Where in the World is Jillo?

Day 6
As we got ready for the day after breakfast, we journeyed to a shaman’s shop for a sound ceremony. The first thing I noticed was that he had many Native American things in his shop as well as Peruvian. The shamans are prevalent in all cultures. In the sound ceremony he used chanting, he played crystal and metal bowls (like I have), he played some type of flute and other things. We all sat with our eyes closed while he did this. It was a very different experience for some of the group. Some liked it and some felt like there was something not right about it.
Afterwards we had free time to shop. Several of us went to lunch together and had a very stimulating conversation with Eve, who was from England, Mona, originally from Egypt, and others. It was so great to learn new ideas and validate one’s own ideas with those from other countries and cultures as well as our own.
The evening was again split up. Most went to a special ceremony and others went out to dinner. I attended the ceremony, but that will not be discussed here due to its nature. Suffice it to say that it broadened my horizons in a new way.
Day 7
This morning was a slow start. Others were feeling under the weather so a couple of them stayed at the hotel and the rest of us went to a huge ceremonial center called Sassayhuaman. Here, Romulo took us through a small cave called a rebirthing cave where a hole in the top of the cave was centered so the light of the sun during winter solstice would shine on an altar in the center of the cave. Here there had been animal sacrifices, Romulo said. There were huge rocks and stones set into a wall and carvings on the stones outside the cave.
The evening was dinner on our own, so different little groups split up to explore the dining offerings of the area.  We returned to the hotel in a downpour.
Day 8
Today it was off on a plane ride to Juliaca and then a bus ride to Lake Titicaca. It was an afternoon of traveling and we arrived at the lake, checked in and got ready for dinner. It was a lovely little place on the banks of the huge lake. Lake Titicaca is the largest navigable lake in the world. The enormity of it would be revealed tomorrow.
Day 9
At breakfast the beauty of the place was seen through the windows looking out on the gardens and lake. First up, a boat ride to the floating islands. The Uros Indians created the islands centuries ago to escape warfare. The islands are made of reeds lain in layers. The houses on them are made of reeds. They have to add a layer of reeds to the whole island every two or three weeks, lifting the houses and moving them as they do this. The houses are tiny.
After they told us about the island, several of the ladies chose two or three people to come to their home and dressed us in their extra clothes, over the top of our own. It was so fun and we all laughed at each other. Then they brought us out into a circle and danced with us. They are so happy and share that happiness with tourists. After that, they produced the things they make to sell. We all bought some of their goods, lovely detailed weavings and painted things. And last they took us to a boat made of reeds and rowed us around for about 20 minutes. One cute little girl was fascinated with my sunglasses so I held her on my lap and let her try them on and off for quite awhile.
Before we left, Rene, a young man who’d grown up on the island and had been our guide, took us to his parents home and in the back was a condor. The bird had been rescued about three years ago and they were just getting it ready to be released back into the wild. The condor in Peru is like our bald eagle here in the states, revered.
As we left the island they waved and clapped and did a little dance for us. When we got to the middle of the lake, they stopped the boat. We sat there for quite awhile. I was tired and I couldn’t stay awake and finally I said to Finbarr, “I thought you said this lake was so full of energy because of the huge crystals at the bottom? Why am I so tired then?”
He smiled and said, “Look around at everyone… they are ALL sleepy. That’s what this energy does, it doesn’t hype you up.”
It is the relaxing energy he was talking about.  It really did effect us all very strongly.
As we started up again we headed toward another big island, Taquile, where many UFOs are spotted and where we had about a 20 minute climb up and then stopped at a small hut that had made us lunch. There were tables outside on the mountainside overlooking the huge lake, it was like an ocean. We were served excellent food, trout caught that morning and soup and bread. All so good, and NO preservatives or chemicals in any of it!
Day 10
We were taken to the Doorway of Lord Aramu Muru and Hayu Marca, mysterious ruins that were discovered in recent years. “Puerta de Hayu Marca” or Gate of the Gods was carved out of the natural rock face in the distant past.
We began with climbing a huge rock face (Romulo called it “the snake”) and a shaman gave a blessing as we each lay on the side of the inclining mountain face in turn and concentrated on the sun.  From here Rene and Romulo guided us on a 30 minute walk of “the snake.” It was two or three stories in the air and quite narrow to walk on. A few were not able to make this climb and walk.
As we balanced along the back of the snake we tried to take pictures. When we reached the end of the tail, we discovered we had to actually run down a portion of the tail at the end or fall off. That was a challenge but all of us made it with whoops and hollers.
Then a hike up higher in the mountains to the Gate of the Gods. The landscape was so beautiful with little strips of terraced land plowed by oxen and beautiful flowers and rocky landscape. As we looked down in the valley, Rene pointed to a huge rock outcropping that looked like an eagle. When we got to the top we lay down on our backs exhausted and Rene picked some green foliage and had us smell it.  I can’t remember what he said it was but it really opened our lungs.
At the Gate of the Gods, there were three doorways, which we took turns standing in and experiencing whatever came to us.  It was really a very spiritual and powerful spot. Afterwards we had a box lunch and a shaman did a ceremony to bless us and integrate us with the mountains. It was interesting as all the shamans used a combination of the Inca language and rituals and Catholisism and its rituals. It is a Catholic country too, as the Incas were taken over by the Spaniards so both of the rituals are used.
The last night together was really nice. AhNa had gotten a cake when we were in town and we all celebrated our new birth and one of the pilgrim’s birthday. Finbarr handed out gifts to all of us.
Day 11
We all flew to Lima.  Some had connecting flights right away, but about half of us spent the day in Lima as our flights did not leave until the wee hours. Three of us almost got on paragliders, but right when it was our turn they shut it down because the wind had gone down and they couldn’t get back up the cliff to land after flying out over the ocean. It looked like so much fun, but I guess it will be for another time.

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