….
This night we were going to be working on mastery, again symbolized by the North direction of the medicine wheel. The Inka Medicine Wheel is a mandala, a visual symbolic construct and pathway of transformation and integration. Mandala, according to an ancient language, means circle. A circle is power, completion and perfection. The Inka Medicine Wheel is symbolic of the four winds and the teachings and transformations that occur in each of the four directions of the compass.
The journey through the medicine wheel begins in the south direction symbolized by the archetype of the serpent. This is the path of personal healing where we learn to shed the past and erase our personal history. The west direction is ‘home’ to mother/sister puma. This is the path of the Mystic Warrior—the Luminous Warrior. Here we face our deaths and step beyond fear and the uncertainty and doubt that live within us. The north is represented by hummingbird. This is where we learn the way of the Ancient Ones by stepping outside of time with the death of ego. We live in the timeless now, in a state of awakening, unfettered to the past, to fear, or to death. Condor is the archetype of the east. Here we learn to see with our hearts. As the visionary, we see through the illusion of separateness to the reality of oneness. Tonight, we had the opportunity to “step outside of time.”
As the wind picked up rain lightly fell and lightning lite up the darkened sky above us as Eduardo set up his mesa in front of the gigantic mother stone and prepared to call in the guardian spirits of the “four winds.” He had placed his various size and shaped power staffs and swords in the ground in front of his mesa cloth—Owl Staff, Serpent Staff, Eagle Staff, Hummingbird Staff, Saber of Saint Michael. There were other staffs as well, such as the Staff of the Maiden—the Virgin. I mention this staff in particular due to the fact that it was presented to me to use in the night ceremony. This was an appropriate staff for me for many reasons, one being that I was born under the sign of the Virgin—a Virgin Birth.
This magical staff, connected with the sacred highland lagoons, was made from black chonta wood. It would awaken the nurturing power and feminine energy within me, which I needed to accept. This would balance the strong male energy that I had and would help bring me into a state of inner oneness.
Eduardo knew that I was also a teacher of the mystical warrior arts as was he. He knew that it was not any of the warrior staffs, but the Staff of the Maiden that would bring me back into balance. He also knew that I needed the sacred power of the great Earth Mother Stone—the Pachamama.
As others received various staffs and went off to different spots to do their work, I was assigned to the Pachamama stone along with one of the females in our group. One at a time, we would come in front of Eduardo to receive our staffs. It was at this moment when I would have my first taste of the otherworldly “magical cactus.” As I looked into his eyes, he handed me a seashell filled with some type of liquid.
“This is lovingly referred to as ‘nose juice,’” Alberto said as he assisted Eduardo. “Put the shell to your nose, tilt your head back and let the ‘juice’ run down the back of your throat. Breathe and if you start choking, stomp your foot.”
Breathe, stomp my foot, imbibe a magical elixir through my nose…. I would later learn that it was a mixture of herbs, black tobacco and alcohol that was a powerful stimulant that would open the third eye and affect the various visionary centers of the brain.
It was definitely difficult to swallow and I did stomp my foot, which helped. It was absolutely a rush. As I handed the shell back to Eduardo, I noticed that his eyes were black pools of focused intent.
“This is the visionary cactus juice—the San Pedro,” said Alberto as Eduardo handed me a small liquid-filled glass.
As soon as I had finished drinking the potion, I “danced” over to the Pachamama Stone. We were asked to dance after taking the San Pedro, for a reason I was still trying to figure out. But my focus was not on the dance or the reason for it; it was on the anticipated effects of the magical potion.
I waited and waited but nothing really happened, other than my normal view of reality. Letting go of any further expectations, I settled in and focused my intent on the staff and my connection with the stone’s great feminine energy. Time seemed to be suspended as I closed my eyes and attempted to become one with the Mother Stone.
How long I meditated, I do not know. But when I did open my eyes, the rain had stopped and the stars were shining brightly, and I had an insight. I had never been close to my own mother. In fact, in my mind, I had been raised by my grandmother. I had also always felt that my parents were not my parents.
My insight was that I had just re-established a bond and had become closer to my mother; that is my other mother, the Great Earth Mother—the mother of us all. Would this be an opening to my feminine side? I wonder?
As the night wore on, we did further spiritual work at the main temple where I was a spirit guardian for Eduardo. But it is not necessary to go into the details of the ceremony. Dawn was approaching and our work was complete as we headed back to our rooms for a few hours of much-needed rest. As we approached the entrance to the “lost city,” I could see that the gate was now closed and appeared to be locked from the other side. We were indeed locked in!
I was standing directly behind Alberto and Eduardo as they realized our situation. The only way out was through this gateway, which blocked the path in and out of the “lost city.” On both sides of the trail were sheer cliffs; one that rose to the upper reaches of the city and the other that was a sheer drop to the distant river below.
It would be dangerous for each person to attempt to scale the gateway. Not only could a person lose their footing and tumble to their death below, but the top of the gateway was fashioned with barbed wire—to discourage trespassers. The irony was not lost on me, as we were attempting to get out of the city, not break in.
Alberto turned to me and said, “Eduardo feels that you can safely scale the gateway. Are you willing?”
The San Pedro had not affected me as it had the others. I felt strong in body, mind and spirit as I nodded in agreement.
“Once you get on the other side of the gate, you must wake up the gatekeeper and get him to let us out,” said Alberto. “He has been paid his money. He lives in a small home halfway down the mountain. Be careful.”
As I prepared to scale the gateway, I wondered if I needed to be careful of the climb or of the gatekeeper. Once on the other side of the gate I began my trek down the road that takes you to the bottom of the mountain and the train station. It seemed that the only sound I could hear was the beating of my heart as I scanned both sides of the road for some type of dwelling.
Finally, I spied the outline of a low-sitting house on the railroad side of the mountain. Now, I thought, what do I do? I wondered if Alberto remembered that I couldn’t speak Spanish. Since I couldn’t see a path up to the house, I decided to simply amuse the gatekeeper with my Spanish by calling out, “Ola…” I didn’t want to speak too load in case there were others in the house who were asleep.
There was no response so I raised my voice and called out once again, “Ola….Ola….Ola….” After the third soulful pleading I spotted a floating light appear in the dark of the night. As the light crept closer, I could see that it was being held by a small Peruvian man who could have been an extra out of an Indian Jones movie. He was the tarot card Hermit[iii] come to life with his lantern held in one hand. He would light our path back to the sacred city just as the Hermit lights our way so that we do not get lost in the darkness. The only difference from the image of the Hermit on a tarot card was a large set of “old-time get-out-of-jail” padlock keys in his other hand instead of a walking staff. With little fanfare and no words, he looked at me with no expression but a tilt of his head indicting for me to follow him. He then began slowly making his way up the mountain road to the entrance gate where my fellow seekers were waiting to be “released” back into the dawn of a new day.
The next day Alberto approached me with a message from Don Eduardo who said I was the “Big Cat That Flies…”
Continued in our forthcoming Book: Tequila and Chocolate – Far Travels of the Morning Star – Memoirs of this World and the Other.
[i] On the trail we never meant any other humans.
[ii] During the late summer of 2000 CE, a massive crane being used to help film a beer commercial toppled over damaging the Intihuatana stone. When I returned in 2007 with two of our apprentices, the stone was roped off as was most of the other sites; the funky hotel I stayed in was now a five star resort and where there was only a train station at the bottom of the mountain was now a small town—a great sadness to my heart.
[iii] Ninth tarot card.