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Moxy Soul Traveler: Peru



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Machu Picchu - translation is "Old Mountain"- is a pre-Colombian Inca site located 7,875 ft above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 50 mi northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. The river is a partially navigable section of the Amazon River. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu probably is the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. It is also considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Click on PDF Below to Read- Part One- Before Peru
The_Holy_Grail_of_Travel_Part_One___Before_Peru.pdf

Part Two - Back from Peru:  With Love, With Release

By:  Lore Raymond 

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 "It's for Him"
My recent two-week sojourn to Peru was a trip to remember for a lifetime - sacred in so many ways. There is so much to tell. But first, remember the four "must-have items" that I suggested should be included on every packing list?  

I recommended a gift for the host, something I have always put at the top of my list. This time, after meditation, I brought a large, beautiful Queen Conch shell for our shaman guide, Don Jorge Luis Delgado. (The word "Don" here is meant as a title of respect.) In Peru, he is called a "chacaruna" - a guide or bridge person who assists others in connecting to their spiritual side. The shell was meaningful because my daughter Nashly and I had found it while living on the island of Roatan, Honduras.

I waited for the perfect moment to present my gift. That happened after a moving ceremonyLore_Peru_Blessing_By_Elders_Lore2.jpg with the elders (despachos) from the mountains, one of whom was our shaman guide's teachers, Don Martino. For more than an hour, Don Martino and his assistant had arranged numerous small items and carefully wrapped them into a square, hand-woven cloth packet, tied with a cord. Then each us took our turn standing in front of him as he blessed us, saying prayers as he "patted" us up and down, shaking this sacred packet of offerings and intentions.
At the end of the ceremony, I turned to Don Jorge and said, "I have a gift for you, but now I don't know if it's for you or for Don Martino." Jorge replied, "It's for him. Your presence here is gift enough." 

While the rest of the group ambled back to the tour bus, I patiently waited for a private moment with the great teacher, Don Martino. Finally, I was able to hand him the conch shell, which I had wrapped in a hand-woven Andean altar cloth-a gift everyone on the trip had received from Don Jorge. 

As Don Martino accepted my gift, this tiny man, whose stature might be small but whose spirit was gigantic, closed his eyes, lifted my shell to the heavens, and chanted an Inca prayer. Then he handed the shell back to me. Surprised, I turned to the translator, a Peruvian woman with streaming jet black hair who sat near him on a rock. "But this gift is for him," I explained. She turned and spoke to Don Martino in Quechua, one of the ancient native Inca languages still spoken today.

When he heard her words, Don Martino looked at me with eyes the color of black lava and beamed, bowing over and over in thanks. Then he handed me a small woven bag with a beaded strap. Finally, we both bowed and made the Peruvian gesture of "With love, with release" (The right hand goes over the heart; the left hand on the lower left abdomen). We were complete. Later I learned that conch shells are special and have been used in South American rituals and ceremonies forever.

As I turned to walk back to the bus, an unknown Italian woman who had joined our group's ceremony slipped her arm in mine and with teary eyes said, "Thank you...that was such a precious moment! Thank you for letting me witness your exchange. It was so beautiful." My heart overflowed with love. Honduras - USA - Peru - Italy - we were all connected in one miraculous moment. It is experiences like this that remind us we truly are all one.
Be thoughtful. Never underestimate the power of a gift for your host and how it will bless you. 
  
Always Ask First 
Another "must-have item" I had recommended was Ziploc bags with sliders. I placed all my gorgeous, sacred rocks from the Inca ancient sites into my bags, along with notes and business cards I was collecting. Before taking each rock, I had followed a sacred ritual, asking the Pachamama or Mother Earth if it was "okay" for me to take the rock with me. Several times the answer had been "no" and of course, I left it behind.

This ritual process of asking was recommended by Don Jorge as he shared that the Andean people believed that we are one with the earth and everything is sacred: the rocks, rivers, animals, birds, plants, trees, and especially the mountains. To take something from the earth without thoughtful reflection would have been inappropriate. Happily the Pachamama said "yes" to a small handful of rocks that did make their way home with me. 

Rocks are also used for releasing what Don Jorge calls "dark, heavy energies." Try breathing into a special rock three times, saying, "I release all feelings of _____ (name an emotion) about_____ (name of person, thing, and event)." Then move or toss the rock to another place. 
Be conscious of your actions, never underestimate the power of natural treasures you may find and always ask, "Is this okay to take?"

A Gift from the Portal
On the last day of the two week trip, we headed for the legendary portal, the Doorway of Aramu Muru. (Hyperlink to more info on Aramu Muru Click Here)

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Photo Above- The sacred portal, the Doorway of Aramu Muru, discovered by our shaman guide, Don Jorge Luis, beckons visitors; it is located off the Pan American Highway in route to the city of Puno and Lake Titicaca.

Speaking about the doorway, Don Jorge explained:

"For several years I had strong recurring dreams of a pink doorway made out of rock and I followed my heart to find it. In the early 1990's, I found it off the Pan-American Highway near the shore of Lake Titicaca. The local people had told stories of people disappearing through this "Doorway." 

As we stood in front of the sacred doorway of massive rock, Don Jorge created a ceremony to purify each of us by using the burning incense of palosanto wood, which he waved around with an impressive feather fan that had a silver hilt studded with gemstones. Later, Jorge and I sat side-by-side in silence on a rock bench, watching as the members of our group took turns standing in the stone doorway, saying private prayers. Time passed, and at some point I looked at Jorge, who handed me a feather - not just any feather, but a large, black, shiny feather from a condor: the sacred bird of the Incas, the great messenger who holds the "big vision" for our world. It is the totem animal of the Inca's medicine wheel for the Eastern direction. 

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Once again, I found myself locked into Jorge's mysterious, dark jet black eyes. No words were Lore_with_condor_feather.jpgspoken. Soft tears streamed down my cheeks. And then, the Peruvian greeting was exchanged between us, "With love, with release." Later, he told me that the feather was a gift from the doorway. I have it now in my bedroom, where it is wrapped in my Andean altar cloth, to inspire my dreams of flying like a condor. What a liberating, powerful vision it had been to soar down the mountainside of Machu Picchu with no worries or struggle, just feeling the wind beneath me and seeing everything so clearly! Be accepting and know that fear is an illusion.

Photo Right- Lore holding condor feather presented to her by Jorge. The condor is the sacred bird of the Incas.

One Person's Stuff is Another's Treasure
Instead of collecting or buying more things, it was time to let go! Before leaving for our trip, we had been encouraged to pack clothing that we could leave behind. There is great poverty in rural Peru, as well as great dignity and beauty. As we prepared for our return home after two weeks of travel to Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Urubamba and finally Lake Titicaca, I found myself deciding to leave behind just about my entire wardrobe. Many others did the same, including my roommate, Lisa. Would you believe that she packed a 70-pound piece of luggage filled with clothing to just give away?

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Photo Above- Young children are almost carried in hand tied, huge folds of fabric

Don Jorge takes these "gifts" - clothing placed in black plastic bags and distributes them to rural villages where there is the greatest need. I felt joy to know that my discarded clothing, "just stuff", could be received by someone else as "unexpected treasures." Best of all, these items were given anonymously..."With love, and with release."  Be generous in giving and receiving.

A New Doorway, a Big Vision 
On July 13, 2008 I attended a workshop in St. Petersburg with Mary Manin Morrissey. She had Peru_Doorway_Machu_Picchu.jpgchallenged us to make a difference in the world, to see our light. So my body shaking, I had taken the microphone, looked directly into Mary's eyes, and declared: "I now travel the world, sharing the Unity message, while co-creating with people like you to make a difference in the lives of women and children. The world is my office."  

Photo Right- One of many sacred doorways at Machu Picchu

So let me ask you some questions to help expand your consciousness:
-What great light and passion are you hiding? 
-Are you living your life from confidence or fear? 
-Are you living life large and out loud? If not now, then when?
-If you could be assured of great success, what would you be doing right now, right here?
Take a moment. Look within, and listen to how your spirit responds. Only you know the answers.
Remember, "With love, with release." 

After Peru, I took time to answer these questions for myself. Don Jorge also taught us to affirm: NO KAN INTI KANI (no-can in-tee kah-nee) which means I AM THE LIGHT. And now, I see that for myself. I am clearer, more courageous and confident. I have begun to see everything as sacred and to see the beauty in all living things. I am practicing being in the now. I AM the light and a portal for creating good in my life and the lives of others.

Since then, I have begun to take action on my vision of bringing a message of love and hope to women and children around the world by "gifting" them with clothing and other items they desperately need. I am inspired to take action to make this dream a reality. In the past few weeks, I have begun to organize another trip, this time a Vision Quest to Bali, a trip that will combine the pleasure of travel with lessons in spirituality and the intention of serving others.  

Finally, I leave you with this prayer:  

The Four Directions: An Inca Prayer for You©
May you, a Child of the Sun, always remember
the glory of the steely condor to soar, liberated from all pains, sufferings and limitations; 
the strength and willingness of the golden puma to feel no fear and walk without ego;
the imagination and illumination of the snake to shed all heavy, dark energies and;
the beauty of the iridescent hummingbird to remind us of our inner grace and perfection our rightful connection with God.  
Be love. Be of service. Be wise.*
And so it is. Amen.

*These are the three ancient Inca commandments.  

Facts About Peru:
Peru, in western South America, extends for nearly 1,500 mi  along the Pacific Ocean. Colombia and Ecuador are to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is divided by the Andes Mountains into three sharply differentiated zones. To the west is the coastline, much of it arid, extending 50 to 100 mi  inland. The mountain area, with peaks over 20,000 ft, lofty plateaus, and deep valleys, lies centrally. Beyond the mountains to the east is the heavily forested slope leading to the Amazonian plains.

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Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. After achieving independence in 1821, Peru has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.

Peru's geography varies from the arid plains of the Pacific coast to the peaks of the Andes mountains and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country with a poverty level around 40%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing of products such as textiles.

The Peruvian population, estimated at 28 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music. 

View More Photos Below:

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Photo Above- The eastern face of Machu Picchu shows the intricate terracing used to stop erosion. 

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Photo Above - A colorful red embroidered tapestry holds numerous images of the condor, sacred bird of the
Inca, along with the "black hat" Peruvians; many areas are identified by the color of the  hat that is  worn.

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Photo Above - Morning mist rises at Machu Picchu where all Incas greeted "Father Son" in a daily ritual.

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Photo Above - A Peruvian woman with her baby lamb in one of the many regional
costumes posing for tourists to earn extra income for her family.

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Photo Above- Tranquil llamas (pronounced yah-mahs in Peru) provide eco-friendly grass cutting services at no charge

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Photo Above- Views of the Andes Mountains, home of the "apus" or mountain spirits which hold great reverence for the people

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Photo Above- Great local food, You may have heard that Peru has some of the best food in South America...

“Peru’s cuisine is probably the best kept food secret in South America. A bounty of Pacific seafood, a fiendish enthusiasm for chiles and a confluence of Latino, Nativa American and even Japanese and Chinese influences make for a remarkable virtuisoty” (sic) … “FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE″



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